With the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 and Mi Mix 2S, the number of smartphones flashed for exceeding SAR increases to twelve. Following a formal notice from the ANFR, the manufacturer has deployed updates whose effectiveness has been verified by an independent laboratory.
The National Frequency Agency has further identified exceedances of the 2 W/kg limit for SAR (Specific Absorption Rate). It represents the amount of energy from an item of equipment, such as a mobile phone absorbed by the body as heat per unit of time.
This time, Redmi Note 5 and Mi Mix 2S smartphones are being pointed at, bringing to twelve the number of smartphones officially pinned by the Agency. The first one just exceeded the regulation with 2.08 W/kg on the head, while the second climbed to 2.94 W/kg on the trunk; this is the second highest score so far.
In both cases, a software update was deployed by Xiaomi and their effectiveness verified by a laboratory mandated by ANFR.
The ANFR had already checked a Xiaomi smartphone in the past: the Redmi 2 in May 2016. It was then declared compliant… despite a maximum trunk SAR of 2.36 W/kg. Explanations. At the time, the European R&TTE Directive of 1999 already imposed a limit of 2 W/kg, but with a distance that could vary between 0 and 25 mm, at the manufacturer’s discretion.
In its measurement report at the time, the laboratory explained that “trunk SAR measurements made at other distances may appear in this report. These measurements, which are outside the distance recommended by the manufacturer, go beyond the regulatory requirements and cannot be used to assess the conformity of thedevice”. This was the case of the DAS trunk 0 mm from the Redmi 2. With a distance of 15 mm, the maximum SAR is only 0.620 W/kg in the regulation nails.
- Read our dossier on #PhoneGate, DAS and the publication of ANFR reports
An important change will take place in 2016 and concerns all terminals put on the market after 25 April 2016. The distance is indeed fixed at 5 mm.
For the time being, the European requirements therefore cover two types of measurements, which must always be less than 2 W/kg :
- Head SAR:reflects the use of the phone by ear in voice conversation. The NF EN 50360 standard describes a measurement methodology, which is based on a head model and two reference positions of the telephone, in contact with the ear, on the right and left.
- trunk DAS:associated with uses where the phone is worn close to the trunk, e.g. in a jacket pocket or bag. Standard NF EN 50566 provides for measurement on several sides of the device at 5 mm.
2.080 W/kg for Redmi Note 5 in head SAR
The Redmi Note 5 was therefore flashed at 2.080 W/Kg in head SAR on the 2.6 GHz band in 4G. In the detailed report, we learn that the measurement was taken when the phone is held against the cheek with the right hand, while the value is halved with the left hand. Tilting the smartphone by 15° makes little difference with 2,070 W/kg instead of 2,080 W/kg.
These are the only measurements that exceed the limit, all others (900, 1800, 2100 MHz) are at a maximum of 1.56 W/kg. On the body SAR, all is well with 1.59 W/kg maximum according to the laboratory. All measurements on the Redmi Note 5 were made between September 24 and October 12, 2018 with firmware 18.104.22.168.
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Before / After
The National Agency has obviously contacted the manufacturer and ” has given formal notice to Xiaomi, the company responsible for placing these telephones on the market, to take all appropriate measures to put an end to the non-conformities found on the equipment currently on the market as well as that already marketed “.
If he does not challenge the report’s conclusions, he has two choices: remove the smartphone from the market and launch a recall campaign, or deploy an update. The second option has been chosen, but ANFR does not take the manufacturers at their word.
From 16 to 24 January, a new testing campaign was conducted by ANFR at an independent laboratory. The verdict is indisputable: from 2.080 W/kg, the head SAR increases to a maximum of 0.356 W/kg. The firmware was this time in 10.0.6.0.
The Mi Mix 2S was well above the limit with 2.94 W/kg in trunk SAR (instead of 2 W/kg maximum), when measured between 25 September and 5 October. No head DAS measurements were requested on this phone.
This time, the 1,800 MHz band in 2G gets the highest score, followed by 4G also on 1,800 MHz (2,140 W/kg) and 3G on 2.1 GHz (2,130 W/kg). Each time the limit was exceeded, the measurement was taken on the back of the Mi Mix 2S. The other sides remain within the regulatory limit.
Again, the manufacturer has decided to deploy an update. At the beginning of January, during new series of measurements to verify compliance. The 2G on 1800 MHz is down to 1.110 W/kg and the maximum SAR now returns to 2G on 900 MHz (1.420 W/kg).
However, nothing is specified about possible changes in the reception quality of the two smartphones.
Before / After
A total of twelve smartphones have been pinpointed and corrected so far by ANFR : Alcatel Pixi 4 6, Huawei Honor 8, Orange Hapi 30, Hisense F23, TP-Link Neffos X1, Echo Star Plus, Wiko Tommy 2 sold by Bouygues Telecom Wiko View, Archos Access 50, Logicom M Bot 60 and the two Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 and Mi Mix 2S. The “record” is held by Archos with 3.01 W/kg on the trunk DAS.
This does not mean that all other smartphones are compliant, for several reasons. First of all, because ANFR can only test a few hundred new terminals each year with the funds at its disposal. Second, because proceedings may be pending. They are covered by an equivalent of investigative secrecy and are only made public once they have been completed.
Xiaomi’s formal notice does not result in a penalty since the manufacturer corrected the shot: ” We don’t have the capacity to sanction an offence, we have the capacity to sanction the repetition of offence ,” explained Gilles Brégant, Director General of ANFR.
- All ANFR DAS measurements in open data