Monday, 01 February 2021 23:19

Telstra rates Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21+ as 'Blue Tick' worthy for regional customers


Rural and regional customers wanting the best regional coverage and the very latest Samsung smartphones will be pleased to know that the S21 and S21+ have been added to Telstra list of Blue Tick devices.

Samsung ultra premium flagship smartphone, the S21 Ultra, isn’t on the Blue Tick list, but the still excellent S21 and S21+ 5G Samsung Galaxy models have definitely made the cut as smartphones that Telstra recommends for regional customers.

Telstra says it designates devices with a Blue Tick “in the top group for connectivity in rural and regional areas”, with the full list of devices as of January 2021 below, and interestingly, there are no iPhones in the list.

The list is as follows:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21+, both of which are 5G phones.
  • Then there’s the Samsung Galaxy A21s, the A51, the Note10+ 5G, the Note 20 5G, the Note 20 Ultra 5G, the S20 5G, the S20 FE 20, the S20 Ultra 5G, the S20+ 5G and the Cover Pro.
  • Telstra branded phones with Blue Tick include the Easycall 5, the Essential, the Essential Plus 3, the Essential Pro 2 (A5 2020), the Essential Smart 3, the Evoke Plus 2, the Evoke Pro 2, the Flip 3 and the Tough Max 3.

So, what is more detail from Telstra on its Blue Tick program?

We’re told that “the scale and geography of Australia set particular challenges for networks and handset providers.

“The technology and design of the handset, and the antennas within the handset, can have significant impact on where you can receive a signal.”

Telstra says its Blue Tick program “puts handsets through a specific set of tests in our Wireless Innovation Lab in Paramatta as well as in remote locations on the live network.

“The simulations are designed to test the performance of the handsets in locations on the edge of our mobile coverage and are so thorough that our engineers even go to the extent of holding the phones in a number of different poses and scoring against each one.

“It is because of the extensive nature of these tetsts that we are able to confident recommend “Blue Ticked" devices as handsets that will offer the best possible performance on our network in rural and regional areas.”

What are three tips from Telstra Testing Labs to try when you have "low bars”?

It turns out Steve Jobs was right when he advised people not to hold their phones wrong, although that is my observation, and not Telstra’s.

Telstra says: “When you hold your phone, the antenna and your body work to cancel each other out. Technicians call it a "detuning" effect that can reduce your overall connectivity. These ships are all about ways to not hold you're phone in order to maximise reception.

“First and foremost, get yourself a Blue Tick certified device from Telstra to ensure you have a handset that has passed our most rigorous testing.

“Second, try using a wired or wireless headset so you don't have to hold your device in your hand when taking a call - minimising the interference with the handset's antenna.

“And if you must hold your device, try and use as light a grip as you can to ensure your antenna can get as much exposure as possible.”

Telstra has put together a further guide on "how to get the best coverage in rural areas" for you to read more.

Also as late as January 1, 2018, Telstra was still showing a video it made in a Telstra Exchange blog post about the Blue Tick, with that video shown by YouTube to be made in 2010, which is now over a decade ago. 

Presuambly since that time, testing methodologies and the smartphones themselves have improved dramatically, so the video below is going to be out of date. I hope Telstra can one day make a new, up to date video, but in the interim, if you want to see what Blue Tick testing involved a decade ago, this will give you an excellent overview in just over three minutes:

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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