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Three reasons why you don’t really need 5G on your smartphone

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5G smartphones Source: Pocketnow

5G started to take off around 2019, and it became widely available by the middle of 2020 and early 2021. Smartphones also started to come out with 5G around the same time, and carriers quickly jumped on advertising the new technology as something you must have to encourage more users to upgrade and sign up for more expensive plans.

This strategy seems to have worked, and many users upgraded, but there are still tens of millions of people who are using 4G smartphones. 4G devices are often equipped with slower chipsets, but that’s not true for all devices and manufacturers. In the case of HUAWEI, the company has been put on a special entity list that bans the company from accessing 5G technologies.

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In this article, we’ll provide three reasons why it doesn’t make much sense to buy a 5G smartphone in 2022. Suppose you’re happy with your current 4G-only device. In that case, we don’t necessarily recommend you to upgrade, unless your phone is starting to show its age, and you have legitimate reasons to upgrade – such as wanting a better display, camera, and faster speeds when gaming or browsing the web.

5G isn’t fully utilized yet

On paper, the sub-6GHz technology is faster than 4G LTE, but that’s not always the case in practice. Depending on your area and traffic, you may see 40 Mb/s download speeds and 150 Mb/s at other times, over LTE. Sub-6Ghz can often yield similar results, although it can range anywhere between 10 Mbps to a couple of hundred Mbps. The average speed for 5G networks is used to be around 50 MB/s, while LTE is around 28MB/s in 2020 (via OpenSignal). You can find more up-to-date analytics on this page.

As a power user, I see no noticeable benefits of using 5G while traveling and using Google Maps. When I occasionally want to see videos on-the-go, I usually turn to YouTube or Netflix, and 4G provides a comfortable experience. There are usually no buffer or loading screens, and content often loads in a matter of seconds. While 5G – in theory – eliminates ever seeing the loading screen, it can happen, depending on the traffic and your location to the nearest tower.

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5G mmWave adoption is slow

A graphic with 5G written in its centre with several other glyphs around it Source: Qualcomm

The 5G mmWave technology is a true game-changer, and it lets you download at gigabit speeds. Downloading the entire series of your favorite TV show could take only a few seconds, and it could have a massive impact on machine learning, and autonomous driving technologies.

Big companies are already using it where possible, in many large US cities, but it’s still unavailable outside less densely populated areas. mmWave can’t travel as far as sub-6Ghz; therefore, the speeds are much slower. Sub-6Ghz is easier to install, and it’s widely available worldwide, while mmWave is behind as it requires more hardware and more towers.

4G is available everywhere, and it works great

4G might not be as fast as 5G, but it’s available in most rural places and the countryside. It provides great speeds even when you’re in the middle of nowhere, and it works for the most part. 4G is also stable; it lets you easily browse the web, make calls, and even make video calls with friends and family.

Many applications and services are also well optimized to provide a comfortable experience while the connection is slow, and it’s rare to see an application and content loading for more than 20 seconds in developed regions. If you consume a lot of media, you might think that 5G will yield better results, and while that could certainly happen, you’re better off checking your carrier’s website for more information to see if there are 5G towers near your home or workplace.

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Did You Order a Galaxy Z Flip 4 or Galaxy Z Fold 4?

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Pre-orders are taking place for the new Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4, and as we always say, there’s never a better time to order one of these phones than during this period. Seriously, you should do it.

If you have taken advantage of Samsung’s crazy-good trade-in values, store credit and free accessories, the last thing we want to know is which model you ended up going with. In 2022, both are very good options, seen as relatively minor upgrades over last year’s models, but still offering top specs, water resistance, improved hinge designs for more compact designs, and improved software.

I have been using the Z Fold 4 for a week now and have really been enjoying the experience. The battery life has been great, the displays are nice, and the cameras appear to be very good.

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Which option are you going with?

Best Galaxy Z Flip 4 Deal | Best Galaxy Z Fold 4 Deal



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How Good is Android 13 on Pixel Phones?

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The stable Android 13 update has been out since the beginning of the week and that means a couple of days for you to run it and establish first impressions. I’m curious what those are, as the update is somewhat minor in new features, but huge in terms of bug fixes from Android 12.

To recap, Android 13 dropped on Monday for the Pixel 4, Pixel 4a, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, and Pixel 6a. The update was available immediately if you felt like playing in adb, plus we’ve seen it rollout over-the-air as well to some phones. Tim, for example, says he can pull it yet I can’t on my Pixel 6 Pro. Rude, Google.

We talked about all of the new features in Android 13 that you’ll want to be on the lookout for and then spent a lengthy amount of time looking through the list of 150 bugs that Google fixed. Google says it was able to improve “performance, stability, and reliability,” fixed bugs related to charging and Gboard and touch screen palm detection and so much more. Google even says it addressed fingerprint reader performance on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a.

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After browsing through reddit, I can see that a number of folks have been quick to share that their fingerprint reader is indeed faster (Do people really believe this?) and that overall performance and stuttering has improved, especially on older Pixel phones.

What about you? How has Android 13 been running on your Pixel phone this week? Or are you still waiting for it?



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Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro Get Major Approval Ahead of Launch

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The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro stopped through the FCC this week, marking a big step towards launch that should happen around October, if previous launches are any indicator. The filings don’t reveal much, other than supported network bands and the presence of UWB again, but they do give us model numbers to pin on each phone going forward.

There are four FCC filings of note to dip into under Google’s FCC ID. Those filings give us model numbers of GVU6C, GQML3, GP4BC, and GE2AE. After looking through several of the documents at the FCC, I’m pretty confident in saying that the first two are the Pixel 7 and the last two are the Pixel 7 Pro. The GVU6C Pixel 7 also has an alternate model number of G03Z5 alongside it, as does the Pixel 7 Pro’s GE2AE, where GFE4J can be added to its list.

To recap, we have Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro model numbers as follows:

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  • PIXEL 7: GVU6C (G03Z5)
  • PIXEL 7: GQML3 – mmW
  • PIXEL 7 PRO: GP4BC – UWB
  • PIXEL 7 PRO: GE2AE (GFE4J) – UWB, mmW

Each phone has all of the proper network bands to work well here in the US, with select models also supporting 5G mmW. The two models supporting mmW are GQML3 (Pixel 7) and GE2AE (Pixel 7 Pro). The others support sub-6 5G, just not the super speedy 5G mmW that you’ll never attach to anyway.

To tell the difference between Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro devices, we really are guessing (assuming) based on the fact that GP4BC and GE2AE have UWB or ultra-wideband support. In the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, only the Pixel 6 Pro had UWB and it looks like that’ll be the case again this year. UWB is used for short-range communications in things like luggage trackers or to help a digital car key talk to a car.

The rest of the big network stuff can be see below, where you’ll find WiFi 6E, NFC, and WPT (wireless power transfer aka wireless charging).

Pixel 7 network bands

GQML3 mmW

Pixel 7 Pro network bands

GE2AE mmW

There isn’t much else to take from this because Google already announced each phone. We’re really just waiting for them to go official, so that we can start playing with their cameras, test Google Tensor 2, and see if Google took are of all of the Pixel 6 line’s modem issues.

If you were hoping this arrival at the FCC would tell us when the Pixel 7 will launch, I’m not sure that it does. The Pixel 6 line hit the FCC in September 2021 and then arrived in October. The Pixel 6a showed up at the FCC in April 2022, was announced in May, and then didn’t ship until July.

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