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Thread: Call Quality, Where Has It Gone?

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    Call Quality, Where Has It Gone?

    Is it me, or have phone manufacturer's as of late, been putting more emphasis on features and pazzaz rather than sound quality? I use my phone for business on the go, and have clients calling me through out the day. Most of the smartphones I've owned have had the mic located on the bottom of the phone (iPhone, SE X1, Nokia N85, etc.) which means they pick up just as much background noise as your own voice making you unintelligible to the caller if there's any activity going on around you. Background cancellation technology is out there, so why aren't phone manufacturers implementing it and consumers demanding it?

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    Don't know about the consumers, but I have a conjecture about why the manufacturers might not do it.

    I think it's because the technology you mention requires a fair amount of computation, which means adding a more powerful processor or a special-purpose chip -- either of which impacts both battery life and cost.

    My guess between the two is that it is not so much related to cost as it is to battery life.

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    Motorola has the best call quality in the industry. They have the Crystal Talk Technology that are in some of their phones and it's amazing. It's ashame they might be on their way out. Hopefully that's not the case. It's hard to find a phone that has a loud earpiece as well and I find Motorola's excel in this department as well. My Bold is extremely loud. I'm not impressed with Nokia's and SE's low earpiece. I agree that they are focusing more on features and not focusing on the call quality department. I'll be hanging on to my Motorola V9x for that reason.



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    Quote Originally Posted by wirelessgal
    Motorola has the best call quality in the industry. They have the Crystal Talk Technology that are in some of their phones and it's amazing. It's ashame they might be on their way out. Hopefully that's not the case. It's hard to find a phone that has a loud earpiece as well and I find Motorola's excel in this department as well. My Bold is extremely loud. I'm not impressed with Nokia's and SE's low earpiece. I agree that they are focusing more on features and not focusing on the call quality department. I'll be hanging on to my Motorola V9x for that reason.

    Wirelessgal, sorry to say but this is absolutely untrue. Nokias and SE's have excellent earpiece loudness and excellent voice clarity - its the fault of the sub standard Rogers network.

    I have used many handsets, Nokia & SE and on the Rogers network, you have to put the volume to the max and in many cases earpiece volume is barely acceptable.

    However use the very same phone in Europe or Asia and you get excellent earpiece loudness, so much so, that you often need to turn the volume down to 75%

    The voice clarity is also far superior in Europe and Asia, same as landline
    whereas in North America, you can often tell is the caller is calling cell phone to cell phone.

    (please note im not talking about coverage here, Im talking about using the same handset in a full signal area in each case )

    If you remember the original Microcell (Fido) network, even that was louder than Rogers by about 20% making it more than adequate or most handsets.

    Yes the bold and many of the Motorolas (especially the old V series) had loud volume on Rogers. The Razor was very low volume, unless you went into the software settings.

    However once again, in Europe take any phone and you never have a earpiece volume problem. Im not sure why we get it in North America

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    I have gone through over 100 handsets in the last 3 years, maingly using Motorola's, Nokia's, Sony Ericsson, and Blackberry. I talk a lot on the phone so the first thing I look for in a phone is call quality. I've owned a good portion of the Motorola lineup and I can honestly say they have the best call quality in the market. Have you tried an AT&T V3xx or the V9x? Those phones are very loud and clear. Sony Ericsson, how many times have we heard people complain about the low earpiece when the w810i came out? The k790a is slightly louder. But if you try to use either of these phones in a mall, forget about it. I've owned the Nokia N95-3 and the earpiece is low, but the caller can hear me crystal clear. Whether or not the Rogers network has an affect on the call quality of these phones is up for debate. You ask anyone who owns a Bold and they will tell you the earpiece is extremely loud.

    So why is it that Motorola and Blackberry have excellent call quality here, but Nokia and SE don't? This is from my experience.

    Perhaps your experience in Europe could be that the 900 frequency is abit clearer than the 850 frequency. We know that in Europe and Asia the majority of people use Nokia and SE, so it wouldn't surprise me if they are louder there.

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    ^ So in your case, you put the earpiece vol as primary element of "call quality" or are you suggesting "louder means good call quality"? What about tonal balance, audio reproduction? And how operating spectrum of the provider network has anything to do w/ audio output from the earpiece? Motorola's CrystalTalk is just one of many noise cancellation regimes out there, just like Nokia's Uplink Noise Cancellation implementation. However, if the tonal balance & audio reproduction at the source is "bad", compounded by other factors like poor signal, any noise cancellation regime WON'T magically turn these calls into good landline conversation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wirelessgal
    I have gone through over 100 handsets in the last 3 years, maingly using Motorola's, Nokia's, Sony Ericsson, and Blackberry. I talk a lot on the phone so the first thing I look for in a phone is call quality. I've owned a good portion of the Motorola lineup and I can honestly say they have the best call quality in the market. Have you tried an AT&T V3xx or the V9x? Those phones are very loud and clear. Sony Ericsson, how many times have we heard people complain about the low earpiece when the w810i came out? The k790a is slightly louder. But if you try to use either of these phones in a mall, forget about it. I've owned the Nokia N95-3 and the earpiece is low, but the caller can hear me crystal clear. Whether or not the Rogers network has an affect on the call quality of these phones is up for debate. You ask anyone who owns a Bold and they will tell you the earpiece is extremely loud.

    So why is it that Motorola and Blackberry have excellent call quality here, but Nokia and SE don't? This is from my experience.

    Perhaps your experience in Europe could be that the 900 frequency is abit clearer than the 850 frequency. We know that in Europe and Asia the majority of people use Nokia and SE, so it wouldn't surprise me if they are louder there.
    Wirelessgal, I agree with your findings, as this is exactly what I have found on Rogers. However whether or not Rogers network has affect on call quality
    is not up for debate. Its fact.

    Due to the lack of volume, it appears some handsets have had their volume boosted for the North American market. The old Motorola V series was very loud etc... These handsets, produce extra loud volume in Europe

    However the I have used the W810i and the K790a and K800i on Rogers and they suck. I have used the very same handset in Europe and you only need to keep the volume on 3/4

    The Nokias have the same problem, like the N73 etc... etc...

    The Rogers implementation of GSM is inferior, no question about it.

    I have tested many handsets. Also the call clarity on Rogers is inferior.
    If you call cell to cell on Rogers and put some music on, if often sounds a bit ditigtal-ish and garbly, in Europe you can hear the music perfectly, just like a landline. I have used the same music etc...

    There are other threads that mention Europe vs Canada call quality and earpiece loudness. I will search for them and put some links here.

    However lets forget Europe for a minute. In regards to earpiece loudness,
    there are many threads here, about when Rogers took over Fido, whilst they were still 2 seperate networks, you could switch between the 2. Fidos volume on the very same handset was approx 20% louder.

    Therefore, the volume issue on Nokias and SE is a North American one.

    Search forums in Europe, you will never see anybody complain about earpiece volume or call clarity.

    Why there is a difference, I dont know. All I can say is Rogers charges premium prices for a sub standard network

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    ^ fido2004: Regarding the incoming vol, I also find it annoying w/ Rogers but I won't label their Ericsson-powered network as "sub standard": just not optimized in this aspect. The very same handset I use elsewhere even w/ at&t in the US, yields a diff experience in terms of incoming vol.

    But back to the OP's topic: noise reduction is very tricky because there are many diff kinds of "noise" and diff venues. The DSP in the devices to deal w/ the noise cancellation is just only part of the audio enhancement, other implementations like echo canceller in the network are crucial as well. Take loud background music, for example, could be handled pretty well but not necessary the same w/ speech like loud radio talkshow heard in the background.

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    fido2004 I'll say this, the Rogers network can definitely affect call quality. There is so much to consider. Are you in an area that has excellent RF and strong 3G? 3G affects voice and does enhance call clarity. What handset are you using? Do you use a BT headset, talk using the speakerphone or hold the phone to your ear? I have done several test calls on my Bold. And when I had the Bold held to my ear, they said I sound as if I was sitting next to them. I did the same test with my Motorola v3xx and got the same results, both being 3G phones. The earpiece volume at my end is very loud, clear, with excellent overall sound. The v3xx might have a slight upper edge over the Bold.

    I have never been to Europe so I can't comment on that. However, do you recall the lawsuit against I believe it was SE. Someone in the States sued SE because they said the earpiece was too loud and caused damages to their hearing. The person won the lawsuit. As a result, SE decided to lower the volume on the earpiece for North America. It is not Rogers. It was a stupid lawsuit that resulted in SE lowering the earpiece volume. Too low if you ask me. I don't know if any manufacturer's followed suit, but from my experience it seems to be the case, especially with Nokia. If you do a google search, look at how many lawsuits there are regarding BT headsets that are too loud. I mean come on, give me a break. Lower the volume if it's too loud! It is frivolous lawsuits like this that affects us.

    I'm not defending Rogers at all because I think they charge too much for pretty much everything. But out of all the networks in Canada, Rogers is the clearest network.

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    Wirelessgal,

    Level the playing field... http://howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=1525856 Time will tell
    --

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    I am NOT "the" HC, we are TWO different individuals!


    "If we amplify everything, we hear nothing!" - Jon Stewart, Comedian

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    Quote Originally Posted by tibere86
    Is it me, or have phone manufacturer's as of late, been putting more emphasis on features and pazzaz rather than sound quality? I use my phone for business on the go, and have clients calling me through out the day. Most of the smartphones I've owned have had the mic located on the bottom of the phone (iPhone, SE X1, Nokia N85, etc.) which means they pick up just as much background noise as your own voice making you unintelligible to the caller if there's any activity going on around you. Background cancellation technology is out there, so why aren't phone manufacturers implementing it and consumers demanding it?
    tibere86,

    Greetings. Hallelujah! It is not just me or a few old-school like Steve Punter...

    http://www.arcx.com/sites/Editorials.htm#CurrentDesigns

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Punter
    While I would like to lay the blame squarely at the feet of the phone manufacturers, I can’t do that in good conscience. Part of the problem, and perhaps arguably much of the problem, lies with consumers. Just read the messages on any of the cellular newsgroups and you’ll see that people don’t care about core functionality, and all they seem to want is glitzy features. So can you blame the manufacturer for giving the people what the apparently want? I swear that some people would happily buy a phone that didn’t makes calls at all, so long as it had desirable features that they could boast about to their friends.

    However, these same people who claim not to care about a phone’s core functionality are the first to complain when their calls drop, or when they have to return their phones 5 or 6 times due to malfunctions, or when the audio quality is horrendously poor. They inevitably blame their carriers for this, insisting that they were sold a faulty product, or that the provider has a poor network.

    Consumers have to realize that they drive the market, and manufacturers will gladly build exactly what consumers want, so long as consumers vote with their pocket books. However, as long as consumers continue to go gaga over the newest PCS toys, without due concern for the underlying competence of the product, then manufacturers will continue to build glitzy phones with poor core functionality.
    My take is that manufacturers may rely more on statistics like marketing trends in form factors, features, packaging, look and feel. So any core functionality and fundamentals would simply rely on the already established standards or sourcing suppliers, which often are observed in the relatively more (lab)controlled settings. As long as they are performing "ok", they will allocate the resources on other fronts that consumers care more about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HC - NO "i"
    Wirelessgal,

    Level the playing field... http://howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=1525856 Time will tell

    I'm all for competition and I can't wait! Keep us posted when you do the call clarity test on Rogers and Telus with the same phone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wirelessgal
    fido2004 I'll say this, the Rogers network can definitely affect call quality. There is so much to consider. Are you in an area that has excellent RF and strong 3G? 3G affects voice and does enhance call clarity. What handset are you using? Do you use a BT headset, talk using the speakerphone or hold the phone to your ear? I have done several test calls on my Bold. And when I had the Bold held to my ear, they said I sound as if I was sitting next to them. I did the same test with my Motorola v3xx and got the same results, both being 3G phones. The earpiece volume at my end is very loud, clear, with excellent overall sound. The v3xx might have a slight upper edge over the Bold.

    I have never been to Europe so I can't comment on that. However, do you recall the lawsuit against I believe it was SE. Someone in the States sued SE because they said the earpiece was too loud and caused damages to their hearing. The person won the lawsuit. As a result, SE decided to lower the volume on the earpiece for North America. It is not Rogers. It was a stupid lawsuit that resulted in SE lowering the earpiece volume. Too low if you ask me. I don't know if any manufacturer's followed suit, but from my experience it seems to be the case, especially with Nokia. If you do a google search, look at how many lawsuits there are regarding BT headsets that are too loud. I mean come on, give me a break. Lower the volume if it's too loud! It is frivolous lawsuits like this that affects us.

    I'm not defending Rogers at all because I think they charge too much for pretty much everything. But out of all the networks in Canada, Rogers is the clearest network.
    I wasn't aware of the lawsuits, however I dont think the low volume is because SE has lowered the volume but rather the network, as it doesnt explain, if you take the same SE or Nokia handset to an European network, the volume is more than loud enough. Also if SE turned the volume down, would they do it to such an extent that its only barely adequate in a noisy environment

    Believe it or not, 3G does not enhance call quality hardly at all, although on paper it might. Certainly on Rogers 3G has better clarity, howver in Europe you cannot tell the difference between 2G call quality or 3G call quality, they are both superb.

    Please note, as mentioned in previous posts, I am not talking about reception, coverage or signal bars. Im talking for example downtown Toronto vs London, UK - superb coverage both places, full bars. In this example, you will find the very same handset used in London, has excellent call quality and volume. Even a mediocre handset, gives excellent quality over there. You dont have to worry about which handset to get (Kinda like choosing a landline phone in Canada, you know that even a cheap end corded phone, will still be very good)

    I dont want to turn this into a GSM vs CDMA debate, however you often
    see posts saying Verizon is better than ATT etc... etc... That might be the case in North America. However if you compare Verizon to European GSM, there is no contest, GSM wins handsdown

    Anyway I found one of the links - read post #78 onwards

    http://www.howardforums.com/showthre...2&page=6&pp=15

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    Quote Originally Posted by fido2004
    I wasn't aware of the lawsuits, however I dont think the low volume is because SE has lowered the volume but rather the network, as it doesnt explain, if you take the same SE or Nokia handset to an European network, the volume is more than loud enough. Also if SE turned the volume down, would they do it to such an extent that its only barely adequate in a noisy environment

    Believe it or not, 3G does not enhance call quality hardly at all, although on paper it might. Certainly on Rogers 3G has better clarity, howver in Europe you cannot tell the difference between 2G call quality or 3G call quality, they are both superb.

    Please note, as mentioned in previous posts, I am not talking about reception, coverage or signal bars. Im talking for example downtown Toronto vs London, UK - superb coverage both places, full bars. In this example, you will find the very same handset used in London, has excellent call quality and volume. Even a mediocre handset, gives excellent quality over there. You dont have to worry about which handset to get (Kinda like choosing a landline phone in Canada, you know that even a cheap end corded phone, will still be very good)

    I dont want to turn this into a GSM vs CDMA debate, however you often
    see posts saying Verizon is better than ATT etc... etc... That might be the case in North America. However if you compare Verizon to European GSM, there is no contest, GSM wins handsdown

    Anyway I found one of the links - read post #78 onwards

    http://www.howardforums.com/showthre...2&page=6&pp=15

    SE did lower the earpiece volume. This was discussed in the SE forum when the w810i came out to Rogers and everyone was complaining about the low earpiece volume, then soon after the k790a. Off topic, when SE came out with the w600i, everyone was complaining about their battery covers flying off. My brother had one and all you had to do was shake the phone abit and it would fall off. SE immediately discontinued the handset. Then when the w810i was released, the majority of the users had a very hard time opening the battery cover. It took the jaws of life to pry the battery cover open. Even cell phone shops had a hard time with it and some members and shops figured out a way to open it. The p990i is a perfect example of SE taking it to the extreme. Google it and you will find a link where a guy used a knife to try and open the battery cover and ended up cutting himself and I believe it took him about an hour to get it open.

    There is no doubt that Nokia and SE cators more to Europe and Asia. Perhaps it has to do with the frequency they are using. The fact that my N95-4 has a much lower earpiece volume than my Bold and Motorola v3xx doesn't make any sense that Rogers' network is to blame. How is it that RIM and Motorola have excellent call quality and the calls are loud, but Nokia and SE falls short of this? It's the manufacturer and possibly the Rogers branding might have something to do with it. I have read cases where people have unbranded a Rogers phone and the earpiece was abit louder.

    3G definitely enhances call quality and RF. This topic has been beaten to death. When my Bold loses 3G and goes to 2G, the calls are nowhere as clear when it's on 3G. That's a proven fact.

    I won't get started with comparing GSM to CDMA because GSM is way superior than CDMA in this department.

    All we can do is wait until the new entrants arrive and when Telus switches over, then more testing can be done to compare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wirelessgal
    SE did lower the earpiece volume <snip>
    I know someone who runs a hearing aid business. Let me know if you need a custom fitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Punter
    While I would like to lay the blame squarely at the feet of the phone manufacturers, I can’t do that in good conscience. Part of the problem, and perhaps arguably much of the problem, lies with consumers. Just read the messages on any of the cellular newsgroups and you’ll see that people don’t care about core functionality, and all they seem to want is glitzy features <snip>
    I'm one of these, guilty as charged & I completely agree with you. Gimme a phone with crappy VQ and excellent data functionality and I'm all over it. However, I'm one of those who doesn't like long conversations on phones anyways. Email, text and chat is what I look for .. wait a minute, I'm not talking about a phone, am I?

    OK, what I'm saying is that a lot people don't really want a "phone" in a traditional sense: They want a convergence device that does everything (GPS, video, camera etc etc). If you are going to pick up a device like that, you'd better expect some compromises. Cheers.

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