Cell Phones With the Most Radiation

  • A New Way to Kill Brain Cells

    Some people spend way too much time on their phones. Besides annoying those around them in line at Starbucks or wreaking havoc behind the wheel of a Mercedes, those heavy users are exposing themselves to another danger: radiation from their cell phones, emitted every time the device connects to the network. A new report from the Environmental Working Group ranks all phones from major carriers in the United States based on the Specific Absorption Rates, or SAR, of each model. The numbers, measured both by manufacturers and by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), represent the amount of radiation absorbed by the body when the phone sends a signal to its network. Some smartphones are able to connect to several types of networks, each with a different associated SAR, but since these phones tend to switch on the fly to whatever network is fastest, users are rarely able to control which one their phone is running on. For this reason the rankings presented here are based on the highest-measured SAR for each model. Among the results, a few makers stand out for their high or low performance on this metric: Motorola manufactures four of the 10 highest-radiation phones, with Blackberry following closely at three in the top 10. On the other side of the spectrum, Samsung occupies five of the 10 least-radiation honors, mainly thanks to their low-radiation basic phones. Conspicuously absent from these rankings are Apple’s two iPhone models, which sit in the middle of the list with average radiation emissions. Photo Credit: Endlisnis
    Talking About Tumors
  • Talking About Tumors

    While studies have not shown a direct link between the radiation from mobile phone antennae and brain tumors, cell phones have only been around for about 20 years, so there is only so much we can know about what prolonged exposure will do to the human brain. Nevertheless, the U.S. government regulates emissions from cell phones, which must have an SAR below 1.6 watts per kilogram of body weight. European regulations are more lax, allowing 2 W/Kg, highlighting the lack of accepted standards on what a safe level of radiation is. Ongoing research will hopefully paint a clearer picture of the risk associated with frequent cell phone use in the coming years, but while the jury is out, many will choose to limit their exposure to radiation just in case. For them, we present the 10 mobile phones that produce the most radiation and the 10 that produce the least, starting with the most. Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon
    10th Highest Radiation: Blackberry Bold 9700
  • 10th Highest Radiation: Blackberry Bold 9700

    The first of three Blackberry models in the top 10 for radiation is the Bold, offered to both AT&T and T-Mobile customers in the U.S. A true PDA, the Bold 9700 is one of the maker’s higher-end handsets, boasting full GPS and Web browsing for busy people who need their services on the move. Those features come at a price, though, as the Bold 9700 has tested with a maximum SAR of 1.55 W/kg. Photo Credit: Blackberry.com
    9th Highest radiation phone: HTC Magic (T-Mobile myTouch 3G)
  • 9th Highest radiation phone: HTC Magic (T-Mobile myTouch 3G)

    This sophisticated touchscreen smartphone became the first phone in the U.S. to run Google’s Android operating system when it was released to T-Mobile customers in late 2008. It connects to the internet via Wi-Fi or 3G technology, and comes with an integrated GPS. While these services allow the tens of thousands of Android apps to run on the phone, such features come at a price, with an SAR measured at 1.55 W/kg. Photo Credit: HTC.com
    8th Highest radiation phone: Kyocera Jax S1300
  • 8th Highest radiation phone: Kyocera Jax S1300

    Offered in the U.S. only by Virgin Mobile, the no-contract carrier aimed at providing a simpler and more economical alternative to the major cell providers, the Jax is one of the company’s base models. Costing only $9.99 for new customers, the Jax comes with a maximum SAR of 1.55 W/kg, and it doesn’t even have a Web browser. Customers looking to save a buck on their phone may be paying the difference in radiation. Photo Credit: Kyocera
    7th Highest radiation phone: Blackberry 8703e
  • 7th Highest radiation phone: Blackberry 8703e

    This Blackberry, offered only by Verizon Wireless, is all about the Internet. Lacking a camera or media player, this smartphone is streamlined to provide a fast and seamless Web browsing experience, even serving as a wireless tether to connect a PC or laptop to the Internet. But such souped-up networking capability comes at a price, with radiation levels topping out at 1.55 W/kg. Photo Credit: Blackberry.com
    6th Highest radiation phone: Motorola MOTO VU204
  • 6th Highest radiation phone: Motorola MOTO VU204

    This clamshell phone on the Verizon Wireless network is one of the carrier’s more basic offerings, though the MOTO boasts some sophisticated features like a camera, GPS-type navigation and e-mail. With an SAR tested at 1.55 W/kg, it’s a good thing that the phone also comes with Bluetooth technology. That way, users can operate the phone with a headset, dropping the associated SAR to only 0.58 W/Kg, a significant reduction. Photo Credit: Motorola.com
    5th Highest radiation phone: Motorola i335
  • 5th Highest radiation phone: Motorola i335

    Despite being one of the more basic models offered to Sprint customers, the Motorola MOTO i335 is one of the highest in terms of radiation. With GPS and Internet access in a durable case, the phone's SAR changes little whether it is being held at the ear or being used with a Bluetooth headset, with values measured at 1.53-1.55 W/kg for those respective setups. In this case, there is nowhere to run from the possibly damaging radiation. Photo Credit: Motorola.com
    4th Highest radiation phone: Motorola Moto VE440
  • 4th Highest radiation phone: Motorola Moto VE440

    Considered a music player as much as a phone, this Motorola handset offered by MetroPCS features the beefed-up Stereo Bluetooth technology. This may be one reason for the phone’s high SAR level, measured when the phone is held on the body rather than the ear, which reaches at 1.56 W/kg. Photo Credit: Motorola.com
    3rd Highest radiation phone: Palm Pixi
  • 3rd Highest radiation phone: Palm Pixi

    For Sprint customers who choose to forego Palm’s much-touted Pre model, there is the Pixi: a slimmed-down version of the PDA maker’s challenge to the Blackberry and iPhone. With touchscreen technology and an operating system that allows multiple programs to run at the same time, the Pixi boasts many of the features of its glitzier older brother, but with 50% more radiation at an SAR of 1.56 W/kg. Photo Credit: Palm.com
    2nd Highest radiation phone: Motorola i880
  • 2nd Highest radiation phone: Motorola i880

    Like Motorola’s other music-focused handset at fourth on this list, the i880 gives Sprint customers a Bluetooth-enabled flip phone with a sophisticated music player as well as a camera that records video. Its Internet connectivity is limited, but the i880 still reaches #2 in terms of radiation with a maximum SAR of 1.57 W/kg. Photo Credit: Motorola.com
    Highest radiation phone: Blackberry 8820
  • Highest radiation phone: Blackberry 8820

    It’s surprising that the phone with the highest measured radiation on this list is also one of those offered by several of the major providers: AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless all offer this middle-of-the-road model BlackBerry, which adds Wi-Fi connectivity to bring the phone one peg above the 3G-only models. The third of the BlackBerry family to make it on this list, the 8820 boasts the dubious honor of having the highest-measured SAR of the bunch, topping out at 1.58 W/kg. Photo Credit: Blackberry.com
    10th Lowest radiation phone: LG Shine II
  • 10th Lowest radiation phone: LG Shine II

    With a high SAR measurement at 0.76 W/Kg, the LG Shine II on AT&T kicks off the top 10 phones with the least radiation on the market. With GPS technology and the ability to stream videos and music over the 3G network, it’s a fully-functional smartphone. User reviews highlight patchy connectivity, perhaps one unfortunate side effect of such a low-radiation signal. Photo Credit: LG.com
    9th Lowest radiation phone: Samsung SGH-a137
  • 9th Lowest radiation phone: Samsung SGH-a137

    Proving that you don’t need to be a smartphone to be smart about radiation, the Samsung SGH-a137 maxes out with an SAR at 0.76 W/Kg. What the phone lacks in radiation, however, it also lacks in features: no Internet, no GPS, no e-mail, not even an external display. Offered on AT&T’s network, this basic model is most often sold as a prepaid phone, as close to “disposable” as one can find from a cell provider. Photo Credit: Samsung.com
    8th Lowest radiation phone: Sony Ericsson W518a Walkman
  • 8th Lowest radiation phone: Sony Ericsson W518a Walkman

    The name says it all: as much a music player as it is a phone, the Sony Ericsson W518a clocks in with a maximum SAR of 0.73 W/Kg. Although it features other smartphone technology such as mobile Internet and built-in GPS, this low-radiation handset is not focused on connectivity and occasionally gets bad reviews for its call quality. Photo Credit: SonyEricsson.com
    7th Lowest radiation phone: Pantech Helio Ocean
  • 7th Lowest radiation phone: Pantech Helio Ocean

    Pantech’s Helio Ocean made waves when it first hit the market on the Virgin Mobile network in 2007 for its innovative dual-slider design that exposed either a full keyboard or a full number pad depending on which way it slid. While it also boasts one of the lowest SARs, at 0.72 W/Kg, the Helio was criticized for being a smartphone with only the most basic of smartphone features, perhaps one reason for its low radiation emissions. Photo Credit: Amazon.com
    6th Lowest radiation phone: Samsung SGH-t229
  • 6th Lowest radiation phone: Samsung SGH-t229

    The second of five Samsung phones in the top 10 phones with lowest radiation, the SGH-t229 is another bottom-of-the-line handset that manages a maximum SAR of 0.69 W/Kg thanks to its minimum features. As one of T-Mobile’s most basic camera phones, low radiation may prove to be the most important feature of all. Photo Credit: Samsung.com
    5th Lowest radiation phone: Samsung Propel Pro (SGH-i627)
  • 5th Lowest radiation phone: Samsung Propel Pro (SGH-i627)

    Proving that it also knows how to keep radiation low while packing in more sophisticated features, Samsung takes fifth on the list with the Propel Pro, a business-focused smartphone with an SAR of 0.68 W/Kg. With synchronized e-mail, document support and a Windows Mobile operating system, this model offers AT&T customers some of the best business-related features on the market without the headache of high radiation emissions. Photo Credit: Samsung.com
    4th Lowest radiation phone: Samsung I8000 Omnia II
  • 4th Lowest radiation phone: Samsung I8000 Omnia II

    One of the most affordable touchscreen smartphones out there, the Samsung Omnia II, on the Verizon Wireless network, can connect to its network using five different modes. With an SAR range between 0.13 and 0.62 W/Kg, the Omnia proves to be one of the lowest-radiation phones in any of its connection modes. Photo Credit: Samsung.com
    3rd Lowest radiation phone: Blackberry Storm 9530
  • 3rd Lowest radiation phone: Blackberry Storm 9530

    BlackBerry’s flagship touchscreen smartphone, the Storm, is one of the most powerful cell phones on the market, and is also the third-lowest in terms of radiation, with an SAR of 0.57 W/Kg. With an impressive set of smartphone features including turn-by-turn navigation, streaming multimedia content and ability to serve as a modem for a laptop or PC, the Storm proves that high functionality does not have to come at the expense of high radiation. Photo Credit: BlackBerry.com
    2nd Lowest radiation phone: Samsung Rugby (SGH-a837)
  • 2nd Lowest radiation phone: Samsung Rugby (SGH-a837)

    Runner-up in the ranking for lowest emissions is Samsung’s lowest-radiation handset, the Rugby. With a maximum SAR of 0.57 W/Kg, the Rugby is definitely not a smartphone, but rather a durable everyday phone that can take abuse, as the name suggests. With Bluetooth, basic e-mail, and the ability to stream multimedia content from the AT&T network that it operates on, low radiation is just one more draw in this phone’s arsenal. Photo Credit: Samsung.com
    Lowest radiation phone: Sanyo Katana II
  • Lowest radiation phone: Sanyo Katana II

    It’s appropriate that the lowest-radiation cell phone on the market today is the Sanyo Katana, designed specifically as a prepaid phone for children. The phone, offered by the kid-friendly Kajeet provider, runs on the Sprint network and offers basic phone and Web services, including built-in GPS to allow parents to locate the phone at any time. With an SAR of 0.55 W/Kg, the Sanyo Katana offers parents functionality as well as peace of mind knowing that their children are being exposed to the lowest radiation of any phone on the market. Photo Credit: Sanyo.com
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