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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  • claytontullos - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the review. Data plans in general are the current cash cow for service providers.

    Any word on when the winner of the giveaway Tab will be announced?
  • webmastir - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    wondering same thing =/
  • dendysutrisna - Monday, August 29, 2011 - link

    Yes thanks for tablet comparison table.
    And i agreed, How expensive Verizon's data plan , though someone took a 10GB quota, with a speed 10X 3G, it does not mean anything if its use is not wise. Anyway remains its an internet connection will run only no more than half a day.
  • Mugur - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    The 16GB 3G European version (21.6 Mbps) is 400 euros plus taxes, less than iPad 2 3G...

    Too bad it is removed from the shelves by that Apple patent dispute. Anand, did you really feel that it is an iPad clone by "looks and feel"? :-)
  • TypeS - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    While I don't agree with the patents granted to Apple or the legitimacy of its numerous suits against Samsung/Motorola/HTC, you can clearly tell by looking at the front fascia that Samsung can't claim innocence and ignorance as to just how much it looks like the iPad.

    And before someone replies saying "Well there's only so many ways to design a tablet!", take a look ASUS EEE Transformer. Do you see Apple firing snide remarks or starting suits with ASUS?

    The Samsung Galaxy S II's aesthetics also mimic the iPhone's look to an extent (did they really need to exaggerate the home button against the other two beside it; which are almost non visible). Motorola won acclaim with its' Droid and it's successors and you don't see Apple suing them over how similar the phone looks at least.

    While I have high respect for Samsung and the innovations they've brought to the LCD market, they're a Korean company and Korean companies often like to mimic (rip off) highly successive models. Look no further than Hyundai's cars and their outward styling, they look like premium Japanese or German luxury cars.

    Where Toyota and Mercedes may not care that their car styles are mimiced, Samsung caught the eye of Silicon Valley's "magic making" CEO, and they did quite brazen and stupidly.
  • Mugur - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Well, I had both of them in my hands and the only thing common to both and uncommon for the others is the great quality of the materials. I also checked on the net the European patent Apple is hanging on and it'a 2 page sketch of "handheld computer" from 2004 that looks like every tablet from Star Trek to ... any tablet. Just a rectangular surface with round edges. In my opinion, Apple just wanted to bury its best competitor...
  • robinthakur - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    No, it looks like a White iPad 2 unless you look very closely. Having seen a Galxy S 2 over the weekend up close, it does bear a very close similarity to an iPhone 4, and the Galaxy S 1 looked like a 3GS. These occurences are not accidental, they are designed to fool the honest consumer! Samsung should not be able to get away with this, however you slice it.
  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    And when you say "very closely", do you mean reading the labels or using the OS? Those are pretty big differences, IMO. There's no giant Apple on the back, there's no home button on the front, one runs iOS, the other Android. Logos aside, the back even has different details, and the charge port, while similar, is not the same, and isn't even found on the same side as iPad. Will the Tab even work with Apple's extras, like cases and adapters?

    To me, the Tab 10.1 just might be more magical than iPad2, and THAT is why Apple is firing back at it. Good thing Apple doesn't make cars, or we'd all be screwed.
  • kmmatney - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    I checked out my co-workers Samsung phone, and I have to say even the general software layout looks like an iPhone clone. You can see for yourself in this image:

    pretty much a complete iOS ripoff...
  • medi01 - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Claiming that Android is a iOS ripoff, wow...

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