In mobile phones, there are often some tests carried out for the sake of determining the reception power of the devices. The test results may be termed Total Isotropic Sensitivity (TIS) value for reception and also the Total Radiated Power (TRP) for transmission.
The problem here is that often, phone manufacturers don’t make use of TIS or even TRP when doing marketing. The way you hold your phone, where it points, the parts of the phone that’s exposed, or covered, all matters because of reception.
Studies have shown that there is a significant difference between holding your phone in the left hand and holding it in the right hand. Manufacturers position the phones antennas in different ways, so the way you hold it may impact its reception. Also, the size of the hand that is holding the phone also matters.
Carrying out a test in this regard can be very complicating. For example, it is possible to measure peak performance with a directional aerial but then users would have to orient the phone towards the unseen transmitter for the best result.
But everyone believes that a phone should work well alongside other phones no matter what directions it faces. But it is still difficult to calculate this and there could be a compromise in doing so.
In one case, a young man found that the phone he uses had better reception in the room of his girlfriend than the phone of his girlfriend. He was making use of a Samsung phone while his girlfriend made use of a Wiko phone.
It was found out that placing the Wiko on a certain table or chair helps it regarding reception while putting on the bed does not. However, the man’s phone was able to get reception in more places inside the same room.
The Case of 2G, 3G, and 4G
Now, there are more 4G smartphones and we believe that 4G networks are better, stronger, and faster than 3G networks. However, the case study cited above only goes for 3G phones. Both of the people mentioned make use of 3G smartphones.
But smartphones that come with 4G also work in different frequencies. For example, a smartphone could do good on a GSM 900 frequency and be terrible on UMTS 2100. It is believed that the downside of a phone that talks to most networks is that it won’t be optimized for the one network the user actually make use of.
As regards statistically significant differences, it is seen that no handset could outperform the others across different frequency bands and technologies. However, it is seen that none smartphone are often better than smartphones when it comes to reception. An Ofcom report says that some of the smartphones tested require over 10x (10dB) more power than the best performing non-smartphone.
What really matters? Sometimes and many times it is even the electrical noise made internally by a phone that interferes with the reception. So, it could be better for one to buy a cheap Nokia phone for making voice calls.
A published report over smartphone network reception by StellaDoradus included information that showed low numbers for some very popular phones. However, it would not make much sense for this report as basis for buying any smartphone.
Lastly, possibly, it is your SIM that is the most to blame for a bad network. Where some SIMs work nicely, you could find a SIM that performs badly. In this case, you may not need to change your phone.
To boost reception, you may just need to use the in-built speakerphone or use a selfie stick. Signal boosters can also help boost the performance of your phone.