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Galaxy Nexus LTE Signal Is More Accurate Than Others, There May Be No Problem

Our friends over at AnandTech did quite the investigation on the reported signal strength issue with the Galaxy Nexus. Users were reporting numerous dropped calls and a weak 4G LTE signal – I for one have only seen higher than 3 bars once. While the signal strength was lacking, I never experienced speeds anywhere close to the level of 3G and continuously averaged 16Mbps down.

After investigating the issue, AnandTech has reported that there isn’t really any issue at all. In fact, the Galaxy Nexus (thanks to ICS) is reporting the accurate number of bars, where as non-ICS 4G LTE phones are showing three to four bars over their true amount. Additionally, when going to Settings > Menu > About Phone > Status on a non-ICS device the reported signal strength is actually 3G and not the 4G signal. In the image above, you can see that the Galaxy Nexus and DROID Charge have a very similar signal strength, however the Charge shows four bars of service while the Nexus is showing the accurate one-bar.

All in all, you should not use the signal bars to judge your 4G LTE strength. You can sleep soundly knowing that the Galaxy Nexus features the same signal strength as all of Verizon’s 4G LTE devices. Remember, Verizon is improving their 4G LTE network each month, it is a work in progress and it will only get better.

Via: AnandTech

  • Metaphlo34

    That’s a bunch of crap because when the signal is low I get data connection errors and no internet access, nor can I make any calls. If what you are saying is true then I would have low bars and BLAZING 4G Speed. Not the case. Nice try.

  • Anonymous

    I have sensorly installed and right now, side by side:

    OG Droid says: -4dBm with 3g and 3bars showing. 
    Nexus says -65dBm with 3g and 4bars showing. 

    Well?

    • Anonymous

      -4dBm?

      • Anonymous

        Yes. it is fluxuating. -2dBm now right the middle of town. Is that ok?

        • Tyler Cameron

          Common sense dude. It doesn’t really have -4dBm. The only possible way to acieve that good a signal is to LITERALLY place it… about a 2-3 yards infront of the cellsite antenna.

          • Anonymous

            So the app that reads the signal is wrong then. Whatever the case the signal isn’t as good according to the bars, but I can still call and text etc… when needed. 

  • Jrsmith08

    I dont get how anyone can like this phone… I went from a bionic to
    this and this is by far the most inferior device ever. My bionic with
    extended battery got me 2 days of moderate usage. I have the extended
    battery on the Nexus and i dont get more than 5 hours. 10 min after its
    off the charger im at 87%. My screen brightness is set to MIN. All wires
    are off – 4g/wifi/gps/bluetooth/data. My phone has now been off charger
    for 2.3 hours and its at 60%… Android OS is 45% Screen is 22%. This
    is ABSURD. The phone has litteraly SAT in my pocket since taken off
    charger. I have practically ZERO of the apps that my bionic have in fear
    that they were not ICS compliant so i deleted them all thinking it
    would save battery, NOT the case. I am seeing everyone get these amazing
    battery times. I already returned the phone 1 time in suspicion it was a
    lemon, it was not – bc the new phone has the same sh*tty battery time.
    The screen is GREAT – but you cant turn up the brightness cus it will be
    dead in 5 min. This phone is a TOTAL WASTE. Going back to my BRICK of a
    Bionic until something with better battery life comes out or ICS
    updates their crap software. Plus no facebook integratoin and crappy
    low-res contact images are a deal breaker. Ill take the verizon
    bloatware and 2 days of battery. Samsung/Google need to fix this or I
    will be an Iphone 5 purchaser and I have been the most anti apple person
    ever.

    • Jrsmith08

      since last post – i noted it was at 60% and discharging. its now at 56%… only thing i have done is gone back on phone and checked battery 3-5 times over last 5 min then shutting screen off immediately. 4% for that and all my data stuff is turned off. pathetic.

  • Anonymous

    AnandTech is full if HORSE SHIT…i recieve no 4g symbol when i reach into my house. They 3g symbol comes on and stays on with one bar of service screw what they are saying.

  • Anonymous

    I put my phone and 2 coworker’s phones (Droid Charge by Samsung as well) in 3G only mode, and did a test of dBm in several locations.  The Droid Charges were always much better with thier signal. My work building has a Verizon tower on it, and the Charge’s reception reflects that (-50 to -60dBm), whereas my Nexus shows a signal that is more like the tower is a mile away (-70 to -80dBm).

    Something is definitely wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/seanbrown_ Sean Brown

    Like others, my problem isn’t with 4G speeds but instead the transition between 3G–>4G (doesn’t always happen even in a definite 4G zone) and 4G–>3G (often doesn’t do anything and I have to “airplane mode”).

    • Anonymous

      I have the same problem. At work I’m in the basement with really poor service. When I leave for the day I come out of the building and it normally takes at least 5 minutes for 4G service to come back.

  • RW-1

    I now found something everyone here should read about:

    http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/12/19/this-is-why-your-verizon-galaxy-nexus-or-other-4g-lte-vzw-phone-is-losing-data-signal/

    Could explain everything I’m seeing this morning as my 3G goes in and out. VZ comnfirmed a 4G outage, there are plenty of forum posts about it.

  • RW-1

    Follow up: Called VZ, first thing they have is a message about 4G users having issues in my area. I should say so, it’s not getting 4G anywherre, my office would get 2 bars .. but point is the thing at home had N O T H I N G….

  • Rw-1

    Woke up this morning, checked notifications, have 2 gray bars. No internet, no call capability. Tried ap mode toggle, nothing. On wi fi to enter this. Phone going to go back if they dont officialy say something soon… I’m not going to get stuck past a return date on a $300 phone… this is ludicrous

  • Randy D.

    Ah HA now I see why it took forever for my Nexus to arrive, google wallet my ASS!!  I dont mind that there is a problem (and there seriously is one) with the 4G signal, but plz google and samsung get it fixed already!!

  • Thummp3r

    I just got off the phone with Verizon tech support…after 50 minutes on the phone with them…there really is an issue with the GN….It appeared with the update to 4.0.2, and basically shut down 4g to many, many customers. Suggestion: If you haven’t updated, don’t. I have a LG Revolution sitting here side by side with my super great Nexus…using speedtest.net, the Revo has yet to report a download or an upload bandwidth of less than 7mbs, and it’s consistantly over 20. I have yet to record anything over 1mbs with the super great Nexus after updating to 4.0.2. I have a problem, I bought the Nexus as a replacement (yes, upgrade) for my other Revo that is now sitting in a box ready to be shipped back to big red. If they don’t get this fixed soon, it’s coming right out of the box and the Nexus is going back.

  • Anonymous

    New radios are on the way for the GNex – everyone needs to relax. In fact, they already leaked.

    http://www.mydroidfiles.com/downloads/403radios_btldr.zip

    (BTW – zep told us all this a day or two ago)

  • Defens23

    Is anyone else experiencing low speaker volume issues?

    • Tsmall

      One of the top issues with the phone.  #1 signal,  #2 speaker volume, #3 camera quality, #4 file transfer on PC 

    • Jeremy Morrison

      Not during a call using speaker phone but when view video or audio files yes. Don’t know why it’s separated but….

      • Anonymous

        I’ve downloaded sound files and noticed them to be much louder than the files preloaded. weird.

    • Anonymous

      Not during a call or playing music or youtube, however the notifications and ringer volume sucks ass. I’ve heard volume+ works, but start out slow and work your way up. You don’t want to blow your speakers. I have downloaded it but I’ve decided to wait until after I root to try it (yes I know rooting will erase everything)

  • Trix Knicely

    I get constantly fast speeds and last night I finally got 4 full bars 4G and got 30mbps down and 11mbps up. I think mine is working just fine…

  • Jeremy Morrison

    Here’s what happened to me today. I take my daughter to school here in Fargo, ND (only 4G city in North Dakota) at about 8am. I went to check my twitter and it wasn’t loading. I looked at my signal and I had 3 bars with 4G logo all in blue. So I did a speed test. I kept getting a no network signal response from speed test. I switched it over to CDMA only and I was finally able to get data. Even though the speed test on 3G showed a 0.7Mbps download speed. The funny thing is I think the browser and apps download data faster on my Nexus then they did on my iPhone4 even though my iPhone4 constantly tested at 3Mbps download. So I flipped it back to LTE/CDMA and went to bed. Woke up at 2pm and still showing 4G logo with bars all in blue but still not pulling data. So I called Verizon and as usual trouble shooting did nothing. Battery pull, turn phone off, turn off LTE/CDMA, Airplane mode, etc. There suppose to get back to me within 48hours. Hopefully this is just software. Otherwise I might need a new Nexus.
    Note: My bootloaders unlocked but not rooted. No 4G issues before this except for the occasionally holdup between 4G and 3G transfer in my work building.

  • Anonymous

    I mean, I’ve only had my G-Nex for a few days, but I haven’t had any signal issues. I do speed tests every now and then, and my results are pretty good. I don’t always have 4G, but I attribute that more to the area than the phone. I had full 4G just a few hours ago and got this.

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.ie/7fb

  • Joejoe509

    Mime doesnt grab wifi signals as well as it should. Not just 4G.

  • Guest

    I have to disagree with this article. On opening day I went into Verizon with the purpose of comparing the Nexus’ dBm to the OG Droid and a few other phones. The Nexus shows a significant increase in dBm. We’re talking 10-15 difference here compared to OG Droid, Razr, TB, and Incredible. Disabling 4G made very little difference. I don’t own a Nexus so I cant comment on dropped calls but I can say from comparing the phones that there is a visual problem with the readings. If the article is right then almost every phone is lying in their dBm readings and we should all be experiencing dropped calls. I’ve only received 4 or 5 dropped calls in the 2 years that I’ve had my OG Droid.

  • Creed74

    Yeah I’m gonna have to throw the BS flag on that myself. I can’t speak to the LTE signal since I only have 1 LTE phone. What I CAN tell you is in 3g/CDMA only mode, my Droid X is reporting -72 to -74 dBm. Mt Nexus sitting right beside it is howing -96 to -103 dBm.

    Yes people are upset but… Don’t compound a problem that can be fixed by spreading propaganda that the problem doesn’t exist.

    • Anonymous

      for me it isn’t propoganda. i have 3 lte devices including the nexus, even though the xoom and thunderbolt have a better dbm number running a speed test on all 3 the nexus always comes out a wee bit ahead or dead even.

  • Adam Siekmann

    I get full 4g signal all the time on my nexus even 2 bars at my parents house when i usually get 1 or none

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t had a problem with signal issues with my Nexus. I don’t really pay attention to how many bars I have. As long as I can make a call or use data at a good speed I’m fine with it. But I haven’t had a dropped call or any issue with data and I live in the middle of nowhere in northwestern Wisconsin.

  • Taglogical

    I live in a capitol city; the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has signal str issues – dropped calls, data connectivity issues.  I dispute Anandtech’s article with my own empirical evidence.  I tried two Galaxy Nexus devices in a capitol city to no avail.

    I have returned the 2nd an reactivated my Bionic which, since the recent update from Motorola, is the best phone and data device I have used.

  • Anonymous

    People really need to understand that there’s multiple things at play here – LTE, 3G, and 1x/voice are three completely separate things on the Nexus.  Brian’s article at Anand only speaks to the claim that the Nexus gets worse LTE reception than other phones and he shows that the other phones are actually displaying bars and a dB meter for one of the other two signals even when in LTE mode.  That’s all.  He’s not claiming the Nexus has no handoff issues between the three or that the 3G signal is the same (in fact I’m seeing consistently worse 3G myself between the Nexus and my OG Droid).

    Stop assuming this article is saying things that it isn’t!

  • Jkc2517

     I could care less how many bars show up, as long as the phone works.  This phone most definitely has issues, be it with signal hand off, crappy antenna design, or just a bad radio.  The RAZR I had before this had no such issues. (Apparently, I was a lucky one)   Even Verizon engineers have acknowledged that I am located in an area that should be capable of 4G service…which was confirmed beforehand by the aforementioned RAZR.  

    On numerous occasions this phone has experienced dropped calls and voice comm errors (read as: they can’t hear me, but I hear them…or it just drops the call altogether).  Then, when it does get even a small 4G signal, more often than not, it fails to drop back to 3G.  The icon changes, but data connectivity is lost until I cycle the radio (airplane mode on/off).  The only solution to this problem, I have found, is to put it in 3G (CDMA Only) and leave it there.  However, even doing this does not solve the voice issues mentioned above.

    I think people are typically assuming that because they see less bars or higher numbers in the signal strength, they assume the problems they are experiencing are a signal issue rather than a “signal handling” issue.  All I know is that in the very same location that the RAZR received and kept the 4G signal, the GNex does not, and I am having issues with dropped calls and lost data connectivity.

    I truly hope they get this worked out as I hate having a Verizon phone that acts like it’s on ATT.  Maybe the upcoming 4.0.3 update will fix this…a guy can hope I guess.

    • Mikehen08

      On just about every call at some point they can’t hear me but I can hear them. Once we hang up and call again its fine again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Hill/1566015169 James Hill

    I have not had issue with my Nexus, so who cares.

    • Anonymous

      You don’t. I can’t get 4G at my favorite Pizza place, and my 4S owning friend keeps poking fun at me. Got full coverage on my Thunderbolt. I’d love that signal again.

  • Bob

    There is still a problem with transitioning from 4G to 3G on the edge of the cover radius.  My house is on the edge on the 4G network and will not flip to 3G when it loses the 4G unless I put it in airplane mode.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s forget 4G for a while and bars on the screen and focus on 3G and dBm.  I work in a building that has a Verizon tower on the roof.  I have many coworkers with Verizon 4G phones.

    I took my coworker’s Droid Charge and put it in 3G only mode, then I did it on my Nexus.  Sitting side by side, the Charge’s reception is many times better, constantly.  It reads -50 to -60dBm, whereas my Nexus shows -70 to -80dBm.  Being next to the tower, you’d expect the kind of signal that the Charge is reporting.  The Nexus, however, performed poorly.

    I also often can’t sent texts with my phone, drop calls often, and call quality is horrible at best.

    Something’s wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/scurvycapn Jeffrey S

    I’m in the Dayton, OH area.  I get 4 bars of 4G on my Nexus and speeds that demolish anything I ever got with 3G.

    • Dogpile

      anything over 1Mbs demolishes 3G on Verizon so that is not saying too much actually.

  • Freddy

    Moto modems are the best but the Bionic sucked because it was rushed.  My Razr is rock solid and holds 4G.  Now if the hotspot only worked for https and maps was not having E-W reversed I would be happy.

  • IKnowWhatIAmTalkingAbout

    jeez u guys are gullible (stupid).  Anand is doing over the air testing to measure?  Get a clue.  Unless he using conducted testing and calibration there is no way this test means anything to those that know.

    this phone drops the 4G as much as the Bionic did and the modem needs some tweaking.  it is a fact and we will get it after the holidays.  that is also a fact.

  • Anonymous

    Here is an excerpt from a Droid Life article about the SGS2. It all makes sense now doesn’t it..

    “File this one away as a giant rumor, but according to Korean insider Chosun Ilbo, the Samsung Galaxy S II hasn’t made it to the U.S. yet because negotiations with carriers have “dragged” on longer than expected.  They also speculate that part of the delay is because carriers like Verizon and AT&T tend to favor products made by Motorola and HTC, who apparently know how to make products that work “best with the American mobile protocol CDMA.”
    Source: http://www.droid-life.com/2011/07/08/rumor-u-s-carriers-dragging-on-negotiations-with-samsung-over-galaxy-s2/

  • Anonymous

    I seriously dont trust their findings. 

  • Anonymous

    I saw mine hit all four bars once this morning. -78 dBm. But it went away as quickly as it came.

  • http://profiles.google.com/soapinmouth Eric Steinberger

    you guys don’t seem to be understanding the point of the article. This is directed at the complaints saying the the 4g signal is weaker which is incorrect. The real problem however is the nexus is switching to 3g way sooner then most 4g phones, this may actually be by choice however in order to save battery. Maybe google will change it or maybe some rom devs will find a way to change it down the line, relas though it has nothing to do with the hardware.

  • http://twitter.com/NoShineMM Michael Marinelli

    So then why is there a reception and dropped call issue if its the same as other LTE phones that dont have those issues?

    • Anonymous

      It’s not the same as other 4g LTE phones. I think there is some sort of misinterpretation by the writers.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001805990120 Mike Røuche

        i dont think so, i just think theyre letting everyone know its a software problem and not a hardware problem meaning it can be easily fixed

        • Anonymous

          I hope it is just a software issues as it was in my Bionic. Cuz that has been fixed with the update. And you guys deserve to have a working radio in your phone. I am just trying to tell you guys to be weary because software didn’t fix the radio in any previous Samsung phone I have used. Plus this article as tons of contractions in it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001805990120 Mike Røuche

      because theyre saying its not a hardware problem, just a software problem like the bionic had, google already said theyre fixing it. 

  • Anonymous

    I’m happy and that’s what counts. Phone holds a hotspot connection better than my rezound (yes, I have both).

  • Aubreymvt

    My GN gets better signal and LTE than my Thunderbolt ever did. Not sure if thats a fair comparison with the thuderbolt radio issues but its true for me at least. Who doesnt want it better though. Oh… and i have never dropped a call yet.

  • Ha

    oh hey, engadget posted this like 5 hours ago.  this website is becoming the nexus posts of engadget

    • http://Twitter.com/ContestsAccount bigrob60

      And has stories days after D-L does. Not to mention engadget is staffed by hundreds of people all over the world whose parent company is AOL which. And D-L is staffed by a handful of people in Portland. So, fail on you. 

  • http://www.kevinkuramura.com KevK

    Coworker’s Bionic consistently gets 4G in our office building while mine struggles to get 3G. In my case, there’s an issue.

    • Anonymous

      Its strange coincidence that every Motorola phone I have ever owned has had a stellar radio, and every Samsung I have ever owned has had an “unfixable” radio, hmmm.

      • http://www.kevinkuramura.com KevK

        It’s true that radios are a strength for Moto. I’m just disputing the statement: “You can sleep soundly knowing that the Galaxy Nexus features the same signal strength as all of Verizon’s 4G LTE devices.”

        • Anonymous

          I know. I was just being kind of cynical because I don’t agree that people can “sleep soundly” either. Dealing with a Samsung Fascinate and Droid Charge radio has made me kind of sour towards Samsung, lol. I just don’t think Samsung knows what they are doing with there radio hardware.

          • Anonymous

            okay – so stick to Motorola buddy, enjoy your phone. 

          • Anonymous

            Samsung has no clue lol. They cant fix the most important features about a device RADIOS.

  • RW-1

    I’m in a fringe area. At home I’m 3G, office and the town is 4G.

    I believe it’s a switching thing, it loses one and doesn’t hook up to teh other as quickly or correctly as it should.

    This morning turning it on (off last night) I had to wait 5 min fo it to finally show me a 3G next to grey bars.

    I don’ care about bars either, I want the thing to be able to call out and get data (3g or 4g) when I use it. to get nothing at times is totally unacceptable, the OG had great 3g performance at home and everywhere, remember how they touted 3g is totally nationwide? Well VZ ?

    If it isn’t the phone, it’s the network, or a bit of both. I’m hoping the issues witht eh phone can be corrected with baseband or ICS upgrade.

  • Jwmphotog

    OK. Reply to my thread. Are you in a known good zone or known fringe zone? Go to Settings/About Phone/Status and hold the phone in your hand for about 30 seconds and what does your dBm read?
    (I’m in a fringe zone dBm -100  1 asu.) 
    Read this for some info. 
    http://www.tested.com/news/how-to-measure-cell-signal-strength-on-android-phones/557/

  • Anonymous

    Only place I’ve even gotten a 4G signal is at the Verizon store, which is less than 5 miles from my work and home.  :(

    I will say though, that the building I work in is old, with very thick stone walls and signals on every other phone I’ve ever owned have been weak to non existent in that building.  I’m currently getting a pretty decent 3G signal for the building with my Nexus.

  • Anonymous

    We all know that Samsung are the worse when it comes to radios.

    • Guest

      …..

    • http://twitter.com/expertontech Tylar Overturf

       At least its reported right on the Nexus unlike the Razr where it reports wrong signal.

      • Anonymous

        You can compare the razr with the nexus. Moto won this battle as usual, you know it and i know it.

        • Anonymous

          Moot point – new radios are on the way.

          • Anonymous

            If the nexus was the best device, it should have not come with a bad radio, that is the most important feature about a device.

        • Guest

          ……

    • Guest

      ……

  • Nexusplz

    so Verizons network sucks worse than they lead on. Im in Phoenix and not anywhere near a fringe area. closest Verizon tower is less than a half mile away. No 4G on my Nexus or wifes Stratosphere. We barely get 3G now. that we are on 4G phones. our old OG and Droid X were awesome here in this spot.

  • Nybandit2000

    The only problem i have us no 4G in my area!!!!! lol

  • http://twitter.com/jhhoffma Jack Hoffman

    Everyone needs to realize that signal strength does not equal signal quality. The antenna is the main factor in determining “reception level”.  What the radios are able to do at that level (SNR compensation, quantization, error-correction) is a completely different animal.  There’s a reason that people love Motorola’s radios:  Moto chips do more with a weak signal than other mfgs.  So given a particular signal strength (say -100dBm) a Motorola phone (or a device with a motorola radio inside) will perform much better than others (Samsung, Via, etc).  

    It’s just fact.  I don’t know what magic sauce Moto uses, but they are the best in the world.  

    As a GNex owner, I did find the Anand article interesting, since they compared to identical radios in two different devices.  However, there is definitely some kind of handoff or switching issue (like the Bionic had/has) where the device is not going between EVDO and LTE the way it should, leading to dropped calls and data loss. Easily fixable with a baseband update, and those can help with battery life as well.

  • Anonymous

    For all you people having problems…sucks to be you.  I’ve had zero problems with signal.  The G-Nex is the most amazing piece of electronic equipment I’ve ever owned.  

    For those of you saying “My OG Droid always got 4 bars.” that’s not a fair comparison.  You can’t compare 3G signal to 4G.  Obviously, Verizon’s 3G network is FAR more developed than LTE.  Switch your phone to CDMA only.  If you still can’t get a signal, then and ONLY then do you have a legit complaint.

    PS. switching to CDMA will also solve any battery life issues.

    • http://twitter.com/envoy510 Inky Reveal

      My OD Droid was almost unusable in my office at home, even though it had more bars than my GN.  With the GN, I can actually carry on a conversation.  Rather than hearing only about 1/3 of what the other person says I can actually now hear 100%.  I always suspected that carriers inflated their “bars”, and now I think we know they do.

  • Babyboy14622

    Sgn sux

  • Anonymous

    So let me get this straight, when my Bionic indicates I’m in LTE it means the phone uses the LTE network to transmit the phone calls? I wasn’t aware of that.

    So riddle me this, on one way home from work, I reach a particular area that indicates I have 4 bars with LTE, and my internet stops downloading a podcast, and pretty much stops working for about 6 minutes of transit.  However I have a full 4 bars of signal strength for voice calls? It still shows LTE on the phone.

    I thought LTE was either you have it or you don’t? I took the bars they are showing above as indicating the phone network/CDMA signal strength, not the data signal strenght. I don’t think they have anything to do with the LTE signal Strength. I think they are independent.

    Oh, and I rarely, if ever experience a dropped call, yet I bounce in and out of 4G all the time where I live. My reading up on Geek.com seems to indicate 4g voice is over the LTE Data path, but it just doesn’t seem to add up in actual use.

    I do like the simultaneous voice and data in 4G though, I haven’t seen any more AT&T commercials touting that…