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A Day On A 5G Phone: Fast, But Finicky

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08:33   |   Jun 22, 2019

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A Day On A 5G Phone: Fast, But Finicky
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  • - [Michael] Ever since the whole 5G hype train
  • kicked into gear, my friends at Android Central
  • have said the same thing,
  • "You should not buy a 5G phone in 2019."
  • The networks aren't mature enough,
  • the phone selection isn't broad enough,
  • it's just too early.
  • Well I found a way to prove those folks wrong.
  • Turns out there are actually a few people
  • who should buy a 5G phone.
  • The thing is, they all pretty much live
  • in this building right here.
  • (upbeat music)
  • Chicago, home of striking architecture,
  • delicious cheesy popcorn,
  • disproportionate number of my old college friends
  • and one of only a handful of 5G networks in the USA.
  • Samsung brought me out here to experience that network
  • along with some familiar faces
  • on this phone right here.
  • The 5G version of the Samsung Galaxy S10
  • is bigger and heavier, fitter,
  • happier, more productive, you name it.
  • It packs a larger screen
  • and more cameras than any other Samsung.
  • It's also got the biggest battery.
  • And for the first time in years, a faster charger.
  • But while you'll see plenty of footage
  • from this phone's cameras in this video,
  • I'm really here to talk about the network.
  • What using 5G for the first time felt like.
  • In short, it's fast and it's frustrating.
  • Fast part first.
  • Using a Galaxy S10 Plus on Verizon's 4G network
  • alongside the 5G version here,
  • well of course, 5G is a lot faster.
  • In my testing, the download difference
  • was about three to five times faster on 5G.
  • And since I know watching speed tests
  • is about as fun as watching paint dry,
  • here's a real world example.
  • You're about to get on a flight
  • or underground on the subway
  • and you forgot to download a game to pass the time
  • until the last minute.
  • Well even with something as big as Asphalt 9
  • that weighs in at 1.7 gigabytes,
  • it actually takes longer for the phone
  • to install the game than it did to download it.
  • Better example for someone like me
  • who's always got headphones on.
  • Even if you crank up the quality to maximum on Spotify,
  • a 5G connection can pull down an 81-song playlist
  • in less than a minute.
  • It's one thing for the manufacturers
  • to promise you these kinds of speeds,
  • it's another to hold a phone in your hand
  • and watch how fast it is.
  • (calm music)
  • Unfortunately the same technology that makes it faster
  • also makes for the frustrating part.
  • See, 5G stands for fifth generation,
  • it's not something simple
  • like a software update to your phone.
  • Actual 5G connections, ones fast enough
  • to give you these speeds,
  • require a whole new kind of network.
  • It's easy to tell the difference.
  • Where a regular 3G or 4G cell site
  • is usually mounted on a big tower like this,
  • a 5G node is small enough to fit
  • on top of a light pole, like this.
  • But the flip side
  • is that there are gonna have to be nodes
  • like this everywhere in 5G cities.
  • And that's because they're operating
  • at much higher frequencies.
  • Let's illustrate what I mean using a piece
  • of the Chicago skyline and say the Willis Tower
  • is the radio frequency spectrum.
  • The cell phone you use right now
  • probably operates mainly around the 800 megahertz band,
  • which would be almost at the bottom,
  • around the second floor.
  • Your WiFi router at home?
  • That broadcasts between 2.4 and five gigahertz,
  • which would be up here, between the fourth and sixth floor.
  • Verizon's 5G uses the millimeter wave spectrum,
  • between 28 and 39 gigahertz,
  • that's way up here at floor 103,
  • which I visited on my trip and a quick look down
  • will reinforce just how very high up it is.
  • Now being up that high in the spectrum
  • is what allows 5G to offer such fast speeds.
  • But it also means those signals can't travel as far
  • and can't penetrate obstacles as well.
  • During my day in Chicago,
  • the difference between holding onto a 5G signal
  • and losing it was literally the difference
  • between walking five feet
  • or putting a phone on the wrong ledge.
  • Even ducking behind a tree
  • or being on the other side of a window
  • would sometimes cause the connection to fall back to 4G.
  • Now Sprint and T-Mobile are going
  • with a different approach to 5G
  • in a lower part of the spectrum
  • but look, it's possible to build a solid 5G network
  • where Verizon is doing it.
  • You just need a ton of infrastructure
  • that they've barely started building.
  • This explains why all of us media folks
  • who've been invited to test it
  • have kind of done the same things,
  • performed speed tests, downloaded big apps.
  • It's not because we were required to.
  • It's because the network isn't ready for much else.
  • The number one thing I wanted to try was a video live stream
  • or see how long it would take
  • to upload a huge video to YouTube.
  • But when I visited, the network
  • wasn't even using 5G for uploads yet.
  • The phone would fall back to 4G for those.
  • I asked Verizon why it was selling 5G phones
  • when the network was barely online.
  • The company didn't give me a straight answer
  • but it's not hard to figure out.
  • Jut Google, "Who was first to 5G?"
  • And you'll see a few companies
  • jockeying for that recognition.
  • Yeah, it's a prestige thing
  • and it's also a money thing.
  • As Reuters points out, the entire industry
  • is expected to generate over $12 trillion by 2035.
  • That's 12 trillion per year.
  • But we're in 2019.
  • So if you buy a Galaxy S10 5G today,
  • what are you getting for your almost $1300?
  • Well, much of the same stuff you get
  • on the far cheaper Galaxy S10,
  • which, if you've watched my review,
  • you'll know is hardly a bad thing.
  • Don't forget those bonuses
  • like the bigger battery and display,
  • the better charging brick and the extra cameras.
  • If you live in Chicago or Minneapolis right now,
  • you'll also be able to try out 5G for no additional charge,
  • since the company is waiving its $10 a month fee for now.
  • Verizon's spin on this is that buying one of these,
  • or an LG V50, is future-proofing yourself,
  • since it plans to launch 5G
  • in another 28 cities before the year is out.
  • And if you live in one of those,
  • well your phone will already be ready.
  • Look, Verizon's network has improved substantially
  • even in the weeks since that first wave
  • of underwhelming coverage.
  • And even if you've watched an hour
  • of American TV in your life, or seen one billboard,
  • you know how zealously the company
  • guards the reputation of its network.
  • I have to believe it's going to deliver
  • a quality 5G experience once that network is fully deployed.
  • Until then though, I have to say
  • that my friends at Android Central are right.
  • Unless you happen to live at a corner
  • like West Grand and North Franklin in Chicago,
  • there's still little reason to buy a 5G phone just yet.
  • If you do buy one and you wanna protect
  • that mirror finish, folks, get a dbrand.
  • They're my sponsor and they make the best
  • vinyl skins in the business.
  • From my usual favorites, concrete and swarm,
  • to the flashier carbon fibers and dragons
  • that might be a better fit for such a cutting edge device.
  • Hit the link in the description for those.
  • And if you've used a 5G phone on any network
  • I wanna hear your experience.
  • Sound off down in the comments.
  • Disclosure, Samsung flew some members of the media
  • to Chicago for this test, including MrMobile,
  • and took us to the top of the Willis Tower
  • and for a ride on the river to test the phone.
  • Neither Samsung nor Verizon received editorial input
  • or an early look at this video, though,
  • they're seeing it at the same time you are.
  • Please subscribe if that's the kind of tech coverage
  • you value on your YouTube,
  • and check out Pocketnow and Tim Schofield's videos
  • of this same experience at their channels, linked below.
  • Until next time, thanks for watching
  • and stay mobile, my friends.

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Sponsored by dbrand. Get your Galaxy S10 5G skins here: https://dbrand.com/mrmobile-5g

[5G IN CHICAGO]

Ever since the 5G hype train kicked into gear my friends at Android Central have been saying the same thing: you should not buy a 5G phone in 2019. The networks aren’t mature enough; the phone selection isn’t broad enough; it’s just too early. Well I found a way to prove them wrong. There are actually a few people who should buy a 5G phone. The thing is … they all pretty much live in a handful of buildings in Chicago. Join me for MrMobile's 5G Hands-On from the windy city!

[SUBSCRIBE TO MRMOBILE]

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSOpcUkE-is7u7c4AkLgqTw?sub_confirmation=1

[ABOUT MRMOBILE'S 5G HANDS-ON]

MrMobile's 5G Hands-On was produced in Chicago, IL with a Samsung Galaxy S10 5G review unit on loan from Samsung for the day. Samsung provided travel and lodging accommodation for some members of the media, including MrMobile; no other compensation was requested or afforded. Neither Samsung nor Verizon Wireless were given editorial input or an advance copy of this video.

[LINKS]

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G [Best Buy]:
http://mrmobile.tech/52p

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[DISCLOSURE]

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