Galaxy S10 Smokes iPhone XS in Wireless Speed Test

If you want the fastest wireless speeds among flagship phones, you're going to want a Galaxy S10. That's according to Ookla's Speedtest, which has found that Samsung's latest devices average noticeably faster downloads than Apple's iPhone XS.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Ookla surveyed more than 600,000 tests performed on over 200,000 unique devices to accumulate their data, which saw the new Samsung handsets consistently hitting higher download speeds than other currently-available handsets can offer — about 8 Mbps faster, on average.

The difference comes down to the S10 series' Category 20 LTE modem — the first of its kind in the industry, which can draw upon 20 spatial streams simultaneously to pull data, when most modems can only manage 16 to 18 streams.

Of the three Galaxy S10 models, the S10 Plus led the charge with an average download speed of 51.26 Mbps. In second was the S10, at 49.54 Mbps, followed by the S10e at 49.18 Mbps.

The wireless gear inside all three devices is identical, but the S10 Plus' advantage actually comes from its size. Because it sports a bigger chassis than the other models, its four antennas are better isolated, Ookla says, reducing interference and maximizing efficiency.

That's likely the same reason why the iPhone XS Max outpaced the smaller iPhone XS, as Apple's two flagships hovered around 43.04 Mbps and 41.92 Mbps, respectively. Samsung's devices were 8 Mbps faster on average than their Apple-produced counterparts, while Google's Pixel 3 XL trailed even further, at 41.27 Mbps.

Notably, the iPhone XR, with its dated 2x2 MIMO antenna design (as opposed to the 4x4 MIMO technology in all the other handsets mentioned) brought up the rear at 33.17 Mbps.

MORE: Fastest Wireless Network in the U.S.: We Tested 8 Carriers to Crown a Winner

Phone makers have been promoting gigabit-class LTE modems in their products as of late, which would seem like a moot point considering wireless networks aren't fast enough to support gigabit speeds yet. Even Verizon's recently-launched 5G network only tops out at around half that, based on initial testing we conducted in Chicago, one of Verizon's first 5G markets.

That said, Ookla's study highlights that these newest LTE modems are still all-around faster than previous generations, even though they can't achieve that 1 Gbps maximum yet. And for those eager to take the plunge into 5G, Samsung's got yet another Galaxy S10 coming on May 16 that will support those superfast networks on Verizon before coming to other carriers.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.