The iPhone 4 has had its issues with its antenna, this we know. While some experienced the issue with devastating results, others had no problems at all and can use their device case free. Apple has since remedied the situation by offering up free cases and recommending all users with the problem to use a case on their device. But what if a manufacture was releasing a premium case that was reducing antenna performance by 99%, what happens then?
The Vapor case by Elementcase does in fact reduce antenna performance by 99%. How do we know? Neowin was recently invited down to see how cell phone testing is performed by our friends at ETS Lindgren (more on that in an upcoming post) and we were able to put the Vapor case into an anechoic chamber and get definitive results on the matter.
The iPhone without a case is on the left, with Vapor case on the right, for dBm, larger is better
Users of the case have long complained about cell reception while using it on their phone; the case costs $79.99 by the way. By placing the device without a case and then with the Vapor case into the anecoic chamber, ETS Lindgren was able to measure the quality of the reception and output of the device. The results clearly showed a drop of nearly 20db which essentially renders the device useless. One of the workers said that the case, because of its design, acts as a faraday cage.
The results show that the drop from 26.8dBm to 7.7dBm which when calculated out (the results are measured logarithmically), represents a 99% drop in efficiency. The case has a dramatic negative impact on the antenna performance and should be avoided at all costs. For a price of $79.95, you're paying to render your device useless.