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Galaxy S9 Obliterates iPhone X in LTE Speed Tests

With the Galaxy S9, Samsung believes it has one of the fastest phones around. And now it's got the test data to back up that claim.

The testing, provided by third-party firm Ookla, concludes that Samsung's newest flagships offer faster download speeds than other phones — up to 42 percent faster, Samsung says in its summary of Ookla's numbers.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Specifically, Ookla's numbers show that the Galaxy S9 beats the iPhone X's download speed by 37 percent. The latest Galaxy phones are 17 percent faster than Google's Pixel 2.

That actually squares with some of our testing. When we first got our hands on a Galaxy S9+, we used Ookla's Speedtest.net app to see how its download speeds compared to the iPhone X's. Running the test multiple times, we logged a download speed of 71.6 Mbps for the S9+, while the iPhone X averaged 48.8 Mbps — a difference of 46 percent. The S9+ downloaded a movie trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 18.8 seconds, nearly 20 seconds faster than Apple's phone.

MORE: Galaxy S9 User Guide: Tips, Tricks and How-Tos

Samsung credits its edge in download speeds to a Category 18 downlink LTE modem. Specifically, the Galaxy S9 uses Qualcomm's X20 modem, which is capable of supporting download speeds up to 1.2 Gbps. The X16 modem in the iPhone X we used in our testing has a 1 Gbps cap.

That said, it's worth taking note of the phones Samsung called out when trumpeting its download prowess. Like the iPhone X, the Pixel 2 is equipped with a modem that has a lower maximum throughput.

That won't be the case with other phones just hitting the market now. The Galaxy S9 uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 mobile processing platform, which includes the X20 modem. The just-announced LG G7 ThinQ has the same mobile processor, though, as does Sony's Xperia XZ2. And the OnePlus 6, set to be unveiled this week, is going to feature a Snapdragon 845, too. We plan to see how those phones compare to the impressive network speeds we've seen on the Galaxy S9.

MORE: Use a fast VPN to avoid network throttling 

To be fair, LTE speed is just one aspect of performance. The A11 Bionic processor in the iPhone X is a heck of a lot faster than the Snapdragon 845 processor in the Galaxy S9 when it comes to other tasks. This includes video editing, opening apps and PDFs, as well as synthetic benchmarks like Geekbench 4 and 3DMark.

  • allinbigt
    Don't lie to the people about the LTE tests...make sure you don't forget to mention that wifi is still faster than LTE no matter what you do...next Samsung needs to post the sales of the S8 line LOL,,I'll wait
    Reply
  • nickebrenner
    They need to offer a flagship without the curved sides so one can put a real case on it. My wife's s7 had one of those kinda cases that wraps partly around, but the screen still shatter when dropped 2 feet and hit on the corner.
    Now with her s9+ she had to go with another case that doesn't really protect the front, so she insisted on the durable case like screen protector cover for the front...well, now the screen isn't very responsive at all, and makes it really frustrating crippling such a powerful device. And, the edges serve no purpose other than to look cool when not in case, but...it has to be in a case or else it will almost definitely have a screen or rear glass back break.
    Reply
  • cocky.1801
    Nickebrenner, i just bought one and have seen a lot of issues with the sensitivity although it appears it can be fixed in the settings on the phone - i have had good luck with the otterbox commuter on my phones so that and a glass screen protector are going to be my combo. Hope the above helps with the sensitivity issues.
    Reply
  • paul.brandon.rye
    When the 2nd fastest phone, 3rd fastest, 4th fastest, etc, are all plenty fast, I don't buy one based on the wireless or LTE speed. I buy into features, apps, battery life, reliability, etc. And, my experience with the Samsung J7 is that Samsung reliability and Customer Service are terrible. Probably due to their endless tinkering with the Android operating system, so they can offer a gazillion different models.
    Reply
  • allinbigt
    20970785 said:
    They need to offer a flagship without the curved sides so one can put a real case on it. My wife's s7 had one of those kinda cases that wraps partly around, but the screen still shatter when dropped 2 feet and hit on the corner.
    Now with her s9+ she had to go with another case that doesn't really protect the front, so she insisted on the durable case like screen protector cover for the front...well, now the screen isn't very responsive at all, and makes it really frustrating crippling such a powerful device. And, the edges serve no purpose other than to look cool when not in case, but...it has to be in a case or else it will almost definitely have a screen or rear glass back break.

    Reply
  • allinbigt
    Wow I did not think about the curve edges of the display that makes alot of sense, and I know she was frustrated. My wife is very clumsy lol love her lots so she always gets the Active in that series her latest is the S8 Active.
    Reply
  • Longtallsam
    When is someone ever going to start rating phones on how well they receive a cell signal, when we are more than a couple miles from a cell tower. Many of us live in rural areas or at least, have to travel through rural areas that may be five miles or more from a cell tower! Is it just that, all phones are equally bad at receiving these signals? I would gladly give up a few milliseconds of data speed, for a decent signal in remote areas!
    Reply