Mark Lerner
Mark Lerner

June 27, 2013

Phablet SAR (Radiation) Levels - Does Size Really Matter?

In recent years, the line between tablet computer and smartphone has been increasingly blurred.

Phablets (combination of “Phone” and “Tablet”) are typically defined as "hybrids of smartphones and small tablets with a screen size of five to seven inches."

A new player in the field of phablets has just emerged, Huawie's MediaPad Vogue 7. The specs of this new phablet set it apart from the others in several ways, but most notabley in its size. The MediaPad is a whopping 7 inches, as opposed to the 5 inches that most other phablets boast. 

Several articles have been written already about the Huawei MediaPad Vogue 7, but we decided to dig through the FCC documents and find out more about how much radiation, or SAR, this tablet puts out; the results were pretty astounding. 

Let's first define SAR (Specific Absorption Rate). SAR is a measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed by the body when exposed to a radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic field.

All phones in the United States and Europe must be qualified/certified by a regulatory body before being sold in the market. In the United States, this body is the FCC and the maximum SAR value allowed is 1.6 W/kg. 

The Huawie MediaPad Vogue 7 has an unbelievably low maximum SAR of 0.035 W/Kg; a number this low is almost unheard of. 

Time magazine online recently wrote an article describing phablets as a "niche, not a fad" - refuting any skepticism that has surronded their introduction into the market. 

When the Samsung Galaxy Note - considered to be the first "phablet" - was introduced it reached five million shipments within five months of its October 2011 launch. Its successor, the Galaxy Note II, reached that same milestone in two months.

There have been plenty of articles about the various features of phablets, but we wanted to give unique tawkon insight into their radiation. 

tawkon allows you to monitor your exposure to radiation emitted by your smartphone and alerts you when it spikes.

We took a look at the SAR of some of the top phablets on the market. What became apparent to us is that the SAR levels of these phablets were significantly lower, on average, than their smaller counterparts. 

What could possibly explain this phenominon? In order to answer this we must first address the following question, "What is the difference between phablets and regular phones?"

The answer is obvious: they are larger. 

Below are a selection of top phablets on the market and their SAR.

Position                Device                                                SAR (in W/Kg)          
         1             Huawei MediaPad Vogue 7               0.035 W/Kg
         2             Samsung Galaxy Note II            0.171 W/Kg
         3             HTC Droid DNA            0.500 W/Kg
         4             LG Optimus G Pro            0.640 W/Kg
         5             Sony Xperia Z            0.720 W/Kg


Now, let's compare these phablets to their smaller counterparts from the same manufacturers:

Position                Device                                                  SAR (in W/Kg)          
         1              Huawei Ascend                                  0.233 W/Kg
         2              Samsung Galaxy S4                 0.450 W/Kg
         3              LG Nexus 4             0.550 W/Kg
         4              Sony Xperia V             0.860 W/Kg
         5              HTC One             1.261 W/Kg


So why is it that two phones that are nearly identicle, save for their size, would have such different SAR levels? It turns out the answer lies in the placement of the phone's antenna. 

When testing absorbed radiation against a persons head, the majority of the radiation emitted comes from the area around the antenna; the larger the phone, the more likely it is that the antenna will be further from the users head. While device manufacturers may not have taken this into account when creating these phablet devices, the end result is an entire niche of phones that are extremely low radiation emitting. 

No one knows what the next few years will bring in terms of mobile devices. Phones continue to get larger and tablets get smaller, and their convergence into a single device has taken the entire mobile market by storm. As these disruptive changes in the market continue to emerge, tawkon will be there to provide mobile radiation protection and awareness. 

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