Tuesday, November 26, 2013

[Rant] Really love the power of LTE on the iPhone 5S

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Whoa, it's been two months since I've bought the iPhone 5S. Time flies, isn't it?

When the iPhone 5S arrived in Japan, I quickly dumped the iPhone 4S which I had been using for almost two years. I didn't even wait till its contract ended. The main reason for it was because I had had enough of the crappy 3G speeds that I got with the phone. The culprit is not the phone but Softbank's network.

When the iPhone 5 came out a year ago, SoftBank upgraded their network to support LTE. When I checked the performance of it at the SoftBank shop near work place, I got great speeds but it was not consistent. For some reason, every once in a while, the webpage load times got worse than what I got with the iPhone 4S. So I was skeptical at first. Would that be the case with the iPhone 5S.

But no, it is very fast compared to 3G almost all the time. It feels more consistent. The difference between 3G on the iPhone 4S and LTE on the iPhone 5S is like night and day. LTE is amazing. I'm sure theoretically it is not any faster than the iPhone 5 in terms of LTE performance. I've hardly felt that the network speeds are not enough while browsing the internet on the phone when LTE is on. Plus, I can now stream YouTube videos as well. It was practically impossible with 3G.

I of course couldn't compare the 3G speeds with the iPhone 4S side by side as I didn't have a SIM card in the iPhone 4S.

Even though things are perfect when LTE is working, sometimes for no apparent reason it would turn back to 3G and I get  terrible performance. Seems like SoftBank's 3G network is congested.  If I toggle Airplane mode, it would revert to 4G. But sometimes it won't. And when you are making a call, the network turns to 3G. So you can not browse fast when you are on a call (hands free / speakerphone). Not sure if it is a limitation of the phone, limitation of LTE in the current state or the limitation of the SoftBank's network.

Still I'm very happy with the LTE performance. But sadly, there is THIS ISSUE.


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