Just a day after we had reported that certain Xiaomi phones, including the Xiaomi Mi A1 and the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 had fared badly in the radiation test report released by the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection, the smartphone maker has taken note of the numbers and clarified its stance on the matter. The company says that its phones being sold in India have different specific absorption rate (SAR) ratings, and are well within the maximum limits that are applicable in India—these are referred to as watts per kilogram (W/kg).
“All Xiaomi smartphones sold in India comply with the laws for SAR values and are well under the limit. Mi A1 has a SAR value of 1.26 W/kg (head) and 0.17 W/kg (body) in India,” says Xiaomi India in a statement shared with News18. “For reference, India has a maximum limit of 1.6 W/kg while in Germany, the limit is 2.0 W/kg,” they add.
Xiaomi also says that the values shared in the said report have been obtained from tests in Germany, where the conditions and standards for SAR testing and values are different from those in India. There can perhaps be an argument that the SAR values obtained in Germany cannot be compared with the SAR values obtained during similar tests in India.
The report in question, released by Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, which is the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection, had revealed the amount of radiation emitted by many smartphones currently on sale around the world.
The data is calculated in “watts per kilogram”, and lower scores mean lower radiation emission from the smartphone. The SAR levels are compared first when the phone is held next to the human ear and head, and also at a distance of 1.5cm from the human body.
The Xiaomi Mi A1, according to the report, was the worst offender clocking 1.75 watts per kilogram of radiation (which Xiaomi claims is 1.26 watts per kilogram for the variants sold in India), followed by the OnePlus 5T (1.68), the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 (1.58) and the OnePlus 6T (1.55). The Google Pixel 3XL registered 1.39 watts per kilogram of radiation, while the OnePlus 6 logged 1.33 on the radiation charts and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 logged 1.29 watts per kilogram of radiation.
Each country has different rating guidelines for radiation from mobile phones. In India, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had established these guidelines back in the year 2012, and defined the acceptable maximum SAR rating as 1.6 W/kg “averaged over one gram of tissue” and 1.6 W/kg when “averaged over 10 gram of tissue”—the latter became applicable from the year 2013. That means the Xiaomi Mi A1 with a SAR value of 1.26 W/kg (head) and 0.17 W/kg (body) is well within the limits in India.
In Germany, the ratings are different. The Blue Angel, the ecolabel of the federal government of Germany, has defined that the specific absorption rate (SAR) induced by the radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation emitted does not exceed 0.5 W/kg and should not exceed 1.0 W/kg when averaged over 10 grams of tissue—these numbers are applicable till the end of the year 2020. Some media in India had reported the German radiation limit figures as 2.0 W/kg thereby throwing the entire argument off track, and which in any way would have meant that the likes of the Xiaomi Mi A1 and the OnePlus 5T, for instance, wouldn’t have breached the German regulatory limits.