EE kindly sent me through a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE last week so we could have a play around with the device on their new 4G LTE network. You may remember that when we initially tried EE's 4G at the press event we were pretty amazed with the download and upload speeds provided -- we consistently got in excess of 40Mbps down and 15Mbps up.
Last week's real life tests weren't quite so impressive -- our results beat 3G hands-down, but it wasn't quite as impressive as the pre-launch speed tests had indicated. A typical test would see between 10 and 20Mbps down and up to 10Mbps up. That said, things were pretty consistent over the two days I spent in London, and speeds that were on offer were more than capable of streaming music and HD video. A friend in London doing the same tests reported that his results were pretty much on par with ours, although in one instance he managed 40Mbps down. That seemed to be a one off, though, and he also reported that the phone not only lost 4G at one point, but it also lost 3G and ended up using 2G for a short time. So clearly a few teethig issues remain with the new network.
It's still early days for LTE here in the UK, and while the results didn't match the pre-launch speed tests, they're far from bad when compared to 3G on most networks. The question, however, is whether or not it's worth paying the extra money for the 4G service. That, we think, has to come down to personal choice and what you use your smartphone for.
On another note (no pun intended), we were impressed with the fact that while in 4G coverage areas, the Galaxy Note 2 didn't seem to drain its battery noticeably quicker than when on 3G/HSPA. It has a huge battery anyway, but the fact that we made it through two days on a single charge with sporadic 4G use is impressive. It will be interesting to see how 4G battery life is affecting others, so feel free to sound off in the comments if you've picked up one of the new LTE smartphones from EE.