Speed tests. That will tell you how fast your internet connection is, right? Or, will it tell you how fast your iPhone is? The proper answer should be obvious. Neither one. Speed tests suck.
Nathan and I manage many hundreds of Windows PCs, Macs, iPads, Chromebooks, and a few iPhones for students, faculty and staff at a private school near Chicago. We’ve been doing it for years. Our school has a very fast internet connection, so, with or without 4G LTE, we can test iPhone, iPad, and Mac, but also need to test for carrier speed, too.
The end result is always the same. Speed tests suck and it doesn’t matter which device you use. Real world usage to determine fast or slow has far too many variables to do anything but make a generalized comparison. Liam Tung:
Want the phone with fastest internet in the US? Don’t buy an iPhone
That is much what you would expect from an anti-Apple website and technology writers who know that writing anything negative about Apple gets far more webpage views– and ads viewed– than writing anything positive.
It’s a thing called Negativity Bias.
Samsung comes out on top overall but Apple’s iPhone XR has the fastest download speeds among mid-tier rivals.
Which is where most iPhones and Samsung models sell– mid tier, so why pay more for an iPhone X-whatever if it’s not as fast as iPhone XR or something cheaper from Samsung?
The tests are flawed.
The company took measurements from 23 million devices worldwide in Q2 2019 and found that Samsung phones in the US get downloads that are 8.2Mbps faster than iPhone speeds. Samsung devices clock in at 28Mbps, while iPhones average 20Mbps in the US.
Where the hell are they conducting such tests? Our iPhones regularly max out at 200-Mbps on the school’s network– after the kids and teachers have gone home for the day– but seldom get more than 25-Mbps when just using T-Mobile, or AT&T, or Verizon.
Why the difference?
A download speed– whatever that is and however it is defined– has a tremendous number of variables for each device and user, and varies greatly depending up location, websites, apps, number of users nearby, and on and on and on. The public internet itself seldom goes beyond 20-Mbps anyway but nattering nabobs of negativism and members of the anti-Apple technorati elite politburo seldom point out the obvious.
There are only two such speed test that matter, and one matters more than the other.
The fist is an actual speed test of your internet connection’s bandwidth to a neutral– and fast– server somewhere else. I use Ookla for my actual speed tests because it seems consistent on a per device, per connection basis, but all it tells is how fast the connection is, not how fast the device is at receiving downloads.
Our iPhones and iPads max out at 200-Mbps on such a speed test.
The second test, and the one that is most important is how fast your connection is– iPhone or iPad or whatever else you use– when connected to the public internet via the cellphone carrier’s connection and that varies incredibly, and is based upon a wide and ever changing set of criteria.
That includes, device, location, nearby cell tower traffic congestion, which websites are being visited, which apps are being used, and many other factors, including environment, and more. If your iPhone’s connection seems slow, then go somewhere else. If it’s always slow all over town, then it could be your cellphone carrier and the number of customers clogging things up (or, something else).
It’s theory vs. reality, folks. Reality rules. Don’t worry about test results. Worry about where you are and what you use your device to do and which cellphone carrier you use. Generalized tests suck.