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Dropping in on dropped phones (pictures)

CNET News.com checks out Verizon's device-testing lab in Bedminster, NJ, where phones get dropped and mannequins lend an ear.

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Ben Fox Rubin
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1 of 9 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Welcome to the labs

Verizon took CNET on a tour of its device-testing lab in Bedminster, NJ, this week, where it showed off some of the work it does to review smartphones and tablets before approving them for sale to customers, including drop testing, antenna testing and audio testing.

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2 of 9 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

The audio anechoic chamber

In this testing room, Verizon manager Sherif R. Sherif describes how Verizon reviews smartphones' speakers and microphones. The space is echo-free, also known as anechoic, and the room is built on springs to diminish vibrations from trucks along a nearby highway.

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3 of 9 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Can you hear me now?

Here's a rubber-eared mannequin in the audio anechoic chamber.

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4 of 9 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Eliminating background noise

In another testing room, Sherif talks about how Verizon reviews how well a phone can eliminate background noise, using speakers that blast sounds simulating a train station or busy restaurant.

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5 of 9 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Antenna checkup

Here a rotating yellow mannequin head is used to test the effectiveness of a phone's antenna.

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6 of 9 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Antenna results

On a monitor outside the room, testers can see how well the antenna performed, with round and red being good and concave and green being poor.

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7 of 9 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Phone drop testing

Verizon's Steve Manetta, who tests hardware reliability, prepares a phone for a drop test. Testers can then review the drops using a slow-motion camera.

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8 of 9 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

The cell phone museum

Near the testing rooms, Verizon keeps dozens of old cell phones, dating back to the 1980s, in a series of glass cases.

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9 of 9 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

The iPhone's grandfather

Here are a few of the first consumer cell phones, including a 1989 Motorola model and a 1986 General Electric phone.

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