Two phone or not two phone SAR is the question

Mobile Radiation

As technology continues to advance and becomes cheaper there is a growing demand by consumers to have the latest iterations of their favourite operating systems and handsets. Also as most of the premium players have an annual release cycle the enterprise is unable and unwise to try and keep pace with its employees technology. Therefore this leads to a proliferation of personal devices in the workplace and most people having at least 2 mobile devices.

Although having multiple devices is not an issue, it could be in the future if you are not careful. It has been a few years since the safely of mobiles raised its head; mainly due to the excitement the latest technology creates which is why it has been pushed to the back of the cupboard. You definitely do not see any of the premium players using safety as a selling point.

Mobile technology has a safety rating which is measured in SAR and most countries have legislation to define what the safe limit is (see below). This however is based per handset and doesn‟t take into account that you may now have 2 mobiles in the same pocket or an 3G iPad and Laptop in your bag leaning against your body. Does doubling up on devices against your body double the risk?

If you look at the popular handsets, although there is a huge difference in SAR values you may not want 2 high emitting handsets in the same pocket (although individually they are within tolerance). Cost is also not an indicator of SAR either as some of the very cheap PAYG handsets also have a very high rating.

iPhone 5S (SAR EU) – 1.00 W/Kg (Head) 0.80 W/Kg (Body)

Samsung Galaxy S4 (SAR EU) – 0.39 W/Kg (Head) 0.44 W/Kg (Body)

Blackberry 9720 (SAR EU) – 1.10 W/Kg (Head)

Interestingly Samsung seems to have a lower SAR than most, which seems like a very good selling point to me although health concerns are usually a very taboo subject that no one will raise. Maybe in the future SAR ratings will be a deciding factor when buying technology however in the meanwhile be aware when you put all of your “eggs in the same basket”

If you want to look up your handset or tablets SAR click on the following link

SAR (Specific absorption rate)

Each GSM handset has a radio transmitter and receiver in order to operate in the wireless GSM network. That transceiver is manufactured so that when used next to the ear and when worn on the belt, it won’t exceed the limits for exposure to radio frequency energy set by the authorities (Limits have been recommended by different countries which are expressed in units of watts per kilogram (W/kg) in either 1g or 10g of tissue). The higher the SAR Rating the more radiation is absorbed.

SAR Limits


Author: Steve Wakefield

Steve Wakefield is an experienced Innovator presently based in London.

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