Consumer Reports: Cell phone voice quality put to the test

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Sound quality on cellphones is not always entirely clear. Consumer Reports tested voice quality using a device that reflects cellphone conversations in both noisy and quiet environments.

None of the 149 cellphones in Consumer Reports' ratings got an excellent or even a very good rating, for voice quality.

But there's a promising new development in voice quality already available to many smartphone users: High Definition -- or H-D Voice.

Consumer Reports says it may be worth trying.

"It's very early in the rollout right now and the technology has some limitations, but it's promising," said Mike Gikas of Consumer Reports. "Our preliminary tests found a noticeable difference. Speech not only sounded fuller, it was easier to understand."

All the major carriers are starting to roll it out. If high definition is available, make sure it's activated on your phone. Look for options like 'HD Voice.'

Other phones call it 'Voice over LTE,' 'Advanced Calling' or you'll see simply: 'Voice and Data' on some others.

If you don't have HD Voice, there are several things you can do, which may improve your audio right now.

Try turning on the setting for noise reduction. You can also play around with other personal call sounds, like: Soft Sound and Clear Sound.

The good news is, none of it, including H-D Voice, costs extra. Yet.