Ahead of a week that will be filled with media reviews of the new iPhone 12, one reporter had a small slip-up and posted real-life 5G tests on the new handset prior to an embargo being lifted.
Out of respect for the reporter who posted the screenshot of the results in violation of their NDA with Apple, we will not share their identity.
Going into this there are a few factors we don’t know. Firstly, we aren’t sure which carrier said person was testing the iPhone 12 on. What we do know however is that the tests were being conducted in Hong Kong. Secondly, we aren’t sure in specific where in Hong Kong these tests were being conducted in. Some areas will have stronger 5G infrastructure than others and vice versa.
Having said that, according to speed tests conducted on October 19th, LTE connections clocked in at 95.2 Mbps for download, and 40.2 Mbps for uploads. A 5G test three days earlier got significantly slower speeds at 29.5 Mbps for downloads, and 0.41 Mbps for uploads. The 3-day difference between the tests does indicate that they were likely taken in different locations and at different cellular connection strengths which would impact the results.
The most recent test which was performed just minutes before the screenshot was taken show LTE speeds at 239 Mbps for downloads, and 77.5 Mbps for uploads. On a 5G connection, download speeds were 173 Mbps for downloads and 4.91 Mbps for uploads. According to the screenshot, the iPhone was only receiving one bar of cellular signal, hindering connection strength.
While these results show much slower 5G speeds than what some would have hoped, this shouldn’t be taken as a final judgment towards the device. The lack of information on the environment in which the tests were carried out makes it harder to truly determine how 5G on the new iPhones perform against LTE and WiFi.
Additionally, the devices aren’t released to the public yet. Carriers still have some days to prepare and optimize their 5G infrastructure for the new iPhones before they officially start arriving in the hands of customers on October 23rd. On top of that, any type of connection, whether 5G, LTE, WiFi, or even Bluetooth does improve overtime with software updates, and that will most certainly be the case with the iPhone 12 and 5G.