Pixel 2 vs iPhone X vs Note 8 vs LG V30 LTE speeds test crowns the Google phone
Apple uses two different modems in its latest iPhone X - by Qualcomm or Intel - with the Qualcomm one being its latest X16 that features prominently in all 2017 flagships like the Galaxy S8, LG V30, or the Pixel 2. It allows for up to 1Gbps download speeds, and will only be replaced by a faster, 1.2Gbps modem when phones with Snapdragon 845 hit the market in the spring. Well, save for the Mate 10 Pro, which already has a X18 1.2Gbps modem inside, but it is not tuned to the US LTE bands to take advantage here. The Intel piece, on the other side, maxes out at 600Mbps, so Apple had to basically muzzle the X16 LTE so that iPhone X owners on GSM carriers, who have Intel inside, don't feel disadvantaged.
There are still differences between the iPhone X versions with Qualcomm and Intel modems, though, and the better reception in terms of picking up signal in weak coverage areas goes to the X16. The "neutering" of Qualcomm's modem, however, puts the iPhone X at disadvantage compared to its main Android competitors in its turn, when it comes to download speeds.
After an impromptu test found that the iPhone X nets almost twice slower speeds compared to the Note 8 at one and the same place, both on the T-Mobile network, now comes a more sophisticated probe into the matter. Armed with top-shelf network testing equipment, research firm Cellular Insights took both iPhone X versions, but also Note 8, Pixel 2 and LG V30, and blasted them with LTE signal of varying strength.
It turned out that not only did the Intel modem consistently underperform in comparison with the Qualcomm one, but there were drastic differences between the X16 on the X, and the X16 of the Android gang. Even when placed in dual-antenna 2x2 MIMO mode to even things out with the iPhone X, the phones downloaded stuff much faster than Apple's gear, with Pixel 2 taking the lead. In weaker signal scenarios, however, it was the Note 8 and V30's turn to shine, while at a 4x4 MIMO setup that the iPhone doesn't support, the Pixel 2 took over with the fastest download speeds again.
The moral of the story? You'd have to wait for 2018 to see real gigabit LTE in an iPhone, as famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that all of next year's models will sport such gear, likely made in partnership with Intel. Intel is also said to work with Apple on the next-gen 5G modems, and even to produce the A-series chipsets fused together with the 5G silicon in its foundries at some point, so Apple may end up being one of its largest clients very soon.