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Best for 4G: Galaxy S6 v Huawei P8 v LG G4

Posted by wicked June - 1 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off
Huawei-P8-vs-LG-G4-vs-Galaxy-S6-Edge-AA

I often get asked which handset has the best network performance and reliability and usually the answer is Samsung, as for many years now the company has had by far the fastest LTE speeds on mobile devices.

With the change in build from plastic to metal and glass on the Galaxy S6 however, the company was faced with having to redesign its network antennae, so is the performance as good as past Samsung devices? How does it compare to the plastic-clad LG G4 and the metal-built Huawei P8, which comes with Huawei’s own extensive knowledge of mobile networks.

Which of these has the most reliable network connection, including call success rate, antenna strength and 4G Speed Tests? Let’s find out:

N.B. All handsets were tested using the same network – EE, which supports speeds of up to 300Mbps in the London area – and at the exact same time. The results below are based on a sample of 52 tests in 11 different areas spanning a distance of 170 miles.

Network Switch Rate

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One problem with most current LTE networks is that VoLTE (Voice Over LTE) isn’t supported in large parts of the network, meaning handsets need to switch down to a 3G connection when attempting to make a call while connected to an LTE connection. Often, the time taken to locate and switch to a 3G network can result in a dropped call; both, when making a call or receiving a call.

The purpose of this section was to test the handset’s ability to switch from LTE to 2G/3G and vice versa, while also determining which handset remained connected to the fastest network for longest. During our testing, we found the following:

  Galaxy S6 LG G4 Huawei P8
Average Time taken to switch to fastest network 1 minute 48 seconds 52 seconds 41 seconds
Number of dropped calls when connected to LTE 21 dropped calls 11 dropped calls 6 dropped calls
Time connected to fastest network 49 seconds 1 minute 3 seconds 2 minutes 9 seconds

The network switch rate on the Galaxy S6 is certainly surprising given that past Samsung devices – albeit they were made of plastic – would usually latch onto the best network. The LG G4 certainly performs well but Huawei’s network coverage shone through in testing, with the Huawei P8 switching the fastest and remaining connected to the best network for longest.

Antenna Strength

lg-g4-vs-samsung-galaxy-s6-edge-quick-look-aa-2-of-14

This section tests how strong the antennae performance on each smartphone actually is. To test the antenna strength, we used the figures reported in the Settings > About Phone > Status screen. A signal rating of -60 dBm is recognised as near perfect while anything above -110 dBm is considered call-dropping quality.

Our testing shows that:

  Galaxy S6 LG G4 Huawei P8
Average antenna strength -91 dBm -74 dBm -62 dBm
Ratio of average connection (3G:LTE) 4:1 1:5 1:8
Occurrences of zero signal (out of 52 tests) 13 3 3

The Galaxy S6 again fails to excite here, with the handset often not even connecting to LTE. Considering that this particular unit may have been faulty, we decided to test with an alternate handset and found similar levels of performance: the second Galaxy S6 was on average 6 dBm better than the first handset and not enough to warrant the first unit as faulty.

The LG G4 again performs relatively well, with a relatively strong network antenna, but the Huawei P8 is again the best (and this time, by far).

LTE Speed Tests

Galaxy-S6-Speedtest-1

Now to the final section and probably the most interesting: superfast LTE speeds. This was a simple test to conduct; each handset was using the latest version of Ookla’s SpeedTest application and was connected to 4G.

Our testing found:

  Galaxy S6 LG G4 Huawei P8
Average speed test: download 50.03 Mbps 53.37 Mbps 58.31 Mbps
Average speed test: upload 15.69 Mbps 18.38 Mbps 20.04 Mbps
Fastest LTE speed recorded: 78.39 Mbps 88.46 Mbps 91.44 Mbps

The results were very surprising, given that the Ascend P7 was slower than both the LG G3 and the Galaxy S5. The G4 is better than the G3 thanks to the addition of Cat 6 support and the Huawei P8 is a marked improvement over the Ascend P7, with Huawei’s network knowledge really shining through thanks to the dual antenna system.

The Galaxy S6 tests showed that the handset is significantly slower than the Note 4 and Galaxy S5, despite the newer internal hardware and LTE Cat 6 support (which the Galaxy Note 4 also has). The Galaxy S6 also failed to latch onto 4G+ (Cat 6) – which offers downloads speeds of up to 300Mbps – and was instead limited to Cat 4, which offers a maximum download speed of 150Mbps.

Conclusion

Looking at all the tests and the various results, I think it’s safe to say that the Huawei P8 is the best handset for LTE, while the LG G4 comes second and the Galaxy S6 is significantly further back. Samsung’s adoption of metal and glass certainly worked for most parts of the handset but the network antenna seems to have suffered as a result of the switch, which could be expected given the problems others have had with metal builds.

With the G4, LG have made the antenna stronger than the G3 and the result is much better performance overall. The G4 is certainly impressive in holding onto a network connection and with Cat 6 support, the maximum download speeds have also vastly improved. The dual antenna system on the Huawei P8 clearly prevents any antenna-gate issues – where holding the handset the wrong way can affect your signal – and the handset can intelligently switch between the two antennae, depending upon which is the strongest.

Now read the reviews:

Huawei P8 Review
LG G4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Review
Samsung Galaxy S6 Review

What do you think? Is LTE performance and network resilience important to you? Let us know your views in the comments guys!

LTE Direct equipped smartphones could improve spectrum utilization

Posted by wicked May - 21 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Qualcomm has been trailing the next stage in LTE development, known as LTE Direct, for a little while now and other developers in the space have begun talking a bit more about the promising new technology.

For a little background, LTE Direct, also known as D2D, is a device-to-device proximal discovery technology. Essentially, this enables compatible devices to communicate with each other directly using the LTE wireless spectrum. The technology works within a range of 500 meters and could allow for the discovery of thousands of nearby devices.

“D2D-enabled LTE devices have the potential to become competitive for fallback public safety networks that must function when cellular networks are not available or fail.” – Professor Jeff Andrews

You may recall that there’s a growing concern about the amount of bandwidth available to provide increasingly high-speed, long distance LTE services, and there has been lots of talk about local, small cell networks and initiatives like LTE-Unlicensed to help boost data speeds to customers. LTE Direct takes this idea one step further, by allowing end devices to cut out the middle men and communicate directly with one another.

LTE Direct slide 2

Of course, this has a few potential negative aspects for mobile devices, especially when it comes to data privacy and any effects on our precious battery life. Qualcomm states that the technology allows for the anonymous discovery of other devices and doesn’t track location or device data. Battery life is also said to be mostly unaffected, by not wasting network pings on every available connection.

“it’s not that much further to a scenario where when you’re finished with your cellphone, you can hang it on the wall and it adds to the cellular network.” – Steve Papa, founder of Parallel Wireless

The proximity service is already being touted as an efficient, high-speed method to allow people to connect with and search for people, local businesses and other services nearby. The opportunity to connect directly with consumers and the potential for ad revenue should entice businesses over too. Furthermore, some believe that the finalized model could go even further, allowing for devices to actually contribute to network spectrum, presumably by allowing others to transmit data through D2D devices and onto another cell or handset.

LTE Direct slide 1

Steve Papa, founder of Parallel Wireless recently told CNBC that smartphones could eventually replace the need for cell towers in built-up populated areas, as smartphones could become part of the transmission network.

While unlikely to completely replace the need for longer distance coverage, combining LTE Direct with small cell networks could greatly decrease the burden on the limited spectrum available and improve future network speeds and coverage. For further details, be sure to read Qualcomm’s whitepaper on the subject.

Verizon’s XLTE Hits 1-Year Anniversary, Adds Six New Markets

Posted by Kellex May - 19 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Just over a year ago, we exclusively reported that Verizon was going to put to use their AWS spectrum (band 4 LTE) in markets across the country to double the 4G LTE bandwidth of their current network and improve speeds in areas that were starting to suffer from heavy amounts of traffic. We reported then that they would call this major upgrade XLTE. A week after our report, Verizon confirmed the news by launching XLTE in more than 250 markets across the US.

So here we are exactly 1-year from the launch of XLTE and Verizon has some info to share, along with a few new markets to introduce. 

According to Verizon, XLTE is now in over 400 markets, which includes both major cities and rural areas. They have over 40 devices available that support XLTE and its two LTE bands of 4 and 13, including the Galaxy series, DROID Turbo, and iPhones.

As for the new markets, there are six of them:

  • Madisonville, KY
  • Marshalltown, IA
  • Martinsville, VA
  • Meridian, MS
  • Owensboro, KY
  • Traverse City, MI

To top off Verizon’s celebration, they also put together this infographic that walks through some of the numbers I just mentioned plus some other tidbits about their total number of 4G LTE markets, percentage of the US that is covered by LTE, etc.

After you check that out, let us know what your Verizon LTE has been like since they launched XLTE. Are you seeing faster speeds again?

xlte-infographic-2014-05-19

Via: Verizon

Verizon’s XLTE Hits 1-Year Anniversary, Adds Six New Markets is a post from: Droid Life

AT&T Trek HD tablet for mid-price 4G LTE connection on the go

Posted by Tom May - 17 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

AT&T has announced the AT&T Trek HD Android tablet, a mid-range device that provides an affordable option for a 4G LTE internet connection on the go.

The 8-inch tablet has a 1280 x 800-pixel display, runs on a Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.6GHz and comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Onboard storage is 16GB, expandable to 32GB via microSD.

To keep up with the extra battery usage from the LTE connection it carries a 4,060mAh Li-Ion battery that offers 8 hours usage.

The back camera is a 5MP unit and the front-facer is 2MP.

It weighs 0.75lb and is out now for $199 outright or in the US $49.99 with a two-year contract.

Via tablet-news

New Sharp Android tablet Aquos Pad SH-05G to launch in Japan

Posted by Tom May - 13 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Sharp has announced its new Android tablet, the Sharp Aquos Pad SH-05G through Japanese carrier DoCoMo.

The 7-inch tablet has an IGZO LCD panel with a 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution and Pure Red technology.

It supports LTE connectivity as well as One Seg and Full Seg TV and comes with Android 5.0 onboard.

The processor is a Snapdragon 810 and it comes with 2GB of RAM, 32GB storage and a 3900mAh battery.

It’ll go on sale mid-July, price TBA.

Via tablet-news

Google Posts Android 5.0.2 Factory Images for Nexus 9 WiFi and LTE

Posted by Kellex May - 5 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Samsung starts rolling out Android 5.0.1 update for the Galaxy Note 4 LTE in India

Posted by wicked May - 5 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Samsung_Galaxy_Note_4_Back_Galaxy_Note_4_Logo_TA

Samsung has just begun pushing out the much-anticipated Android 5.0.1 update to all LTE variants of the Note 4 located in India. In terms of added functionality, this upgrade transports the latest build of Lollipop to the handset, as well as a multitude of bug fixes and stability improvements.

All the changes you’d expect to find are bundled into this upgrade, including support for multiple accounts, improved notifications, a smoother multitasking experience and the recently-announced Material Design guidelines.

As is customary with all manufacturer updates, the upgrade is being rolled out in stages, but if you don’t feel like waiting for a notification confirming that it’s ready for your device, you can search for the update manually. Alternatively, you can sideload on the software onto your device by downloading it here.

Come comment on this article: Samsung starts rolling out Android 5.0.1 update for the Galaxy Note 4 LTE in India

Samsung now rolling out Lollipop OTA for all LTE variants of the Galaxy S5 in India

Posted by wicked April - 29 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

galaxy-s5-samsung-sign

As expected, Samsung has just started pushing out the much-anticipated Android 5.0.1 update to all LTE variants of the Galaxy S5 located in India. In terms of added functionality, this upgrade transports the latest build of Lollipop to the handset, in addition to a multitude of bug fixes and stability improvements.

All the changes you’d expect to find are bundled into this upgrade, including support for multiple accounts, improved notifications, a smoother multitasking experience and the recently-announced Material Design guidelines.

As is customary with all manufacturer updates, the upgrade is being rolled out in stages, but if you don’t feel like waiting for a notification confirming that it’s ready for your device, you can search for the update manually. To do so simply follow the four steps below:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll to the bottom and tap on “About Device”
  3. Hit “System Updates”
  4. Tap on “Check for update”

 

Come comment on this article: Samsung now rolling out Lollipop OTA for all LTE variants of the Galaxy S5 in India

BT launches new 4G LTE service in the UK

Posted by wicked March - 25 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

BT brand identity

Whilst it’s waiting on approval for its £12.5 billion acquisition of EE, BT has decided to take full advantage of the 4G masts it will soon acquire by launching its own SIM-only LTE service in the UK.

The tariffs are as follows:

  • £5 per month — 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data.
  • £12 per month — 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data.
  • £20 per month — unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 20GB of data.

All plans are 4G-enabled and will require you to sign a one-year contract. They’ll also give you access to all of BT’s OpenReach Wi-Fi hotspots.

However, there is a catch. The aforementioned prices are only valid if you have an active BT Broadband subscription, if not, you’ll need to pay an additional £5 per month for each one.

The full press statement can be seen below:

“The three new BT Mobile ‘bring your own phone’ (SIM Only) plans offer an unrivalled combination of fast 4G on the UK’s biggest mobile network and unlimited access to the UK’s largest wi-fi network of over 5 million BT Wifi hotspots.

If you’re in a BT Broadband home, you can get the best value 4G tariffs, saving up to 50% per cent on your BT Mobile bill compared to non-BT Broadband customers. Each account holder can have up to five discounted SIMs on their account – up to total of 10 per household.

The new 12-month contract deals are ideal if you want to keep your current phone but add a great value bundle of 4G data, minutes and texts. You can can also use your own 2G or 3G phone, or buy a new 4G phone from the BT Shop from just £99 with an exclusive voucher offer.

BT Mobile gives you control over your mobile spend and the flexibility to make the most of your plan. This includes a monthly spend cap that you can set yourself to avoid surprise bills, and the ability to monitor your spend through the BT Mobile App.

And if you find your usage changes, you can move to another plan without extending the length of your contract. This applies even if you move to a cheaper plan.

BT Mobile customers can also get free BT Sport via the BT Sport App, even if they don’t have BT Broadband, and enjoy live and exclusive Barclays Premier League football matches.”

Source: BT

Come comment on this article: BT launches new 4G LTE service in the UK

LG Announces LTE Version of Its Watch Urbane, Ditches Android Wear

Posted by Kellex February - 26 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Remember that brand new all-metal, “luxury” watch that LG unveiled a week or so ago, called Watch Urbane? Forget about it. They have a new one! It’s still called Watch Urbane, but this one has LTE, a big ol’ battery, three buttons instead of one, and a full 1GB of RAM. Oh, it also ditched Android Wear for LG’s own wearable platform. That’s right, no Android in this little guy. 

Overall, the new Watch Urbane LTE is very similar to the original Watch Urbane. It has a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 1.3-inch P-OLED display, 4GB storage, and dust and water resistance. But as I mentioned, it differs because of its LTE radio, 3-button setup, and upgraded battery (now 700mAh) and RAM. Actually, LG is calling this the world’s first LTE-enabled smartwatch. Why we need LTE in a smartwatch is beyond me, but it is now a thing.

Thanks to its LTE capabilities, the Watch Urbane can make and receive calls, send and receive text messages, and even do that push-to-talk thing, assuming the carrier you have attached it to supports it. Walkie talkie on your wrist! Dick Tracy, get down.

As for the 3-button setup, this is how LG describes the need for them:

Three physical buttons on the right side of the smartwatch allows for easy access to a number of functions without having to swipe through multiple menu screens. The top button accesses the Quick Setting menu where the user can check and adjust battery usage, brightness, volume and connection settings. The main center button switches between the watchface and list of installed apps. The bottom button acts as the “Back” function when depressed quickly but becomes a safety beacon when long-pressed, automatically dialing any preset phone number as well as sending the location coordinates of the wearer.

Finally, the Watch Urbane LTE allows users to “make payments for meals, movie tickets and even transit fares,” but also has “specialized features for golfers, cyclists and hikers.”

Sounds like the quite the watch. Of course, we have no price tag, but expect it to be in the kidney range.

  • Chipset: 1.2GHz Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 400
  • Operating System: LG Wearable Platform
  • Display: 1.3-inch P-OLED (320 x 320 / 245ppi)
  • Network: LTE
  • Memory: 4GB eMMC / 1GB LPDDR3
  • Battery: 700mAh
  • Sensors: 9 Axis / Barometer / PPG / GPS
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b, g, n / Bluetooth 4.0LE / NFC
  • Color: Silver
  • Other: Dust and Water Resistant (IP67) / Speaker / Microphone

lg watch urbane lte4

lg watch urbane lte3

Via:  LG

LG Announces LTE Version of Its Watch Urbane, Ditches Android Wear is a post from: Droid Life

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