A week ago I was in Las Vegas for a full 5-day test of 4G service. By the way, Las Vegas gets full 4G service everywhere and it was a good place to test out my HTC Evo 4G’s performance.
One thing I noticed right out of the box was the 4G signals actually reach a bit further than 3G. While I was smoking inside the Wynn hotel I am staying at (located by the emergency stairs), I noticed that signals for 3G dropped significantly to 1 or 2 bars.
On the bright side, I was still getting a 4G signal. Only with 1 bar, my browsing speeds were still very fast around 2-3Mbps download and 1Mbps upload.
Here’s the “real” difference between 3G and 4G.
With 3G, when your signal degrades (less than 3 bars or so), you lose significant networking speeds. This is inevitable due to 3G’s limited technology.
With 4G, when your signal degrades, you still get download/upload speeds many times faster than getting full bars on 3G.
This is the beauty of 4G, that your data network speeds just start at a higher point like around 2-3Mbps. No matter what, if you get some kind of 4G signal, you will still be at least 2-3 times faster than being on “full bars” with 3G.
Of course, I also noticed that 4G does hog the battery much faster, maybe 2-3 times faster but this is simply inevitable because you are asking your phone’s CPU to work that much faster. The only resolution to this is that we have more efficient batteries.
Also, I turned off 4G while I was not using the phone heavily, this helped greatly to reduce the battery consumption and with that, 4G is very, very usable in real life.
Overall, the advantages of 4G isn’t that it’s super fast while your phone is in good signal area (although it is), but that 4G gets you speeds much higher than 3G in bad signal areas. That really helped me while I was browsing websites on my phone at Wynn hotel’s staircase otherwise I might have been stuck on slow 3G or edge.
One more thing, the same thing happened in my hotel room where cellphone signals are degraded because it’s a damn hotel but again, 4G allowed me to tether my laptop at blazing 3Mbps although I was barely getting a 4G signal.