New figures from the US have revealed the radiation levels of the most popular smartphones over there, with the listing including several phones currently available in the UK.
The phones are rated by their Specific absorption rate, which is a measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed by the body when exposed to a radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic field.
In other words, the SAR rating is the amount of electromagnetic (radio) energy shunted out by a phone in the general direction of your noggin during use, measured in watts/kilogram.
With their high power chips and processors whirring away, and all those 3G, bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios radiating away, it’s not surprising that smartphones come out a lot worse than their simpler dumbphone cousins.
The good and the bad
The sampling of the most popular smartphones in the US revealed the Nokia 9300i as having the lowest SAR rating (i.e. it’s the least likely to turn your brain into a radiation-sozzled mush) while the HTC myTouch (aka the HTC Magic) scored worryingly high.
The BlackBerry Bold is not far behind in the really bad boy rankings, followed by the Nokia E71x and iPhone 3G. At the opposite end, the Blackberry Curve and Palm Pre pull some of the lowest (i.e. best) rankings for smartphones.
Interestingly, the United States limits SAR ratings to 1.6 W/kg, while the EU sets the bar at 2.0 W/kg. Check out your phone’s listing here: Environmental Working Group.