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Download speeds on 3D with actual numbers
I was uncertain about ordering the 3D because of the mixed initial reports, especially about signal strength, especially those with EVDO. I debated waiting for another phone, especially since the 3D is literally useless to me (I can't see 3D). I did impulsively order Monday night with the early ordering, then was almost freaked out when the Phonedog video review was posted next day and actually showed on video the low download speeds. I decided I'd do some comparisons of signal strengths and download speeds between my EVO 4G (taken before the 3D arrives) and my 3D once it arrives.
The short answer is that it doesn't look to me like there's a big difference. The 3D is not monumentally slower at downloading than the 4G. There might be a small difference. I DO NOT CLAIM THAT THIS IS A FINAL AND DEFINITIVE ANSWER, IT IS BASED ON A FEW INITIAL MEASUREMENTS BY ME USING THE UNCALIBRATED AND INEXPENSIVE TOOLS AVAILABLE TO ME. It may not apply to your situation. Even getting more data with these tools won't be something that settles the matter, but it has been reassuring for me.
I took measurements in three different locations with my 4G, I've only done measurements in one of the three with the 3D so far. Here are the actual download speeds with my 4G last night
620, 513, 366, 320, 560 (all in kbits per second) The 620 speed was taken at 9:49 PM, the others were taken in close sequence at 7:00 PM
Here are actual download speeds with my 3D between 4:00 and 5:00 PM today:
419, 420, 333, 287
This isn't a statistically valid analysis of course, there aren't enough samples, and this is only in one location, and differences in the load on the network may have an effect (I suspect that's especially true with my sample taken at 9:49 on the 4G).
I also did signal strength readings with the limited tools available to me. I'm not going to repost the numbers. In short signal strength readings bounce around in a limited range at each location, and there's no consistent difference between the phones. I've done a cruder, but more direct comparison by holding the two phones in my hands and comparing the signal strength as shown by a system info widget. There's no difference. I've also compared the number of bars shown in the standard cell phone signal strength indicator in the upper right corner. My (unscientific) impression is that the 3D consistently shows a lower number of bars than the 4G, but I can't quantify it. But based on the actual signal strength readings, and the download speeds, I think that if there is any difference between the phones, it is not a big one.
I took just one set of signal strength readings with my 4G at a restaurant nearby, I'm going to go out to dinner in a few minutes and repeat them with the 3D. I didn't do a download test there with the 4G, but I'll probably do one with the 3D anyway.
Tomorrow I'll take some readings in my office at work. Tomorrow or the next day I'll post the results of more of these measurements.
The three locations I used were my bedroom, which is high in an apartment building next to a window and consistently gets a very good signal. This is the only one I have repeat measurements for. I'll take some measurements tonight in my car in the parking lot of a restaurant that has good signal and no obstructions nearby. Tomorrow I'll measure in my office which is inside a very solid old building and consistently gets a crummy signal. All these measurements are taken in Oklahoma City, which I don't think of as being a hotbed of Sprint 3G connectivity and high speed service.
The Market apps I used for this were:
Tricorder, by Moonblink, don't laugh, it gives a measure of network signal strength, and is free).
System Info Widget, by Jason Calhoun, for a measure of network signal strength, I believe it cost me a dollar. ( found that though they use different numbering systems, both Tricorder and System Info Widget gave results that were consistent with each other, so after awhile I just took the readings off the System Info Widget Widget).
Speedtest, by Xtreme labs, to measure download speeds.
4G owners who have a 3G on the way may want to consider trying this themselves while they still have service on their 4G. If you do it, I recommend taking the same measurements at about the same times and places. I also recommend holding the phone upright and vertically, signal strength seems to drop when it is held parallel to the ground (I assume the antenna is designed to work best when the phone is in the "talking" position held to the ear). Keeping Antennagate in mind, you might honor Steve Jobs by trying to hold the phone the same way for each measurement.