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5G smartphones in the speed test


This is what high-speed radio brings in practice

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5G cellular standard simply explained

The starting shot for 5G has been fired. Telekom and Vodafone are upgrading their networks with the new technology, O2 will start soon, and the smartphone manufacturers have 5G variants ready for top models. Officially, five mobile phones are already broadcasting on German networks, one from Huawei and four from Samsung. We wanted to know whether the early switch to 5G would be worthwhile if the radio coverage was suitable. We went to locations in Munich and Bonn and carried out speed and battery tests on the 5G cell phones in the telecommunications network. We explain what the new standard brings in the video.

5G smartphones: you should know that

Initially, we were particularly interested in the download speed for our measurements, but the runtime measurements turned out to be even more exciting. Because in 5G smartphones calculates an additional component, the 5G modem, which processes the signals digitized by the transceiver and feeds them into the cell phone chip. Such a modem is similar in size to the core chipset and therefore consumes a lot of energy due to its large computing capacity. This does not shorten the battery life too short, as our measurements show.

These smartphones support 5G

5G capabilities of smartphones as energy guzzlers

The high energy consumption is an indication that the integration of the 5G capabilities is currently anything but ideal. Last but not least, Qualcomm rose to become the market leader for mobile chips because the manufacturer had succeeded in integrating the modem for mobile radio in the Snapdragon chip, which increases performance and saves energy. It works with the 2G (GSM), 3G (UMTS) and 4G (LTE) standards, but with 5G it gets complicated.

So far, mobile phones have been broadcasting on frequencies between 700 MHz and 2.6 GHz. In the first 5G expansion stage, the German network operators are expanding the 3.5 GHz range, followed by 600 MHz. In other countries like the USA, the focus is on the so-called millimeter waves 28 GHz, because there is a lot of spectrum available, but this can only be accessed with additional antennas. For the globally positioned Qualcomm, this means that the developers have to take this into account for their 5G implementation, although large markets such as the EU and China are based on 28 GHz largely still do without.

Qualcomm last year with the X 50 released the first 5G modem. It is installed in the Samsung Galaxy A 90 and in the Galaxy Fold. The X 50 only masters 5G, so it doesn't get by without an additional modem in the chip takes care of the older radio technologies. Among other things, this should be the reason why we fold one with the 35 measured a shorter battery life when the cell phone was on the 5G network. But the fold may be an extreme case, because the Galaxy A 45 only loses around 19 percent of term.

In Germany, Samsung not only relies on Qualcomm, but is also installed in smartphones such as the Galaxy S 10 5G and the Galaxy Note 10 5G also the self-developed modem Exynos 5100. This is a multimode modem which, in addition to 5G, also masters the old radio technologies, so that Samsung can do without modem functions in the chip. Also with the Exynos 5100 equipped devices consume a lot of energy in the 5G network noticeable by greatly shortened transit times. At S 10 5G almost halves this and the Galaxy Note loses compared to downloading via LTE 43 percent. This is largely due to the outdated manufacturing process of the Exynos modem, which is produced in the structure size of ten nanometers, whereas now seven nm are common. Larger structures mean more space, more energy consumption and more waste heat.

Huawei's balance sheet is the most gratifying. His balong modem does not implement the millimeter waves (thus ignores the US market) and can multimode. The duration of the Mate 20 X goes in 5G network only slightly 13 percent down. At the same time, we measured by far the highest download rates on the Huawei mobile phone.

A look into the opened Huawei Mate 20 X 5G shows: The 5G modem is as big as the cell phone chip. It takes up a lot of space and eats energy. Image: IFIXIT.com

Runtimes in comparison

5G modem runtime with 5G duration with 4G Runtime decrease due to 5G

Huawei Mate 20 X 5G

Huawei Balong 5000

5: 09

5: 54

12, 7%

Samsung Galaxy A 90

Qualcomm X 50

8th: 43

10: 44

18,8th %

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Qualcomm X 50

6: 17

9: 37

34, 7%

Samsung Galaxy S 10 5G

Sams. Exynos 5100

5: 46

10: 05

42,8th %

Sams. Galaxy Note 10 5G

Sams. Exynos 5100

6: 18

11: 37

45,8th %

Download noise in the gigabit network

We have divided the respective locations of the download measurements into two categories and summarized the results per category: In some of the measurements we went for the best possible supply situation the proximity of the transmitting station. We carried out the other part of the measurements in the edge area of ​​the 5G cell, for example in the Milbertshofen district of Munich, where the supply is usually weak.

In all scenarios we had on the Huawei Mate 20 X the highest speeds. Even under bad conditions we got an average of 662 MBit / s, with good almost 790 Mbit / s. The two Samsung phones with the Qualcomm-X 50 – Modem, Fold and A 90, deliver passably fast downloads with good supply, while the S 10 – Variants with the Exynos modem only between 460 and 540 MBit / s. But under bad conditions both are 10 Galaxy phones in front of the models with the X 50 , Here the fold loses a lot and only reaches an average of 383 MBit / s.

For smartphone buyers, it doesn't matter which 5G mobile phone they buy. Huawei currently has the best concept, but the next generation is already in the starting blocks. Many next-generation designs will fully integrate the 5G modem into the chip, but will do without millimeter waves – as with Huawei. Qualcomm follows a double strategy: high-end chips get the separate multimode modem X 55 while the 5G modem capabilities in weaker chips like the Snapdragon 765 to get integrated. Samsung also uses an external modem. It will show which concept prevails.

The 5G modem in the cell phones also influences how quickly they reach their maximum download speed. The Balong 5000 in the Mate reacts very quickly, the X 50 in A 90 takes a little longer.

Downloads in 5G network in good supply situation

5G modem Average download rate in MBit / s 10% of all downloads are faster than … (MBit / s) 90% of all downloads are sc faster than … (MBit / s)

Huawei Mate 20 X 5G

Huawei Balong 5000

789, 7

861, 4

686,1

Samsung Galaxy A 90

Qualcomm X 50

651, 6

671,8th

619, 9

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Qualcomm X 50

568, 2

632, 6

520,8th

Samsung Galaxy S 10 5G

Samsung Exynos 5100

539,8th

697, 7

418, 9

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G

Samsung Exynos 5100

463,1

500, 5

399, 9

Downloads in the 5G network in a poor supply situation

5G modem Average download rate in MBit / s 10% of all downloads are faster than … ( MBit / s) 90% of all downloads are faster than … (MBit / s)

Huawei Mate 20 X 5G

Huawei Balong 5000

662,1

747, 3

561,8th

Samsung Galaxy A 90

Qualcomm X 50

451 , 6

478, 4

426, 0

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Qualcomm X 50

382, 7

433, 5

319, 9

Samsung Galaxy S 10 5G

Samsung Exynos 5100

490, 5

587,1

405, 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G

Samsung Exynos 5100

529, 5

634, 7

431, 5

5G smartphones in the overall ranking

How well the 5G smartphones perform in our leaderboard and who has the strongest all-rounder on offer can be seen in the following ranking.

Smartphones in the test

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G Offer from BestCheck

  • Battery (1,2)
  • Camera (1,0)
  • Display (1,1)
  • Performance (1.3)
  • Equipment (1,2)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G Offer from BestCheck

  • Battery (1.5)
  • Camera (1,0)
  • Display (1.0)
  • Performance (1.3)
  • Facilities (1.5)

Samsung Galaxy Fold 5G Offer from BestCheck

  • Battery (2.0)
  • Camera (1,2)
  • Display (1.6)
  • Performance (1.3)
  • Facilities (2.1)

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G Offer from BestCheck

  • Battery (1.4)
  • Camera (2,4)
  • Display (1.7)
  • Performance (1.3)
  • Facilities (2.6)

Huawei Mate 20 X 5G Offer from BestCheck

  • Battery (3.9)
  • Camera (1,4)
  • Display (1.6)
  • Performance (1.4)
  • Facilities (1.8)

To the complete leaderboard

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