Not all 5G is created equal.
What you need to know
- Samsung phones are experiencing up to 18% faster 5G than the iPhone 12 lineup.
- The inclusion of 5G in the iPhone 12 lineup did boost cellular speeds twice as fast for iPhone users.
While the iPhone 12 lineup brought 5G to the iPhone for the first time, Apple still has some catching up to do to rivals like Samsung when it comes to 5G speed.
According to a new report from Opensignal, bringing 5G to the iPhone 12 lineup unlocked the door for iPhone users to experience cellular speeds up to twice as fast as previous models.
When we compare the five largest smartphone brands in the U.S. we see Apple users have the biggest increase in download speed. In areas where 5G is available, Apple users had overall download speeds 2.3 times faster than the iPhone users’ 4G download speeds. Among the other brands we analyzed, the difference ranged from 1.7 times for LG users, to 1.4 times for OnePlus and Google users.
However, not all 5G is created equal. In their tests, Opensignal found that Samsung phones were still almost 20% faster with their 5G connections than their iPhone counterparts.
As the U.S. moves ahead with 5G, Apple is narrowing the gap in experience with other smartphone brands. In areas where 5G is available, Apple users see download speeds approximately 18% slower than the fastest brand (Samsung). But for 4G Download Speed, our OnePlus and Google users experience speeds over twice as fast as Apple users.
As noted in the report, all of the leading smartphone brands are using the same Qualcomm modem to access their 5G connection, something that Apple plans to continue for at least a couple of years.
Notably, where older 4G iPhone models used Intel modems, Apple and all the leading U.S. Android smartphone brands are using the same Qualcomm modem in their 2020 smartphone models which helps explain why the difference is smaller in 5G areas. Apple has also taken the unusual step of including support for the extremely fast mmWave flavor of 5G in all four iPhone 12 models in the U.S., even in the iPhone 12 Mini.
If you’re trying to figure out what iPhone is right for you and your 5G needs, check out our list of the Best iPhone of 2021
However, the company plans to eventually break its need for Qualcomm and build its own 5G modem. The company recently announced a new facility in Germany for building and testing wireless technology and may debut its own modem as soon as 2023.
Bottom line: For most people, there is no reason to invest in the Pro model. With near-matched specs across the board, this is the new standard in iPhone.
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