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The impact of the user's hand holding a multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) terminal on system performance and specifically on channel capacity is investigated. A 4 × 4 MIMO system is considered with a personal digital assistant terminal equipped with a compact array of 4 patch elements. The proposed methodology is based on the use of radiation patterns of the antenna elements in the presence of the other elements and in the presence of a user's hand. Radiation patterns are obtained by means of simulations as well as of measurements conducted in an anechoic chamber. Two MIMO channel models are considered, namely a correlation-based model and a geometry-based model, where the antenna patterns are incorporated. The evaluation of MIMO channel capacity demonstrates the impact of the specific terminal antenna array. Moreover, significant degradation of channel capacity is proved because of the presence of the user's hand.