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iPhone X models equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X16 modem get consistently better LTE speeds than versions with Intel's XMM7480 modem, according to wireless signal testing firm Cellular Insights.

iphone-x-qualcomm-vs-intel.jpg

For context, Cellular Insights used professional measurement equipment equipped with four Vivaldi antennas to simulate LTE performance at different distances from a cellular tower with the Qualcomm and Intel models.

Cellular Insights started with a LTE signal from a strong -85dBm, and gradually reduced the power level to simulate moving away from a cellular tower where signal is weaker, until the modems lost their cellular connectivity.

The testing, shared with PC Magazine, was based on performance on LTE Band 4, which is used by every major carrier in the United States except Sprint, as well as in Canada and parts of Latin America.

The results reveal that with only limited attenuation, or signal reduction in simple terms, the iPhone X with an Intel modem started to experience lower LTE download speeds than the iPhone X with a Qualcomm modem.
While both modems started out with 195Mbps of download throughput on a 20MHz carrier, the Qualcomm difference appeared quickly, as the Intel modem dropped to 169Mbps at -87dBm. The Qualcomm modem took an additional -6dBm of attenuation to get to that speed.
Cellular Insights said the difference is most noticeable in very weak signal conditions, in which the iPhone X with a Qualcomm modem experienced 67 percent faster LTE download speeds on average compared to the Intel model.
At very weak signal strength, below -120dBm, the Qualcomm modem got speeds on average 67 percent faster than the Intel modem. The Intel modem finally died at -129dBm and the Qualcomm modem died at -130dBm, so we didn't find a lot of difference in when the modems finally gave out.
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models with Qualcomm modems also had faster LTE download speeds than their Intel counterparts last year, but Cellular Insights said the gap was narrower between iPhone X models.

PC Magazine speculated that Apple could be artificially crippling the Qualcomm modem to have similar performance as the Intel modem, given the controversy that arose with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus last year.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon X16 is a gigabit-class modem that supports 4x4 MIMO, for example, but the functionality is disabled in the iPhone X. The result is that both the Qualcomm and Intel versions of the iPhone X have a peak theoretical download speed of 600 Mbps in most countries.

All in all, what this all means is that customers who want to ensure they receive the absolute highest LTE speeds in areas with weaker signal reception should put some thought into which iPhone model they purchase.

iphone-x-carriers.jpg

Apple offers the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus in two models in the United States. The first is the Qualcomm-based model A1865, which works with CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint in the United States. The second is the Intel-based A1901, which works with GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile. In other countries, Apple typically sells just one version of each phone, depending on the technology used by carriers in each country.

If you want the best possible LTE performance, purchasing the A1865 model is the best option. For now, this requires ordering the Verizon model if you want an unlocked device in the United States. In many other countries, and in the U.S. soon enough, Apple sells an unlocked SIM-free A1865 model.

Article Link: iPhone X Models With Qualcomm Modem Still Have Faster LTE Speeds Than Those With Intel Modems
 

Zaft

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2009
4,189
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Brooklyn, NY
"but Cellular Insights said the gap was narrower between iPhone X models."

It seems the gap is getting smaller. Apple maybe able to ditch Qualcomm and not take a big performance difference by next year.
 
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thadoggfather

macrumors G5
Oct 1, 2007
13,042
11,054
I got the intel model too

I had Qualcomm x as well but the screen was way inferior as part of panel lottery


EDIT- it being a good screen has NOTHING whatsoever to do with being INtel or Qualcomm. People have been confused by this post

Just luck of the draw, preordered ATT, picked up a verizon in store, and returned the verizon one.
 
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Kesem

macrumors newbie
Jun 14, 2016
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Qualcomm clearly has better LTE performance. I want the best phone available. That is why I have an iPhone X. I really don't care about Qualcomm's and Apple's dispute. They both overcharge. If Apple decides to use inferior chips then I will consider another phone.
 
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bruinsrme

macrumors 604
Oct 26, 2008
6,625
2,386
Are the carriers allowing the max speed or capping it.
Does it really matter to the masses?
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
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Qualcomm clearly has better LTE performance. I want the best phone available. That is why I have an iPhone X. I really don't care about Qualcomm's and Apple's dispute. They both overcharge. If Apple decides to use inferior chips then I will consider another phone.
Are the differences that much to choose a different phone?
[doublepost=1512159850][/doublepost]
Can you order a Verizon iPhone (pay full price) and just pop the SIM card in for AT&T and use it?


I heard that if you do this, AT&T will lock the phone to them. Can anyone confirm this?
 
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richard371

macrumors 68040
Feb 1, 2008
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If your on att and T-Mobile I read that the voice is a little better with the intel.
 
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kdarling

macrumors P6
Qualcomm's only job is to work on mobile and communication technology, from AR to cellular. They file about eight patents per day.

So, while they contributed basic patents to the standards, they are also constantly improving their own chip implementations with proprietary methods which increase speed and robustness.

That's why many companies buy Qualcomm reference designs and/or license their non-FRAND patented enhancements instead of implementing the base standards on their own. Heck, Intel themselves bought the technology they're using from a company that started out with Qualcomm chip IP.
 
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MRrainer

macrumors 65816
Aug 8, 2008
1,358
809
Zurich, Switzerland
My telco limits the speed according to the contract. The more you pay, the more bandwidth you get.
My contract is paid by my employer (in full) - but it's of course a rather cheap contract and (IIRC) capped at 20MBit/s. On the upside, there is no real data cap.

So, as long as wireless ( IEEE 802.x) is unaffected, this doesn't concern me the least.
 
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gatorson

macrumors newbie
Aug 4, 2008
8
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Can you order a Verizon iPhone (pay full price) and just pop the SIM card in for AT&T and use it?
Yes, but the only way Verizon will let you do this is to pay 100% for phone (obviously) as well as set up a postpaid account. You then have to cancel the postpaid account. Source: I just got thru doing this since Verizon doesn’t offer a prepaid iPhone X yet.
 
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jntdroid

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2011
411
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I got the intel model too

I had Qualcomm x as well but the screen was way inferior as part of panel lottery

This is one reason I'm still just not that into OLED. I don't understand why this issue goes under the radar so often.
 
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MentalFloss

macrumors 65816
Mar 14, 2012
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Cellular Insights were on Qualcomm‘s payroll last year and faked test results that made Qualcomm look good and made Intel look bad by using configurations that do not exist in the real world. Why should anything about that change this year? I am sure Qualcomm pays quite well for these results.

And after all, the equipment you need for these kinds of tests is so expensive that a niche website like that couldn‘t get it from ad revenue alone.
 
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Swampthing

Suspended
Mar 5, 2004
651
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Is there a way to tell which modem you have in your iPhone? Does Lirium provide that information?
 
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Bswails

macrumors regular
Jul 28, 2016
178
158
Are the differences that much to choose a different phone?
[doublepost=1512159850][/doublepost]



I heard that if you do this, AT&T will lock the phone to them. Can anyone confirm this?

Carriers don’t lock phones anymore unless your tied to a installment plan. If it’s locked and att will not unlock the device it’s because you owe Money on the device and need to pay it off..once you do you can request to have your device unlocked and are free to use your phone with any carrier that is supported. The difference to me is in the resell value..you will get more for a phone that can be used on more networks
 
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