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Cases causing signal loss?


CriticalityEvent
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Once my One arrived last week, I purchased the Incipio DualPro Shine from a local AT&T store as a stopgap until I could get a case that didn’t cost nearly $40 to turn my gorgeous One into a chintzy-looking tank (yay 14-day return policies).

 

 

http://www.incipio.c...shine-case.html

 

ht-354b_1.jpg

 

 

In the week that I’ve had my One, I noticed pretty mediocre performance in terms of maintaining an LTE signal, even when compared to my EVO LTE. Just sitting at my desk, my One would occasionally drop to 3G whereas my EVO would maintain a solid connection in the same location. Given that the consensus around here and XDA is that the One seems to perform significantly better than the EVO in that regard, it got me thinking that it might be the case.

 

I had some time at work yesterday, so I tried ditching the case. With the case on, my RSRP values were hovering around -115 dBm. With the case off, the values rose to around -107 dBm. I used stationary objects on my desk as reference points to ensure that I put the phone in the exact same spot and let the phone sit for about a minute both with and without the case several times. Each time, the result was the same. The values fluctuated during active data sessions, but they were hard to quantify, so let’s just say that they briefly went up. In fringe areas (friend’s house), I was able to maintain an LTE connection without the case, but completely lost it with the case on (glad I had their Wi-Fi password).

 

The DualPro is a two-part case; there is a rubber “caddy” that the phone is placed inside of and the outer plastic portion in which the phone/caddy combination is nested. I did not notice much, if any, drop in the RSRP values with just the caddy. What I did see, however, was the -8 dBm drop in signal when I rested the phone directly inside the plastic, sans caddy.

 

Since I’ve used plastic cases with similar thicknesses without issues, does anyone think that it could be the metalized painting? I know case manufacturers design these mainly with impact absorption in mind and don’t have access to RF testing labs, but wouldn’t they know to stay away from certain materials? I guess “DualPro” has a better ring than the Incipio Faraday.

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A case will absolutely lessen your signal and in a weak signal area, that can be the difference between working and not working.

 

I've even observed signal degradation with plastic cases.

 

And no, those manufacturers don't build the cases based on the location of the antenna or anything else. They are primarily concerned with appearance, fit, and cost of material.

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  • 2 months later...

Just an update on this, if anyone cares.  I saw the same exact issues with this case on my HTC One.  I tried the DualPro Carbon Fiber one and it does not have this issue.  So it appears to be something with the paint used on the Shine version.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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