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  • Can you hear me now? Metal Galaxy A3 and A5 post much weaker signal strength than the S5

Can you hear me now? Metal Galaxy A3 and A5 post much weaker signal strength than the S5

Samsung's brand new A-series of metal-clad warriors got introduced recently with the unveiling of the Galaxy A5 and A3 handsets. The phones sport an entirely metal unibody that radiates beauty, as they are also one of the thinnest and lightest phones Samsung currently has on offer.

With great design come grand problems, though, and Samsung is not exactly experienced with all-metal casings. We learned yesterday that there aren't enough tooling machines from Samsung or its suppliers to craft the beautiful chassis of the A5 and A3, that's why they will be released first in Asia, and in seemingly limited batches at that, until Samsung figures out how to ramp up production. This doesn't really bode well for the all-metal concept of the Galaxy S6 we showed you earlier, since if Samsung can't procure enough metal casings for experimental lines like the A-series, what will happen with the Galaxy S flagship line that usually sells in the tens of millions.

Adding insult to injury, a recent review of the Galaxy A5 and A3 noticed that the two metal handsets fare much worse than, say, the plastic Galaxy S5 when it comes to signal strength. Apple had similar problems when it first introduced an iPhone 4 with premium metal-and-glass chassis - it did take the antennas outside, as per the engineering book, but didn't calculate that people will be holding them with bare hands, connect the separated circuits, and diminish the signal strength. Something similar can be observed with the A3 and A5 from the get-go, as you can see in the pictures above. 

Bear in mind that а -82 dBm signal strength, as shown on the S5, is perfectly adequate, while the -92 dBm and -93 dBm of the two unibody handsets show a borderline weak signal. If it dropped another 10 dBm, data connection would be constantly dropping while a tenner more would lose you the cellular network connection altogether in the vast majority of cases. The signal strength test was done with one SIM card in the same location, so the difference in reception could only stem from the choice of premium materials for the A5 and A3. Of course, these readings don't mean you will have bad signal strength experience with those two, just that it will be different, when compared to the Galaxy S5. We'll test those dimisnhed reception claims when we get the retail versions of Samsung's new A-series for review.

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posted on 11 Nov 2014, 07:21 20

1. jm1226 (Posts: 16; Member since: 07 Aug 2014)

Am I the only one that doesn't mind the Galaxy s5 being made of plastic? I find the new metal phones to be a bit gimmicky.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 07:27 6

2. android_hitman (unregistered)

actually you're not, but bare in mind that apple phones are beautiful because they're made out of premium materials and these days quality+brand sells.
Now Sammy's plastic phones are not bad at all but you can never compare them with an iPhone on the build quality.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 07:31 1

4. jm1226 (Posts: 16; Member since: 07 Aug 2014)

To me a iPhone 6 feels nice but also feels too delicate for daily use. I put any device I have in a case so neither would really bother me

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 08:30 5

10. Finalflash (Posts: 2725; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)

Lol lets not mention Apple and premium/quality/beautiful in the same sentence as if the last month didn't happen. The metal phones will always have bad signal reception/propagation because that is just a property of it. You can even add ugly bands on the back but that still won't make it much better.

Also, at this point every Samsung phone has better build quality than the new iPhones.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 10:12 1

14. willytbk (Posts: 219; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)

U got to be kdding me, lol

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 19:27

37. darkkjedii (Posts: 19470; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

People purposely bending their phones for YouTube hits, equals bad build quality, and an ugly phone somehow.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 19:18

36. Arte.8800 (banned) (Posts: 48; Member since: 10 Nov 2014)

Wrong, why the h£ll did they not use 8 antenna, instead of 4…? Problem solved. To stingy, not to spend revenue on its products, then these problem arises.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 08:53 4

12. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

Premium is what we are told it is. People keep echoing "premium".

I'm sorry but basic tin/aluminum/glass are not "premium". They are every day materials you can find in your kitchen.

Go look around for polycarbonate, kevlar, and materials samsung/moto/ and others use. They are much harder to find and they last longer as well as are more durable. They are truly premium. Everything else is just a byproduct of the Apple spin machine.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 10:12 3

15. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 2086; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)

You have a lot of 6000-series anodized aluminum, titanium, and Gorilla Glass 3 around your kitchen? You're so full of crap that your breath stinks of it.

As for the "premium polycarbonate" Samsung uses? You can find that ANYWHERE, and it is in no way expensive or premium. Hell, the butter/margarine tub in your refrigerator is made of the same plastic that Samsung uses. The fact that you would equate painted/dyed plastic to a 600-series aluminum with titanium inserts just demonstrates the lack of mental faculties imposed on you by your blind fanboyism.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 13:58

30. vincelongman (Posts: 3980; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

The iPhones are rumored to use 6063
Which has 0.1% titanium
It has ~1% magnesium, which its main precipitates (not inserts)

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 16:00

32. tarek1980 (Posts: 278; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)

I agree with you "remixfa"

for example Nokia Lumia 1020 use polycarbonate , but it is really feel and looks so premium and nice.

Samsung can mix metal with plastic or use nice looking plastic, smartphone market is really hard these days.

Samsung should work harder to satisfy people, and TouchWize UI should be lighter with the ability to uninstall Samsung Apps.

posted on 12 Nov 2014, 09:38

41. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 7913; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

So aluminum is premium? Seriously? You do know, no matter how many times you say something it doesn't make it truth or fact. Right?

Aluminum is the 3rd most abundant substance found on this planet. Only water and air more abundant. Aluminum is cheap at only $1.30USD per LB. Premium metals like Platinum and Titanium cost far more. In fact the same 1lb block of Titanium which is much more rare to find costs more than $50.00.

Can Aluminum be made to feel and look premium? Sure. It is a simple machining concept that give the soft porous metal a shiny look and premium feel. But it isn't a premium material. Being made to look and feel premium, doesn't make it premium.

IMO metal phones are dumb. They will have problems that plastic phones simply don't. They damage to easy. Example, I just bought a Galaxy Note . I did buy a case, While putting on the case, the plastic case scratch the bottom chamfered edge of the phone. Why? Because its soft and its cheap. I don't care how good it is claimed to look for feel. It doesn't even matter when you're gonna slap a plastic case on it. With my Note 3 I never needed a case. Even after a year it has very little damage on the sliver rim.

Reception problems as we saw with the iPhone 4 and now this device are a much more serious issue. Metal phones actually drain faster because when you make calls, or use WiFi, the chips have to work harder to keep the signal gong because it has to do it through a denser material.

Metal is just for look and feel. It has no beneficial purpose beyond that whatsoever. That is not an opinion it is fact. Then you actually create a bigger problem. Bending phones like the iPhone require you to use a more rigid case, which would need to be a harder plastic or metal. Sticking a metal case on a metal phone, will only cause more reception problems or require the phone to have a somewhat ugly design. Like the iPhone white the antenna is there is that ugly plastic junk filled in where the gaps are. Won't pick on the iPhone, the HTC One the original and present are ugly with that too.

LG and Sony have found ways to make plastic phones look and feel more premium without using metal. Samsung could have done this too. The trick is simple. Once the case has been made, you simply use a machine to add a texture to the back and the plastic also has to be harder vs software which Samsung uses to make modular phones. Modular phones use less material because they need to be flexible and thin to allow multiple layers, which si why Samsung phones feel flimsy vs Lumias which use more material because of a unibody design.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 07:28 1

3. Anshulonweb (Posts: 430; Member since: 07 Feb 2014)

title shoul say *signal reception instead of only reception..,.. first i thought they were talkin about sales reception...

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 07:34 4

5. XaErO (Posts: 297; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)

I just want Samsung to improve upon Touchwiz .. I really don't mind handset being designed with metal or high quality plastic ..

If Samsung introduces a lighter, faster touchwiz next year with S6 .. only then I'm in .. or else .. a big NO for Samsung .. need to look for Z4 ..

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 07:40 4

7. jm1226 (Posts: 16; Member since: 07 Aug 2014)

To me all they need to do is lighten touchwiz but I'm with you about build quality. I like the feel of the dimpled back of the s5

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 07:34 1

6. Fellwalker (Posts: 283; Member since: 04 Apr 2014)

PA should always test signal reception whenever they test a new phone. It is a key part of what makes a phone fit for purpose but none of the usual sites test for it.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 07:48 1

8. sar44 (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)

zero feedback
"Metal Body (antennas should be behind the plastic, glass or other material, but not metal, so did HTC, Apple and Sony, otherwise the connection will be very bad)."
10th May 2014
I wrote it also to samsung support, samsung feedback, samsung facebook, samsung twitter

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 08:24 2

9. Supraman21 (Posts: 292; Member since: 09 Jun 2010)

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7984/discussion-on-material-choices-in-mobile Metal phones when built correctly have better reception. Samsung is obviously not very experienced with building phones with premium materials.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 10:08 1

13. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 2639; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)

Guess not only Samsung is having difficulties than. I'm not sure about the 6 series, but the 4 to 5s series of iPhone, were in the top 4 list of major providers in my country that had connectivity issues, like signal loss or poor reception.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 10:50

19. Supraman21 (Posts: 292; Member since: 09 Jun 2010)

I really dont know about the iPhones signal troubles. My old HTC One had better signal than my Galaxy S, Galaxy Nexus, and my Galaxy S3 and they were all made out of plastic.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 12:38 1

27. maccess (Posts: 742; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)

My m7 definetily has worse signal reception than my note 2.. So stop the crap..

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 12:49

28. Supraman21 (Posts: 292; Member since: 09 Jun 2010)

OK well you only had one phone to compare compared to my 3 others. No need to get defensive.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 10:14

16. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 2086; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)

This. The blind just want to parrot stuff they have heard from the other rabid members of their tribe.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 10:51 2

20. Supraman21 (Posts: 292; Member since: 09 Jun 2010)

There is no tribe more rabid than the Samsung tribe.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 11:05 2

22. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

Lol I wouldn't talk. You are the most blatant fanboy I ever met. Not a very intelligent to boot.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 11:31 1

23. amats69 (Posts: 1365; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

look whos talking..LMAO

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 16:00

31. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

Oh look, it's another blatant fanboy. Lol

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 11:35

24. Supraman21 (Posts: 292; Member since: 09 Jun 2010)

Explain? I really don't see how I'm a fanboy.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 11:35 3

25. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 2086; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)

I know you weren't responding to me. That would be akin to Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel critiquing the intelligence of Lawrence Krauss. You should definitely use more "LOL" in your writing.

Your "arguments" rarely consist of anything beyond the knuckle-dragging speech of an ignorant fanboy who has only ever used one OS. You should definitely be seen, not heard, and I pity anyone who solicits you for phone advice.

I am a fanboy, though. I'm a smartphone fanboy. I'm lucky enough to have the luxury to buy different ones to use, and right now I have been back on the Nexus 5 using Android 5.0 while I wait on my BB Passport (BB U.S. Store had them in stock for $599 yesterday) and my Nexus 6 to come in to use.

That's the difference between you and me. You are a sightless fanboy who eats propaganda like it is filet mignon and believes your choice is all that could possibly be good as if you were in a cult, while I actually use them all and get to see the good and the bad of every mobile OS.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 16:04

33. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

Please. Anyone that can say that they wanted Apple to use the iPhone 6 display on the iPad air 2 is a complete joke and a moron that laps up Apple speel.

You a smart Fanboy? Rofl

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 19:31

38. darkkjedii (Posts: 19470; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

You're not "(R)olling (O)n (F)loor (L)aughing

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 19:51

40. darkkjedii (Posts: 19470; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Post of the day honors, are yours.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 19:45

39. darkkjedii (Posts: 19470; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

And you're not?!! Why do people have to be blatant fanboys for calling you what you are, a fanboy?

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 08:43 2

11. tokuzumi (Posts: 880; Member since: 27 Aug 2009)

They must be holding it wrong.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 10:26

17. wando77 (Posts: 796; Member since: 23 Aug 2012)

I don't like metal phones. Too slippery in the hand. I have to say that I think samsung have got it right with the note 4. A beautiful and VERY powerful device which I intend to buy

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 10:40

18. kotan24 (Posts: 95; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

It's a known fact that my IPhone 6 plus gets worse signal than Samsung's plasticky offerings, now they're doing the same!

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 11:04

21. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

Good thing they discovered this on a mid range that most likely won't be coming to North America. And people question why they make so many phones....

Even with all the in house testing in the world, you still get antennae gate unless, you guessed it, you do real world testing.

The Note 5 and GS6 will use whatever manufacturing method ends up being the most effective like they have always done for their flagships.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 11:40

26. amats69 (Posts: 1365; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

So what happened to the "very good Quality control" of samsung Mr Taters? why is this happening?LMAO

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 13:16

29. nlbates66 (Posts: 328; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)

Sorry fanboy, it's "weaker" signal reception, not broken, unlike antenna gate. :-)

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 16:09

34. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

They do have good quality control, you know the money they dump into their business that quadruples or more what HTC and Apple spends goes somewhere.

It doesn't just disappear into thin air. Of course you are not intelligent enough to realize these things.

posted on 11 Nov 2014, 18:54

35. jroc74 (Posts: 5980; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

Sorry to say this, but its kinda on topic...

Ever since they have been doing smartphones...Samsung smartphones have had bad reception. Its the sole reason I dont like their phones.

The ones that have good reception is few vs those that have bad. You can look on a handful of Android centric forums about Samsung and bad reception over the years. You could probably go back to the Win Mo days and see the same thing.

There was a heated debate when the G Nex, RAZR and Rezound was out about the best phone on 1 forum. The Moto had old tech, worse screen, slower wifi, slower LTE ...but its reception was better than both of those phones. And thats the the reason I stay a Motorola fan....reception.

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