EE hands-on review – 4G
Eager to jump on the airwaves of haste, we fired up the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE and boarded EE’s 4G connection. But despite being in one of the 11 UK cities to be connected it was tough to find anything other than 3G+ and HSPA+, nearly everywhere we went. But with 98 per cent coverage planned by 2014 this shouldn’t be an issue for long. Once we found a 4G hotspot, the speeds were impressive – especially with the Galaxy S3 LTE's 2GB RAM to help things slide along seamlessly.
As you can see from the speed test (top) we hit 15Mbps with just two bars of connection – but then the same happened with 3G+ in the video above. So not quite the five times faster than 3G 40Mbps that EE claims to offer. And with so few people using it now we'd have expected a bit more push for our pound. Still, that speed's nothing to be scoffed at.
EE hands-on review – YouTube
As you can see, streaming HD video from YouTube is near instant, even when skipping ahead. And that's with the 3G+ connection that we get here at Stuff Towers. But with just 500MB included on the cheapest £36 per month contract we'll be sticking to Wi-Fi whenever possible.
EE hands-on review – Maps
Even when using satellite view Google Maps loads, scroll, and spits out searches as quick as we can stab at it. Definitely a reassuring safety net when you're using the phone as a sat nav in the car.
EE hands-on review – Spotify
While streaming Spotify over 3G is near instant, making a 4G comparison hard, it’s the download times that show its prowess. Just look how, even with the 3G+ connection, a playlist is downloaded at normal quality with a track coming through every few seconds.
EE hands-on review – webpage
The most visited site you'll use on your mobile had to be tested. And although we've been feeding our dev team all sorts of treats to get our site to optimal speed, even that can suffer on some mobiles. Not on the Galaxy S3 LTE on EE – the page loaded near instantly, and in full, allowing you to scroll up and down straight away. If only we could spend longer there.
EE hands-on review – email
Accessing email on Android isn’t the hastiest affair at the best of times. But with EE’s network we found downloading an attachment to be a painless experience – an 8MB song breezes along the airwaves in just seconds.
EE hands-on review – verdict
When they said 4G was going to be fast, just a year ago when it all seemed far off, they weren't joking. 4G has hit the UK with speeds of up to 60Mbps achieved (in tests) and 20Mbps in real-world experiences. But with the cost of data not changing much (£56 per month gets you 8GB) and 3 rolling out its DC HSPA connection that brings up to 42Mbps to most mobiles, it’s a long road for 4G. And with just 17 cities set to be connected by Christmas, we'd advise hanging back until coverage is better, more networks are competing, and you get it cheaper.
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