Apple's Droid X 'Death Grip' Claim: Bogus


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By: Sascha Segan

In trying to fend off claims that the iPhone 4 has a unique "death grip" that kills reception, Apple has been posting videos on YouTube to show what it says are "death grips" on other phones.

Most recently, Apple [video=youtube;YJG7pbSRvJ8]"]showed a death grip[/url] on the Motorola Droid X using one hand. We tried the very same experiment[/video] last week, and we disagree with Apple's methodology and conclusions in two important ways.

First of all, Apple should know better than to rely on "bars" as a measure of signal.

As the company admitted, bars are defined differently on every phone - and sometimes differently in different revs of the same phone's software.

Rather than using bars, you need to look at the signal receive strength in -dBm or the phone's ability to connect calls. (In our own cell phone reviews, we check how many calls a phone can connect in a very weak signal area, out of five attempts.)

Admittedly, in our own video we had to rely on bars to show the iPhone 4's signal strength, but that's because Apple hides the actual signal number away from users. The Google Android OS makes a more accurate signal reading freely available.

But more than that, we also just couldn't get the Droid X's signal to drop using one hand. As you can see in our video, we had to completely cover the body of the Droid X in an awkward, two-handed grip to get the phone's signal to drop. That's very different from the one-handed grip we found on the iPhone 4.

Apple's overreaction is a pity here. The "death grip" controversy seems to be dying down a bit. Apple [URL=",2817,2366596,00.asp"]promised free bumpers to everyone
, and just like with previous iPhones, the vast majority of iPhone 4 owners are willing to make some tradeoffs in exchange for being able to run the huge library of iOS apps.

But by overstating their case, Apple keeps an unflattering meme alive.

Apple's Droid X 'Death Grip' Claim: Bogus | News & Opinion |
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I can not reproduce the banana death-grip issue in the second video after numerous attempts. One hand, two hands, hands-and-feet, it doesn't matter. The bananas signal strength remains constant.