The LTE Experience: Ridiculously Fast

The WiFi Galaxy Tab 10.1's model number is GT-P7100. The 4G version is the SCH-I905. Both run Android 3.1 however the most recent update to the GT-P7100 that enabled TouchWiz isn't available for the SCH-I905 yet. The delayed update is likely due to additional testing that Verizon does on all software updates for devices on its network. Unfortunately this is a downside to any tablet operating on a cellular network, carrier testing doesn't seem to be the most efficient process in the world.

LTE in Honeycomb isn't all that different from EVDO. Instead of a 3G indicator you obviously get a 4G label in the corner of the screen:

There's no quick toggle between 3G and 4G similar to what you'd find on a smartphone. To force EVDO you have to go into Wireless & Networks, Mobile networks, System selection and finally select CDMA mode instead of LTE automatic:

Not being able to quickly turn off LTE is less of an issue on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 because of its gigantic battery. At nearly 26Whr you've got around 5x the battery capacity of an LTE phone. We'll get to that shortly. First let's look at the sort of speeds you can expect from the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on Verizon's LTE network.

To start, I did a simple timed loading test of the front page on LTE, EVDO as well as my home cable internet connection via WiFi. I cleared the browser's cache before each set of runs and ran the test 5 times on each network. An average of the results are below: Loading Comparison

With a good enough backbone, WiFi can still obviously be faster than LTE on the Tab. The margin of victory is pretty slim though, and I'd guess the majority of WiFi networks you connect to on the go won't deliver 50Mbps of bandwidth downstream. The advantage over EVDO is not only noticeable, but huge.

I packed the Galaxy Tab 10.1 with me for drive tests around Raleigh, NC. Verizon flipped the switch on LTE in my area at the end of July and performance has been quite good since then. The histogram of my download tests is below:

Performance peaked at 35Mbps and it went as low as 5Mbps. Most of the tests fell within the 15 - 25Mbps range. Downstream performance was almost binary in my office: I'd either get 12Mbps or 25Mbps down, in the same physical location.

Upstream performance was also very good. Peak upstream speed topped out at 10Mbps, while typical speeds were closer to 5Mbps.

Brian Klug went over LTE in depth in our launch articles on the topic. I don't have too much to add but in using the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on Verizon's 4G network here are some thoughts:

1) Performance is amazing. It's like having great WiFi access anywhere you go. In fact, prior to Time Warner's DOCSIS 3 upgrade in my area, Verizon's LTE network is faster than what I used to be able to get over cable.
The tablet hardware itself doesn't appear to be limiting performance here. I got similar speeds over a standalone LTE MiFi as I did via the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

2) There's no penalty to using it as a hotspot either, performance remained the same whether I was on the tablet or on a notebook tethered to the tablet.

3) The 700MHz frequency helps signal propagation in a major way. Other than an all-concrete room in my basement I got great speeds regardless of where I was in my house.

4) Occasionally the Galaxy Tab 10.1 would act like it had no network connectivity, despite being in an area with great signal strength. This happened twice, once while using the tablet and once while using it as a hotspot. Disabling then re-enabling wireless connectivity (or the hotspot) fixed the problem in both situations.

Introduction Battery Life & The Best LTE Hotspot?
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  • jigglywiggly - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    such a useless device with the shit plans
  • ATOmega - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    At $699 on contract, there is absolutely zero reason to buy one of these things. Not to mention, data plan prices are prohibitively expensive.

    This device should be tops $350 and available without a contract at any store that wishes to carry it.

    Android tablets will *never* take off so long as this kind of nonsense is happening.
  • Lord 666 - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link


    Hold that unit in both hands, twist, and watch the screen flicker. The Xoom and iPads have great torsion resistance. The Samsung 10.1 series could be snapped in half.
  • medi01 - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Did you try hitting it with a hammer?
  • EnerJi - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    GTFOH!! A total, and blatant rip-off, which I suppose they feel they can get away with as the only game in town. This device will be selling for (at least) $100 less by Thanksgiving, by which time the Xoom, PlayBook, and possibly others will also be shipping with LTE. Most folks should probably wait for more options and for competition to drive down prices later this year.
  • heulenwolf - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    I agree with earlier comments that the price of the device and plans severely limit the product offering. VZW is no dummy so I wonder whether they are, in fact, aiming for lower volume. If they keep the customer count down on their 4G LTE network while they're still rolling it out, they can delay the capital upgrade investments for the additional backhaul bandwidth that would be required and, at the same time, make their existing 4G offering a premium service because its not so busy. Were there suddenly a few hundred thousand 4G LTE devices on-line simultaneously in the Charlotte area, I wonder whether they'd all be getting the incredible bandwidth shown in Anand's results. If, instead, they keep both the device and service plan costs high, they can simultaneously limit the data load on their new network so it appears hyperfast and make a high profit. Until they have viable competition, lower volume may be the better business case.
  • eanazag - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    I don't think it looks enough alike to justify the patent infringement. I can see some similarities on the front side, but on the back end - no. The button and camera placement is different also. I think if Samsung had went with a different color other than black (and now white) on the front bezel of the screen or some extra distinguishing mark it would have not had an issue at all. I don't agree with the sales blocking, but I can see how if someone is looking to block the device that they would have a better chance than some other devices. I don't see how the OS side could provide a "look and feel" issue. It is mostly a cheap trick unless there is something that most reasonable people are missing. I would guess Apple is just trying to buy time till the next hardware release and knock off the best competing hardware available. I have an iPad 2 and would consider this device as the best alternative in the Android environment. I like Samsung as a manufacturer.

    The killer feature here is 4G. After using the iPad 2 and BB Playbook I would say that 4G speeds make this type of device much more useful. 3G where I am sucks. It is adequate for some web, but the next gen uses will require 4G such as remote desktop. Remote desktop is still pretty weak because of 3G, but can be done.

    I use my device for work and play.
  • jrs77 - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    A MiFi I can use with basically any of my mobile devices and overall it's cheaper aswell. I'm way more flexible with MiFi and I can even have friends use it, as good MiFi allows for more then one connection simultanously.

    So yeah... MiFi all the way.
  • milan03 - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - link

    Just did a few tests on Thunderbolt in NYC just for testing sake. I'm sure Samsung Galaxy Tab would hit even higher here in NYC especially on the uplink: [IMG][/IMG]
  • shenjing - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - link

    Come go and see, will not regret it Oh look


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