An independent test of smartphone handsets has found surprising differences in performance, even between different models from the same vendor, and that some models are more reliable than others at setting up and maintaining a voice call.
The report by Broadband-Testing's Mobile Test Labs focused on voice calls, and found that no single handset offered optimal performance in all conditions, while some had difficulties maintaining a call even in typical network operating environments.
Seven leading smartphone handsets were tested: RIM's Blackberry Bold and Blackberry Storm; Nokia's E71; Samsung's SGH-F480 Tocco; Sony Ericsson's C905; and two versions of Apple's iPhone 3G, the original 2008 model and a second with the updated v2.2 firmware.
Overall, the report found the iPhone to be the best performer, but only with the updated version of the firmware. However, Broadband-Testing stressed that no single handset came even close to a perfect score in all test conditions.
Nokia's E71 performed well in call setup tests, but did less well at maintaining a call, according to the report, while the Samsung and Sony Ericsson handsets performed strongly in some areas but not in others.
The two BlackBerry models showed markedly different characteristics, consistent with being based on different wireless chipsets. The Bold proved the better of the two, while the Storm struggled with calls made while on the move.
"Although consumers tend to blame the network for failed or dropped calls, the results of this test clearly highlight the contribution that the handset itself can make to these problems," said Broadband-Testing director Steve Broadhead.
The tests were carried out using Spirent's 8100 Mobile Device Test rig, which measured how well the handsets could set up and maintain calls while simulating network conditions such as those at the centre of a cell, at the edge of cell, during handover and with varying levels of interference.
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