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We tested Sprint’s 5G speeds all day so you wouldn’t have to


The V50 ThinQ is the first 5G phone from LG and Sprint.

Lynn La / CNET

After difficult start, Verizon, the leading wireless service provider in the United States, showed the burning speeds what 5G is capable of doing. Now it's Sprint's turn. In an attempt to demonstrate its readiness for 5G, the country's fourth largest network operator activated its network in the Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Kansas City areas on Thursday. In the coming weeks, Sprint expects to launch the service in parts of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Washington, DC The company says that the approximately 2,180 square miles of coverage, which covers 11.5 million people, makes it the 5G largest network in the country.

Before the May 31 launch of the LG V50 – A $ 1,152 5G phone that is distinguished by its Attachment of the second screen that will not be available in the US UU Sprint invited CNET to test the phone and its 5G coverage in Dallas. We submit the LG V50 to various tests in a variety of locations to get a preview of what consumers can expect from the service and whether they should consider buying it yet.

Sprint is the latest in the company to hook your car to the excitement of 5G. In perfect conditions, 5G will allow us to download movies to our phones in seconds or transmit AR / VR games without delay. Beyond the phones, you could revolutionize entire industriesfrom self-driven cars to remote medical procedures. However, 5G is still a work in progress and is years away from reaching those levels of speed (as evidenced by Thursday's tests), coverage or reliability. But like other wireless service providers, Sprint wants to lead the way in providing its customers with a next-generation experience.

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Putting the 5G of Sprint to test in the LG V50


Download in 5G was (mostly) a breeze

We programmed the time it would take to download PUBG Mobile, a 1.86GB file. The V50 took only 3 minutes and 31 seconds to download and install the game, while the G8 in 4G LTE had only installed 73MB (3% of the file) of the game in that same period.

After, we moved to large multimedia files. We downloaded the first episode of Blue Planet 2 on Netflix in high quality and the entire season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel of Prime Video. The 50-minute episode of Blue Planet took 49 seconds to fully discharge on the V50. The G8 in 4G LTE was not even a quarter of the episode's download in that same period.

Downloading the entire first season of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Prime Video. In 1m40s, V50 in 5G is 20% in the download of episode 4. G8 in LTE is in 2% of the pilot episode. In total, the V50 took 4 minutes to download the entire season. pic.twitter.com/RlAyi83cGk

– Lynn La (@lynnlaaa) May 30, 2019

As for the eight episodes of Mrs. Maisel's first season, that took only four minutes and 5 seconds. This would give him a lot of time, say, to quickly download a full season of a program when boarding a plane after realizing that at the last minute he had not saved any entertainment off line. The G8, unfortunately, was still far from completing the download of the pilot episode when the V50 finished downloading the season.

There was an instance, however, when 5G was slower than expected. When downloading Wine Country, a Netflix movie of one hour and 43 minutes, the phone stopped when it reached 90% in a couple of minutes. After restarting the test twice, the 5G and 4G LTE connections were incredibly slow. In the end, it took three minutes and 45 seconds to download the movie at 5G (the G8 on LTE did not progress at all). That's a good time to sign up for LTE, but somehow it felt icy in 5G (we've been spoiled!). Sprint later told us that the location was experiencing "heavy load testing" that could have caused problems at the site. We believe that the result was awkward because we did a speed test a few minutes later and we timed our fastest results so far (more on that later).

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Speed ​​tests: Sprint vs. Verizon

We use the Speedtest.net application to compare 5G speeds on the LG V50 to 4G LTE on another premium LG phone, the LG G8. The average download speed was 109 megabits per second (Mbps) in six attempts, compared to the 3.74Mbs download in the G8. As for charging rates, that was being done by Sprint's 4G LTE network. Because 80% of the traffic on your network is on the downlink, Sprint prioritized fast download speeds only at 5G. However, 5G will handle the uplinks "in the coming weeks," Sprint said.

Execution of data speed tests. On the left is the LG V50 with 5G of Sprint and on the right the LG G8 in 4G LTE. On average, the V50 reached 109 Mbps of download and the G8 had an average of only 3.74 Mbps. pic.twitter.com/fCy1cfuX3z

– Lynn La (@lynnlaaa) May 30, 2019

At another location in downtown Dallas, we conducted another series of speed tests. This time, the speeds reached 434Mbps, the fastest we saw all day. That's impressive, but not as fast as we saw it in Verizon 5G Network Earlier this month, it reached 1 gigabyte per second. Note, however, that Verizon's millimeter-based network is faster, but has a shorter range, while Sprint's 5G is based on 2.5 GHz midband radio waves, which offer good combination of speed and range of coverage.

One important thing that we had in mind while testing was the fact that almost nobody was at 5G. As one of the few people who could test the Sprint network on its opening day, it is understandable that we accelerate, since we are only part of a handful of cars on the road, so to speak. As more people buy 5G phones and upload to 5G, network speeds will surely be affected.

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5G on the go, on a bus and a car

Unlike the Verizon 5G network, you do not have to be near or within sight of a node to get high-speed data from Sprint. To get an idea of ​​the consistency of the network while we were traveling, we got on a bus to take a small route around Dallas. We saw the data speeds of a V50 on screens that hung over our seats. On the left of the screen we observe the download speed, which we saw at 700 Mbps during the trip.

Driving around Dallas on a bus, observing Sprint's 5G speed and consistency. On the left is the download speed we've seen so far at 700Mbps. On the right is our route in green at 5G. When we switch to LTE, the route will turn black, but until now there is no change. pic.twitter.com/ibil1mmaoJ

– Lynn La (@lynnlaaa) May 30, 2019

From time to time, the rate dropped to 4G speeds when the device started a new cycle during the tests, but Sprint said that when users experienced a handover, they would not discern any difference in service. To the right was our route traced in real time. The route was drawn in green to indicate 5G and when our coverage changed to 4G LTE, it was supposed to turn black. However, during our 25 minute trip, we did not see it make the change, which means that the 5G connection remained constant.

A few hours later in the afternoon, we took a 20-minute car ride from a city north of Dallas called Addison to downtown Dallas. We sailed at approximately 60 miles per hour and during the trip we saw that the icon changed between 5G and 4G LTE. As we perform speed tests, the download rates reached a level as low as 10 Mbps and as high as 168 Mbps. So, while the Sprint network is wide, it does not have full coverage in all markets.

Speed ​​tests throughout the day. Note that the double-digit results were taken while in transit.

Lynn La / CNET

LG V50 impressions and battery life.

The LG V50 has a 4,000 mAh battery, and Sprint said it should expect a similar battery in 5G as it would with other high-end phones that operate in 4G LTE. We started to test our phone seriously at 1:00 p.m. With the battery to 82%. In the afternoon at 4:39 p.m. When we finished the last of our tests, the phone was at 32%. Finally, after about three more hours in standby mode, the telephone had 19% of its reservations at 8 p.m.

Because it is definitely longer than a day's work, I consider the battery life to be quite solid. We submitted the phone to many tests, downloaded tons of things and the screen was set from 50% to 80% brightness all the time. While juice was needed at the end of the night, the battery did not become a concern at any time of the day.

In general, the V50 is a solid phone to debut with a 5G phone. I only spent a day with him, but his large 6.4-inch OLED screen was crisp and vibrant, and the fact that it was waterproof gave me more peace of mind as I ran around town with it. It is also one of the latest high-end phones with a headphone jack. However, the phone is wide, so it was difficult to maneuver with one hand, and the back was quite torn at the end of the day, perhaps because it was supporting it on stone surfaces.

5G landscape in the United States and final reflections.

Our test event in Dallas is similar to the two hosted by Verizon in April and may when introduced its 5G network in Chicago and Minneapolis to varying degrees of success.

While Sprint already has 5G, it is unclear how the roadmap will look if T-Mobile successfully completes its $ 26.5 billion merger that The FCC approved last week.. On its own, T-Mobile plans 5G launch services in 30 cities in the USA UU As soon as the devices are available (which is soon). If they merge, their combined coverage of 4G LTE and 5G would increase dramatically, but according to reports, the Justice Department wants The two companies to create another wireless operator. Maintain the status quo of four players.

In general, the speeds were incredibly fast. In some places, we averaged 100 Mbps and other times we exceeded 400 Mbps. We were especially impressed with how quickly the LG V50 downloaded a full program season in less than five minutes.

However, compared to Verizon, we never get close to exceeding 1 gigabit per second. The S10 5G was also able to download PUB-G about one minute faster than us. But Sprint's approach to 5G does not necessarily have to do with maximum performance or higher speeds. Instead, he wants to offer an excellent and reliable experience for the average user, and for the most part, that's what we got.

What we liked most was that we did not have to be near any wink or tower to get 5G. We simply drove to a designated area and were constantly connected to the network. There were some exceptions, like when we were in the car or downloading Wine Country, but for the most part the test went well.

Personally I would not go out and buy a 5G phone at this time. Technology is still very expensive for consumers: the LG V50 costs $ 1,152 and the Galaxy S10 5G that will reach Sprint at the end of June costs around $ 1,300. Also, Sprint & # 39; s. Premium Unlimited Plan Accessing 5G costs between $ 80 and $ 90 per month. Meanwhile, 5G is only available in a handful of cities for each operator. That will change as the year progresses, so I would wait at least until the end of this year or until 2020.

Still, it's promising. 4G LTE allowed many industries to flourish, such as video streaming and shared services. While we do not know exactly what kind of niche companies will be on the horizon with 5G (and it is not a guarantee that all emerging companies have a positive impact), we are excited to have an idea of ​​5G's capabilities.

The story originally published on May 30, from 7:30 a.m. PT.

Update, 8:57 a.m. PT: Add a clarification that 5G networks are being activated. 9:33 a.m. PT: Add early results of the speed test. 11:33 a.m. PT: Add a test tweet that compares 5G with 4G LTE. 3:27 p.m. PT: Add the "On the go" test section.

Update, May 31, 3:00 a.m. PT: Add additional test information and sections "Final reflections" and "Battery". 11:10 a.m. PT: Add practical impressions of the availability of the LG V50 and Galaxy S10 5G in Sprint.

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