Razr M Antennagate?

phositadc

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You do realize that a lower db number is a stronger signal, right? Everything else being equal, -70db is stronger than -73db. Each 3db is a doubling of the signal strength. Technically speaking, -70db is twice the signal strength of -73db.

So you saying that those with a lower db has trouble holding onto a 4g signal is the total opposite of what you should expect. For most consumer equipment, once you get above about -85db you shouldn't necessarily expect(but likely will still receive) good transfer rates or even be able to maintain a connection. Once you hit about -90 you shouldn't be expecting anything for connections. I did see a flip phone in the VZW store 2 weeks ago that was designed for -110 signal! I was impressed. Of course, it was a $200 dumb phone made by....Casio, of all companies.

If you really want to know that 2 phones CAN be compared apples to apples, look up their FCC IDs. If the RAZR M has the same radio characteristics as the RAZR, the paperwork for the RAZR M will basically say "this document is to indicate that the RAZR M uses the same radio as FCC ID: XXXX (RAZR) and is meant as a placeholder only". Then you KNOW you can compare them.

Other than that, trying to compare 2 phones even from the same manufacturer is really not logical at all. You'd notice the difference in measurement between yards and feet, and that's literally what you are comparing by just grabbing 2 random phones from the same manufacturer. Like I said before:

Look broseph, I'm not sure what your agenda is here, and maybe I should have used the word "weaker" rather than "lower" to refer to signal strength. But if you have a Razr M and a Razr Maxx sitting side by side, and the Razr M is both showing a weaker signal (i.e., -90 dBm on the M compared to -80 dBm on the Razr Maxx), that creates a presumption that the Razr M actually has a weaker signal. When you compound that with the fact that the Razr M also drops its 4G signal while the Razr Maxx does not, it creates a VERY strong presumption that the Razr M does indeed have a weaker signal than the Razr Maxx.

I completely agree with you that the "bars" of signal strength in the notification bar do not mean anything, but that's not what we are talking about. We are talking about the dBm signal strengths, and we are talking about actual dropped 4G signals.

If you seriously want to argue that a phone showing a weaker dBm signal strength that also drops 4G connections does not have a worse signal than a phone showing a stronger dBm signal strength and maintaining a steady 4G connection, well, I don't think anybody is going to convince you otherwise.
 

dan.dar

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If you seriously want to argue that a phone showing a weaker dBm signal strength that also drops 4G connections does not have a worse signal than a phone showing a stronger dBm signal strength and maintaining a steady 4G connection, well, I don't think anybody is going to convince you otherwise.

Agreed. I ordered this phone today to try it out. Some people and reviewers have said that the signal is solid, some have said it is not. The model I saw in the store looked to be weaker than all others and was the only to drop down to 3 bars from 4 when I picked it up. Hopefully it's not indicative of all others, but I guess I'll see when it gets here. 14 days, so nothing to lose I guess.
 

josh1980

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Josh, you might want to climb down off your high horse and stop hijacking the thread. First off, you have the numbers completely backwards. -70 isn't "lower" than -73, because they're negative numbers. Secondly, no, dBm is not a flexible measurement the way you assert: in fact, it's very tightly scientifically mapped to real amounts of input energy. And a lower dBm can be directly correlated to things like poor antenna design or antenna malfunctions, signal processing errors, etc. That's the entire point of dBm as a measurement, to be able to have an exact scale. Third, it is dBm, not "db."

Back on topic: I found this thread after Google searching for signal problems with the RAZR M. I received a demo unit yesterday, and I've been noticing extremely erratic signal strength. I'm still trying to nail down the circumstances. I have noticed specifically that how I hold the phone has produced readings ranging from -93 dBm if held tightly at the bottom, to -66 dBm if I hold it by the top and don't touch the bottom at all. Right now I just checked it, and it's flicking back and forth between -91 and -89. Meanwhile my Droid Bionic and Samsung Stratosphere, held in the same place the same way, are hovering on -80. Repeating the "grip" test on them doesn't produce variances of more than 7 dBm.

I don't have 4G in my home area, but I'll make a point soon of going to one of the nearby towns that does have it to see what the 4G behavior is like.

Did you look at my first post? I specifically called out dbm. I shortened it to db because you can't call out signal strength in dbi. It is assumed to be dbm. Dbi only applies to antenna design. Also, it is not technically incorrect in a forum setting or common discussion to call it db when you are discussing something that is clearly related to signal strength. If I said 14dbm antenna of -70dbi signal that doesn't make any sense.

I never said that dbm is flexible. I simply said that there are so many variables that strictly looking at the dbm is pointless. Feel free to look at my posts! SNR, antenna sensitivity, etc play a huge part in how "good" a signal is. But keep telling yourself I'm full of it. I'm sure it'll work out well for you.

You are, unfortunately, correct in my comment about the negative being higher/lower. I was tired when I wrote that post, which is also why I commented that I wasn't going to intend to discuss this further. Since you're having to argue points that meaningless for common discussion(dbm versus db) I'll remove myself from the thread since I'm clearly not discussing these issues with someone that knows what they are talking about and simply did some wiki searching and found a mistake to argue against.

Look broseph, I'm not sure what your agenda is here, and maybe I should have used the word "weaker" rather than "lower" to refer to signal strength. But if you have a Razr M and a Razr Maxx sitting side by side, and the Razr M is both showing a weaker signal (i.e., -90 dBm on the M compared to -80 dBm on the Razr Maxx), that creates a presumption that the Razr M actually has a weaker signal. When you compound that with the fact that the Razr M also drops its 4G signal while the Razr Maxx does not, it creates a VERY strong presumption that the Razr M does indeed have a weaker signal than the Razr Maxx.

I completely agree with you that the "bars" of signal strength in the notification bar do not mean anything, but that's not what we are talking about. We are talking about the dBm signal strengths, and we are talking about actual dropped 4G signals.

If you seriously want to argue that a phone showing a weaker dBm signal strength that also drops 4G connections does not have a worse signal than a phone showing a stronger dBm signal strength and maintaining a steady 4G connection, well, I don't think anybody is going to convince you otherwise.

My only agenda was to explain that you can't compare 2 phones side by side looking strictly at the dbm. As I sadi above, SNR, antenna sensitivity, etc play a big part in how "good" a signal is from one phone to the next. Not to mention if one phone has a problem with software or its manufacturing process a single phone could give you a false high or low signal. Yes, false high can be possible due to software bug. It's similar to if I buy a Ford and a Nissan. They may both claim 30mpg, but that doesn't mean they'll both get that, nor does it mean they'll both be "off" the mark by the same value.

Also, if I put 1000 miles on my Ford and the engine goes out, I would be a fool to say that all Fords get 1000 miles before the engine fails. That's exactly what you are implying when comparing only 1 single phone side by side. If you want to know how one phone performs against another start gathering statistical information in a setting like the FCC does. That's why I posted stuff previously that I've quoted at least once(I forget how many times because you don't understand me and I don't intend to keep quoting myself forever) that determining which phone is "better" is almost impossible since the reports the FCC would normally provide(and would tell you flat out which is better) are "trade secrets".

Good day gentlemen or ladies.
 

dan.dar

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Just got my phone today. 4G is 2 bars (-112 dBm) vs 3 bars (-106 dBm) on my wife's Droid Charge. Speed test though consistently is giving me higher speeds on the razr M. In four tests the M had between 4500kbps and 10,000 kbps vs 3,900 to 8,000 for the Charge. So there might be more to the raw dBm numbers than meets the eye. I'll test it next week at work but so far so good.
 
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zbaba4

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I'm back after my original post. I heard back from Motorola. They offered to replace my phone. No help. I did return it but I could have just exchanged it at Verizon. But why bother since three other Razr Ms did the same thing. I guess Moto says ........... nothing.
From all the posts, I am happy to see a few people understand what I am saying and how it is proved conclusively. The Razr M receives a weaker 4G signal than the Razr/Maxx and apparently some other phones too. How much? 20 dbm of which 10 dbm comes from gripping it. Period.

I also have heard from some people that ran tests on other phones, like the S3, and found it too had lower signal strength on 4G than the Razr/Maxx. So, not to make an excuse for Moto, it is reasonable to assume all phones are not the same in this area. The Razr/Maxx may just be the very best. The M may just be more typical.

We'll just have to se if Moto steps up to this and carefully test the Razr HD, easy to do in the store comparing to a lot of phones.
 

dan.dar

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Brother's in law house. Wife's Droid charge has two bars on 4g, I'm firmly stuck on 3g. Together with the other annoyances, this phone is going back.

Sent from my Droid RAZR M using Tapatalk.
 

phositadc

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Brother's in law house. Wife's Droid charge has two bars on 4g, I'm firmly stuck on 3g. Together with the other annoyances, this phone is going back.

Sent from my Droid RAZR M using Tapatalk.

I think there is definitely a 4g signal issue with this phone compared to other lte phones on Verizon. Thing is, most people will never notice it. I'm also leaning towards returning mine because of delayed gtalk notifications on WiFi. However, I do plan to give the razr i a try. I just love the form factor too much to give up on it completely.
 

TisMyDroid

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Just to be sure that everyone has done this, be sure your phone is not set to global data. Go to settings --->more... (under data usage) ---> mobile networks ---> network mode ---> select LTE/CDMA.

For whatever reason, Motorola thought setting global as the default mode was best. It is not. Global mode will cause your phone to search many types of networks repeatedly and will choose what it thinks is the best which usually is 3g. It also uses much more battery.

Also, do not use the number of bars as an indicator of signal strength. Motorola ICS does not display signal the same as most, where 2 bars on Motorola is often equivalent to 4 bars on another phone or on gingerbread. That is because when Motorola changed to ICS, they changed the range of how the dBm level was reported in the bar graph. Sorry, I do not remember the article source that discussed this or the exact figures but basically where -100 dBm used to be reported as 3 or 4 bars, it is now reported as 2 bars on ICS.
 

dan.dar

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I did that already. I have wifi at home and at work but outside I'd like to be in 4g and sadly it seems to be hard to do on this phone.

Sent from my Droid RAZR M using Tapatalk.
 

TisMyDroid

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I am rarely in a 4g area so I'm not sure yet how it will perform. Tomorrow I will be in a strong 4g area so I will find out how it does.
 

cored

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I'll add my anecdotal data to the mix.

Just 'upgraded" to the Droid Razr M from the Droid Incredible last night, even though I had read about potential weak signal issues. I figured it would be quite a bit faster regardless, and I was wrong.

I always got a bit of a weaker 3g signal at work, but I had 2-3 bars and a solid internet connection 95% of the time at this location. My new Razr M has had no data connection at all for most of the day. Right now it's showing 2 bars of 4g, and seems pretty fast. Ten minutes ago nothing. It did switch to 3g once briefly. Argh.

Oh and I'm solidly in Verizon's 4g coverage according to their map, which is kinda bs I know, but I still figured it would be better.

I seriously hope this is not a hardware issue and will be solved by just giving the new phone a little time to get to know the newish network, or some software update, because I do like the phone, but I only have 1 month to return it, which may not be enough time...
 

josh1980

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I found a program that I checked out a few weeks ago that can give you an indication of what other people are getting. The program collects real world data points and does not rely on your cell phone service maps. It's called Sensorly and can be found on the Play Store.

This does assume that someone else has collected data points for your area. My small town has the main interstate going into and out of town, but that's all. I could imagine that in big cities the map may not reflect the 3G/4G areas very well. For me, it's "good enough" only because I expect 3G everywhere in my town so its accurate since my entire town is 3G only.

Another cool program I found is called OpenSignal. Again, found in the Play Store. It will actually map the tower you are connected to and show you distance and stuff. It's pretty cool just for messing around.
 

cubsfan2113

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I must be really lucky, but I've had my M for about 2 weeks now and it has only dropped to 3g once that I've noticed. This was in a known bad signal area that my old DX would sometimes drop to 1x .
 
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