Mark Lerner
Mark Lerner

March 7, 2013

Top Samsung Phones and Their SAR (Radiation)

Samsung has come from behind and now has over taken the market as the largest device manufacturer in the world, with a strong 26 percent share of both smartphone and non-smartphone mobile subscribers.


Samsung's breakthrough phone, the Samsung Galaxy S3, is still one of the most popular phones on the market and signaled a new direction for Samsung. Legal battles with Apple aside, Samsung has taken the mobile world by storm. 

There have been plenty of articles about the various features of Samsung phones, but we wanted to give a uniquely tawkon point of view about these phones - their radiation. 

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

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 their maximum SAR value allowed is 1.6 W/kg. *

Mobile radiation is a major concern, especially since the lmits set by the FCC are based on phone usage assumptions such as only using your phone for 6 minutes everyday. If you want to be fully protected from mobile radiation during your calls, check out the tawkon retro handset.

We chose the top 5 current Samsung phones on the market and looked at their basic features, including their SAR rating (standard metric for measuring absorbed radiation from mobile phones).

For comparisons sake we have include a list of other popular, non-Samsung phones. 


Samsung Phones

Position         Device SAR (W/Kg)     
1 Samsung Galaxy Note II  0.171 W/Kg
2 Samsung Galaxy Note 0.209 W/Kg
3 Samsung Galaxy S2 0.240 W/Kg
4 Samsung Galaxy Nexus 0.303 W/Kg
5 Samsung Galaxy S3 0.342 W/Kg


Other Popular Phones

Position     Device   SAR (W/Kg)
1           Google/LG Nexus 4                 0.550 W/Kg                   
2 HTC One S   0.687 W/Kg
3 Blackberry Z10   1.070 W/Kg
4 Nokia Lumia 920   1.080 W/Kg
5 iPhone 5   1.180 W/Kg
6 Sony Xperia S   1.370 W/Kg



Samsung Galaxy Note 2.0 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is the sucessor to the wildly popular Samsung Galaxy Note. The Note 2 is powered by Android’s Jellybean 4.3 operating system, has a screen that is 0.2 inches larger than the original Note. It’s also slightly taller and a few mm less in width, which make it exactly fit the16:9 ratio. This ratio means the Note 2 is perfect for watching video which is usually in 16:9 format and doing so will be easier than before, as Samsung has enabled native support for extra file formats like MKV.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has garnered glowing reviews for both looks and functionality, but our main concern is how much radiation it emits. Based on what we have found, the Note 2 is not only a fantastic phone, but it actually has the lowest SAR rating of any of the phones we have looked at! 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 gets two thumbs up from tawkon. 

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 SAR: 0.171 W/Kg


Samsung Galaxy S3 



The Samsung Galaxy S3 could be considered a "game-changer," not only for Samsung but for the whole mobile device market; CNET even stated that the Galaxy S3 beat iPhone 5 for best device of 2012 - quite an achievement. 

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is 4.8 inches in size, up half an inch from the 4.3 inches of the Samsung Galaxy S II, an HD resolution of 720 x 1,280 and an overall breathtakingly gorgeous look.

Here is a breakdown of some of the Samsung Galaxy S3's main features.

- Screen: 4.8″ 720×1280
- Processor: 1.4 GHz quad-core Exynos
- Storage: 16GB/32GB/64GB, Up to 64GB SD card support
- Camera: 8-MP rear camera with LED flash, 1.9MP front-facing camera
- Connectivity: HSPA/3G, Wi-Fi 80.211b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA, A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC, Wi-Fi Direct, USB On The Go
- Ports: microUSB (MHL compatible), 3.5mm headphones
- Battery: 2100mAh, removable

While the Galaxy S3 is a wildly popular phone, mostly because of it's great features and sleek looks, the amount of radiation that it emitts is an issue that is of greater importance to us. Based on the numbers, even though the Samsung Galaxy S3 SAR is on the higher end of the Samsung phones, it is still well below the levels of other popular phones like the iPhone 5 or the new Blackberry Z10.

Samsung Galaxy S3 SAR: 0.342 W/Kg

Samsugn Galaxy Note 



The Samsung Galaxy Note that started it all. The Samsung Galaxy Note basically invented the "Phablet" category of smart phones and set the standard for all the new phones in this category that are popping up today. 

The Samsung Galaxy Note measures 5.75-inches long, 3.25-inches wide, and just under half an inch thick. It's relatively thin and light, but it's so wide that it's a little hard for me to grip in one hand. There is also a 1280 x 800 (WXVGA) Super AMOLED screen. As you might expect, photos and video look absolutely spectacular.

Given all the accolades for this market re-defining device we wanted to see how this phablet stands up in terms of radiation. The Samsung Galaxy Note created its own category of phones and revolutionized the market, and it did it with a phone that has a minimal level of radiation. 

Samsung Galaxy Note SAR: 0.209 W/Kg


Samsung Galaxy S2 

The Samsung Galaxy S2 - or Samsung Galaxy S II, as it's also known - is the phone the Korean firm deems the successor to its best smartphone so far. And with a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, super-slim chassis and feather-light innards, it's easy to see why.

The thing you immediately notice when you first pick up the Samsung Galaxy S2 is the screen – at 4.3 inches it's hard to miss, and when you turn it on the Super AMOLED Plus technology hits you square in the eyeballs (once it's got through the toughened Gorilla Glass).

It's not quite in the same league as the Samsung Galaxy S3; while some will argue the pixel quality is higher on the S2 thanks to a different sub-pixel arrangement, it's still markedly lower-res than the S3. However, when looking at the Samsung Galaxy S2 SAR we can see that it has a particularly low SAR, even lower than the more popular Samsung Galaxy S3.

Samsung Galaxy S2 SAR: 0.240W/Kg


Samsung Galaxy Nexus 



The Samsung Galaxy Nexus was the world's first phone to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and now it's the first phone to run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It's an upgrade that keeps it as relevant as ever.

The Samsung Galax Nexus has great features such as a fantastic Super AMOLED HD screen, dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 5MP camera and NFC support, to name a few. The Nexus itself is fairly big, with dimensions of 135.5 x 67.9 x 8.9mm, though it's actually slightly smaller than Samsung's flagship handset, the Samsung Galaxy S3. The screen, when lit up, looks fantastic. It's 4.65-inches with a resolution of 720 x 1280, giving it a pixel density of 316ppi. It really is super sharp.

Although the Nexus name was co-opted by LG/Google for the newest iteration of the phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus stand its own ground. With its sleek design and great features, the Galaxy Nexus is certainly not a passing fad. In fact, when compared to the LG/Google Nexus, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus SAR is significantly lower. 

Samsung Galaxy Nexus SAR: 0.303 W/Kg

As it turns out, Samsung not only makes fantastic phones, but they make phones that are extremely safe. This is most obvious when you look at the difference between Samsungs flagship phone, the S3, and the iPhone 5. Samsung continues to roll out new devices, but will they continue to make phones with low levels of radiation? 

We can only hope. 


*The exposure standard for wireless devices employs a unit of measurement known as the Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR. Unfortunately, the limits set by the FCC/IC and the Concil of the European Union are measured over different amount of tissue, therefore are not directly comparable.

  • The SAR limit set by the FCC/IC is 1.6 W/kg averaged over 1 gram of actual tissue.
  • The SAR limit recommended by the Council of the European Union is 2.0 W/kg averaged over 10 g of actual tissue.
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