Xiaomi and OnePlus top other devices in terms of emitting radiation, according to a recently reported list pulled together by online statistics and research market firm Statista. The stats are pooled from the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection and Statista notes that there's no universal understanding of exactly what the "safe" level of radiation exposure might be. The German agency won't certify devices that exceed 0.60 watts per kilogram.
HTC, Apple, Google, and Sony also have devices ranking in the top ten for radiation emission, according to Statista but Xiaomi and OnePlus collectively account for over half of those. Those two companies also took eight of the top sixteen handsets. Xiaomi's Android One-based Mi A1 tops the list at 1.75 watts per kilogram. Rated at 1.68 watts per kilogram, the OnePlus 5T follows just behind that. The Xiaomi Mi Max 3 and OnePlus 6T were rated at just over 1.5 watts per kilogram while the HTC U12 Life rounds out the top five with 1.48 watts per kilogram.
So, which devices are the safest in terms of not threatening with radiation?
At the opposite end of the radiation emissions spectrum, Samsung holds half of the top sixteen smartphones in terms of least radiations. Three of its handsets are in the top five, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 at the top with just 0.17 watts per kilogram. That's followed by the Samsung Galaxy A8 and Galaxy S8+ in fourth and fifth with 0.24 and 0.26 watts per kilogram.
Holding the second and third position are the ZTE Axon Elite, tying with Samsung's Galaxy Note 8, and the LG G7 with 0.24 watts per kilogram.
Also in the top ten for low radiation output are Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge and Galaxy S9+, putting out 0.26 and 0.29 watts per kilogram. In between those two handsets, HTC's U11 Life and both the LG Q6 and Q6+ put out just 0.28 watts per kilogram.
Motorola's Moto G5 Plus rounds out the bottom ten for radiation at 0.3 watts per kilogram.
The stark contrast and why it matters
Breaking down the figures from Statista shows a trend that some users may find somewhat concerning. While Android owns the bulk of the market share worldwide, the gap isn't quite as large in the US. Apple's devices, according to Statista, tend towards the high-emission side. Conversely, with regard to brands, Samsung appears to be a safe bet for those looking to limit their exposure, as does LG.
OnePlus has grown in popularity over the past several years for Android purists and those looking for the best value in mobile while other Chinese companies have been rising in popularity as well. That means that some of the most popular devices on the market are also putting out the highest level of radiation, which is still not well-studied in terms of long-term exposure and impact on users.
Both of Google's latest smartphones, the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL feature prominently among the worst offenders as well.
Companies such as HTC and ZTE are less consistent and hold positions on both lists and that could make it more difficult for discerning customers to choose those brands. Radiation is understood to have negative impacts on people and studies from Swiss health agencies have shown that radiation from smartphones can be particularly bad for younger users. The overall research doesn't appear to be completely conclusive just yet but it stands to reason that less radiation exposure is probably for the better.