Does the death grip affect the HTC Sensation's Bluetooth and Wi-Fi performance?

Does the death grip affect the HTC Sensation's Bluetooth and Wi-Fi performance?
It has been months since we have heard about the left handed death grip, the problem that affected the Apple iPhone 4 so soon after its launch. Held a certain way, with the user's hand holding the lower left region of the phone, the user's body interfered with the antenna causing a drop in signal strength. According to the Nordic Hardware Lab, the same problem is seen with the HTC Sensation and with this model, the problem also affects Wi-Fi and Bluetooth performance. The video below shows how when the phone is lying on your palm, Bluetooth performance falters. And with Wi-Fi, the list of lower signal hotspots disappears from the screen.

 In Apple's case, the company got too cute and wrapped the antenna around the outside of the casing to improve the strength of the antenna. While HTC was not as blatant in its antenna design, the Taiwan based firm used a large metal battery cover which has some plastic parts that act as an antenna. When covered by your hand, it affects the performance of the radios inside the unit-especially the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios.

To appease customers, Apple ended up offering free rubber bumpers and cases to iPhone 4 buyers. The rubber prevented human contact from interfering with the antenna, which caused the attenuation. Since word about the death grip happening on the HTC Sensation is so far very limited, it might require some more problems to appear after a launch in the U.S. before the manufacturer feels compelled to offer a solution. The HTC Sensation 4G is expected to launch in the States via T-Mobile on June 15th, as we reported. But the model has already hit the market overseas, and if anyone using the handset has experienced the death grip and the loss of signal, let us know by leaving a comment in the box below.

source: GSMArena via NordicHardware (Translated)

Related phones

iPhone 4
  • Display 3.5" 640 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Apple A4, Single core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 32GB
  • Battery 1420 mAh(7.00h 3G talk time)
Sensation 4G
  • Display 4.3" 540 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S3, Dual-core, 1200 MHz
  • Battery 1520 mAh(6.66h 3G talk time)



1. E. Ash unregistered

Is it an error that the tile says "HTC Thunderbolt" and the article is about the HTC Sensation? I'm assuming it's the Sensation, but the title and tagged phone are both the Thunderbolt.

2. Boohoo unregistered

I've seen the same problems with the Desire S. Laying it in palm and using in a room with good wifi signal on all other devices, the signal on the Desire S just disappears until you hold the handset up and around the sides, where full wifi signal is restored. Crap situation - can't handset manufacturers do some testing on this before rolling them off the production line?

26. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

u think they wud... i mean how cud they release it like this? they shud know from the iphone that people actually care...

3. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Huh. That could be a problem. Let's see how HTC responds.


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

Htc responds by saying you are holding your phone incorrectly. Lol sorry I had to say it.

6. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Or, they could issue a rubber case for the phone.... :-)

8. Hi unregistered

No they cant response like that cuz Apple will sue them for using that line :)

22. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

They could say its a "magical feature" of the phone. :)

5. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Ah, the good old death grip rears its head again. I suspect that every phone with a hidden antenna suffers from a death grip to some degree. One of the rumors about the iPhone 5/4S/whatever is that it has a re-designed antenna that significantly reduces the death grip issue for the iPhone. I will be curious to learn what Apple did. Somehow, I suspect if they were successful at solving the death grip issue, there will be a patent application filed....

7. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Just wanna go on record to say that this is bad and HTC better do something to get this fixed ASAP. And they better not respond with "Hold it the right way". With that said, no matter how we or HTC responds to this issue, it won't be enough for fans of a certain phone.

14. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Actually fans of a certain phone can care less. I have no interest in this phone so I don't care if it bricks itself very 48 hours and requires a hard reset.

9. nuadar unregistered

Im using this phone for 4 days and no problem at all...wifi signal is good no matter how Im holding it..same with normal signal...

10. nb2six

Posts: 298; Member since: Apr 27, 2011

were the people holding the phone with lead laced gloves? that could have a substantial effect on signal performance.

11. V unregistered

Who will keep it that way? Really now... Death grip... I think every handset has the same problems, this is a stupid thing to talk anymore about the "death grip"......

12. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Interesting I wonder if fandroids will respond with the same outrage they had for the iPhone?

16. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Proved me right! Thank you taco. By the way, you always ask people why they are commenting on a phone they don't own. So why are you commenting on an Android article? I don't think anyone here's minds but you're alway questioning our presents in an Apple article. So yeah, what gives?

17. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

This is very much related to Apple because of all the shit they got. I'm just curious if HTC will be condemned the same way by the trolls Apple was. Notice I haven't said anything negative about HTC or android. A typical fandroid post in reverse would be: "another crappy android phone HTC=fail. Apple ftw!

18. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

LOL! You know very well that PEOPLE (not fanboys) were "outraged" and "condemned" Apple because Steve Jobs said that people should "hold it right!" That was a pretty stupid thing to say when you know there is an issue. Then to point out how it happens to other devices when you squeeze the living sh*t out of it!

23. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

I actually think you're not a fanboy whateverman. You're usually pretty reasonable and balanced in your posts. I do agree that the antenna issue was a legitimate issue, but it was blown out of proportion. Especially by fanboys such as sniggly. It wasn't a fatal flaw or the phone would not have sold like it did. However the antenna needs improvement so it's not so easy to attenuate

25. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

The hardware problem itself was not my major complaint, asskisser. It was APPLE'S RESPONSE TO THE ISSUE. Do you practice at being this retarded, Taco?

20. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

We will if HTC takes a cue from Apple and acts like a bitch about the problem.

13. VoiceOfReasoning unregistered

Just a reminder, every phone has a death grip. The problem is how common is the grip is. Personally I don't hold my phone with a complete open palm. But depending how much of the general public holds the phone that way, this may not really really be crucial news.

19. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

How common or how easy it is to reproduce. I have to say this is one of the few phones I have seen where its almost as easy as the iPhone 4 issue. Another reason I am a fan of Motorola. You have to literally choke the life out of a Moto phone. Their recent phones anyway, dont know much about phones before the Droid 1 except the E815....nice lil regular cell phone.

24. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

That is a pretty sizable drop in wifi spots. Heres the thing though.. Is it really losing that much signal strength or does the set just need better filter settings for very weak hotspots? The actual signal strength didnt go down that much when lookin at the top few that stayed on. The iphone's problem was a very noticable drop in signal which led to dropped calls. Ill play with the live demo when it comes in, in the next day or so and find out for sure.. but from the looks of it, it looks more like it shouldnt even be showing those last few wifi spots more than its losing a great deal of signal.

27. Mike unregistered

Well I have a Sensation, and yes the wifi and network signals go up and down when you hold it in 'that way'. But it's never been too bad as to cut me off, kill the wifi or otherwise stop it from working on a day to day basis.

28. Ckeeperga unregistered

Ok I guess I do have the right to speak since I have the phone. I have tried three different bluetooths and none of them has decent sound with this phone. It is going back to tmobile the sound quality is not that good even without a blue tooth. I suspect as more of these phones get out there the more the antenna problem will become discusses.. I am getting rid of it now before I am stuck with it.

29. mymitsu3kgt unregistered

You won't even believe how easy this is to fix. There is a thread at the XDA forums. Go to WiFi Settings Hit Menu Select Advanced Check the box next to "Best WiFi Performance" Done! The problem is 100% gone. The box is probably unchecked to save battery but they should not even have that option because it´╗┐ just leads to bad publicity. They should just leave it checked by default.

30. JandroidS unregistered

As long as it doesnt interfer with cell signal as bad. i'm still going to get it and it seems that its not every phone that has this problem so there is still hope. its 6149857140916120975 times better than my current CM7 cliq xt i got almost 2 years ago.

31. Fixation unregistered

I have the HTC Sensation and have seen the wifi drop first hand. basically if you hold it cupped on both sides like normal you wont get any kind of wifi at all but as soon as you move your hand away from the top (left side if playing games) wifi goes out. moving your hand away works or barely holding onto it with half your hand works also. this pretty much ticks me off because it is uncomfortable to hold it this way. I wish HTC would step it up because it was released well after the iphone 4 which had the same problems. I really like this phone but its hard to believe that HTC doesn't know or care about this problem.

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