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AnandTech investigation finds Galaxy Nexus signal accurate

Posted: , by Michael H.

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AnandTech investigation finds Galaxy Nexus signal accurate
In a very interesting investigation into the purported signal strength issues surrounding the Verizon Galaxy Nexus and LTE, AnandTech has found that there is actually no problem, and that the Galaxy Nexus actually reports signal strength more accurately than other LTE phones. 

The difference seems to be with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which is reporting the signals properly, whereas non-ICS phones have a tendency to report as many as 3 to 4 bars more than the phone is actually getting. One of the major issues is in the difference between how EVDO signals are measured compared to LTE, and how the system reports that measurement. 

It's nice to see that AnandTech is careful to mention, as we have, that bars are "effectively meaningless as a comparison metric", and they are careful to use the dBm ratings throughout. And, it's also more to prove that, as we said, the bars are more of a psychological placebo than anything else. Even at one bar of LTE strength, you should still see the same speeds and quality of service. 

It will be interesting to see whether Verizon comes up with the same findings, or if it forces Google to change the signal bar reporting to make people feel better.

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posted on 20 Dec 2011, 14:55 6

1. roldefol (Posts: 2971; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


I'd like to see an OS update that displays 4G and 3G signals separately, similar to what Verizon's 3G dumbphones do with EVDO and 1X signal strength. It only makes sense, since LTE hasn't rolled out everywhere yet.

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 14:57

3. cfprelude (Posts: 118; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


didnt even think about that but good point/idea.

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 14:56

2. cfprelude (Posts: 118; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


Good article but i'm not sure that it explains why i have had 4g less than 10% of the time with my gn compared to approx 85% of the time with my Droid Razr that i had last month.... and 60-70% of the time with the Thunderbolt i had earlier this year.. :(

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 14:57

4. cfprelude (Posts: 118; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


btw, i live in jax, fl and 4g coverage is all over.

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 15:32 2

7. remixfa (Posts: 13930; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


ahh, more Jax peeps in the house.. lol.

Jax is great. its a flat wide open city. Everyone (Except ATT) gets great coverage here . :)

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 17:02

14. cfprelude (Posts: 118; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


U speak the truth! :)

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 07:26

23. cfprelude (Posts: 118; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


btw -just had the fastest speedtest scores i've ever had (last night).... i was in the tinseltown/southside area and consistently pulling 18mps down and 13+up. Thats the best ive seen in florida (although i'm in jax more than tampa and orlando)

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 15:06 2

5. roldefol (Posts: 2971; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


I think both AnandTech and PhoneArena's evaluations are accurate: yes, ICS reports signal strength differently than GB and therefore the numbers aren't comparable; and yes, the Nexus can have a harder time holding an LTE signal than the Razr/Rezound. Which comes down to hardware differences between Samsung, HTC and Motorola.

For people in areas with strong LTE coverage it may not make a difference, but if you live on the outskirts of a city or travel a lot it may.

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 15:32

6. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5850; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


"...or if it forces Google to change the signal bar reporting to make people feel better."

How does VZW get to force Google to change a function of ICS?

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 15:33 2

8. remixfa (Posts: 13930; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


the same way apple did it to hide their antenna issues. Its a simple code change. Carriers get the final say on most everything on the phones on their network. If VZW demands it, Google might just comply.. or at least samsung might make a change to the nexus LTE to comply

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 15:50 1

9. kpfirefighter (Posts: 160; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)


The 4g on my nexus is ok but my biggest issue is I live in a 3g area and the 3g on this phone sucks!!! I've excepted I won't get 4g in my town but, at least give me some killer 3g until we get 4g here next year!!
It's the low signal strength mixed with the 3g that really sucks. My droid X kicks ass with the 3g here!

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 16:01 1

10. kpfirefighter (Posts: 160; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)


With all the people that have complained about the signal problem then, Verizon saying and confirming that they do have a problem and they are in the works of a update to fix it. How can they say the signal is fine now?
This is kind of ridiculous don't you think? To many people with the same problem.
When apple had this same issue they were able to fix the problem with more bars and it worked.
Imsure there is more to it than that but really?.....come on there is a problem and you know it!

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 16:18

12. protozeloz (Posts: 5378; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


They have nothing to do with Verizon or Google they work separated

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 16:16

11. protozeloz (Posts: 5378; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Problem? no problem? Decide already

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 16:28

13. creektrails (Posts: 9; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


If its just a bar thing, how come so many people are reporting 25 point differences in their db levels from the razor and rezound?

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 17:09

15. osmopolis (Posts: 1; Member since: 20 Dec 2011)


I'm also in a 3G only area and my GNs performance here is barely adequate. I base that on dBm and not the bar graph. I am routinely reading -93 to -120 dBm in areas that I know have good Verizon 3G.
My data speeds have been averaging .2 - .4 Mb up and down. Expected better when HTCs and Motorolas are doing twice that. Also disappointed with the screen rotation (or lack of) on this phone and I'm speaking of Apps that should be displayng this capability.
In many ways a nice phone but not without significant issues. Mine has been updated to 4.0.2. Located in NW Michigan.

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 18:19

16. kpfirefighter (Posts: 160; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)


That is exactly what I was trying to say! At least give us some good 3g coverage because it is horrible on the nexus. To where everything else gets great 3g here.

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 18:31

17. kpfirefighter (Posts: 160; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)


They have already confirmed a signal strength problem! No going back verizon please fix the problem and fast so we can enjoy our new investments without getting pissed off every time we pick up our new phone1

posted on 20 Dec 2011, 19:07

18. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3033; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


Damn it i want my nexus to give me a false sense of safety and claim i have full bars. Lol

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 00:46

19. Forsaken77 (Posts: 548; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)


Damn!!! Sorry guys. I really feel bad for all of you. I know so many of you were looking forward to this phone for months and now that you have it, it's barely functional with data. From what I've read, that Anandtech article is pure BS. A legitimate issue has already been acknowledged and this blogger claims to have solved the mistery when he's completely wrong. That article doesn't say why most peoples' LTE service keeps dropping out when it doesn't on other phones. So I guess the Razr is lying to you and telling you that you're connected via LTE when you're not. And the speed tests are lying to you when you're getting 15MB connection speed on LTE, but in reality, according to Anandtech, they're all inaccurate and the problematic Nexus is right.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 07:31

24. cfprelude (Posts: 118; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


yeah, it sucks really... the phone is great but pretty sure signal strength is always going to weigh on people's minds. where i live, i had 4g almost everywhere (occasionally would lose it in buildings) with my razr but now i dont even always get 3g (i'm not talking about indicators.... i'm talking about trying to access a webpage or email and not having a data connection). ugh, frustrating because the phone (all of it) and ics are simply amazing!

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 07:57

20. rendHELL (Posts: 304; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


@forsaken77..... nice try to troll..... try again...

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 07:58

21. rendHELL (Posts: 304; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


The one that really has a problem is Verizon i guess....

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 13:18

22. MetalPhoenix79 (Posts: 8; Member since: 22 May 2011)


I guess I must be the exception to the rule. I have not been dropping 4G signals. My lowest down has been 5mbps and my highest was 49Mbps. I haven't tried 3G yet so I can't speek to that. I live in a KC suburb.

posted on 24 Dec 2011, 10:15

25. roscuthiii (Posts: 1832; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Samsung needs to use different antennas. The building I work in is in a valley damn near at sea level and the walls are pretty thick. My coworker in the past year has had two Samsung's and an iPhone now. She cant seem to get any signal at all in here (has to go to the upper building levels near a window) while I just checked my little Eris and I'm hovering at around about -60 dBm down in the lobby. There is a hallway in the parking levels known to cut off signal completely, even from the security radios, and I was surprised once to receive a call in there.

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