SRG just completed its nineteenth 5G benchmark study, this time with a focus on the performance of leading 5G NR smartphones and chipsets. We tested these devices and chipsets in T-Mobile’s commercial Band n41 network in Buena Park, CA where Ericsson is the infrastructure supplier. We also included some additional testing in T-Mobile’s network around Minneapolis, MN where Nokia is the infrastructure supplier.

Highlights of the Report include the following:

Our Thanks. We did this study in collaboration with Accuver Americas (XCAL-M and XCAP) and Spirent Communications (Umetrix Data). SRG did all the testing and analysis of the data and we are solely responsible for the commentary in the report.

The Scope. Our study included smartphones from Apple, LG (2), Motorola, OnePlus, and Samsung (4), as well as 5G NR chipsets from MediaTek, Samsung and Qualcomm (3).

Data Collection. We used full buffer HTTPS/UDP data transfer sessions that lasted two minutes and which ran repeatedly over a 17.2 km drive route. We also did stationary tests and stress tests, involving downlink/uplink data transfers, including with the introduction of a voice call during the data transfer session.

Data Analysis. We time binned and area binned the data to allow an apples-to-apples comparison of the results between smartphones, including filtering of data to ensure smartphones were all receiving data and attached to the same cell site. We analyzed spectral and resource block efficiency as a function of RF conditions and how frequently the smartphones used various features (4×4 MIMO, 256QAM, etc.) to enhance performance.

Headliner Device Results. No single smartphone stood out across all tests. However, with typical conditions over the drive route the Note 10 Plus (introduced more than two years ago), performed slightly better than its peers. Further, a more expensive smartphone does not mean better RF performance. With stress tests, more expensive smartphones with advanced processors could have an advantage.

Headliner Chipset Results. Although there were not meaningful differences in performance across chipsets, there were very obvious differences in strategies used to maximize performance.