Treo 650 Ranks High on SAR Report

CNET has released a list of the top ten highest-radiation mobile phones in the US. The GSM version of the Palm Treo 650 ranks in the top 10 with a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of 1.51 W/kg. The FCC limit for public exposure from cellular telephones is a SAR level of 1.6 watts per kilogram.

Treo SAR radiation graphSAR is a value that corresponds to the relative amount of RF energy absorbed in the head of a user of a wireless handset. The FCC has further information about SAR rates and cell phone radio frequency safety. The FCC is required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 to evaluate the effect of emissions from FCC-regulated transmitters on the quality of the human environment. Detailed SAR reports for any US released cell phone can be found in the FCC's public records.

The Top 10 list of the highest SAR US cell phones can be found here, CNET also put together a list of the 10 lowest SAR handsets.

You can find the detailed GSM Treo 650 SAR report at the FCC under the FCC ID: O8FCAGEMS.

The Treo 700p's SAR reports and other FCC data is also now available online under FCC ID: O8F93001. The 700p uses a CDMA wireless radio and scores only a slightly lower SAR rating.

Thanks to LegoDude522 for the tip

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10 lowest

legodude522 @ 5/31/2006 5:08:27 PM # Q
In the 10 lowest is the Sidekick. How did that happen? Treo 650 is in the top 10 highest.

Palm m125 > Palm Zire 71 > Tapwave Zodiac 1 > Palm Zire 72 > Sharp Zaurus SL-C1000
[url=]Palm screen repair guide for Zire 72 and T|C.[/url]
RE: 10 lowest
joad @ 6/6/2006 1:59:23 PM # Q
If they didn't fry our brains with radiation, we would have had the sense to return the 650 and hold out for something better designed.

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OS made a difference?

neuron @ 5/31/2006 5:18:02 PM # Q
I also noticed that a few days ago. In the lowest 10, the number 1 and 2 are from microsoft, amazing.

RE: OS made a difference?
Ryan @ 5/31/2006 5:34:03 PM # Q
the Qualcomm pdQ-1900 is 4th on the lowest list -- and that was a Palm OS 3.1 smartphone.

I would say this is a RF hardware and system design issue, and not that related to software.

RE: OS made a difference?
Gekko @ 5/31/2006 7:46:29 PM # Q

Yes, FrankenGarnet causes cancer.

RE: OS made a difference?
Simony @ 5/31/2006 8:29:17 PM # Q
Only to Propagandists.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their profits.
RE: OS made a difference?
potter @ 6/1/2006 9:50:41 AM # Q
The biggest part that affects the SAR rating is hardware:
* The radio transmitter.
* The structure/shape of the phone.
* The structure/shape/placement of the antenna.
Now, I could see that the OS could effect the SAR ratting. However, it would be very low level code, not a part that one would think of being a part of the user experience, and a part that could easily be in common between two devices that use the same user level OS but the same software. I am talking of the part of the OS that would be driving the radio (telling it when to turn on, to transmit, to change power levels, etc.)

So, in general, we have an "apples to oranges" type comparison going on here. To be "apples to apples" we need to have two phone models that have IDENTICAL hardware, but different OSs, and identical phone feature sets. The closest that I can think of would be the Palm 700w vs. the 700p. However the are obviously some minor hardware differences. Are there also some major hardware differences or some feature set differences? Quite possibly. Does anyone know of a better example?

Checking, from VerizonWireless's pages:
* 700p: SAR 1.48 at ear, 0.896 on body.
* 700w: SAR 1.26 at ear, 1.01 on body.

RE: OS made a difference?
hkklife @ 6/1/2006 10:26:46 AM # Q
I was under the assumption that aside from the LCD itself (240*240 on the W, 320*320 on the P) and the markings/layout of some of the keys, the 700P & W have IDENTICAL hardware, differing only by what ROM IMAGE is burned onto each device.

Despite their respective OSes handling memory in different fashions, their physical memory architecture is apparently the same (2x64mb NAND chips for each?) though the 700W may have (WinMob users correct me if I am wrong) some extra MBs (~25mb out of a 32mb module) of free storage memory that I don't see accounted for anywhere on the 700P.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX

RE: OS made a difference?
meeksomebody @ 6/2/2006 12:56:22 AM # Q
So theoratically it would be possible for a dual-boot device with WINCE and POS?

Dual boot devices (PalmOS + Windows Mobile) already here!
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 6/2/2006 4:07:01 AM # Q
So theoratically it would be possible for a dual-boot device with WINCE and POS?

Yes, this can be done. In fact, the Oswin vaporphone that supposedly was released in 2005 was designed to run either OS and could be made to switch OSes wit the proper loaders installed.

In reality though, a dual boot device is redundant: an advanced Windows Media smartphone + a copy of StyleTap Platform makes a lot more sense and creates a LOT less headaches for the device developer


RE: OS made a difference?
hkklife @ 6/2/2006 10:22:52 AM # Q
TVoR (or anyone else with firsthand experience)

How would a 240*240 WinMob device running styletap handle a native 320*320 Palm app?

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX

RE: OS made a difference?
AdamaDBrown @ 6/2/2006 2:52:05 PM # Q
Yes, it would be possible to create a dual-boot smartphone. You'd have to hack one or another OS a little though, because they don't support the same resolutions: either you'd have to get WM to run on 320 x 320 instead of 320 x 240, or you'd have to get Garnet to run on 320 x 240 or 640 x 480. You wouldn't need to hack, though, if you were running Cobalt, because it supports both QVGA and full VGA. That's what the Oswin phone did--it had a QVGA screen and Cobalt. While the Palm version of that phone never actually made it to market, the developer version did have both WM2003SE and Cobalt 6.1 in a dual-boot configuration.

Re: StyleTap on 240 x 240, some apps would probably run, but you'd need to scale them either up or down depending on whether they ran in low res or high res. It probably wouldn't be great visually. From what I've heard of StyleTap, it's best if you run it on a VGA PPC in non-scaled mode.

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Good reception

pascanu @ 5/31/2006 5:15:45 PM # Q
While we should be worried about our health I guess this also explains (in part at least) the good radio signal that the Treo 650 gets.

I wonder if the radio signal strenght can be tweaked using some kind of software.

Handspring Visor -> m505 -> Zire71 -> Zire72 -> Treo650

RE: Good reception
fishtastic @ 6/1/2006 3:03:26 PM # Q
The Treo line has quite poor reception compared to even a 50 Nokia. Really poor.....


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But is it dangerous

adamsmark @ 5/31/2006 5:55:52 PM # Q
No one has really determined that it is dangerous, but, that said, I use a bluetooth connection or ear plug, so I'm good either way.

RE: But is it dangerous
SeldomVisitor @ 5/31/2006 6:45:56 PM # Q
SO...ah...what's the SAR of a bluetooth earplug?...

RE: But is it dangerous
Ryan @ 5/31/2006 7:49:42 PM # Q
I saw in one of the reports that the SAR level drops to .58 or so when using a bluetooth headset.
RE: But is it dangerous
Gekko @ 5/31/2006 8:31:46 PM # Q
>I saw in one of the reports that the SAR level drops to .58 or so when using a bluetooth headset.

not worth the dork factor.

RE: But is it dangerous
potter @ 6/1/2006 10:11:56 AM # Q
SeldomVisitor wrote @ 5/31/2006 6:45:56 PM #
SO...ah...what's the SAR of a bluetooth earplug?...

I have never seen a SAR ratting of a Bluetooth headset, however some thoughts:
* The SAR rating should be related to the power of the radio transmitter and to the distance from the body. The greater the power of the transmitter, the greater the SAR (I would expect a linear relationship). The greater the distance, the lesser the SAR (I would expect an inverse-square relationship).
* The typical cell phone handset has a 350 mW transmitter (Note: very crude recollection).
* The typical Bluetooth headset has a 1 mW transmitter (class 3) or possibly a 2.5 mW transmitter (class 2).
* I do not know where the antenna is in the typical Bluetooth headset. I would assume that it would be in be body of the headset, that which is typically behind the user's ear. This would put it as close to use's body as possible, thus increasing the SAR. However I could see that they could the antenna in the mic boom, thus minimizing the SAR.

RE: But is it dangerous
potter @ 6/1/2006 10:56:19 AM # Q
I found this Business Week article ( that quotes a report that measured the SAR of a specific Bluetooth headset and found it to be just 0.001.

RE: But is it dangerous
SeldomVisitor @ 6/1/2006 5:25:24 PM # Q
Though the question was a rhetorical joke now that there are actual answers I would expect the energy to increase as some factor of the distance.


That is .001 at a centimeter becomes, you know, .01 at half a centimeter and .1 at a quarter centimeter and 1 at something approaching a millimeter...etc.


[there are those of us, of course, who don't think cellphones themselves are in the least bit hazardous so this is really all moot w.r.t. bluetooth earbuds...but fun none-the-less!]

RE: But is it dangerous
potter @ 6/2/2006 8:42:15 AM # Q
The generality for electromagnetic radiation power is, power drops off with an inverse-square relationship to distance. If one doubles the distance one cuts the power by four. However, this generality assumes the size of the transmitter and receiver are small in comparison to the distance. Real close to the source the generality breaks down.

If the transmitter and receiver were infinitesimally small (points) then this generality would always hold. With this assumption, if the power were .001 at 1 cm then it would be .004 at 0.5 cm. At 0.25 cm it would be 0.016. At 1 mm it would be 0.1.

RE: But is it dangerous
AdamaDBrown @ 6/3/2006 4:20:38 PM # Q

SAR isn't a fixed rating, it's a calculation assuming a certain placement of a device. For instance, that .001 for the BT headset assumes that you're wearing the headset. To get significantly higher than that, you'd have to have the headset implanted in your brain.

RE: But is it dangerous
joad @ 6/6/2006 2:02:15 PM # Q
"To get significantly higher than that, you'd have to have the headset implanted in your brain."

...don't give them any ideas...

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mr_yellow @ 5/31/2006 6:29:12 PM # Q
What's more interesting is that MOTOROLA picked up the TOP 7 spots with the highest SAR.


Thank god I ditched their stupid flipphones..


potter @ 6/1/2006 10:35:37 AM # Q
Interesting. Several years ago when the SARs where first published, in general the flip phones had the better ratings. The theory was, with the design of the flip phone, the antenna was pulled further away from the user's head, thus reducing the SAR.

meeksomebody @ 6/2/2006 12:55:23 AM # Q
Moto also has two on the top 10 lowest...

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Gekko @ 5/31/2006 7:37:11 PM # Q

Does using an Earbud make a difference? I hope so. I don't want a grapefruit growing in my head.

RE: Earbud
Gekko @ 5/31/2006 7:40:40 PM # Q
Brian Ross reporting:

From Los Angeles to London, few people spending more time on the phone than the flamboyant British billionaire, Richard Branson.

Richard Branson (British Billionaire): Hello, it's Richard Branson.

Ross: The man who created the Virgin Records and Virgin Air business empires. (Visual Virgin Records, Virgin Air)

The man who four times tried to go around the world in a hot-air balloon. Richard Branson has become rich and famous by taking lots of risks. But one risk he says he won't take, is with his cell phone.

Branson: Do not put the phone up to your ear, because it could fry your brain.

Ross: Branson won't put a cell phone any where near his head; using a small head set contraption instead.

Branson: There's the phone, there's the ear piece and just keep--keep the phone away from the body. You put the ear piece in the ear--either ear and you've got the little microphone here and you can talk.

Ross: It's something he's done ever since a close friend, who was a heavy user of cell phones, died of brain cancer.

RE: Earbud
Ryan @ 5/31/2006 7:51:34 PM # Q
G - you do realize that was about analogue cell phones and was first published in 1999!
RE: Earbud
Gekko @ 5/31/2006 8:03:32 PM # Q

So your Ph.D./M.D. tells you that digital is any safer??? Who cares what date it was published? The same concerns and unresolved issues remain today.

Look at the spike in cancer rates over the last 20 years. Coincidence?

"A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one." - "Fight Club"

RE: Earbud
AdamaDBrown @ 6/1/2006 3:10:19 AM # Q
Look at the spike in cancer rates over the last 20 years. Coincidence?

Point one, it's a spike in cancer diagnoses, not neccessarily in cancer rates. We know how to detect cancer better now, so we may or may not be finding more of them that would otherwise have been missed.

Point two, there have been a lot of new carcinogenic sources introduced over the last 20 years, from mercury-bearing vaccines to sweeteners and back, so you can't put the whole situation on cellular phones.

I'm not saying cell phones can't or don't cause cancer: actually, I think you can be fairly confident that they can. But like most things which CAN cause cancer, you're probably not in that much danger if you don't go nuts. Radium can cause cancer too, but that's not a reason to throw out your old grandfather clock with the luminous dial. Most people don't apprecciate the fact that there's a considerable safety margin for most harmful things. You can actually have your picture taken in front of reactor number four at the V. I. Lenin Memorial Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station without endangering yourself, if you don't stick around too long.

RE: Earbud
freakout @ 6/1/2006 5:06:45 AM # Q
Considering that mobile phones have really only been popular with the masses for the last ten or so years? Yes.

This sig is a placeholder till I come up with something good
RE: Earbud
hkklife @ 6/1/2006 11:04:36 AM # Q

Are you planning on upgrading to the 700P?

Or are you still pleased with your 650?

IIRC the old StarTac & MicroTacs (not sure if just the earlier analog-only ones or the newer tri-mode variants) had the highest SAR emissions amongst "popular" phones of any recent vintage.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX

RE: Earbud
potter @ 6/1/2006 11:10:22 AM # Q
Gekko wrote @ 5/31/2006 7:37:11 PM #
Does using an Earbud make a difference?

Yes, for the user has moved the transmitter from their head and potential further from their body. Thus the absorbed electromagnetic radiation is reduced. Now the wire of the ear buds would act as a conduit for some of the transmitted power. But I would expect that to be very small.

RE: Earbud
potter @ 6/1/2006 11:24:08 AM # Q
Re: Analog vs. Digital.

In general the SAR of a phone in analog mode is greater than in digital mode. Reasons for this:
* Analog handset transmitters operate at 500 mW, where as digital operator at 350 mW. (Note: Very curd recollection.)
* When connected, analog cell phone transmitters are continuously transmitting; digital in information packet bursts.
Earlier SAR reports often would give different values for digital and analog mode. However analog's usage is fading fast and thus one typically only see the digital SAR reported.

RE: Earbud
Gekko @ 6/2/2006 7:47:41 PM # Q

hkk - my company provides me a sprint 650 so i have no choice in the matter anymore.

RE: Earbud
AdamaDBrown @ 6/3/2006 4:32:10 PM # Q
As an aside, if you're concerned about radiation, get a GSM phone. CDMA phones tend to pump out more wattage simply because of the way the network is.

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treo interference

Ryan @ 6/3/2006 5:04:36 PM # Q
a rather annoying aspect of using the gsm treo 650 is that its one of the few wireless devices that I use that will always cause rf interference and buzzing on nearby speakers and some pc monitors. none of the other cdma treos and phones I use will cause that.
RE: treo interference
deaston @ 8/29/2006 2:15:25 PM # Q
My Treo actually causes my mouse to disconnect when the phone is transmitting/receiving a call. The really odd thing is, its a WIRED mouse (USB), not wireless.

Got to love that...

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