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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  
    Analog's Avatar

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    Default Proximity Sensor problems?

    I ordered a Shift online from Sprint on Jan 9, had it in my hands by the 11th, and really like most things about it. Except.

    The proximity sensor, for me, is a disaster. It just doesn't work. I have been hanging up on people constantly with my cheek or chin, or taking the phone away from my face after a call and finding that I have opened apps, brought up the virtual keyboard and typed random letters, etc. I find it hard to believe that I'm doin' it wrong, as I have experimented with holding the phone in all kinds of positions and the screen just keeps coming back on, turning off, coming back on...

    I thought maybe I just had a dud, so earlier tonight I went to the Sprint store and they exchanged it. Same problem with the new unit. Maybe even worse.

    Admittedly this is only my second touchscreen phone, but this was never even remotely a problem with my old Palm Pre. As soon as the Pre got near my head, the screen went off, and when I pulled it away, the screen came back on. That's, erm, how it's supposed to work...right?

    Anybody?
  2. #2  
    davecttt's Avatar

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    Default not a problem so far

    I have yet to have this problem. Seems pretty instantaneous for me.

    As far as I know there is no adjustment for this. Would be nice to know if there is one though.
    Proud Multiple Android Owner
    HTC Shift and Sony S
  3. #3  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Analog View Post
    The proximity sensor, for me, is a disaster. It just doesn't work. I have been hanging up on people constantly with my cheek or chin, or taking the phone away from my face after a call and finding that I have opened apps, brought up the virtual keyboard and typed random letters, etc.
    Some phones have an options to lock the screen during calls, but I don't know whether Android has that feature. It sounds as though you might also be touching the capacitive buttons somehow.

    This is a bit off topic, but when phones are tested for radiation safety, you get a smaller dose if you angle the microphone end away from your face (the test is done with a 15 degree angle). Also, the screen stays a bit cleaner
  4. Thread Author  Thread Author    #4  
    Analog's Avatar

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    I don't think I'm touching the capacitive buttons...although, shouldn't those be automatically shut down (i.e., unlit and prevented from receiving input) while the phone is being held to the user's head during a call?

    I wish I could take your advice about angling the mike away from me, but it's already hard enough to get the Shift to recognize that it is being held to my head....

    I really want to keep this device, but last night my cheek or chin hung up on my girlfriend twice during a twenty-minute conversation.
  5. #5  

    Default

    Perhaps an easier way to test the proximity sensor is to place a call and then move a finger around the sensor (to the left of the "grill"). If you can get the screen to turn off with your finger, but it doesn't work in your ear, can you think of any source of light or reflection there?
  6. Thread Author  Thread Author    #6  
    Analog's Avatar

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    As it happens, I was just doing some testing before I read your post: I called a number with a recording and experimented with holding my palm in front of the screen. Each time I did this, the screen turned off promptly when my palm got within about 3/4 inch from it, and promptly turned back on when I withdrew it. Putting the phone directly to my ear, though, once again failed to turn off the screen reliably.

    After reading your post, I tried another test: I placed a call and then experimented with putting my finger next to the the little port next to the earpiece speaker. This also turned the screen on and off reliably. However, while on the same call, putting the phone to my head in such a way that the port was right up against my skull didn't turn the screen off at all!

    I'm stumped. Do these phones actually have a true proximity sensor, or do they use the light sensor to somehow detect sudden changes in the ambient light level or something?

    Incidentally, in case it matters, I performed these tests in a fairly dark room. The shades are closed, it's late afternoon, and the brightest thing around is my 32" monitor about twelve feet away across the room.
  7. #7  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Analog View Post
    I'm stumped. Do these phones actually have a true proximity sensor, or do they use the light sensor to somehow detect sudden changes in the ambient light level or something?
    Could it be your aura? Just kidding.

    As far as I can tell, it's a light sensor. It's also used to adjust the screen brightness if you set that to auto. (Note that auto or not auto screen brightness doesn't affect the (intended) behavior during calls, at least in my test.)
  8. #8  

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    I really want to keep this device, but last night my cheek or chin hung up on my girlfriend twice during a twenty-minute conversation.
    If you decide to get a different phone... do try the evolution(EVO). None of those problems.
  9. Thread Author  Thread Author    #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffro View Post
    Could it be your aura? Just kidding.
    Hey, don't laugh...I was starting to wonder that myself.

    As far as I can tell, it's a light sensor. It's also used to adjust the screen brightness if you set that to auto. (Note that auto or not auto screen brightness doesn't affect the (intended) behavior during calls, at least in my test.)
    From what I understand, and I could well be wrong, mobile phone proximity sensors usually use an infrared transmitter with a range of about an inch, and they look for reflected IR light--the presence of which tells the phone that something is near. If this is the case with the Shift, then the likelihood is that the transmitter is too weak or the light sensor is not sensitive enough...or that the firmware is set in such a way as to make one or both of those things "virtually" true. When I get a chance, I'll experiment with tucking my (dark brown, shoulder length) hair behind my ear before making a call to see if that changes the behavior.
  10. Thread Author  Thread Author    #10  
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    Well, I experimented. It didn't make any difference. Same behavior from the Shift. Keep an eye on your phones out there, and take note of whether your screens are turning on while in calls. The best indicator of this is casually that you will notice the capacitive buttons lighting up out of the corner of your eye.

    Oh, and in response to what Jeffro mentioned earlier, turning auto-brightness on or off didn't affect my results either.
  11. #11  

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    I just got my phone yesterday. I was able to setup my TV, DirectTV and Surround Sound but if I get more than six feet away it works intermittently or not at all. Wondering if this phone may be defective on the IR range. Any input would be appreciated.

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