A recent report by the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection talked about the radiation level of some of the popular smartphones in the German market. Topping the list was Xiaomi A1 at 1.75 Watt/kg (W/kg) followed by OnePlus 5T at 1.68 W/kg. Even the Apple iPhone was reported to have a SAR value at 1.38 W/kg. However, the same might not hold true for the Indian market as the smartphones sold here might not have the same SAR value as the ones sold in Germany.
The Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) refers to the rate at which the body absorbs RF energy. Here, the head and body refer to the device held against the head and operated from a distance of 1.5 centimetres, respectively. For the mobile phones sold in India, both these levels should be under 1.6 W/kg.
The SAR value of the Mi A1 sold in India stands at 1.26 W/kg (head) and 0.17 W/kg (body) in India and not 1.75 W/kg. The company has also issued a statement clarifying the same.
According to Xiaomi India, "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. Values shared in the mentioned report have been obtained from tests in Germany (where the conditions and standards for SAR testing and values are different from those in India) and thus cannot be compared to SAR values in India. For reference, India has a maximum limit of 1.6 W/kg while in Germany, the limit is 2.0 W/kg."
While we could not check the SAR level of the Apple iPhone 7 and OnePlus 5T, we were able to check the levels for Apple iPhone XS and OnePlus 6. Apple iPhone XS sold in India has the SAR value of 1.19 W/kg (head) and 1.18 W/kg (body) and OnePlus 6 has the SAR value of 1.20 W/kg (head) and 0.68 W/kg (body). You can also check the SAR value of your handset by dialling a USSD code *#07#.
According to the Department of Telecom, India has adopted one of the most stringent Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) exposure norms in the world. As per the guidelines issued by the department, the SAR level for mobile handset shall be limited to 1.6 W/kg, averaged over a mass of 1 gram of human tissue. And all new designs of mobile phones should have complied starting September 1, 2012.