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An algorithm is presented that accurately and quickly estimates the peak 1or 10-g averaged specific absorption rate (SAR) in a human phantom when exposed to a wireless device. Instead of performing both an area scan and a zoom scan (as per international standards), only the area scan and knowledge of the transmit frequency are needed. The accuracy of the algorithm has been demonstrated across a broad frequency range (150-2450 MHz) and for both 1- and 10-g averaged SAR using a sample of 264 SAR measurements from 55 wireless handsets. For the sample size studied, the root-mean-squared errors of the algorithm are 1.2% and 5.8% for 1- and 10-g averaged SAR, respectively. It is shown that the algorithm works well in both head and body phantoms.