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Radio engineer: Consumer Reports iPhone 4 testing flawed - Page 2

post #41 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

As a consumer, your only concern should be: Does this product fit my needs?

Do I need to make phone calls and want a highly reliable way of doing that? If the answer to that is yes, then no. 'Cause the iPhone isn't highly-releaible in that department. The Nexus One is similarly not highly-releaible in that department. So neither of them are suited to that type of customer. If you're a guy who make a lot of important calls, get something else. Or get a 3G S.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #42 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

Why do people even think CR is the end all be all? People just want to be told what to do by some authority. And "journalism". Most if it is desperate sensationalism to grab eye balls. Most are the info equivalent of a car salesman. It's mostly now tabloid. I'm not referring to AI right now. I'm referring to the media in general that loves to regurgitate and misrepresent facts because they have to spew something. I use my phone all the time and ignore the stupid bars but because of the lazy media I have total strangers grinning asking how the phone is with all it's problems. I just say no problems and they look confused.

Right - but to be fair the industry (journalism) just doesn't have the resources to hire people who really know what they are talking about in engineering. Science is even worse, just look at all the crap about the LHC destroying the universe etc being reported like any scientist actually thinks that. controversy sells, and the next thing you know the largest network in the usa is denying evolution.
post #43 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

... I [returned] my iPad because of a Safari SW bug. ...

I still say that's a "feature", or in IBM-speak, working as designed.
post #44 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

It's not that he isn't smart... This piece just happens to disagree with his stance. Had Bob corroborated CR's story, he'd be singing a different tune. Easy.

Bob called out CR's lack of scientific testing. That's it. The CR test either certifies its testing labs or it becomes irrelevant and nothing but a relic most of us have been waiting for it to become for decades.

Yet, the idiot commenting on the irrelevancy of Egan's credentials did need to be called out on it.
post #45 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


I've tested the hell out of my iPhone 4 and it's still the best phone I've ever used.

Gotta agree here... Hands down the best. I'm not saying the issue doesn't exist - it just doesn't exist on mine or my wife's.
post #46 of 192
Cellular device manufacturers and providers certainly have a STANDARD methodology and detailed protocols for testing equipment.

No one has yet performed a rigorous test following those industry standards.

Now, I realize that these protocols may be corporate secrets, but couldn't someone at least do some original reporting and try to settle this in a less anecdotal way.

Consumer Reports is respected (and I am a subscriber) - but the duct tape "suggestion" seems to deliberately mocking in tone. It does call in to question their entire test, because of the deliberately sensationalist tone of their "suggestion."

A less mocking suggestion would have been to put it in an aftermarket case.
post #47 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Yet, the idiot commenting on the irrelevancy of Egan's credentials did need to be called out on it.

Credentials only matter when the story agrees with their stance - you know that.



speaking of, can you guess who Appleinsider1 is?
post #48 of 192
I'm amazed that that some people took the CR "testing" seriously. I saw their video clip I didn't think it was funner or professional to suggest a duct tape. I have never consulted CR before buying anything in my life and I'm 56 years old. By the way, I think any test that compares the iPhone 4 with any other smartphone is basically flawed because only the iPhone has the antenna on the outside! That is ingenious! And it is not like the gap is invisible. If covering the gap with a cellophane tape will do the trick, why not just cover it up? I have covered mine. I love my iPhone and none of my friends and family members have any of the troubles some people are screaming about. Amazing!!
post #49 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomhayes View Post

Consumer Reports is respected (and I am a subscriber) - but the duct tape "suggestion" seems to deliberately mocking in tone. It does call in to question their entire test, because of the deliberately sensationalist tone of their "suggestion."

That's a whole load of crap. The point here's is to proof the issue can be fixed by covering the spot with something. Thus showing that Apple can think of something at the hardware level to do the same. And I don't mean a Bumper. Using Duct Tape to show no issue occurs shows it's a problem which needs addressing.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #50 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

An engineer experienced with electromagnetic issues like those now affecting Apple's iPhone 4 says that the tests performed by Consumer Reports were scientifically flawed.



Surprised?

And will CR retract their story when the software update comes out?
post #51 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selom View Post

I'm amazed that that some people took the CR "testing" seriously. I saw their video clip I didn't think it was funner or professional to suggest a duct tape. I have never consulted CR before buying anything in my life and I'm 56 years old. By the way, I think any test that compares the iPhone 4 with any other smartphone is basically flawed because only the iPhone has the antenna on the outside! That is ingenious! And it is not like the gap is invisible. If covering the gap with a cellophane tape will do the trick, why not just cover it up? I have covered mine. I love my iPhone and none of my friends and family members have any of the troubles some people are screaming about. Amazing!!

Shareholder... admit it!!!!
post #52 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I'm sure you mean: biased. Or is that why you lolled?

Yes, I was be sarcastic. There's nothing Daniel wouldn't do to try and minimalize this issue. Even if CR's tests weren't 100% scientifically accurate they had their own phones at home drop out on them repeatedly and these tests no doubt fairly accurately represent why. Dilger just want's to cloud the issue.
"Islam is as dangerous in a man as rabies in a dog"~ Sir Winston Churchill. We are nurturing a nightmare that will haunt our children, and kill theirs.
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"Islam is as dangerous in a man as rabies in a dog"~ Sir Winston Churchill. We are nurturing a nightmare that will haunt our children, and kill theirs.
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post #53 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post

So how does this scientist suggest testing the effect of a person holding a phone if the person is required to stay outside the anechoic chamber?

That's actually a very good question. You use a phantom, i.e., a dummy with the same dielectric properties as human flesh that can be precisely and repeatedly repositioned within the test chamber.

However, the FCC is primarily interested in SAR measurements. The IEEE 1528 standard in current use only specifies the dimensions of a head phantom and properties of the fluid used to fill it, and specifically does not require the use of hand phantom in order to obtain the most conservative (i.e., worst-case) measurements for head exposure. The standard also makes no mention of the surface conductivity characteristics of the phantom, which is also of interest here.

Starting out with sausages (as was half(?)-jokingly mentioned earlier) for phantom fingers is actually not that bad of an idea, though using pig skin instead of intestines to wrap the sausage would probably be more accurate.
post #54 of 192
Apple should provide free non-metallic pedestals and anechoic chambers to all iPhone 4 owners.
post #55 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by SendMe View Post

Surprised?

And will CR retract their story when the software update comes out?

No... all will be forgotten. And the focus will then shift to megapixels or the screen size.
post #56 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

It's actually disgraceful reporting on the part of AI. They are throwing their own reputation under the bus to protect Apple's.

The same could easily be said for CR. They presented the findings on their blog like they conducted a scientific test. It is clear to most people with even a little bit of knowledge that their testing was in no way scientific.
post #57 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by RRRob View Post

That's actually a very good question. You use a phantom, i.e., a dummy with the same dielectric properties as human flesh ...

There are a few of those around here.
post #58 of 192
Egan notes that it is not known "what part of this problem is Apples and what part is related to the AT&T network. And we dont know how the observed effect is, or is not, similar to other devices.

Why does he think / suggest that this is only connected to the AT&T Network,..over in the Uk I am on the O2 network and have the same issues,.... Time for a re- think Mr Egan one thinks
post #59 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by ireland

It's actually disgraceful reporting on the part of AI. They are throwing their own reputation under the bus to protect Apple's.

For some reason you and others think this site has something to do with journalism. I like AI, but I would never consider it a balanced/unbiased source for news about Apple (look at the name for pete's sake). It's a blog with guest blogger articles and a forum. Get your news somewhere else.
post #60 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by SendMe View Post

Surprised?

And will CR retract their story when the software update comes out?

No... Because it won't actually 'fix' the (proven) issue.
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #61 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I've tested the hell out of my iPhone 4 and it's still the best phone I've ever used.

I agree completely. My iPhone 4 has outperformed any hopes I had when I bought it. I'm not saying it's perfect. Sure, there are things I'd love to see changed/altered/etc... but then again, nothing is perfect, especially since what's perfect for me might not be perfect for you... but I'm thrilled with my iPhone 4. It is, by far, the best phone I've ever owned or even used. I love it.
post #62 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by vrkiran View Post

Everyone is a scientist. If it's pro Apple stock, it's bound to get a mention on AI. Last week CR was a great publication known for their honesty, this week, it's ignorant and unscientific!

Ug. Are you blind?

I'm sure AI's coverage of the Consumer Reports review itself was pro Apple stock too, right?
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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post #63 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by wtbard View Post

There's been a lot of bad information put out. Attenuation has been called interference. Transmit power levels called receive levels.

From the video, it looks like what was tested was the iPhone transmit power as received by their simulator. As far as I can tell, no one has measured receive power levels which are what are displayed on the iPhone bars.

This was definitely not a rigorous test but more like a demo. It would be good to have a real engineering company with experience with cell phones to take measurements, but that likely would cost more than the media is willing to pay.

The problem is, a truly rigorous test requires directly interfacing with the phone's baseband hardware through the operating system so that the phone's hardware and software can be put into fixed, known transmit and receive states. This is typically done using in-house developed computer programs talking to unpublished APIs in the phone operating systemthings no cell phone manufacturer reveals, least of all Apple. The best that can be done outside of this is with a setup fairly similar to what CR used in order to actively control the environment the phone is operating in, instead of the phone itself.
post #64 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Yeah, I don't really want to jump on the CR bashing bandwagon, but, as has been pointed out before, if you actually know something about products of a given type, one will find that the reviews on CR tend to focus on irrelevant features and rarely end up recommending the product a knowledgeable consumer would choose. It's been that way for as long as I can remember.

Exactly. I remember a few years ago reading their review of a small sports car. Their main complaint was that there wasn't enough head room for a six-foot two-inch man. Well, duh!
post #65 of 192
This thread and the others on the subject are just a bunch of b.s. In the real world 99.999% of the users have no problem and everyone focuses on the .001 percent that do. There is no doubt in my mind that in areas of weak cell signals, you may have a problem with the iphone 4 dropping calls, just like other phones. Since most people use some sort of case I would imagine that the .001 percent figure could be cut in half, at least. So it is a very small number I would imagine.

I have an iphone 4, in Westchester, NY. It works great, and I am unable to replicate any problem when I grip it my left or right hand. I have a strong signal, stronger than with my 3gs. The battery life is better and their are a lot of amazing features on this phone. It's just that blogs and the media love to stir things up on the most minute of affected users.

I have a car, and it got a flat tire once. Guess I should start a law suit against the manufacturer of the car, the tire, the asphalt company and the town in which the tire became flat. Because all products are perfect and if they are less than perfect BRING ON THE CLASS ACTION SUITS!

BTW if I sound unsympathetic to those .001 % affected, I'm not. Get your refund from Apple (free of restocking charge) and buy a droid! Or go back to 3gs!
post #66 of 192
I've had the iPhone 4 since the first day. I was able to replicate the bars decrementing in the signal display. When my Bumper case arrived from Apple, the symptom went away. I must say that there has been no significant difference in the performance of my iPhone 4. It works just great! It is the best of the iPhones and I've had all four models.

The crap being perpetuated in the media is just Schadenfreude!

Folks, get a real life!
post #67 of 192
As someone with a background in electronics, I know that high-frequency electronic design is the hardest area of all. Predicting the behavior of radio waves, and high-frequency signals in general, is hard, hard, hard. And the higher the frequencies are, the harder the predictions are.

The illustration that was given at my university was simple: take a closed metal box, and screw in two Coax plugs at two opposite walls without any connection between them, and put a signal on one of the plugs. At low frequencies there is obviously no signal on the other plug, because the inner leads of the two coax plugs are not connected. As you increase the frequency of the signal there is a weak signal due to the capacitance between the two connectors and tricky interactions with the metal box. The signal gets stronger for higher and higher frequencies, but sometimes it also drops in strength again. In fact, at some frequencies the signal is transmitted from one plug to another without any significant loss.

If you're really smart, put in a lot of effort, and make a number of simplifying assumptions, you can predict what will happen for a setup like this, but a scratch in the metal of the box can already have such an influence that your prediction is worthless. Therefore, real engineers will be very, very, careful about what they are saying about a complex system such as a cell phone. Of course that makes them boring to the average guy, because they don't say anything snappy.

What Bob Egan is saying is that the CR people have made a couple of mistakes in their test setup that makes it useless to evaluate the performance in real-life use. That may disappoint people that want to hear different things, but he definitely has a point.

What annoys me at the Apple forums is that there are always armchair engineers who know better: It's obviously because your finger is shorting the two antennas! At such high frequencies things are not as simple as that, and putting tape over the gap doesn't work. Or it does, or doesn't, or certainly doesn't, depending which blog you're reading, but the majority verdict seems to be that it doesn't work. In any case, this piece of armchair engineering wisdom has a very shaky foundation, so it is better to ignore it.

Oh, and this is CLEARLY a hardware problem and Apple should just own up to the problem and recall all phones, and avoid an epic disaster, and fire their entire design staff, and .... As far as I can tell, it is still possible that a software fix will eliminate the problem. Signal processing of high-frequency signals is perhaps even trickier than HF hardware design, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if some clever guy/gall somewhere at Apple comes up with a way to avoid or at least reduce the problem.

And if Apple announces that they have found a bug in the way signal strength is displayed, that is immediately dismissed as nonsense by the armchair engineers, because they had the same software in the previous phones, and they are admitting they are faking things, and how can you do something like this wrong, and it is clearly a coverup for, erm, yes, well, Apple is just evil, you know. The truth is that when you write code, now and then you revisit your code to clean things up, improve it, and perhaps adapt it to a new cell phone chip that has a different way of communicating the signal strength. And signal strength varies ENORMOUSLY, so these five small bars will always be a somewhat abstract representation of this signal strength anyway. Still, It would be nice if better signal means more bars and vice versa, and that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment. Oops. Nobody's perfect.

Sorry for the long post, but since people are venting in these forums anyway, why not do the same in my way? Oh well, the armchair engineers will always be louder than the real ones, I think I will have to live with that. Yes, I feel much quieter now, I'll take my coat and leave, shall I?
post #68 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwee View Post

If CR is such a known and respected organization,
how come Apple has not commented on it?

If my company had just released a product and CR did not recommend it.
I would comment on that.

I know Apple does not comment on much. Accept when stuff isn't true.
Remember that Steve Jobs back and forth mail thing a couple of weeks ago some guy tried to sell.
They came out and said that was fake.

I guess they are hoping this will die down. Or scrambling to figure out what the problem is.
If they had known about this before hand, why did they not put the seam on the bottom?

This whole thing is crazy. COMMENT ON IT.
I know they sent out a pressrelease. But that did not mention the seam did it?
It just said, all phones does this.

One more thing. My 3GSs baseband is fubar after 4.0. 3G service jumps up and done like never before. Something is not right. Why mess with it in the first place. It worked fine.

Exactly!

This whole thing is crazy. Apple is a great company. Any great company that has a problem, would address the problem right away.

Thus, since Apple is neither giving away free bumpers, nor offering any sort of fix nor instructions on a fix, there is no problem! If my company were to have a problem, we'd fix it. Clearly, there's no problem here.

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post #69 of 192
Instead of apple getting their image tarnished consumer reports are, as they should, I cut my subscription to these guys this year, little quality...
post #70 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Do I need to make phone calls and want a highly reliable way of doing that? If the answer to that is yes, then no. 'Cause the iPhone isn't highly-releaible in that department. The Nexus One is similarly not highly-releaible in that department. So neither of them are suited to that type of customer. If you're a guy who make a lot of important calls, get something else. Or get a 3G S.

Is there such a thing as a reliable cell phone? I've been using them a long time on many different carriers and I currently have a 3GS. I have yet to own a cell phone that I would call reliable. I guess it depends on what your definition of reliable is or what you consider important phone calls, because if I was to call, let's say a prospective new client, I would not use a cell phone for fear of sounding unprofessional with all the static, audible delay or possible dropped call. Cell phone call quality is pretty bad.

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post #71 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scafe2 View Post

Egan notes that it is not known "what part of this problem is Apples and what part is related to the AT&T network. And we dont know how the observed effect is, or is not, similar to other devices.

Why does he think / suggest that this is only connected to the AT&T Network,..over in the Uk I am on the O2 network and have the same issues,.... Time for a re- think Mr Egan one thinks

Since the cellular carriers all buy from the same small set of base station hardware and software vendors, and the networks need to be interoperable for roaming to have a chance of working, it's entirely possible that Telefónica O2 has a network setup similar to AT&T's. Though there are always the inevitable, carrier-specific tweaks to their systems for the phones' software to contend with
post #72 of 192
Go read what the guy's written in his blog.

That's what we call "ruin the reputation" (provided he had one)

Quote:
We also don’t know if placing a finger on the antenna bridge is detuning the antenna or detuning the receiver itself.

It then takes more than 30 years of experience to some ``global heads' ' to figure out the exact meaning of the words ``antenna bridge' ' and use them as professionals do?
Receiver? Really?

Quote:
but unless CR connected to a functional point inside the iPhone that number is fantasy

``Functional point' '? What about real hardware and not block diagrams?

Quote:
I’m not saying...
I also don’t know what part...
And we don’t know...
We also don’t know...

WTF do you professional know? WTF are you professional now mumbling about?

Quote:
send me a few more iPhones ( i bought 3). I’ll find a chamber and get you some answers in a day

First find the chamber, then open your mouth.

P.S. "Bob provides unified leadership direction for all matters related to the strategy, policies, best practices, and business operations of the research products group"
== QA engineer (glorified s/w tester), who isn't even good enough as a tester (doesn't want to work).

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post #73 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

Instead of apple getting their image tarnished consumer reports are, as they should, I cut my subscription to these guys this year, little quality...

It would take more than a faulty antenna to damage Apple's image... as for CR, who cares?
post #74 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Is there such a thing as a reliable cell phone? I've been using them a long time on many different carriers and I currently have a 3GS. I have yet to own a cell phone that I would call reliable. I guess it depends on what your definition of reliable is or what you consider important phone calls, because if I was to call, let's say a prospective new client, I would not use a cell phone for fear of sounding unprofessional with all the static, audible delay or possible dropped call. Cell phone call quality is pretty bad.

I think it's more the service quality of the mobile operator, rather than the handset.

Here in the United States, consumers are relatively accepting of really crummy service. That is not the case in a place like Japan. NTT DoCoMo is rock solid and has been for a decade, even in sketchy places like Tokyo trains.

I use a Motorola dumbphone on T-Mobile USA's network and my call quality is usually excellent so certainly your mileage may vary.
post #75 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcotten View Post

i think the bigger issue is that we're all still having this conversation 3-4 weeks into this... that's the biggest problem for the iPhone 4. Also- the antenna.

Well it's only us having this conversation not the wider community given iP4 demand.
A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
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A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
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post #76 of 192
The software patch Apple has promised is for iOS4, run on a iPhone 4 or 3GS or 3G. The incorrect reading of the bars occurs via OS not hardware. Thus 3GS owners who updated their OS are seeing erratic bar behavior.
post #77 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by CvR View Post

Sorry for the long post, but since people are venting in these forums anyway, why not do the same in my way? Oh well, the armchair engineers will always be louder than the real ones, I think I will have to live with that. Yes, I feel much quieter now, I'll take my coat and leave, shall I?

Why is it cold out where you are?

No, that was a good post. Thanks for the detail.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #78 of 192
Quote:
Egan notes that it is not known "what part of this problem is Apple’s and what part is related to the AT&T network. And we don’t know how the observed effect is, or is not, similar to other devices.

And it's the inconsistency from various user experiences which makes me lean more towards the network. If it was a design flaw in the Antenna then surely people in Europe/UK, where 3G networks are more established, would be having these issues.

I'm just not reading these issues elsewhere other than the US.

This whole episode is more than a storm in a teacup, its a full blown hurricane and Tsunami all rolled into one. All because somebody could make the iPhone 4 drop calls and make the bars drop by bridging the antenna. These dropped calls and loss of bars were present from the first iPhone. So what's changed?

Apple need a new product launch and they need it soon.
A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
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A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
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post #79 of 192
As flawed as CR is with this report, the people who don't get tech like we do refer to them completely. Grandma Sue might read it and spread the word to her family and friends that the iPhone has issues and no one should buy it. I was down in the Texas Valley this weekend and everyone saw my i4 and started asking about reception and how they heard this and that negative thing about it. Basically, the same publicity as Vista.
post #80 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

I use a Motorola dumbphone on T-Mobile USA's network and my call quality is usually excellent so certainly your mileage may vary.

The very first cell phone I owned had really decent call quality. Of course it was mounted in a car with 2' high antenna affixed to the roof and was putting out about 20 watts. It was a Motorola and it cost $2,500. And that was 1985 dollars.

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