Which mobile phone has the best reception?


 So your looking to buy the phone with the best reception?

Are you concerned that you may be living in a poor signal area and want to make sure you buy the best phone for best reception purposes? Your concerns are valid, as many people do buy their phones and sign up to year long contracts with their provider only to find out that there is no mobile coverage from that provider in their location.

In this article, I will advise you on exactly what you should do.

which phone for best reception

Is the phone’s antenna important for best reception?

There are many factors involved with regard to getting the best reception on your mobile phone. The most important is the actual antenna size on the phone itself. The old GSM legacy phones used to have a long aerial protruding from the side of the phone. This actually produced excellent reception, since the caller had a large monopole antenna elevated above his head. However, as phones got physically smaller, manufacturers had to in turn shrink the size of their antennas. This has invariably caused problems with reception quality and they have had to come up with ingenious ways to counter this loss of antenna gain. Fortunately, engineers are able to use digital signal processing techniques to manipulate signals and achieve robust connections between the operators’  towers and your mobile phone, all the while increasing the rate of data transfer. But the signal still has to reach the phone and these tiny antennas in modern smart phones are not ideal.

So which phone has the biggest antenna?

There isn’t a significant difference in antenna performance between the latest smart phones. They are not designed for users who live in rural locations or are unlucky enough to live in pockets of dead signal. You should instead look at other factors when considering which phone to buy.

The first thing to do is go online and find out which carriers have a cell tower near you.


You DO NOT want to go with a random carrier and hope they have signal in your area. Each of the operators’ websites have coverage maps and there are even maps of the cell towers in each country.

You can also talk to your neighbours and find out if they are happy with their service or ask the local providers shop what their coverage is like in your area. They may allow you to even try out the service for free.

Only when you are sure your area is covered by a particular provider should you then consider which phone to buy.

If you have signal in your garden or on your roof only, you can use one of our repeaters that boosts all the available signals right into your home to ensure you get the best reception.



Ferd Browne

Ferd Browne

Technology Author
Hi, my name is Ferd Browne. I'm an electronics engineer working in the field of radio frequency design for 10 years. Existing and emerging technologies interest me greatly especially in the field of RF electronics. I currently work as a designer for Stella Doradus and write articles from time to time on the subject of mobile phone repeaters.
  • HarryMonmouth

    But this does not answer the question as to which mobile phone has the best reception. I currently have an iPhone and am today having to replace a Nokia n900. I have had to carry the two because the iPhone has a lot of capabilities but whenever I need to get online when I am away from wifi I have had to use the Nokia. Because of this I know that there can be a difference between phones as to which will have the best reception. However there seems to be no information anywhere to tell me which have the best reception. It seems to be a matter of trial and error of buying new phones every week and then keeping the one that works. Why on earth do no companies make it a selling point?

    • http://www.stelladoradus.com/ Ferd Browne

      With regards to getting more definite information on which mobile phone has the best reception, nobody has this information. There is no definite answer to the question. You have to assume the antennas on the phones are all approximately the same. So the reception then depends on how the user is holding the phone, the radiation density in the precise volume of space the phone is in, and this will change even over a few centimeters in an indoor environment due to multi-path*. The energy radiated by each phone will be approximately the same, it’s just that it won’t be in the exact same amount in any direction for each phone.

      All one can say is that smart phones seem to have worse reception than the older phones with the external antenna. I would say it is a difference of 5-10dB, which is very large.

      *Multipath: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multipath_propagation

  • Cuong H Nguyen

    Pathetic! As HarryMonmouth states, the question was not even answered. Thank you Ferd Browne for the comment that there is no definite information on which mobile has the best reception but did indicate that smartphones have the worst. Could we not get a vote on which mobile based on experience people find as better. From my experience I have found smart phones to be the worst then the cheap dual sim phones so far I have seen that the blackberry curve has had the best but would like to know if there’s something better.

  • Justin26

    In denmark there was a test done (allthough some time ago) that tested the performance of several hundred phones in rural areas using the 900 band (arguing that the 900 band is the most likely to have signal in rural areas (last stand)). They arranged the phones by score as an average of send and receive score. Best phones on top with regards to antennas..


    • http://www.stelladoradus.com/ Ferd Browne

      Thanks for that Justin26,
      Very informative.