Testing mobile data speeds with HTC Sensation

, posted: 17-Aug-2011 13:31

I've had my HTC Sensationfor over month now and it's proven itself over and over in every way. Video playback is flawless. I can stream TV shows over the Internet to my phone via the JetFlicks (subscription) TV app. "Mad Men" and "Dollhouse" look great in qHD on the Sensation's big 4.3" screen. The brightness is fine and the resolution excellent. I've had a couple of AMOLED phones (Nexus One and Samsung Galaxy S) and their screens are very good, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the S-LCD screen on the Sensation. If anything, the qHD 940x560 resolution makes it even better. 

I play my music via my SONY stereo Bluetooth headset and it sounds great. I usually use Winamp as it's simple to use, streams Shoutcast Internet radio perfectly, supports playlists and shuffle and endless repeat and automatically downloads album covers for music it finds. The 8mp camera, as noted previously, is a joy to use. 

The HTC Sensation and Android and the many apps that add more functions than I can name in a week all come together to make the whole experience an great one. You could say I'm pretty happy. Yep. I am. 

But what underlies it all is the network that lets me access everything wherever I might be. This is where it gets interesting. I've already noted that where I live and work the Telecom XTnetwork delivers data all the way with no black spots. But what I may not have mentioned is the speed. 

The speed is good. Very good. 

I did some tests at home on the Telecom XT network and on the Vodafone New Zealand network. I took ten samples on each network using the "Speedtest.net" app for Android on my HTC Sensation. I was sitting in the same place, facing the same way, holding the phone the same way. 

Both networks have cell towers within 200 metres of my house and more or less in line of sight in both cases, so reception is not an issue. 



The usual caveats apply. This was a small sample at an arbitrary time (evening on a week night) in a single location. The results here can't be applied everywhere. At best they may indicate a trend that you may wish to test the validity of in your own location. You may discover the reverse. These tests also apply only to mobile data. For voice or text the two networks behave no differently in my experience.

That said, at my house on the evening concerned, the Telecom XT network was significantly (over 400%) and consistently faster for download speeds than the Vodafone NZ network. Vodafone, however, was the faster network for average upload speeds. I'll note that both networks are faster uploading than my DSL connection. 

I'll also note that in anecdotal testing and daily use the results reported above have been consistent (subjectively) at home and at work near Mairangi Bay. At work, the Telecom XT  3G network reception is much more reliable than the Vodafone New Zealand 3G reception, which doesn't work at all on the north side of our building.  

When I combine the trend observed above with the previously mentioned better coverage where I work and live I can say the Telecom XT network represents excellent value for performance for me.  Their data prices are roughly comparable with Vodafone's if you use the Mobile Broadband plans. The Smartphone plans could use more data and fewer minutes (for me), so aren't as attractive, but the performance I've seen on the Telecom XT is fairly dramatically faster. That has to have some value. It's up to you whether this is true for you where you live and work and whether you're prepared to pay a little extra to get it. 

About the author:

Steve Withers (LinuxLuver) has worked in IT in New Zealand (National Bank, Caltex, NZ Dairy Board, IBM, AT&T, Software of Excellence) for most of 30 years, moving from mainframes to mobile as technology has evolved and networks have become faster, cheaper and more accessible to everyone. An enthusiastic supporter of Open Source software and tools, in 2009 Steve embraced Linux-based Android as the way to go in personal tech for freedom loving peoples everywhere. Steve loves cool new stuff that makes him feel like he's living in the future.


Other related posts:
HTC Watch on HTC Sensation in New Zealand
HTC Sensation: The Story So Far
Travelling with the HTC Sensation






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Telecom New Zealand
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Telecom Tech is a different type of blog. We're sponsored by Telecom New Zealand, but most of the posts here are from every day users like you.

We choose tech savvy Geekzone users to "test drive" the new handsets from Telecom New Zealand.

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