Razr M vs Razr HD in non-4G/LTE areas

Discussion in 'Droid RAZR M' started by JJWard, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. JJWard
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    JJWard New Member

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    I've been doing a lot of research before getting a new phone and just about decided on upgrading from my Droid X to a Razr M. But then I started coming across posts about the M having signal issues. This would definitely be a problem for me as my husband and I do a lot of traveling. For several months out of the year we are in a rural area of Missouri that I term "the middle of nowhere". It is a dead zone on Verizon's coverage map but we are able to use a network extender to get cell service. It's not 4G, and sometimes not even 3G, but it is enough for us to use our phones to make calls. We have wi-fi and use our laptops for internet, but in the surrounding 3G areas we use our phones for internet. We also use the GPS feature while traveling.

    I would like to hear from Razr M owners, especially those who live in non-4G areas, as to how the M is performing for calls as well as data. Many of the posts regarding the diminished signal strength were written back when the phone first came out. Has there been any resolution to this issue? Does using a case with the phone improve reception? And if the Razr M has a problem with signal reception, would the Razr HD (or another phone) be better choice?
     
  2. Spey
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    Spey Member

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    My first hand experience, the M is =/better than the X & X2 as for as signal reception (both cel and data). It would be my guess you might be happier with the full sized Razr models (I think Motorola really crammed a lot of stuff into a very tight package on the M, and as a result the overall signal quality is not as good as could be with a larger overall profile). I think there is a reality that a lot of folks who complain about the signal strength on there phones do not have a basic understanding of how the various radios are configured to work (with regard to priority and switching) on the M. I have posted on this, and I've seen a number of folks improve their connectivity with the M as I have.

    RE: "Does using a case with the phone improve reception?"
    Not sure how this could be; unless the case had some type of signal-radiation-enhancement built-in ...
    If anything, I would say a case could reduce signal reception (kinda like when you place your hand over where the antenna is located on the device and the signal strength drops ...). BTW, there are a number of antennas in the phone in various locations and sizes (if you were to take a look at the different antennas and there locations - compare to the larger devices locations and sizes, and I think you would get a better idea of how/why the larger devices have an easier time generating signal quality).

    The M is a small phone with a great screen (both size & quality), and great features (like dual-band WiFi). Again, from your comments - I think you'd be happier with the larger devices (Razr & Razr Max & the HD variants of these two phones).

    Regards,
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  3. JJWard
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    JJWard New Member

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    Thanks for your reply. I am curious about how you were able to improve the connectivity on your M. You mentioned posting that somewhere; is there a link you could provide?

    Regarding the question about the case, on one of the forums there was a post about the signal improving when the phone was held with a paper towel (video on YouTube). That made me wonder if a case would help, but it appears that it doesn't.

    Guess I'm still hoping that Motorola will come through with some kind of fix for this, because I really liked the size and features of the M. However, the Razr HD seems like a good option if the M isn't going to work out. For now, I'll stick with my Droid X until we're back in MO. If the M doesn't work there I can always return it and go with the Razr HD.

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  4. Spey
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    Spey Member

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    I could totally see how holding a cel-phone suspended in a paper towel would improve connectivity
    - compared to holding it in your hand (where your hand is shielding the antenna), or
    - compared to sitting on a desk (desk being lower elevation, and of more density than paper-towel).\
    Simply lifting my M, from laying flat on my desk, improves signal quality from -96dBm to -87dBm and lifting a little higher above my LED monitor it improves to -82dBm (as I sit here typing). I can only imagine that in the video you reference; the phone in the paper towel has better line-of-sight to the cel tower, than from the comparison location ...?

    First let me say, I don't think Motorola owes us a fix on the M related to connectivity, as others seem to complain (I would be pleased to see a new software technology update that improves how the device handles low quality radio signal though). I really like my M, but then again I understand every device does not do everything equally ... For what the M packs into it physical size and weight ..., I challenge any other device to offer so much overall performance and user configuration.

    I think one of the main reasons people complain about connectivity issues (WiFi/4G/3G, etc.) on the Razr M, is because they don't understand how the "smart phone" operating system is set up to handle (control) all the various radios (voice, data, NFC, DLNA, etc.) and the various associated antenna in the device. They just want to turn it on (all on) and have it work. Example: they turn "everything" on and it works, but they don't understand and/or care why until something doesn't work (3G On + 4G ON + WiFi on - which one is actually being used when you connect to the internet ... most don't care to even try to understand and/or take some modicum of control). The M has a fairly minimal overlay interface for the operating system, meaning a lot of user control access (probably too much for most folks right out of the box). A fair amount of 3G & 4G connectivity issues also discussed in some of the "WiFi Issues" threads referenced below.

    Review some of my thoughts/posts in these threads, and may help you to understand my comments above & give insight to your experiences and questions:
    http://www.droidforums.net/forum/droid-razr-m/232329-wifi-not-connecting-how-i-got-connect.html
    http://www.droidforums.net/forum/droid-razr-m/232911-wifi-issue.html
    http://www.droidforums.net/forum/droid-razr-m/230617-signal-issue.html
    http://www.droidforums.net/forum/dr...al-strength-4g-connections-dropped-calls.html

    One of the basics, that sometimes gets changed (updates, maybe app's, sometimes default on new phone set to Global, etc.):
    Settings / Wireless & Networks / More ... / Mobile Networks / Network Mode / Preferred network mode "LTE/CDMA" (my user setting of choice, seems to be best for my usage).

    Also, with regard to the specific "subject" of this thread:
    Razr M vs Razr HD in non-4G/LTE areas
    If you know you are living on the edge (or beyond) of good 4G connectivity, learn a method to turn off 4G and only run 3G (manage the data radios), or turn them both off and run WiFi (college campus life is great example). Battery life improvements will be grand (not having 4G "always on" 24/7), connectivity issues related to 4G will be eliminated, life will be super. When you are in good 4G, turn it on and experience 28,000kbps + Download Speeds and 13,000kbps Upload Speeds like I have done in areas of good 4G.

    Hopefully, some things to get you headed in the right direction based on your specifics.
    Regards,
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  5. JJWard
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    JJWard New Member

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    Spey, thank you so much for your answers to my questions. I also found your posts in the other threads helpful as well.

    I'm less concerned about the M now, and will probably try it out in an area that has 4G/LTE coverage and see how it performs, as well as how it does on 3G and WiFi. If I don't like it I can always go with Razr HD.

    Thanks again...you've been really helpful!
     
  6. Spey
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    Spey Member

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    JJWard,

    Before you "try it out" (I'm assuming you mean try out a Razr M), I would suggest you bring up the Verizon coverage map on their website and investigate how to read it in detail. There are various colors of Red/ and lite-Red/Orange delineating 4G and 3G coverage areas, and also defining areas of "extended coverage" (means may 4G, hopefully ... haha the phones gonna switch 4G/3G/4G/etc., etc.) and also areas of estimated coverage both inside & outside buildings. Once I really investigated how to read each of these various "zones"; I was able to apply, for example, to where I live down to a couple hundred yard accuracy. The map related to where I live illustrates a semi dead zone where my house is, and it fairly accuratly represents the fact that I can get sporadic 4G and sporadic 3G coverage, and if I walk down the street a hundred yards North or South Data-Coverage comes in much better (follows the detailed zones on the coverage map pretty closely). Also, about 2-miles East are a number of commercial buildings (Safeway, Fred Meyer, etc.). Coverage map say 3G inside buildings in this area, and 4G outside (real world with my M in these areas seems to correspond to the coverage-map fairly well). I think a lot of folks just look at the coverage map for an area, and see "4G Extended Coverage", then expect they should get good 4G and start complaining on forums like this that there phone will no hold a 4G signal (4G Extended means maybe you will get it maybe you will not). I've tried to help a number of folks where this was what was going on.

    Also, prior to doing a test-run you might want to become familiar with measuring signal strength on the M for the various radios (lower negative number is better - i.e., -87dBm is better than -97dBm and somewhere between -124dBm & -136dBm you should expect the phone to drop the signal - my experiences using M):
    Settings / More / Mobile networks / Mobile network settings / Network type and strength (read your radio signal reception strength)
    I do not feel it applicable to compare two different phones reported signal strength using this method, because the equipment is not calibrated against benchmark. Akin to using a Android sound meter app downloaded to your phone (it's ok to use for comparing various sounds with one device, but in no way will the reading be accurate by comparison to a calibrated decibel sound meter). The phones built-in signal meter is however a good way of checking one device signal reception as you move around through different areas. Hope this makes sense ...

    Also, from previous postings (before doing test-run) you might want to check this setting:
    Settings / More / Mobile networks / Mobile network settings / Network mode / Preferred network mode (set to "LTE / CDMA")
    You may, or may-not choose to use this setting ultimately with your new phone, but at least have two phones you might choose to compare have the same settings (I have however found this setting to work best for my use).

    Regards,
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  7. JJWard
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    JJWard New Member

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    You've given me several good suggestions. It looks like many of the places we travel to have 3G coverage and not 4G. When we get back to the U.S. next month I'll take a good look at both phones and make a decision. Thanks again for all your help!
     
  8. bigbadwulff
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    bigbadwulff Member

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    Had the DX also. The M for me is a good fit. Similar size and functions are "similar enough". I recently went to a ski area with nothing but 3G coverage. On the slopes with 2-3 bars of 3G it wouldn't even pull up the Facebook app completely. Went to another area relatively close by and and with the same 3G signal strength things loaded just fine. I could even send videos to You Tube fine under 3G. I'm guessing signal strength and speed are completely different things. Under 4G this thing FLIES though!!

    I'd make sure you try it out and return it(if your carrier allows such) if it doesn't work well for you. You can try lots of phones this way.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
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