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 AnandTech.com 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:

AnandTech.com 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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  • kepler - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    The problem with your picture is that *you* are misleading people. That is a picture of the apps menu, not an actual home screen that would contain widgets and the sort.

    So maybe Samsung has an apps menu that looks like iOS. What about iOS 5's notifications? Why do Apple users sweep it under the rug? That is a * blatant* copy of Android's notification bar.

    I think iOS users are just mad that Samsung has a menu that can replicate their entire child's OS (not to mention the ability to customize it).
    Reply
  • Mugur - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - link

    Yes, the biggest word here is "customization". Having 3 Android devices (HTC ChaCha, Dell Streak 5 and a Nook Color) I can tell you that they look like running something completely different for a non Android-versed person... :-)

    Also, I don't agree that Galaxy S2 looks like iPhone 4. At all. But the iPhone 4 looks 99% like Garmin nuvi 3790T... Come on, they all are rectangular in shape with round corners. I'm surrounded by people with iPhone 4 / iPad/iPad2 on one side and Samsung Galay S / S2 / Tab on the other: it's obviously that Apple went for the bigger competitor here.

    Even Galaxy Tab 10.1v does not look entirely like 10.1. :-) just joking.

    Anyway, I agree that the price for this "4G LTE" is a rip off: here, a 10.1 (v on Vodafone without v on Orange) 16GB 3G (HSDPA+/HSUPA) is 349 EUR including all taxes with a 2y contract (around 20-30 EUR/month for 2-8 GB).

    And they come in 3 colors (white, black and silver - silver is for 32 GB only, I think).
    Reply
  • jmcb - Sunday, August 21, 2011 - link

    Thank You!!

    Close the app drawer and tell us if it looks like an iOS ripoff...

    I cant believe when all this started no body really paid attention to that.
    Reply
  • Ammaross - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I have a Galaxy Tab 10.1 in hand, and while there is no way I can call this an iPad2 in any respect (even dimensions are different, as I hold this thing widescreen-mode), in the "screen off" mode sitting flat on the table, the front of the Galaxy Tab is quite the blatant rip-off of the iPad2, right down to the trim. Granted, it's hard not to design a tablet with a screen and bevel behind glass that ISN'T black frame with accent (not black) trim and make it look half-decent. If they had only left the microUSB connector/charger and the mini HDMI port, I might have overlooked such. I can overlook the lack of an SD card, but using an iP*d-style connector is just below the belt.... Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - link

    If the honest consumer is an illiterate then it might fool him. Although he should still be able to tell an apple as a logo from whatever Samsung has (should be just their name). I have a SGS2 and my best friend has a iPhone4. I might mistake them after the 20th beer of the evening. But before that it's pretty hard to confuse them. Only 2 people ever asked me "oohhh, is that an iPhone?" and both were females and not into tech at all.
    Also, my phone has a homescreen with widgets and more than one button on the front. Not that similar to an iPhone.
    Though I do grant you that they both look smartphone-ish, i.e. screen in a square-ish package. ;-)
    Reply
  • sooper_anandtech12 - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    Samsung is firing it across the bow of the Motorola Xoom, mentioned in the same lawsuit. Reply
  • sooper_anandtech12 - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    Oops, I mean Apple. I must have confused the two ;) Reply
  • idkman96 - Thursday, October 13, 2011 - link

    did you not hear about how apple faked images to even start this law suit? and samsung makes part of the ipad and iphone, they get 170$ per ipad. and while im in no way saying that it doesnt look like a ipad in the front, have u seen the motorola zoom? it has a black bezzle around it also, JUSt like the ipads. only difference is the bezzle is not as wide . oh and did you hear? samsung is suing apple for patent infringement, yknow that new and improved antennae on the iphone 4s? samsung designed it and apple used it without paying fo rit or whatever. theres a side to both stories my friend. btw i love android and apple so im not being some dumb fanboi lol. Reply
  • ckryan - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    I have an old 3g modem from Verizon -- I've not used it in years, but I've basically been holding on to the plan since it's true unlimited, acquired in the time when you could get an unlimited 3g data plan. I should be able to upgrade the modem to LTE and still be unlimited -- or so they tell me (I called a Rep to ask). If this is the case, then LTE is a no-brainer here in Charlotte, NC. I'm glad to see someone in the state getting some decent numbers off of it. Unfortunately, not only is Verizon's 4G expensive, but it's hard to even take advantage of at the moment. I have unlimited data on my phone as well, grandfather style, but Verizon's LTE capable phone selection is a little wanting. Hopefully, Big Red has something more palatable coming down the pike.

    As for the Tab -- It's clearly the most badass mobile hotspot money can buy.
    Reply
  • BuddyRich - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    "You can always tether to your smartphone or get a MiFi, but if you want to carry only a single device there's always the option of a cellular connected tablet."

    Until they drop the arbitrary restrictions on these cellular-enabled devices you still need a phone. Granted you could IM, email and even Skype/Google Voice from apps over data, but plain talking and texting is out of the question. Until then you are better off getting a wifi only tablet and just carry a phone as well (not to mention not having to have 2 data plans). I know up here in Canada the carries don't allow you to share data plans between devices...
    Reply

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