EE 4G smartphones on sale now: Super speeds tested!
The first 4G network in the UK, from EE – the network formerly known as Everything Everywhere – is rapidly nearing launch. While the switch won’t get flicked in the first 4G areas for a few more weeks, you can now buy the first phones upgradeable to 4G today. But what sort of speeds should you really expect when you’re out and about? We put EE 4G to the test this week: read on for the surprising results.
Starting today you can buy the Samsung Galaxy S3 4G, HTC One XL 4G and Huawei Ascend P1 4G in T-Mobile and Orange stores, and you’ll be able to upgrade to EE’s 4G tariff as soon as the network goes live for customers (EE isn’t saying how much that will cost just yet). The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 4G model will go on sale on 16 October, while unlocked, T-Mobile and Orange iPhone 5 models are 4G-ready out of the box.
That’s good news for gadget fans, if a little bit complicated. But to cut through the red tape, we decided to give EE 4G a go on all four 4G phones available in the UK right now.
We tested EE 4G out in Paddington, central London (right now, EE’s 4G network in London is restricted to roughly zone one on the tube map, but a representative told us it hopes to reach out to the suburbs and the M25 before launch). On first impressions, it’s orders of magnitude faster than 3G. The 40MB Bad Piggies game for iPhone downloaded in seconds, and web pages popped up almost instantaneously.
But don’t take our word for it, take our numbers for it. We used the popular Speed Test app for iOS and Android to clock download and upload speeds for all of them, and averaged out eight results for each.
We saw speeds as fast as 44.47Mbps for download (almost as fast as fibre optic broadband), and 16.73Mbps for upload, so uploading your antics to YouTube will be near-instant. By contrast, T-Mobile 3G in the same spot consistently maxed out at under 1Mbps download and upload. Yes, it’s up to 44 times faster than 3G, in other words, though the company says it expects an average speed of 12-15Mbps in practice.
What’s interesting though is how fast each individual EE 4G phone performed. The iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 were substantially faster than the Huawei and the HTC One XL. The duo averaged download speeds of 24.7Mbps and 36.5Mbps respectively, compared to averages of 16.3Mbps and 13.3 Mbps for the latter two.
In other words, not all 4G phones are born equal – and right now, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is looking like the true speed demon.
We’ll be sure to put them all through the review grinder when EE’s 4G network goes live for the public. In the meantime, have your say in the comments: are super speeds enough to get you to switch network?