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Pixel 4, S20 & Latest iPhone: Which One Has Best Signal Reception

September 28, 2020

In these days when mobile phones, or smartphones, are as powerful as desktop computers, people often compare them purely based on their specs – CPU, camera, storage, RAM, and so on, when trying to find the best one, But there are rather more important things to consider as well, completely overlooked by many.  As the name suggests, we are talking about mobile PHONES, and their main purpose should be to be able to make calls and send messages.

Phones, in their traditional use, are essential to many people around the world – business people, emergency personnel, managers, and the like, where lots of important unavoidable calls are being made every day! Splashing the cash for a high-end smartphone is a no big deal for these people (and many others, of course), but is it quite worth having a ‘space machine’ in your pocket that will hinder your above mentioned important daily communication? We don’t think so.

That’s why we are comparing three arguably most popular smartphones on the market today – Google Pixel 4, Samsung S20, and Apple iPhone SE, but only in terms of signal reception. If you find the signal reception to be of the utmost importance when buying a phone, then read on.

Google Pixel 4

Let’s kick off with Google’s Pixel 4 as it was mentioned first in the text above.

When talking about this phone’s network technology and signal reception, Pixel 4 supports GSM, HSPA, EVDO, CDMA, and LTE technology. For a high-end smartphone, it is assumed that network connectivity with this phone is impeccable. While this is most certainly true in crowded cities and generally normally populated areas, rural areas might prove to be quite the challenge for Pixel 4 to connect. If you're thinking – oh, that's a normal occurrence for places like that as antenna might be far away and therefore signal reception is most certainly bad - well, not quite.

There were numerous complaints from various people throughout the world when it comes to Pixel 4’s connectivity. Apparently, LTE connectivity can vanish from time to time, or better yet become incredibly slow. As many people are hooked on the Internet, this can be a problem, but even a more serious problem may happen - phone calls might drop (the phone never rings, it just leaves the missed call)!

How do we know that this is a phone issue and not carriers’? Well, first of all, those complaints came from people who had used other phones before Pixel 4 and have never experienced such problems. Naturally, we put this to a test ourselves and those complaints are spot on.

There are some ways of fixing some of these problems, like dropping the connection to 3G, or calling your carrier and having them get you a specific APN and some others. But is it worth it?

Samsung S20

Like with Pixel 4, the S20 series have similar signal problems. Although not as serious and frequent (as these issues are mostly internet quality-related and less complete signal drops), these issues can be an annoyance nevertheless.

Many S20 users have complained about their signal quality, especially in the United States. It could be because the Americans tend to solve problems and look for solutions online more than other nations, or it could be defective hardware. It should be pointed out that American S20 models have the Snapdragon 865 central processing unit, while the rest of the world has Exynos 990. But correlation does not imply causation, and therefore we cannot be certain that this is the case.

Be that as it may, the most common reports of signal malfunction come from the Internet-related connection:

  • 5G network: while this network is still in its development progress and nothing is still for sure, some cities have the possibility of using the newest mobile network today. Dropping the signal constantly is a common issue for S20, and we have seen this happen more than with other phones that support 5G.
  • 4G+ drops: the next best thing to 5G is also somewhat faulty. As the difference is not very noticeable, you may not even realize that S20 has dropped 4G+ to the regular 4G or H+. This is not as serious but can be annoying. An easy fix would be to turn off the 5G signal reception, and 4G+ should work better.
  • GPS: S20 is somewhat notorious for its GPS drops. This can be extra painful when using this phone as vehicle navigation, or less painful while jogging.

Apple iPhone SE

And finally, we come to iPhone SE 2020.

Apple products are considered to be the best in the world by many, and they can out-perform the competition in terms of aesthetics and software. But the hardware seems to be the problem with this phone, for its antenna turned out to be of not the best quality.

It seems that the SE model has sacrificed the range for speed. When connected, the signal will be as powerful as it gets. But, if you live further away from the carrier signal antenna (or have thick walls and threes at your home), the reception can be poor, and therefore that intended speed boost becomes useless.

Be that as it may, SE users will still have the signal (although poor), and call droppings and text messaging shouldn't be a problem. As this is a hardware problem, fixing or changing the faulty antenna will do the trick. It can be expensive or time-consuming, but once fixed you are care-free.

Final words

It sounds unbelievable that these phones, being so new, powerful, and expensive, can have such issues. It should be pointed out that not every unit has these problems, just some. Buying one is just bad luck. These phones in normal condition (when not unluckily defected) all have fantastic signal reception worthy of high-end phones.

There are ways of fixing these connection problems – with software problems like with Pixel 4 and S20, a lot of phone-rebooting, network limitations, and carrier services are needed, which can be quite tiring but will fix the connectivity. With SE we already said the issue – antenna.

Finally, looking at these problems and the quality of both ‘damaged’ and normal working units, the ranking is next:

  • iPhone SE – has the best signal reception and the least amount of problems, which are easily fixed.
  • Samsung S20 – has the second-best signal reception, less serious problems than Pixel 4, but is fixed the same way.
  • Pixel 4 – a phone often criticized for its price/performance ratio, especially when comparing with the previous two models, has the weakest signal (but not terrible, just not as good as SE and S20), and bigger problems.