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Old 06-18-2011, 06:52 PM   #1
Parc Ferme
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With heavy heart, I confirm the Nexus radio problems...

I picked up a new Nexus S 4G two days ago. The phone is great. Great form factor, great feel in the hand, great screen, very snappy. No complaints.

Unfortunately, there is something amiss with the radios on this thing. Here's what appears to be happening...

1. The phone is brand new purchased at Best Buy and running a fully stock out of the box phone except for installed apps: netflix, various official google stuff (talk, voice, etc.), angry birds, telenav. I may be forgetting 1 or 2, but there are NO suspect apps from shady third parties on the phone.

2. I have no problem with signal readings. Wifi signal shows full strength when phone is in same room as router. Elsewhere in the house, the phone basically mirrors my netbook's wifi indicated signal strength.

I show 1 bar on the phone antenna itself. This is not unusual as all my Sprint phones (10+ years) only get 1 bar. The Nexus is neither better nor worse with respect to phone signal strength displayed. In terms of dropping calls, I haven't dropped calls and I usually don't have problems with dropped calls regardless of Sprint phone even tho they all show 1 bar.

3. I'm going to describe the problem according to a very specific set of factors. It's possible that the problem may exist if other factors are present, but I will only stick to what I can see with my eyes on my phone in my hand in my house. So if I say "WIFI ON", I am describing the context for my problem only. It's possible the problem may exist with "WIFI OFF", but for me that would be an untested assumption.

4. On my Nexus, (a) when plugged in/charging, (b) launch "Clock", (c) turn screen to landscape, (d) dim clock, (e) let screen time out and "screensaver" clock start, the phone goes into a "sleep" mode. Once these factors are in play, the Nexus will not receive notifications from Google Talk or Google Voice meaning that once your phone is in this "sleep" state, and someone sends you a message from Google Talk or a txt via Google Voice, you will not be notified.

If, at this point, you bring the phone out said "sleep" mode, you will notice two things; 1, the radio indicators at the top of the screen for the phone and WIFI and grey and not the normal green and 2, if you open google talk, the entire buddy list will be greyed out and nothing will function. Tapping on a buddy results in no action.

At this time, I would assume the radios are powering back up because after 2 or 3 log out/log in attempts on Google talk, you are finally able to log in. However, the first couple attempts will result in an error message indicating that there is a communication problem.

As well, if you launch the browser, you will time out on any non-cached webpages until the radio spool back up.

The indicators at the top of the screen return to "green" once everything gets going again.

Phone calls DO come through without any problems regardless of "sleep" mode or not.

5. The lack of a notification LED is a lot bigger deal than I thought it would be. It's almost a dealbreaker in and of itself. Without the LED, you are forced to constantly check your device for messages which feels like you just got stuck doing a lot of the work the device is supposed to do for you. It's like having someone come over who refuses to knock or use the doorbell and you just have to go keep checking the door at random intervals and see if he's standing out there.

6. It looks like the problem is directly tied to how the device handles going in and out of sleep mode or power-save mode or whatever they want to call it. Judging by the behavior I have observed, I DO believe it is fixable via software as the problem does NOT appear one of defective or faulty hardware (in my experience), rather the problem is how the hardware is handled by the kernal/software. If the radios were simply faulty, then I don't believe I would be able to replicate the problem over and over again against a specific set of testing criteria.

7. Even if the radio problem were fixed tomorrow, I would still be 50/50 on returning the phone. The lack of a notification LED is way bigger of an issue than I expected. You have to change your behavior and open/unlock the phone and check for notifications rather than having the phone tell you in an easy and efficient manner.

So, there you have it. There is definitely a problem with radio communication on the Nexus S 4G. However, it doesn't appear to be "faulty" or "defective" radios. Rather, it looks like Samsung went a little overboard on how the phone handles "sleep" or "power save" mode. This should mean that if whoever is responsible (Samsung probably) actually addresses the problem, there should be an "easy" fix.

Still no LED tho.

P.S. I can now also confirm that with all the above factors identical, if the phone is NOT plugged in/charging and simply operating off battery, then I don't see the problem happening.

Last edited by Parc Ferme; 06-18-2011 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:12 PM   #2
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We really need to stop buying Samsung phones until they learn to ship something that works out of the box like HTC.
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:12 PM   #3
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Update:

The problem exists anytime the phone goes into sleep/powersave mode, regardless of charging or not.

Phone is definitely getting returned.
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hip2Bsquare View Post
We really need to stop buying Samsung phones until they learn to ship something that works out of the box like HTC.
In all fairness to Samsung, the EVO 4g had some issues with radios at launch. The good thing though, there was an update like 3 weeks after launch.
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Old 06-19-2011, 12:28 PM   #5
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UPDATE:

OK, i've been playing with this thing trying to isolate the problem.

Here's what I've learned:

1. the problem does not exist when using 3g only (wifi off, 4g off, etc)
2. the problem does exist when using 3g and wifi together (4g unknown - no signal here)
3. the problem occurs when the phone goes into sleep mode in that google talk notifications never come through and google voice notifications intermittently come through.
4. email and phone seem to have no problems, i have yet been able to create a scenario where email or phone show any problems.
NOTE: if you have several google talk messages waiting for you, but they are not coming through because of the radio problem, and then you get either a phone call or email, then all of the notifications come "pouring through", also they will get time-stamped with the time they came through, not when sent, so if you have 10 google chat messages that have been sitting for 30 mins without notification and then you get an email that opens the notification floodgate, all those pending messages get time-stamped 30 mins late.
5. GPS works for me using telenav (google maps untested). Last night I used Telenav for about an hour riding my motorcycle around L.A. and it operated as well as the telenav on my blackberry.

Conclusion:

a. if using 3G only (wifi is off, 4g is off), then I do not have any problems
b. if WIFI is running alongside 3G, then I have notification problems that I can replicate without fail
c. definitely a software issue, not a radio issue
d. GPS seems to work fine for me, but only after brief testing

oh, and no LED is still ridiculous

Last edited by Parc Ferme; 06-19-2011 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 06-19-2011, 01:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishman42 View Post
In all fairness to Samsung, the EVO 4g had some issues with radios at launch. The good thing though, there was an update like 3 weeks after launch.
Hmm I dont remember that.
The only problem I had was an annoying error message from something to do with my contacts.
I did one hard reset and the problem was gone.

That is a good thing tho
that HTC rolls out the fixes quite fast !
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hip2Bsquare View Post
We really need to stop buying Samsung phones until they learn to ship something that works out of the box like HTC.
I completely agree. I've never owned a samsung phone that didn't have serious problems. Usually, those problems go unfixed. When I worked for sprint years ago, I forbade any of my customers from buying them.

Every couple years I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and buy a samsung phone, hoping that they've finally figured out how to design hardware. But 9 years after the A460 and their phones are still riddled with issues.
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:22 PM   #8
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Change your WiFi Sleep Policy in WiFi Advanced Settings.
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:28 PM   #9
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Oh no... this sounds reminiscent of the problems that the Samsung Moment has with wifi. If you turn wifi on, and then back off, then you get data lockup later in the day (guaranteed).
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnythan View Post
Change your WiFi Sleep Policy in WiFi Advanced Settings.
huh?
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:14 PM   #11
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huh?
Go to Wifi settings. Menu, Advanced. Change the Sleep Policy to Never.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnythan View Post
Go to Wifi settings. Menu, Advanced. Change the Sleep Policy to Never.
Did this the day I got the phone (I use some apps that need a consistent connection). The wifi still frequently drops for short periods (just a couple of seconds but long enough to interrupt anything that needed a data connection during those 2 seconds).
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Old 06-23-2011, 02:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphorian View Post
Hmm I dont remember that.
The only problem I had was an annoying error message from something to do with my contacts.
I did one hard reset and the problem was gone.

That is a good thing tho
that HTC rolls out the fixes quite fast !
And Google, Sprint, and Samsung are two months without a fix for the Nexus!!!!!!!!!!!

I had hoped for some kind of fix by NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

Glad I returned my Nexus tho before my 30 days was up...
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:31 AM   #14
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The test I did was in S. Cal. in San Dimas. I have an Evo, my co-worker had an Nexus S. I could get 4G on mine, he couldn't. He took it back and another one, same problem. He took that one back and got an Evo and problem solved!
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:51 AM   #15
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And Google, Sprint, and Samsung are two months without a fix for the Nexus!!!!!!!!!!!

I had hoped for some kind of fix by NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

Glad I returned my Nexus tho before my 30 days was up...
I truly believe this Nexus S problem has a lot to do with the CDMA radio. I haven't read nearly half the issues with the GSM version of the Nexus S.

I believe sometimes when they design GSM phones for CDMA, something gets screwed up along the way.
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