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HTC Sensation’s Death Grip Killing WiFi, Bluetooth Signals



The HTC Sensation may be the latest handset to suffer from the death grip, made infamous by Apple’s iPhone 4, but this time the issue may be affecting both WiFi and Bluetooth radios rather than the 3G/4G cellular radio as it did on the Apple case.

Nordic Hardware had conducted several tests and found that the mostly metal unibody aluminum rear case cover for the HTC Sensation, released as the HTC Sensation 4G in the U.S. by T-Mobile USA, may be the culprit behind the signal loss for the WiFi and Bluetooth radios. Even when placed on a flat palm, the site noted that there was noticable signal loss when placed on a user’s hand.

The phone, which generally has a good signal strength suffers, unfortunately, just like the iPhone 4, the problem with dramatically reduced signal strength depending on how to keep his phone in his hand. When Apple introduced its iPhone, 4 telephone arose the concept of “Death Grip” or freely translated into Swedish, the death grip. This when done by cup your hand around your phone could get the signal strength to drop dramatically when the surface-mounted antennas were disturbed by the user’s hand.

The issue of the death grip was made notoriously famous in Summer 2010 after the iPhone 4 was released. At the time, Apple CEO Steve Jobs had promoted the new exterior antenna, which did double duty as the stainless steel band providing rigidity and structural support going along the sides of the phone, as being better for reception and call quality. However, several news outlets uncovered that when the phone was held a certain way, the user’s skin interfered with the antenna and reception deteriorated. The death grip issue was also known as antennagate.

In the case of Sensation, HTC’s mostly unibody aluminum case does provide for plastic cutouts in the rear of the case design to allow wireless signal to penetrate through to the phone. However, as it seems from the Nordic Hardware report, the cutouts may not be helpful in certain cases to the WiFi and Bluetooth radios.

As the issue pertains to WiFi and Bluetooth, and the case design of the European HTC Sensation and the T-Mobile Sensation 4G both utilize the same design, it is likely that the HTC Sensation 4G will also be affected by the death grip issue.

It’s unclear what had changed on the HTC Sensation’s design as HTC had previously employed unibody aluminum construction on other handsets, including the European version of the HTC Hero–not the Sprint edition in the U.S.–along with the HTC Desire and the HTC Inspire 4G for AT&T.

Via: Electronista




  1. Jay

    06/16/2011 at 9:59 am

    Not really, mine’s working out really fine.

  2. Peter Du306

    07/07/2011 at 12:59 pm

    I have the inspire and seem to have the same issue. When I place my hand over the top half of the back of the phone I could drop my wifi signal by 3 bars. Let go and it all comes back.

  3. Noneotherthan1

    07/11/2011 at 10:10 pm

    yeah, this is a fact. the wifi is TERRIBLE on these phones in landscape mode. i was told by a T-Mobile employee that a second hardware revision was manufactured after June 1st that addresses this issue. i plan to replace my phone with one of these newer models in hopes that it will resolve the problem. if not, i am returning my HTC Sensation 4G. yes, the problem is that bad.

  4. Mymitsu3kgt

    07/29/2011 at 7:00 am

    You won’t even believe how easy this is to fix. There is a thread at the XDA forums.Go to WiFi SettingsHit MenuSelect AdvancedCheck the box next to “Best WiFi Performance”Done! The problem is 100% gone.The box is probably unchecked to save battery but they should not even have that option because it just leads to bad publicity. They should just leave it checked by default.

    • Mghorob

      08/08/2011 at 9:41 am

      heyy! i was having problems with my internet and i came across ur comment here..i just did what u said and i’m going to try it out now and see it if works any better! If it does then ur a lifesave :) -maddy

  5. Lewis Litanzios

    07/30/2011 at 12:28 am

    Owned my HTC Sensation a few weeks now – can’t say I’ve suffered this problem. I’d say it was a faulty phone. Go get a replacement handset.


  6. Cogs06

    09/12/2011 at 10:23 am

    I have the Australian model of the Sensation which replaced my damaged Australian Desire.

    Both suffer(ed) signal loss of WiFi signal if I hold the top half of the hand set in portrait mode or in landscape mode with a hand holding the on/off button end. Nowhere near the extent shown in the video clip though.

    I tend to think that that is a faulty hand set or dare I say modified to push a point.

  7. Clip

    10/12/2011 at 6:59 pm

  8. Ice

    02/19/2012 at 3:29 am

    what does this GRIP PROBLEM mean? 

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