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

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.


    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.
    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.
    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.


    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
  2. farewelwilliams macrumors 68020

    Jun 18, 2014
  3. teknikal90 macrumors 68040


    Jan 28, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    bought unlocked from apple online store in canada.
    have the intel model...
    64gb silver
  4. Zaft macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2009
    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.
  5. LoveToMacRumors macrumors 68020


    Feb 15, 2015
  6. jntdroid macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    If you purchase from Best Buy you’ll get the A1865 model no matter what carrier you use. They stock the most universal model and lock it to to the carrier upon activation. Just FYI. They’ve been doing this since the 6S.
  7. thadoggfather, Dec 1, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017

    thadoggfather macrumors G4


    Oct 1, 2007
    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.
  8. nwcs macrumors 68000


    Sep 21, 2009
    I’d imagine that most of the time the real world difference is pretty minor, especially when you factor in environmental factors, usage patterns, and other real-world events.
  9. Kesem macrumors newbie


    Jun 14, 2016
    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.
  10. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    Are the carriers allowing the max speed or capping it.
    Does it really matter to the masses?
  11. Theyayarealivin macrumors 6502a


    Jun 18, 2013
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Can you order a Verizon iPhone (pay full price) and just pop the SIM card in for AT&T and use it?
  12. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
  13. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    Are the differences that much to choose a different phone?
    --- Post Merged, Dec 1, 2017 ---
    I heard that if you do this, AT&T will lock the phone to them. Can anyone confirm this?
  14. richard371 macrumors 68020

    Feb 1, 2008
    If your on att and T-Mobile I read that the voice is a little better with the intel.
  15. kdarling, Dec 1, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017

    kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    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.
  16. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Aug 8, 2008
    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.
  17. gatorson macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2008
    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.
  18. Duane Martin macrumors 6502

    Duane Martin

    Oct 15, 2004
    Calgary, Alberta
    Yeah, same with me, Intel model with paid-in-full, unlocked version in Canada. Fortunately I am with Rogers so the least of my worries is the modem in my iPhone X.
  19. thadoggfather macrumors G4


    Oct 1, 2007
    Wouldn’t speed for low signal make a real world difference, potentially?
    --- Post Merged, Dec 1, 2017 ---
  20. jntdroid macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    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.
  21. MentalFloss macrumors 65816


    Mar 14, 2012
    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.
  22. Swampthing Suspended


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

    Jul 28, 2016
    YES! That’s exactly what I did. I’m on t mobile but purchased the “Verizon model” X full price via Apple put my T-Mobile sim and and everything updated as it should. No issues!
  24. jcshas macrumors 6502


    Oct 8, 2003
    Yep. Exactly what I did. I purchased (Verizon) iPhone at my local Apple store and activated it on my AT&T account. Works like a charm.
  25. Bswails macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2016
    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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