4G LTE is the latest mobile telecommunications technology that promises to bring smartphone comparison to a new level. LTE stands for Long-Term Evolution, and 4G clearly denotes that this is the fourth generation of the wireless communications technology that’s going to be the successor of 3G.
Ten Times the Speed of 3G
For over five years to the present day, we have become well-accustomed to 3G and the more-advanced 3.5G (HSDPA) in our smartphones. Just when you thought that 3G was decent at providing you with an average data speed of 384kbps and 3.5G at about double the speed of 3G (although theoretically in the range of 3.6-7.2Mbps), 4G LTE is designed to provide you with speeds up to ten times that of existing 3G networks for use not only in your smartphones, but practically in all devices that can use mobile broadband—tablets, laptops, and PCs included. 4G technology is designed to take network speeds to the next level by allowing real-time streaming of voice, data, and video at speeds ranging from 100Mbps up to a scorching 1Gbps.
LTE, WiMax, and UMB
It is interesting to note that 4G LTE is not the only 4G standard around, as it will be competing with similar technologies, such as WiMax and Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB).
4G LTE has been initially deployed in the US under its leading carriers Verizon and AT&T, while Sprint is competing on the 4G WiMax network instead. There are already several 4G LTE-capable smartphones on the Android platform that are available today, while Apple is likely to bring us the iPhone 5 and iPad 3 sometime later this 2012 with 4G LTE capabilities as well.
While we’re all awaiting many more 4G LTE-enabled smartphones to hit the market, let us now perform a smartphone comparison of the existing 4G LTE-capable contenders.
Comparison of 4G LTE Smartphones
The HTC Thunderbolt was the very first 4G LTE-enabled smartphone to hit the market via Verizon’s network in March 2011. Featuring 5-12Mbps download speeds and 2-5 Mbps upload speeds, the Thunderbolt was a decent entry into the 4G LTE realm, powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 768MB RAM.
Running Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread on its 4.3-inch touchscreen at a resolution of 480×800, the Thunderbolt also packs in a 8MP camera with a built-in 32GB microSD card that yields a total of 40GB in storage capacity.
HTC quickly followed up with the HTC Rezound in November 2011, which is basically an improved Thunderbolt sporting a speedier dual-core 1.5GHz processor and an ultra-sharp 1280×720 resolution on the same 4.3-inch screen that yields an image quality of 342ppi, which is actually slightly higher than the 326ppi of the iPhone’s Retina Display.
Motorola Droid 4
Moving on to Motorola’s take on 4G LTE, their latest Droid 4 just released as of February 2012 also provides similar network speeds as the original HTC Thunderbolt in the form factor of the slimmest smartphone with a full QWERTY keyboard at just half an inch thick.
Powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor coupled with 1GB RAM, the 4-inch qHD screen is decent, with its most outstanding feature being Motorola’s trademark laptop dock which gives this smartphone some unique laptop-like capabilities once docked and connected to an external display.
Samsung Galaxy S III
Not to be outdone, Samsung is building up the heat with its Galaxy S III. Featuring some of the highest-end specs ever seen in smartphones such as a 1.8GHz quad-core processor with 2GB RAM and the latest Android 4 on its 4.6-inch screen with 1280×720 resolution, this latest 4G LTE smartphone will be setting the trend and momentum for its competitors to keep up with this year.
Nokia Lumia 900
Nokia is also joining the 4G LTE fray with its newly-announced Lumia 900 that will be running on AT&T’s 4G LTE network. As the natural successor to the Lumia 800, the Lumia 900 will feature Windows Mango running on a 1.4GHz processor with 512MB RAM, a 4.3″ AMOLED touchscreen with 800×480 resolution, and an 8MP rear camera armed with Carl Zeiss optics.
In summary, while there won’t be much difference in the performance of 4G LTE network speeds among these smartphones assuming you’re testing the same coverage area, 4G LTE is in fact spurring on smartphone manufacturers in the race for more powerful features and specs by the day. Smartphone comparison has just gotten all the more interesting, as we patiently wait to see how Apple’s iPhone 5 will try to outdo Samsung’s Galaxy S II. Stay tuned and enjoy the ride.