Vapor iPhone 4 case reduces antenna effectiveness by 99%

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.  

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41 Comments

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Lets' see. A rubber bumper cost $1.00 to make and was sold for $30. Then given away for free.
Aluminum bumper cost $2.00 to make and sells for $80.00.

Is teh USA the new black market for over-priced products for iPhone?
They do look much cooler than the rubber 5mph bumper. But $80 is almost half the cost of the phone itself. NO THANKS!!!!

TechieXP said,
Lets' see. A rubber bumper cost $1.00 to make and was sold for $30. Then given away for free.
Aluminum bumper cost $2.00 to make and sells for $80.00.

Is teh USA the new black market for over-priced products for iPhone?
They do look much cooler than the rubber 5mph bumper. But $80 is almost half the cost of the phone itself. NO THANKS!!!!

Isn't it closer to 1/8th the cost of the phone bearing in mind contract phones are subsidized (and you'll ultimately be paying full price for the phone over the course of the contract.

I death grip mine all the time and dont really get any loss of signal, maybe 1 bar at the most, but that is probably from picking it up. Believe me I paid £600 and if it did anything less than perfect (my by reckoning) then it would go straight back.

I got my free Speck case the other day and its currently on the phone, I would rather it wasnt, nice case and all but the phone is so nice without. But I know I will drop it when drunk so I dont really have a choice.

:-?

reduced Antenna effectiveness by 99% = no connection.

So, is it not easy to say simply that "i have connection then, i put the case and the bars dropped to zero"

radwimp said,
Is it just with this case? Who would buy that fugly thing anyway.

I agree, this thing is FUGLY. I wouldn't put that on mine even if they paid me.

joker999 said,
Should put rubber inside that before put that case on iPhone?

That would have been the smart thing to do

Mouettus said,

checkmate

Checkmate?

If I was in a Faraday Cage (which the article sugessts the case works) then the internal lining is irrelevant, the bit outside, you know the metal bit, stops the signals before it gets to the non-conductive core.

Besides, who cares about marketing spiel, real world test show it's a basic perma

Mouettus said,

checkmate

Checkmate?

If I was in a Faraday Cage (which the article sugessts the case works) I wouldnt wear a non conductive suit whilst inside, the Faraday Cage takes care of that. The internal lining is irrelevant, the bit outside, you know the metal bit, stops the signals before it gets to the non-conductive core.

Besides, who cares about marketing spiel, real world test show it's a basic perma deathgrip.

COKid said,
In other words, Elementcase doesn't bother to test their own products.

If Apple don't, why the hell should a case manufacturer? I'd like to think it's a sense of humour though, cos this is lol.

COKid said,
In other words, Elementcase doesn't bother to test their own products.

Testing is clearly not fashionable these days.