How Your Hands And Head Block Smartphone Signals

Does swapping hands really mean you can pick up a better smartphone signal?

According to Professor Gert Pedersen from Aalborg University, Denmark, the answer is yes because switching hands can boost signal reception.

Another major factor is how a user’s head can block signals, depending on which side they listen to callers.

The professor claims the problems stem from people naturally holding and listening to their phones exactly where the antenna receiving signals from mobile providers are placed.

Switching hands reverses the way the smartphone is held and instead of masking the antenna, the device can find a better signal and connect to a provider much easier.

iPhones perform poorly in tests

Pederson researched a wide range of smartphones and found that some brands were more susceptible to receiving poor signals than others.

Apple iPhones held by left-handed users ranked were among the worst, while the Doro PhoneEasy 530X was considered the best.

Apple phones tested by right-handed users fared better, but the performance was still average at best.

The best right-handed phone was the HTC Desire 626.

“Transmitter and receiver performance depends strongly on the antenna in the phone and on the way the user is holding the phone to the head during a call or in the hand during browsing mode,” said Pederson.

How to hold your smartphone

The report also discloses that phone performance varies much more for voice connections than data transfer.

Pederson recommends that a standard for communication performance should be set for mobile phones that will eliminate the impact of how the phone is held and whether the user puts the earpiece to the right or left side of their head.

In all cases, the report suggests using a smartphone hands-free gives the best results by lying down on a flat surface and switching on the speaker.

“If the phone is not hand held but hands-free or connected to a headset, the phone itself may be placed free of any close-by objects. In this case the ability to collect a radio signal is generally significantly better,2 said the report.

Researchers also rated the performance of the iPad, Sony Experia Z4 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.

Download the full report, including extensive smartphone listings