KEY HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS STUDY
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Signals Research Group (SRG) collaborated with Spirent Communications, PCTEST Engineering Laboratory, Inc., and Electro Magnetic Test, Inc. (EMT Labs) to conduct what is arguably the most extensive over-the-air (OTA) performance analysis of commercially-procured smartphones.
All testing occurred in an ETS-Lindgren anechoic chamber, making use of various test platforms and solutions, including the Spirent VR5 channel emulators. We tested fifteen iconic smartphones (four different LTE modem suppliers) – spanning the alphabet from the Apple iPhone 6 Plus to the ZTE Nubia – in an anechoic chamber with each smartphone tested in a low-, mid-, and high-band frequency band that it supported. This initial study focused on MIMO (Transmission Mode 3) and more favorable SNR values. A forthcoming study will focus on Transmission Mode 2 and lower SNR values.
Based on using an industry-accepted test methodology, SRG identified meaningful performance variations in the smartphones that tested with double- and triple-digit differences in data rates observed at moderate SNR values. Of note, it was found that very little correlation between price and performance with two of the top performing smartphones – the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 and the Nokia Lumia 930 – having what SRG consider to be entry-level prices. Needless to say, two relatively expensive smartphones performed extremely poorly in the three bands in which were tested them. SRG also observed relatively large, and quite often unanticipated, differences in the performance of a smartphone when comparing its performance between the three bands.
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