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These Android phones emit the most radiation, study claims

Google Pixel 3 in all colorways
Google Pixel 3 in all colorways (Image credit: Android Central)

Update: Google has responded.

What you need to know

  • A new study ranks Android smartphones with the highest radiation emissions.
  • Older models from Google, Sony, Motorola, and OnePlus dominate the list.
  • The FCC says there's no "credible scientific evidence" suggesting smartphone radiation causes harm to humans.

It's no secret that smartphones emit radiation, albeit at varying levels, but a new report sheds light on which smartphone models are the worst radiation emitters. The results might surprise you.

According to Bankless Times (opens in new tab), some of the older models from Google, Sony, Motorola, OnePlus, OPPO, and ZTE emit the most radiation. The Motorola Edge (opens in new tab) tops the list, followed by ZTE's Axon 11 5G and the OnePlus 6T.

Interestingly, a couple of Google Pixel phones, OnePlus models, and Sony Xperia devices dominate the list. It includes the Pixel 3 (opens in new tab), Pixel 3XL, Pixel 4a (opens in new tab), Xperia XA2 Plus, Xperia XZ1 Compact, and the OnePlus 6/6T.

It should be noted that these devices were some of the best Android phones (opens in new tab) two to five years ago, so the number of people who use them today is likely to be small.

Android Central reached out to each brand mentioned in the report but was unable to get a response as of this writing.

The study ranks these devices based on their Specific Absorption Ratios (SAR), which measure how quickly the body absorbs radiofrequency energy. The chart below shows the SAR for each smartphone.

Specific Absorption Rates for various phone brands (Image credit: Bankless Times)

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has set a maximum SAR level (opens in new tab) of 1.6 watts per kilogram. The chart indicates that the Motorola Edge has the worst radiation emission level.

Nonetheless, there is currently "no consistent or credible scientific evidence of health problems caused by the exposure to radiofrequency energy emitted by cell phones," according to the FCC (opens in new tab).

Having said that, it won't hurt to limit our smartphone exposure to a healthy level.

Update April 9, 2022 6:32am

A representative from Google's Pixel team told Android Central that it publishes SAR data for every phone it releases, including the Pixel 3, Pixel 3XL, and Pixel 4a.

"These phones are well within all the regulatory and compliance guidelines in countries where we distribute them," the spokesperson said. "Our latest phones Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have even lower SAR values."

More details about the Pixel 6 series' SAR can be found on the Pixel Phone help page (opens in new tab).

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He is a tech journalist based in the Philippines who has been writing about consumer tech for the past six years and has been using various Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. When he's not writing, he likes to spend time outside, stealing scenes with his phone camera.