HTC Incredible Signal Strength Problems? [VOTE]


htcincredibledroidvzwWhen I did my HTC Incredible Review I was debating whether or not to discuss signal strength. Driving around town, I continually noticed that when my Motorola Droid had 3 or 4 bars, the Incredible only had 1 or 2 bars. What the heck?

That did make me quite curious and I DID plan on covering that in my Motorola Droid vs. HTC Incredible video… but somehow I left it out. What I would have said if I didn’t suffer for short-term memory loss?

One quirk of the HTC Incredible seems to be a signal strength flaw. I continually noticed my Motorola Droid had more bars in more places than my HTC Incredible. Oddly enough, call quality was never an issue and I never dropped calls – in fact I often got flawless reception with ZERO bars.

The number of bars shown on the front-end UI isn’t always the best indicator of actual/realized signal strength – there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Rather than be alarmed, I’d consider this a glitch in display rather than a manufacturing flaw. Of course this is a story that I’m sure will develop.

And develop it has. So now I ask you, dear Incredible-owning readers, what has YOUR experience been with the HTC Incredible Signal Strength?

[polldaddy poll=3135285]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Its fine, stop trolling for hits with a nonsense article. Maybe if people started dropping calls you’d have an article but you should know better than anyone than the signal bars have absolutely nothing to do with it. Phandroid credibility -1

  2. @legion, chill man. It’s just a poll. With HTC has signal problem on Nexus one, They might have the same problem again. Who knows.. this just a poll, so relax

  3. I think it is relative. Outside and in most places the reception/3g is great, but at my desk at work, I’ve got NO COVERAGE. Which is OK since it is a known dead space, but my Omnia was fine, either way it is blazing fast and perfect calls anywhere else.

    (Though it wasn’t happy with PCH this morning.)

  4. Trolling? It’s something I noticed myself before posting my own review, which was done before the phone even launched. The point is to collect a large quantity of information so we see can either put this issue to rest or say, “hey wait… maybe there is an issue” Seeing people complain here and there on forums is one thing… but a larger vote is an interesting way to see what is occuring on a larger scale.

  5. You can get the actual signal strength, in dBi, in the settings menu. Try comparing those.

    There is no calibration standard for the “bars” anyway, although I’d love to see a standard:
    no bars=no calls
    1 bar=you can call, but you’re going to get dropouts
    2 bars=expect to be able to hold a conversation
    3 bars=perfect signal, no dropouts, 100% data speed.

    And I’d also like to see the signal meter calibrated based on the signal to noise ratio or packet-loss, not strength…

  6. No, a larger vote is an interesting way to invite poll-bombing, since you have no way of knowing if someone has an incredible or not, you have no way of coming to a factual conclusion. You used the phone before launch? I got a chance to use the incredible over a month ago when it was in internal testing at vzw, big whoop, doesnt change anything. And again, you yourself are saying that you had no reception issues, just less bars, which is why this article is just plain dumb.

  7. This IS RELEVANT. Rob, maybe you should just drop the ban hammer on that troll. I for one wish i could ban certain users from downloading my android apps. There are waaaaay too many haters in the world.

  8. Also, Nexus one to Incredible comparison’s are far-fetched at best, considering they are completely different radios.

  9. Oh please, grow up. “Someone commented in the comment section. The Horror!”

  10. @Legion Actually I think this is a very valid article…if he’s gettin twice as many bars on the droid as he is on the incredible then that could be a problem. He might not be having call quality problems but others might. And it is an htc phone after all, we all know what kind of problems the nexus one had, so id say its a good article…and its his site so he can do wat he wants =P

  11. @Richie, wait what??

    1. You are using signal bars as a measurement of signal strength???

    and 2. This isnt the nexus one. Different radio, different carrier. Nuff said.

  12. I had the same problem with my Driod Eris. Moto Droid had great bars on signal meter. I think this is a HTC thing. Phone Scoop reviewer did mention this problem. I havn’t droped any calls and internet works well.

  13. I have been making phone calls with no issues with no bars. im saying software related not hardware… Ive been working here for a long time and have had phones vary based on brand-model. Ive even experienced having a phone with lower signal showing to have better call quality than the phone with full bars. most vzw phones use qualcomm chips for theyre radios… with the exception of nokia. wich likes to make its own chip… wich is garbage. i might add..

  14. I just changed from T-mobile after 10 years. Verizon’s data is super fast!! BUT I dont have the same data signal strength in places where I would have full bars with T-mo. At my desk at work (near the window) its jumping between 1 bar to none but calls still coming in crystal clear. Data on the other hand jumps around from 1x to 3G and I wasnt able to connect to the market for a while earlier. Its a mixed bag but mostly good for me though. Guess I shouldnt be playing with my phone at work anyways.

  15. @Legion – if you read the article, you’ll notice that I explicitly state I had no call problems and that #bars isn’t the best indicator of signal strength. I’m not sure how much more obviously I can make the disclaimer. As for “screening” voters, you’re right, I can’t… but I never claimed the results to be scientific. I think everyonen needs to lighten up a bit and take the poll with a grain of salt.

  16. @Legion lol hey bro I guess I’m not as tech savy as you but the bottom line is that most of us feel that it is a valid article, and that’s all that matters, not the opinion of one person (no offense)

  17. I Have fewer bars but the call quality has been great. What has really impressed me is that I am getting a signal while in my offices elevators. This is something I’ve never experienced with any of my other Verizon phones. Coworkers on other carriers don’t receive a signal in the elevators either. Its showing up as 1-2 bars and not 3g but its enough to keep a call going or to send text/email on the ride up. This phones blows my Win Mo phone away and even a few of the iPhone fanboys here have admitted that its a great phone. Peace.

  18. Yes, my incredible shows less bars than my previous phone (LG Dare) but the call quality is WAY better and the data speeds are great (1-2mb/sec downloads) even with low number of bars.

    This makes me conclude that the phone is conservative with showing the number of bars for the signal available.

    I don’t mind this too much because at least it means even if I have 1 bar I can make perfect calls.

    Bottom line, this phone is incredible, no issues with it whatsoever.

  19. I repeat from Tom from above: You can get the actual signal strength, in dBi, in the settings menu. Try comparing those.

    Bars don’t mean anything at all. Period. Zero. ESPECIALLY from two phones from two companies.

    Go into the settings and look at it in dBm. THEN you can tell.

  20. Legion, shut the fuck up. You think you know everything and are just being full of yourself. No one cares what you say because if people think it’s a valid article and are concerned with it, then HE CAN DO A POLL. Are you fucking retarded? Go outside and enjoy the weather you basement-dwelling fuck up. Get out your parent’s house and do something with your life then whine about how a poll is invalid. You’re pathetic.

  21. Sitting outside at a bar right next to a tower today with a signal strength in the low -60s dBm (showing 4 bars), call quality and 3G speeds were not noticeably different than my desk at work where I see a signal strength in the high -80s dBm (showing 2 bars). I have no experience with 1 bar…have only seen signals that low while driving so far.

  22. I also believe this post is valid question. the MOTO Droid has a much better antenna than any other phone that I have used. but I couldn’t deal with the static on MOTO Droid. any thing that o tried would not work to get rid of the static. I love the incredible. and the sound is pretty much land line clear. I can deal with the one or 2 less bars.

  23. Can you test data rate side by side with the droid when you see the signal bar deviation?

  24. @rob, will do. While we are on the topic, I am glad the phone is being referred to as the HTC Incredible by the public, not the HTC Droid Incredible, which was a oddball name.

  25. my bars have yet to hit above 3, the connection/call quality is average at best. certianly not any better than sprint(which i just left), and i live in a good area northern burbs of chicago!!

    maybe its just me, but i think part of it is a design flaw, possibly due to a cultural cause. The antenna for the incredible/desire/nexus1 are all the bottom portion of the phone; which for me (and im guessing most everyone else) is where i hold the darn phone. so my hand is possibly/likely blocking the the signal every time i try to make a call. perhaps, THC being a Korean company, the Korean people hold the phone in a different position (im completly guessing here) and this could account for the odd placement of the antenna….. its just really wierd to me.

  26. @Legion
    This could not be a more valid article. I have had the Incredible for a few days now and:
    1) Terrible signal strength that is reflected by the number of bars in the UI. I have had five dropped calls in two days while in coverage areas that have never let me down with my LG Dare.
    2) Data download speeds compared to my work Blackberry (yes, on that *cough* “wonderful” AT&T network) are night and day. Blackberry loads pages three to five times faster than the Incredible (I am assuming it is a signal strength issue here, as the processor is most likely not the problem).

    Also, I am hoping the battery will get better with full charge/power down cycles as it has “lost it’s juice” within a 24 hour period twice with minimal usage.

  27. Getting around 1 to 2 bars consistently and about 90-100 db. Coming from T-Mobile I was hoping to do better, but generally the call quality is good and the internet is fast. It does switch from 3g to 1x at home a lot which is a bummer. I am also wondring if the searching for signal drains the battery more severly. It seems to jump around a lot. Hopefully they can fix this with a software patch.

  28. I dont get it so your saying the bars dont mean nothing? On my old phone no bars meant no calls 1 bar meamt slow and so on oh yeah its tmobile

  29. So we’re all good now? Great. I appreciate the article and the poll, even as unscientific as it is. I’m happy with my launch day Droid but I’ve been heavily pushing others impressed with the features of my phone and Android to go with the Incredible and don’t want to end up being the a-hole that told them to get a defective phone. The Incredible does seem to have less of a rugged feel to it compared to the Droid so that may play into perceptions of inferior/faulty internals (especially after the reported N1 multitouch issues) but that doesn’t seem to be the case based on most of the feedback. As more people report problems, we may discover something they have in common and be able to help HTC issue a fix faster.

  30. What’s most interesting of all is that many of you take for granted that the bars don’t necessarily jive with signal strength. That’s news to me! Many of us are ignorant to such things….and when we look at a phone we think…hey….I can make a call…or….I’m getting dropped. And let me just say…I think the bars SHOULD represent your current signal strength…otherwise…why bother. It’s like driving a car with a gas gauge that is…close to accurate….just a ball park indicator.

  31. @doublea

    Huh, thats the exact opposite of my experience, sounds like you have bad coverage to begin with. Your blackberry loads pages faster than your incredible? C’mon buddy who are you kidding?

  32. Lots of rage here. Awesome.

  33. Wow Android is starting to grow a base of blindfanboys. I like it lol but come on folk this is a valid qiestion. It’s better to try and clear the air for people before apple fools start spreading rimors.

  34. I’ve noticed that when I’m actually IN a call my bars go from 2 up to 5. I’m really not sure what the bars represent currently since I’ve tracked them vs actual signal level in dBm and they don’t correspond 1 to 1 when not in a call. I’ll go ahead and say this is a valid article. It’s really not reasonable to expect the average phone user to go check their system settings for signal strength and HTC/Verizon/Google needs to put out a fix. I do get a much better signal with my Incredible (-60dBm) than my BB Storm (-80dBm) under the exact same conditions, but the bars are definitely not representative of that (2 bars@-60 vs 5@-80). In spite of this issue my Incredible is light years ahead of the Storm in every way possible and I wouldn’t trade it for anyth*ahem* I mean at least 8 months :)

  35. Yeah I may not be full power, but I have been in 3G nearly since I turned it on first. This thing is doing pretty well for the complaints I heard.

  36. Yea i have had the signal issue on my incredible too my wifes droid is full while im at 1-2 hope its not a design flaw like the nexus one

  37. I am having horrible problems with reception. This seems to usually happen with these android and then get fixed in an update that follows the release closely.

  38. *********If you are having trouble with signal strength, try this when you hit a spot with weak coverage:

    1. Call *228 (it’s a free Verizon service)
    2. Hit menu option #2 (‘Upgrade your phone’s roaming capabilities’)
    3. Your phone will be programed with new cell towers in your area.

    It helped me a lot. If that doesn’t help, you can always flip your phone into airplane mode and then restore the connection. This seems to help reception as well.

  39. I have one bar but still able to push over 2Mbps on Speed Test.

  40. As far as i know, the way CDMA works is that the bars are tower congestion. Therefore, if you have one bar, you are as good as full bars.

    So, the only problem I have with my reception on the Inc when 3g keeps dropping out. This kills my bat.

  41. @Mike
    The placement of the antenna in the bottom of the handset is to lessen the radio waves from being directly next to your head. Although not proven yet to be a hazard, better to be safe than sorry I suppose.

    You are also correct that your hand placement can also decrease the signal, but The Moto Droid also has the antenna in the bottom and I never noticed it being a problem when I had one. I do believe that Motorola uses a better trasmitter/receiver than HTC not 100% certain though.

  42. I love the Incredible but the signal sucks. I’m getting all kind of static and echoes. HTC needs to fix this shit.

  43. Some one like me who has the hero, and is not happy, i need as much info as possible, I want to upgrade my phone should my carrier get it…Seems most people who are in these forums know to take any info with a grain of salt, until there is lots of data to make an informed decision. time and data will tell…it may not be an issue, it may just be the way the software reads the signal and outputs it to the screen.

  44. Definitely a HTC thing, Droid on Verizon full bars, Droid Eris and incredible 1-2 bars. IPhone full bars , nexus1 1-2 bars on ATT . Same house over several days. Data speed test though were always pretty close.

  45. I tried the *228 and nadda

  46. I actually had the same problems with my Omnia, and I was hopping that once I get the Incredible I won’t have to worry about signal strength, but nothing changed! My bars go from 0 to 1 and back to 0 periodically while other Verizon phones get 2 bars. It is really annoying. Even tho call quality has been good, my friend said he called me but my phone doesn’t show any missed calls. Also connecting to internet and the market is hard in a lot of places. I am disappointed :( i really hope this is something that can be fixed.

  47. Well a friend at work got an Incredible and I have a moto DROID, when I tried to surf the web he didn’t have very good 3G connection but my DROID had good 3G.

    But the incredible’s web browser is really darn fast! It was impressive how fast pages loaded once you got good signal.

  48. @james

    i figured that was also a possibillity, trying to move the radio waves as far from ur brain as possible. though if they do cause cancer then all they are accomplishing is giving us jaw cancer instead of brain cancer.

    i still think our hand covering the antenna is not helping the cause.

  49. I tried holding the phone by its top part (not covering the bottom part) and I got stable 2 bars, but when I hold it normally my bars go from 1 to 0 periodically, sometimes even giving me 2 bars… I am assuming this is a engineering design flaw.. expected more from HTC…

  50. Great article, and a bit of a relief to see I’m not the only one with this phenomenon. I have 1, sometimes 0 bars, but have yet to drop a call. Hopefully they’ll come up with an update to fix this, “Problem.”
    I have no idea who “Legion” is, but to dis a perfectly legit article shows (s)he has way too much time his its hands. This concern is voiced on C-Net, Verizon, ZD-Net, and all the Forums. It’s not like Rob just made this concern up.
    Great article. It’s the United States Rob, poll whenever, and however you want. Free speech brother!

  51. Sounds to me like you got a kick back for not saying anything before the phone was released. First you mention that you don’t know how you forgot to say something about the bars, and at the end of your comment you contradict yourself by saying that the reason you didn’t say something was because you thought it wasn’t an issue until NOW?!?!?! I was going to call you an idiot but I’ll wait until later since it doesn’t seem to be an issue at the moment. Ok, now it is. IDIOT!

  52. My g/f has the Inc and I have the Droid. I frequently have more bars but when we go to dBi, she usually has a slightly better number.

  53. I have to agree. My Incredible hardly ever has over one or two bars where my old BlackBerry and even the Moto Droid (which I only kept a couple of days) both had five bars continually in the same places. I think it’s just a display issues as my calls are even more clear on the Incredible than either other phone.

  54. I also noticed that while sitting on desk 1 maybe 2 bars but when I place a call it shoots up to 3 or 4 bars. My 3G icon sometimes isn’t there but when I go to load a page or refresh something it turns on. The phone works fine. Like I said I had the same problem on my Driod Eris. Swapped out 3 phones. I think its a software issue like the one that the Iphone had. They updated the software and the Iphone had full bars every where but dropped calls like a mother! So honestly I stick with it this way. I have not had one dropped call and the internet is very fast.

  55. Cant wait for the Evo……. Why would anyone get the incredible when you can wait a month and get the Evo??? Yeah, i know… Sprint Customer Service is horrible. But Cheap rates, Everything plan, out the door for $93. How much is your Verizon bill for data, unlimited talk, and unlimited text?????

  56. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more than 2 bars, but phone quality has always been good. However, I have seen it lose 3G and not be able to load data in places that I’ve always considered great reception areas with my BB tour. My office building has a VZW repeater n it, which is why I stick with VZW. But, I’ve been having issues with 3G in my house and office. Places that have never been a problem with many other phones.

  57. Very disappointed. I really dig the phone but the reception is poor.

    Bottom line is that I am now dropping calls where that never happened with my RAZR – and this is in a house with Verizon’s Network Extender!

    I don’t think the bars mean anything like others have said. It’s all about the call performance, which is lacking. (I put the Inc right up to the Network Extender and still can’t get full bars!)

    My wife’s Dare and my son’s Envy are doing fine.

  58. I just did a speed test in my house with no bars and still got 900k up and 455k down. I had a touch pro 2 before and I think its just htc software is touchy. If you go and compare the -db ratings then this phone out performs my touch pro 2 an omnia 1 and env touch by consistently 5 percent.

  59. I love everything about this phone, except for the call quality. I don’t care about how many bars it shows, or even how many dBm it pulls (currently -88), because my four-year old LG VX8100 worked great in my house. All I care about is whether I can hear the person speaking on the other end of the phone, and the answer is an (un)clear no.

  60. I live in NYC and Verizon has great coverage. With phones I have had in the past, blackberries etc, usually most of the bars are filled up. But even the Motorola Droid doesn’t show that many bars ever. Always perfect call quality. Now the HTC Incredible shows less, but still the call quality is perfect. Even at some subway stops, like Atlantic ave in Brooklyn I can make and receive calls. I do wish the bars actually truly represented the signal strength, but it just doesn’t. There was one second in my house when walking up my stairs I saw all bars green, that was the first time ever. Strange. But most phones I had in the past with Verizon have full bars a lot around town here in NYC.

  61. For the -dBm since it is negative, is it that a lower number is better then a higher number? so -79 is better then -85 and things?

  62. Maybe HTC can tweak the software so we get 7 bars MAX.

    Love it


  63. Well I will agree there seems to be a signal issue here. I just recently exchanged my Droid Eris for the Incredbile and was noticing right away that there were lower ‘bars’ on the display. Ok that in itself isnt a big deal, but this phone will not work in places that the Eris did. No signal in the downstairs of my office where I used to make and receive calls, texts, etc. as well as others. Additionally, when the phone has 1-2 bars, I have noticed a decrease in voice quality. Something is definitely not working to the same capacity as the Eris and Moto Droid.

  64. if anything, its an issue with the read out of the number of bars, not the actual strength. If you put the Moto Droid next to the Inc and display the db ratings, you’ll find their nearly identical although the Moto Droid may often display more bars.

  65. @Lara

    The number that is more negative is *lower* than the number that is less negative (close to zero). Thus, the higher number is better in this case.

  66. But that’s only a technicality, and it’s not natural for people to think that way.

    But yeah, I was hoping that this would be a solid phone to get, but it sounds like the service is not great even on the “best network ever.” That’s a disappointment. It’s too bad I have to stick to my flip phone, but it gives me zero issues with reception anywhere. No internet, but it calls and texts like a champion.

    HTC: you fail, contrats!

  67. when i go to wireless&networks under settings,the mobile network option is grayed out and stuck on “turning on…”
    i have one bar and calls come through with great quality but i cant connect to the market and internet browsing is tough.

  68. We should completely separate the “bar display” and “reception” issues. Are people having actual problems with calls or not? I have the same “bar display” issue but I’m not dropping calls at all…WAY better than the service I had when I was previously with Verizon. I’m also not dropping 3G at all when actively using it. I haven’t payed attention when I’m not using it but I haven’t noted alot of activity in the notification bar. But before we start bad mouthing the phone lets be clear on whether its working or not.

  69. Someone pooped in your Cheerios today, are you that caught up with HTC that you have to protect them? Do they provide food for your children or something? Chill out, opinions are a freedom we have. Most don’t like yours. No one cares how upset you get, but I care to know if there is a signal strength problem….and bars or call quality are the only way to test it coupled with peoples experience.

    Stop trolling bro.

    Thanks for the poll phandroid.

  70. You guys keep on saying number of bars means nothing where it does because people could not hear me on the other end and with Motorola Droid I have perfect reception and perfect call quality on the same spot. FM radio has static and useless. It also freezing up.

  71. now isn’t LEGION one of the most negative dudes ever. Seriously he’d argue a light was green if it was in fact red. the point is legion, people read the site for the content. your entitled to not agree with or read the content, but you did. let others do so and form their own conclusions without always questioning them or arguing against them.

    I know little about you but, i’m going to make some presumptions:

    – You’re a nerd
    – You have no real friends; many acquaintances though
    – I guess that you are always the one to argue the point for the sake of “exploring all sides”
    – Your social life is limited, but probably great from your perspective or at least that is all you’d tell anyone even if it wasn’t
    – You feel a need to defend yourself on a variety of topics.
    – You talk a lot
    – Your phone is great and therefore you are going to defend the choice you made, even to others that made the same decision…

    my point is let people be who they are without interjecting…don’t read this article or visit the site if your opinion is he trolling for visits. Most people saw this topic on other sites first and a new device and early adopters tune into this stuff…relevant to their experience or not, it is important

    besides…let your blood pressure go down…and chill

  72. This is from BB site , but you can get the general idea
    LOWER (closer to zero) is stronger signal, wiki it for more techie info

    1 bar ~ -102 to -120 dBM
    2 Bars ~ -93 to -101 dBM
    3 Bars ~ -87 to -92 dBM
    4 Bars ~ -78 to -86 dBM
    5 Bars ~ -40 to -77 dBM

  73. This bar indicator difference between manufacturers was noted on HTC Hero I believe. It was found to be a difference of scale and not quality.

    I’m too lazy to find the review but I also belive it was comparison against Motorola Droid.

  74. doublea wrote on April 30, 2010

    I had a bad time with the signal, no 3G, and low bars even with 1X.

    I took it back to the store and was going to return it (horrible battery life too), but they changed the PRL to be a “hybrid” PRL, so it uses both alltel and verizon toweres and it resolved my signal issue. Now I have good reception at work too, just like the Droid even though the signal indicator is usually a bar less, but mostly on par now with the Droid after the update.

    As for the battery, they make an extended one for it but they didn’t have any in stock :( I’ll have to wait.

  75. Please follow this thread on HTC’s Incredible forum:


  76. Acutally none of what you said about me is true. All I was trying to was give some info about my two days experience with a unit that I expected a lot from it and I hoped other people to be aware of it and make intelligent choice. So cool down no body is criticizing no one.

  77. I agree with Legion.

    The article itself is a really dumb way of bringing up this issue, since the number of bars is not a sensible way of comparing signal quality/strength…it really is meaningless since different manufacturers/models display a different amount of bars for different signal quality/strength.

    It’s fair enough to have a poll to investigate…but to base it on the different number of bars between your droid and incredible?? :S

  78. @ Rob Jackson – Thanks for the article. I thought it was curious too when I saw my “bar meter” fluctuating wildly, but the Db was comparable or mostly better than my BB 8830. I figured it had to be a GUI glitch too and i’m guessing it will be addressed since others seem to be seeing the same issue.

    @ All the angry people – Chill out. Rob took a canvassing poll to find out if others have a problem. That’s typically what you do when you notice issues, find out if anyone else has them, and keep interest on the topic to resolve it. Everyone take a step back and breathe.

  79. David S. you fag

  80. I’m having this same problem and its kind of annoying

  81. Bhav wrote on May 1, 2010

    The PROBLEM with people like you and legion, is that you don’t realize there are N O R M A L people out there that go to school, have a fulltime job with a family and don’t have time to surf the internet looking for nuances regarding the signal strengh of a phone they just spent $200 bucks on, hoping it was the right choice.

    There is something seriously wrong with people who criticize a blog post with such arrogance and disdain. If you don’t like it, skip the goddamn post and grow up.

    Rob – once again, I visit your site several times a day.

    Thanks for investing your time, and all the other bloggers as well.

  82. No problems in SF. Not many bars, but calls come in clean and internet fast. I much rather have this than the IPhone my friend has that showed full bars but dropping calls like crazy. It kills me.

  83. Ok guys… here is the test. Go to Settings… About Phone… Network. Look at signal strength. Now hold the phone away from you by the top left corner only. Note the number. Now cup your hand around the back lower 1/2 of the phone. Note the change.

    mine just went from -87dB to -102.

    0 log (P2/P1) = 10 log 10 = 10 dB

    Lets just say it went from -87 to -97. That is a 10 dB change. THAT IS 10 TIMES THE POWER. Now I am still off here to get to -102. Lets just get to -100. That would be a 3dB change or DOUBLE THE POWER.
    10 log (P2/P1) = 10 log 2 = 3 dB

    So what are we looking at there? 20 times less signal if you hold it like a normal phone…

    When I placed it in my cell repeater… if fit better upside down to the repeater but on the side as mounted. Like this there was a boost in performance. But I then turned the phone upright and set it in the repeater up right. (The repeater is 30% shorter then the phone in that mode) With the phone sitting in the repeater this way I got a 20dB jump in signal. If my math is right and that referring page is on… 10dB = 10 times power. 10 more dB is 10 times the power again…

    Needless to say I have not had a dropped call driving around nowheres NoVa and MoCo yet. Actually I did. I killed the battery on purpose during my testing to see how much time I would get out of it. But I bet that my battery lasted longer due to the fact that the phone does not need to work as hard to hear/talk to the tower.

  84. FYI – another member pointed it out, but there is no signal strength problem, its only an issue with the signal strength indicator. If you got to your network status and check the signal strength there you’ll notice it compares pretty closely, if not better to the droid or any other phone. I’m getting -80 dBm right now. According to the BB chart someone posted earlier thats 4/5 bars yet my phone shows 2/4 on the status bar.

  85. Cell standby is at the top of my battery usage report at 35%. When I click on it, it says ‘ Time without signal 45%’
    Is this causing the poor battery life?

  86. @destardi:

    As I said, there is nothing wrong with the poll. However, what Rob Jackson should be doing, along with any other journalist/editor/admin of a mobile phone-related site, is inform readers of the truth…and not spread FUD like Average Joe would about signal bars. The point is…the author should know that signal bars are irrelevant, and he should be pointing this out.

    And yes, of course I could skip the article. But why would I? I’m interested in it and I’m contributing to the discussion. That’s what the comments section is for…to COMMENT!

  87. Thanks for the poll and for accommodating the possibility that low bars don’t reflect a true reception problem.

    That said, I have seen enough on this site and others to raise questions about my first inclination….. which was to select the Incredible over the Droid.

    Unfortunately the repeated comments from trolls, dupes and shills highlight the real problem with polls like this one: selection bias. In other words, how do readers like me determine whether negative poll results reflect the tendency of the unhappy to complain while the satisfied keep quiet? Similarly, how do we know when positive feedback is genuine, rather than sponsored by HTC or motivated by sheer contrariness? (You know who you are).

    But yes, I’d like a smartphone with better than average antenna-performance, voice quality and battery life. Who wouldn’t?

  88. Bhav wrote on May 2, 2010

    Except there are very many components of technology hardware and software, right?

    SO with that, YES signal bars CAN be indicators of issues, because it WAS WITH MINE.

    My phone was NOT receiving a 3G signal, and barely a 1X. I could tell because data wasn’t fast at ALL, and the bars were L O W.

    So really? Are you telling me I’m the only one with the issue? Signal bar may not always indicate strength, but there are many different ways to determine an issue, and in my case, YES SIGNAL BARS INDICATED A PROBLEM.

    The problem was resolved with Verizon programming my phone with a hybrid PRL.

  89. Just got the Incredible and it does have a signal issue!!!

  90. where are you from destardi?

  91. Must be HTC thing I noticed that the HTC Eris has the same thing with signal. The Eric will have 2 bar the Moto Droid will have full bars in the same spot.

  92. @matt SO TRUE. My girl has the moto droid and i htc incredible and hers always has more bars than mine.

  93. I also did a speed test I got 2536, and 846. My bar strength is floating between 1 & 2 bars. Occasionally none. I’ve not dropped any calls yet. My wife has the MOTO Droid and went to 1x while I stayed at 3g.

  94. It’s marketing. Verizon says “fluff the bars”, and Motorola does. I’m guessing the HTC Incredible (which I just bought, one for myself and one for my wife) is more realistic, not part of the marketing ploy to make people think their Motorola phone gets better signal. Those phone companies can make the software tell you anything they want, and apparently many people are sold by these ploys.

    We show a lower signal visually, but have yet to experience any clarity or dropped calls.

  95. Someone wrote “FM radio has static and useless. It also freezing up.” My FM radio worked initially with Bose QC-15 earphones, but was VERY poor on all but the strongest stations. Now it doesn’t work at all. The opening green progress bar gets to about 95%, then freezes. Anyone else had this problem? Best Buy was clueless. How can I re-install the FM Radio SW?

    On what seems to be the main topic in this thread, I have seen fewer bars, but good cell phone performance.. no dropped or garbled calls.

  96. Shutting off the phone cured the hang up problem, but the radio still only receives the few strongest stations where other FM radios work fine. I tried it with ear-buds; same result.

  97. My Incredible is unusable both at home and at work. I live in a metro of 3.5million people and have never had any problems like this with other devices on the Verizon network. There’s a serious issue with this phone. I LOVE the device but have had to carry my T-Mobile phone around with me as well in order to make sure I am able to make a call when I need it. The data speeds on the Incredible are lightning fast but the voice reception is completely unacceptable.

  98. I’ve had my “i” since last thursday and overall I really like it. Two guys in my office have had the motorola droid for a couple of months and they love them. I like it as well except for size and weight. I have had a few issues with not being able to make calls, but once made I don’t drop them. 3g goes in and out. Moto units do appear to maintain more bars for what its worth. Overall pretty good, but BB seemed to have better signal strength in more places although call clarity on “i” is excellent.

    my 2 cents

  99. I did a comparison this morning, with my Incredible and an Eris, side-by-side in my apartment. The Eris had 3-4 bars, Incredible had 1-2. Looking at actual signal strength, the Eris was at approx. -60 dBi, the incredible was at -85 dBi. So it wasn’t just a difference in how they’ve calibrated the bars in relation to signal strength.

    However, I have to note a couple of things: First, my apartment has never been good for Verizon signals. For the better part of a year, anyone with Verizon would routinely drop calls walking from one end to the other. A few months ago they tweaked a tower or something because no Verizon phone has dropped a call since.

    Also the Incredible has never dropped a call there, nor have any calls been choppy.

    Something else I’ve noticed… signal strength (bars) will be really low until I actually start USING the phone, then it will jump up. Same with 3G. I will apparently NOT have a 3G connection until I hit the web browser or some other data intensive app, and then 3G will magically appear and stay on until I’m done.

    Is it possible that the Incredible is purposely allocating less power to the receiver when it isn’t in use… possibly to save battery?

  100. I took my Incredible back today i only had one bar at my house and the calls were going in and out and the 3G was going in and out battery life was only 8 hours then it was dead MY old razor V3 has 3 bars and never ad problems with calls going in and out. It cost me 35 bucks for restocking fee but better than being stuck with it for 2 years

  101. Can’t say that I look at the bars, but I have had a harder time communicating with Incredible vs Moto Droid. I’m in denial at the moment, but I do fear that the call quality of the HTC is not as good as the Moto. It isn’t quite as loud, either. It’s odd, since games sound equally loud. Phone call quality has definitely been spotty at times when calling other cells, but sounds great when calling land lines. It could be the people I call – two had iPhones and 1 used car-based bluetooth, the other was my office recording. If is looks like a duck and walks like a duck then it probably is a…

  102. I just got the HTC incredible and I dont know if I can make a call because the bars drop or sometimes it just pops up on the screen as full bars. I made a short video clip of the problem and hope that someone over at HTC or Verizon will see it and put out a fix for all of us with this problem. Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mx3lZ3tfTk

  103. I spent the afternoon in the Orlando airport yesterday with no bars and no signal. I was sitting with someone who was also a Verizon customer on a Casio phone – they could make and receive calls easily and clearly. My phone would ring and I could not answer the call. My old LG 8600 has three bars sitting here in Pittsburgh and the HTC Incredible has one – sometimes. Verizon is replacing the phone tomorrow so I’ll see if I just got a bad one. General voice clarity is worse than any cell phone I’ve owned so something is wrong.

  104. Went to Verizon store today. They pushed a hybrid prl because my signal was abysmal. I’ll give them 48hrs to resolve this issue before I return this piece of shit. I’ll keep u posted how it turn out.

  105. My calls are fine, despite a low signal, but my concern actually resolves around two issues. First I get 0, 1 or 2 bars max…except for a short area of my drive from DC to Richmond, VA (I think there is a tower I drive right next too because it is very brief). My 3G is spotty at best. So my issues revolve around battery power, which is obviously affected by poor reception, regardless of call quality and data speeds, which are also affected. On WiFi this phone is great and super fast, but I got the phone so I didn’t have to be connected to WiFi all the time and use it around town, at work, at the grocery store etc. Also I don’t want to constantly deal with recharging…sometimes it will drop from like 70% to 40% in no time, despite little use and it must be the signal strength. Seriously thinking about a return at this point. Will give it until the 20th. That is one week before my 30 days is up and walk it into the Verizon store if nothing improves…then I’ll go to Sprint instead…

  106. Not sure what a good speed test for a phone is, but its all over the place with my Incredible…download at 457kbs and upload at 607kbs?!? Says something about the signal I think. Sometimes I’ll get a download around 800 kbs and upload at like 200 kbs. Spotty reception is the best thing to explain this. On WiFi or on mobile broadband connect, totally different story though…seems extremely fast and consistent in those cases. Go figure…

  107. My battery drains at least twice as fast with my Wi-Fi turned off.Whether call clarity and dropped calls is an issue or not, this problem quite certainly exacerbates an already troubling condition of smartphone devices. Despite all of the great things the Incredible can do, if this problem isn’t resolved in a professional manner, it can become known as a serious defect to an otherwise great piece of technology. So, PLEASE, make this right, HTC and Verizon. We’ll all forgive you if you do.

  108. I bought my Incredible a week ago and the bars on the phone are NOT the issue. It is reception plain and simple. I previously had a BB Curve and could make calls from the upstairs in my home and in various areas in my neighborhood. With the Incredible, I am dropping calls. I checked the signal strength on both phones side by side….BB Curve -98 dBm…..Incredible -103 dBm. I lovED the Incredible for the speed, internet and ability to access content on the internet better than the BB as well as email attachments. If I can not rely on it as a phone, its useless. VZ technical support had nothing to offer in the way of help. I am returning the phone tomorrow and reactivating the BB Curve. I am very disappointed to have to give up all the features I loved in the DROID. It could be Incredible if the reception were better. If you live in an are where reception was ify with a good phone, it will be impossible with the Incredible. Sad.

  109. My Treo 700 gets dropped calls to. Can we do a poll on that?

  110. YOUR MOM’S A TROLL!!!

  111. Got the Incredible on launch day. I also LOVE the phone’s features, but have had dropped calls (never used to happen on my Motorola Droid). Also getting very poor reception everywhere (-90 to -110). I really hope there’s a software fix, but I’m not optimistic.

  112. I returned my Incredible after 12 days because of signal strength. I found myself in a location with no bars of signal strength, 3G, a location other phones have performed well. I received two emails with PowerPoint presentations and, although the email comments indicated there was an attachment, they did not appear to be attached. Later, in my office I sent the same email from the incredible to the same incredible and the attachment existed. No one has been able to explain. From a business use perspective, signal strength and this behavior is unacceptable.

  113. I bought an Incredible and an Eris last night. Both show 1-2 bars signal strength wise. I have run multiple Speedtest tests on both phones, literally side to side. All of the test compare favorably with my iPhone 3g results, with the mbps at an average of .15 faster than the iphone. This is the case with both phones. The ping is far smaller than my iphone. 300-400 vs 2500+ for the iphone

  114. I went through 2 Incredibles this week and each one had horrible signal. I drove all around town and the most bars I got was 2. I talked to Verizon and they were no help. They claimed I was the first to return the phones and have issues. I later called HTC and they told me they indeed are aware of the problem and are trying to fix it. It was unknown to them whether this affected ALL phones or just a select few. Guess everyone has to wait for some sort of update.

  115. I had the Moto Droid from the day it came out till the day the Incredible came out and had no issues at all. A few days into owning my incredible I noticed my reception bouncing from 1X to 3G constantly. So I made a call and sure enough it dropped in about a min. Went into Verizon and they said they havent had anyone come in with this issue yet, which I didnt believe. Then they say they are out of stock and it would be a month. So I finally got my replacement today. Sure enough I dial *228 and it took me 3 tries just to connect because of my reception, dropped 3 calls before I could get it programmed. Im thinking I should have stuck with my Moto! Im a technician and the Incredible definitely has a reception issue. Oh and im directly in the city where reception has never been an issue, not out in the sticks where im sure it wont work at all where my moto droid actually worked. And for people doing speed tests and what not yes it seems to be ok sometimes and show good speeds but more times than not with mine it will be going very fast then the signal will fall into a 1X speed and it will slow, then jump back into 3G. What sucks the most is my battery is getting slaughtered by this whole thing!

  116. Are any of you guys with signal problems calling VZW to complain?

    I also wish one of the people who is a “technician” would post a fair qualitative test of the moto droid and the HTC incredible side-by-side in the same location. Data isn’t going to lie.

    A lot of the “I’m a technician” posts seem like BS, people who work in tech tyically have very clear qualitative tests for determining the cause of an issue, not just “I tried to call and my calls didn’t work” type stuff.

  117. I’m on my first full days use of my Incredible and I’m so depressed with the signal that I want to cry. I waited over 3 weeks to get the phone and now I can’t even use it unless I’m in a wireless local. I know I live in the sticks, but this is the only phone at my house and it makes me nervous because I can’t make a call. I’m thinking about switching to the Motorola. I have always had better signal strength (and I’m not talking about bars, but ACTUAL strength) with a Motorola or my old Blackberry. I’m going to give it a week and see, but I have never been so disappointed in a new phone. I can’t use any of the “fun stuff” I bought the phone for, so what’s the point?

  118. Does anyone have a fix for the poor signal strength and low bars? Like the programming changes – ##778, ##7764726, etc? Maybe we can fix this on our own?
    Any Verizon or HTC technicians out there?


  119. I clicked onto this to look at what problems with HTC phones are being registered not realizing I had stepped into a full scale “police action”. Don’t have an Incredible but have a G1 and this has been a real headache. Finally had the phone replaced with another and although it’s better it ain’t fixed. My big issue now is that the phone still, unilaterally, calls the last number either received, called or text-ed. This can be a real pain. Prior to this the G1 deleted my contact list and then reassigned names to different numbers. I still don’t know the extent of this until I happen across a faulty number. But as to the signal quality? In my area which is poor, it does a pretty good job, even when the bars are down to one. I get the data bit but I rarely use my phone for that ap. My overall is that when it’s time to get rid of this I will be hard pressed getting another HTC phone

  120. I am a Moto Droid user; gave it up, because the microphone muffles my deep voice; resonates, sounds terrible. The Incredible is just the opposite, my voice comes thru loud and clear. Then we have reception, STRANGE.

    Side by side, in a marginal area, both the Mot and the HTC I have about -95dBm. Both phones move from 1x > 3g > 0 bars > 3 bars, all without moving. In general the Moto shows more bars than the HTC I. Right now:
    Moto HTC I
    – 1 bar

  121. Had the Droid, now have the HTC I. Move to the HTC I because the droid doesn’t handle a lower frequency voice; a microphone issue.

    Droid gave me more bars in more places than the HTC I
    No problem making calls in those same places
    Yes, I seem to miss calls; the phone doesn’t ring, but I do get the voice message.

    Net: I concur, as does verizon customer service who said this is a known issue. Their resolution: return the phone, try something else, suggesting the LG. She went further and said that the BlackBerry ? has been around for years, and people keep buying it. If this is a known issue, and vzw has advised HTC about it in a formal way; nothing I say here will solve the problem; but I share your pain with reception AND battery life.

  122. I traded one incredible for another to see if it would fix call quality issues and reception. I live in south Florida. It did not. Verizon has told me a software fix will be here in 2weeks ,now a week away for the call quality issue. I hope it fixes that.I still need to call my wife twice to get a good call through and that does not always work. I love the features too. But the phone needs to be a phone first.Frustrated. I will push for another phone at no cost to me if HTC cannot fix this phone and I think will all should.

  123. I re-activated my old Blackberry 8330 and returned my Incredible today, and voila, order was returned to the universe. At least as far as radio quality (the Blackberry is vastly superior) and basic ease of use as PDA. It’s boring, but it does the basics far better.

    Especially with voice calls, I was having major, major issues with that on a constant basis. In Los Angeles proper, there’s a tower about 2000 feet from my house and I was still getting dropped calls, or weird things like dropped words back and forth, and a whole lot of dropped calls.

    The VZW retail store is about 800 feet from the same tower. While I was waiting for service this morning, I compared the signal strength in dBm (not bars, which varied between one and two while every other phone in the store had full bars) and the Blackberry was about 10 better.

    Then I went through the day with many voice calls on the 8330. No issues at all.

    So I’m just gonna stick it out with my creaky old BB until something better comes along. Oh, and I can actually see the screen well in broad daylight, which is a bit of a problem with most touchscreen phones.

    But the deal breaker is the FACT that the Incredible has very real radio issues right now. Not for everybody, for those that do, they aren’t making it up. VZW tech support acknowledged it and says they are working to fix it with a software update. Good luck with that.

    Meanwhile, the Droid X is scheduled to drop next month and already has a month of pre-orders, according to the VZW retail store rep. Motorola knows how to make a radio that works, HTC, not so much…

    Meanwhile, the Droid

  124. I switched from Sprint BB to the Incredicle beacue of dropped call from Sprint. The Incredible is worse. I cannot talk in inside most buildings and must go outside to get through. I will probably switch to ATT in the next few days.

  125. I have been mulling over this issue for a while about the signal strength. What I have found for my Droid Inc is two issues at play here. One is that the bars definitely do not show the signal strength. My husband’s Blackberry always has 2 to 3 bars in our home and mine always has no bars. But our dBm is exactly the same, looked at both for a while, and there are exactly the same within 1dbm at any given time. So I think it is definitely a software problem, the bars showing what the actual dbm is (I also thinks this mentally disturbs people to see someone else’s phone with more bars then theres, but do the dbm comparison of 2 Verizon phones and I bet there is not much of a difference more then 1 or 2 dbm). the other issue though is that for sure at the very bottom is the antenna and when you tightly cover it with your hand you will see while watching the dbm in the settings menu, it will loose about 10 dbm, un cup it and it will go back, cup it again and it will go down 10 dbm. Definitely. It is not in such a bad spot though like the iPhone 4 I have been hearing about but if you do hold the phone tightly at the bottom that is definitely an issue. I don’t normally hold the phone at the bottom though. On the other hand on my husband’s BB, I could not replicate that. I could not find a spot that would make the dbm go down. I tried cupping it tightly in a lot of spots and could not find a week spot.

    I also think there is a battery drain problem, something that could also be fixed with software. There is something on this phone that drains the battery. I don’t know what it is. I thought it was the signal, but again, my signal strength is the same as my husbands. Even so it could be the signal still? maybe the way it updates it. Or it could be other things about the phone, maybe the way it manages all the software that can be improved upon with a software update.

    So I think overall the phone is good and probably no reason to get the Droid X which I was thinking about. I also read in a review that the Droid X is bad in sunlight, by this review worse then the INcredible in direct sunlight.

    I am hoping that they will give a software update for this phone. The thing with it not being like the Apple phones is the apple phone is one hardware and one OS, so really easy to update and also important for them to think about on the whole. Android phones have tons of different hardware and not only that, there is the HTC sense software on top of the android software and then the different hardwares, so it makes updating just for one specific phone, probably less rewarding to the company to think about then for Apple which only has to think about really 1 phone running 1 OS. Also more complicated probably to update for this specific phone running android and HTC sense and the specific signal bar issue on this phone that may not be on another android phone and so forth.

  126. Low bars and some drop calls. Verizon seriously should not be charging us 29.99 a month for data plan when they are indeed not living up to their sologan.. I say “can u hear me now” a lot now that I have the incredible. we should boycott! lol

  127. I have incredible- it did not work at all- until I brought it in to Verizon- it now works
    I have no 3g Bars and voice varies between none- one- sometimes a two.
    Blackberry – at same location- 3-4 bars ..
    the signal strength for incredible is showing 84- 98 dbm
    I called Verizon and asked — if this was HTC software issue? two hours later they did not know…. was it an issue with bars vs dbm strength ( iPhone)- Verizon did not know
    3G seems to work- can play pandora and search web at same time—
    Verizon is sending a new phone — in a month-
    tech person never asked to check signal strength!

    not sure if this is HTC or I should go for Droid X–
    for me it is about the call quality —

  128. I’ve been getting many dropped calls (with my Incredible) for loss of signal where I never had that issue before. I have used Verizon for many years now and the reception issues with this phone are quite frustrating.

  129. lets face it, just getting around it, the signal strength really stinks, you would think that htc would offer an antenna upgrade after all their hyupe, i feel like i should use it as a doorstop half the time. the only thing they do offer is a signal extender that costs from $150 – $350. really pisses me off!

  130. All I can say is I HATE THE INCREDIBLE—bought mine on May 28 and am presently waiting for verizon to send me my 4th replacement due to the fact that by the second day my phone would completely quit working. i would change phones but verizon will not allow until we try exchanging at least 10 times—cannot wait for that day!!!

  131. There is definetly a difference in SS depending on how you hold the phone. Cup it in your hand (normal for me during a call) and my SS is like -91 dbm. Hold the phone with your thumb and index finger in the middle of each side and my signal goes up to around -71 dbm. Thats a 20 dbm difference.

    Add this issue with my un-responsive screen issue, I’m beginning to think this phone is not ready for prime time.

  132. I switched for at&t using an unlocked G1 to Driod Incredible, and my signal strength(# of bars), call quality, and # of dropped calls is noticeably worse with the incredible on Verizon than AT&T. I live in the DC area so there should be good coverage. I asked Verizon about the weak signal and they said i live in a poor coverage area, and they will put up a new tower in the area by summers end. But, I have the same weak signal all over the area, and not just at home.

    That being said I do love everything about this phone other than the reception.

  133. The Incredible signal bars don’t show up unless you are calling out. The signal strength is there!

  134. This is my first smart phone very disappointed. It is all most one bar forever and everywhere. My husband had the Motorola Droid seems much better. GPS on the incredible is always wrong. Then I tried at the same location on the Motorola Droid it is perfect. Now, I am thinking to switch back to use my old phone so I don’t have to pay for $30 per month to verizon for nothing…… (Had verizon for many many years this is the first time I am so unhappy with them)

  135. I was considering purchasing the Incredible until I tried it out in the store – low signal. I tried the Droid X and it had great reception. I purchased the X and absolutely love it – fabulous reception.

  136. I have had my incredible for a few months, buying it after debating about going to ATT for the iPhone. I chose to stick with Verizon due to the reception I got in the mountains. However, I am quite disappointed with the signal strength of the incredible.

    I go 4-wheeling a lot. Several years ago when I had a Motorola v-60 (i think was the model) I got reception in most places I found myself, including the very remote areas I was 4-wheeling. This gave me confidence that if anything should happen, break down or get stuck etc, my biggest problem would be giving directions to my location. But as phones have evolved with more gadgets and technology, the quality of the telephone has decreased dramatically.
    Yesterday I found myself in the mountains where I have been 4-wheeling several times with good cell reception, but I was there looking for my uncle who did not come home from a hunting trip. We had search and rescue out all day looking for him. And to add to the chaos, my phone wouldn’t work at all. Not the best time to discover this shortcoming in the HTC.
    In the end my uncle was found and was fine. But what if that was me broken down in the area and unable to call for help. I am second-guessing my decision to buy a smartphone.

    Additionally,my phone drops calls in elevators and large buildings in downtown Denver. Which I can live with, but I cannot live with endangering my safety due to spotty reception.
    Too late, I guess, since I am stuck in my contract. But I will think twice about my activities in relation to my safety net.

    On the positive side, my gps works well even when I have no cell phone reception.

  137. The bars on the incredible don’t indicate very well on reception or quality.
    Compared to my other phone I actually get less drop outs and noticeably improved quality.

    I think a lot of the complaints about reception is partly due to people looking at their phone and seeing low bars.
    As mentioned plenty other times in these comments, this doesn’t mean you’ll get dropouts or bad quality.

    I think HTC needs to fix the bar display to better match other phones though-

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