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Low/No Signal and battery drain

Discussion in 'Samsung Galaxy S4' started by andreah1, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. andreah1
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    andreah1 New Member

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    So, I took the plunge and updated from a Bionic to a S4. Not so sure I should have. My bionic was the most irritating thing, to open an app it was a minimum of 30 seconds, even to dial a number, etc. Nothing opened fast. I can't believe I didn't throw it. So after reading reviews, etc. I got the S4, so excited. Not so much anymore, have only had it 5 days and I'm really having a problem with signal. I live in an area where it's sketchy but pretty much just by moving in the room with my bionic I could get something. With the S4 I'm lucky if I get 1x, yep, 1x. I saw 3g on it a couple times. I work in a city that has 4g and I always get that with my usb modem and did with my bionic but with the s4 I only get 3g. I sat at home tonight and tried for 1/2 hour to send a text message it wouldn't go thru. My hubby got the same phone and when he called me at work today I finally gave up, he was breaking up, the phone dropped the call a couple times.
    I have taken out the battery and sim card and reinstalled, 4g came up for about 2 minutes then it went right back to 1x, then no signal, then 1x, so on and so forth. Am I doing something wrong? Is there something on the phone that I can do? I can't even open facebook, nothing. I seriously don't want to sit on the phone for hours with vzw for them to tell me to do a factory reset, I have limited data so having to download apps all over again, well, lets just say I WILL throw the phone.

    And, another thing....are there apps that are running that are default that I can turn off? I lose a percentage about every 5 minutes. I was at 99% about a 1/2 hour ago and now at 70. I've done nothing except try to send that text message about 6 times and try to open facebook. I have fb and gmail notifications turned off, is there anything else I can turn off that's not needed? I don't have any apps that should run all the time (except what may have come with the phone that I have no idea what they are).

    I'm so let down. And if it's just that this phone has a crap antenna I don't know what the heck else I can buy, I don't want a phone that doesn't take a memory card or have a removable battery. That slims down the choices to almost nil. Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. GVLBob
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    GVLBob Member

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    If you and your husband compare signal strength readings at your house, what do each of you get?


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  3. andreah1
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    andreah1 New Member

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    Unfortunately he works nights, I work days so getting us together is a rare treat! All I can say is when I've talked to him he's said he usually has no bars or 1x. I know some of it has to do with our area but would an antenna in one phone be that much different than another? And why won't it get 4g at work? My bionic did.
  4. mountainbikermark
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    mountainbikermark DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Have you contacted Verizon before? If so call back and ask about a femtocell option inside your home. Your battery is probably draining because the power output is increasing while trying to get a signal that is good enough to make a call.
    I live in craptacular receptionville also so I'm used to my battery life being less than stellar on any phone I've ever had.


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  5. andreah1
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    andreah1 New Member

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    Well, now there's a word I've NEVER heard of! Femtocell? I'm gonna look it up and see what happens. I just got done chatting online with vzw for an hour, luckily I had a nice person. SHe refreshed my signal and had me change to global (in networks) to see if that helps. Haven't seen anything fabulous change but will be patient. She also put in an order to the engineers to investigate if it's something going on in this area. Should hear back in 3 days she said. If I get no answers I will inquire into the femtocell, first I have to see what it is, lol!
  6. andreah1
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    andreah1 New Member

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    Holy cow, just looked that up, forget it, we don't have another 249.00 to spend just to get a better signal. The phones were bad enough. The thought of having to go back to our bionics makes me physically ill. Sigh.
  7. GVLBob
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    GVLBob Member

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    There are a couple of possibilities here that we should explore. But, first, the S4 normally gets excellent battery life. As the other poster mentioned, it's likely the poor signal strength that is drawing down the battery so rapidly.

    You might just have a bum S4, but the qualitative experience of your husband suggests that isn't the case.

    Some people believe that Motorola phones get better signal strength than Samsung phones, but I haven't seen definitive proof of that. Did the Bionic give dramatically better signal strength?

    As the other poster noted, a signal booster for your phone would solve the problem there, but you might still have issues away from the home.


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  8. Lars
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    Lars New Member

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    Motorola phones generally have superior radios, hence your ability to get a decent signal with the Bionic and lack of signal with the S4. To further exemplify this point, I had the Motorola Droid Razr up until a couple weeks ago and I always had full bars in my bedroom and my wife would constantly struggle getting a signal with her S3. I've since upgraded to the S4 and while it is marginally better than my wife's S3, my signal strength is a bar or two lower than I had with my Razr.

    If I were in your situation (assuming switching carriers is no option), I would see about returning the S4 and going with another Motorola device. Additionally, while yes, the femtocell is expensive up-front, can you really put a price on improving your overall signal strength moving forward? Consider it like needing to repair the AC in your car (situation I am in now)—it sucks having to pay for the fix, but the long-term convenience factor far outweighs the initial cost.
  9. bbtkd
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    bbtkd Member

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    YMMV apparently. My son got an S4 and I wanted one also but was worried about signal as compared to my Bionic. We compared signal strength side-by-side - in db - and the S4 had the stronger signal. So - I got the S4 also. I work in a rural area with low to no signal in my office, and if I go to any meetings then I typically get no signal. The S4 with standard battery outlasts my Bionic with the Moto extended battery. On the Bionic, I would be down to 30-40% by the end of the day, while I've never been below 50% on the S4. Today I had 75% when I got home.

    One thing I would suggest is that if you have not already, connect to Wifi when you are home since the Wifi radio uses much less power than 3G/4G, even if you leave it on. I've added the free app Wi-Fi Matic, and it learns which cell sites are around where you connect to Wifi networks, so when you enter a cell near your home/work, then it enables Wifi. When it connects to your Wifi, it turns off 3G/4G. Then when you leave Wifi coverage it re-enables 3G/4G and disables Wifi. It's worked flawlessly for me and saved even more power. I don't use Wifi at work though.
  10. mountainbikermark
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    mountainbikermark DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    If/when you explore that option with Verizon say exactly that about not spending $249. In the past when one mentioned not willing to spend the money there was a 3g one they'd offer for free. 3g is better than NOg and it would help tremendously with the cdma(the one for phone calls) signal.
    In the mean time while they investigate the signal in your area try turning off the mobile network when you're not using it and see if that helps with your battery life. In my case switching to global only makes mine worse, not better. If you have Wi-Fi at the house I'd suggest use that network for data as much as possible. It's much more battery friendly than searching for a non existent data network signal.

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  11. andreah1
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    andreah1 New Member

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    Great suggestions everyone. I'm at work now and the 4g is showing up again. This morning I looked at my husband's phone, each time I looked his was either 3g or 4g, mine was 1x, I sat mine next to his and after a short time 3g finally came up but when I looked again later his was 3g mine was 1x. I don't get it.
    As far as the femtocell, in the short time I took to research it last night, it says it needs to be hooked up to broadband. No can do. We don't have internet service at our house, I use a vzw mobile usb thingy to connect to internet (which lately has been going back and forth from 3g to 4g). So, how would I connect it the femtocell? We also don't have wifi so I can't do anything with that. Our only options are dial up, satellite of the mobile usb. I'm so frustrated. I'm really hoping they find a problem with our area but then again, I'm sure they won't fix it, why bother, we're rural. Is there some other sort of booster I can buy that doesn't have to connect to broadband?
    p.s. I just talked to my husband and asked him if he could get on facebook at home, he said yes....I can't, the stupid "updating" thing just goes round and round til it finally says no internet service. This is what causes me to go back and forth, COULD it be my phone? And if it is my phone, I just bought it a few days ago, will they replace it with a new one? Could just the sim card be bad? I don't want a refurb after spending money for a new one.
  12. mountainbikermark
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    mountainbikermark DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    You said you'd tried removing the SIM card before. What method did you try beyond just removing it? Did you power the phone down, remove the SIM card, power the phone back up without the SIM card for about a minute, power it back down, insert the SIM card, power back up?
    If they get back to you in a few days saying your signal is fine in your area (They might really say that even though you know otherwise. been there done that)I'd suggest a new SIM card whether or not you pursue a new phone. If it turns out it's the SIM card and they give you your old one in a new phone, you'll be back to square 1 again.

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  13. andreah1
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    andreah1 New Member

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    I powered down, removed the battery, then the sim card then did that in reverse order. No, I did not attempt to power up the phone without the sim card, I'll give that a whirl as well (when I'm home to see if it really makes a difference).
    I'm sure they'll come back and say there's no problem in the area. The last time someone looked into it a couple years ago we were told the nearest tower was 4 miles away and not to expect miracles. I don't, but it just seems strange that the bionic could grab a better signal and for the most part my usb broadband does as well. I think my next suggestion will be to see if I can swap out the sim card just to see if that works. I guess I don't dare cut the upc codes off the box yet to send in the rebate, sigh.
  14. Mike.757
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    Mike.757 Well-Known Member

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    If you and your husband have the same phone and there is that much of a difference, then you need to consider that you have a bad phone and send it back. You have two options: get another S4 or move back to Motoland. Either way, IMHO, you need to get a new phone.

    Just to satisfy the sim card issue, when you and hubby are together, power down both phones and swap sim cards then power back up. I believe that you will have the same performance on both phones.
  15. andreah1
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    andreah1 New Member

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    I'll try that with the sim cards....I'll try to be patient and wait for vzw to come back with their findings, they said no more than three days. Then if I have to, I switch out the phone, I like it otherwise and really don't want to go back to motorola, especially since the new phones don't let you use a memory card, that's very important for me. I'm hoping if I have to switch it out they'll let me go to the store and just swap for another new one. If they don't they'll have medusa on their case! :icon_ devil:
  16. GVLBob
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    GVLBob Member

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    It's sure sounding like a new S4 will at least quite a bit. You could always go back to the store and ask for both a new phone and SIM card.


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  17. andreah1
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    andreah1 New Member

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    I'm gonna try switching the sim cards first then see what happens. Can't win, it's been the week from hell.
  18. Fokkerdmr
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    Fokkerdmr New Member

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    I have seen that switching between 1x, 3g, 4g draws a lot more power. On my bionic I had forced 3g in weak 4g areas which helped substantially improve battery life.

    I don't know if s4 has a setting to force 3g, but if there is one, that might help your phone stop hunting for signal type.

    There are also those cheap signal boosters that you can stick on your phone, not sure if that's mumbo jumbo or could actually help for your weak signal. Depending on Verizon's customer base, they might even consider expanding service in that area to help you out. It's worth asking.
  19. bbtkd
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    bbtkd Member

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    When your husband is sleeping, switch phones - move his stuff to yours and yours to his, then play innocent. He doesn't read this forum, does he?
  20. andreah1
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    andreah1 New Member

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    Oh you are SO awesome bbtkd, that sounds like something I would do, lol! He doesn't read it but he'd figure it out at some point! :) Of course I'm sitting at home right now and magically it's showing 4g. Earlier though it was at 1x and everytime I pressed the phone button and started dialing it went to no service, same thing with texts, everytime I tried to send on it just switched right over to no service.
    I also just tried the turning it on with no sim card for a minute then power off, reinstall sim card and power on. Started out with 4g for about 2 minutes, now down to 3g (which is ok with me if it would just keep that much of a signal). Tried making a phone call, went down to no service (is it supposed to do that, datawise?) but the call went thru.
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