Wifi performance in smartphones analysed

Investigation requested: Broadcom versus Qualcomm



We note that there are certainly significant differences between individual devices and also between routers and relevant chipsets on the 5 GHz frequencies. At both frequencies and in combination with both the R7800 and the R8000, the differences between the top and the bottom of the ranking are enormous, varying from a factor of 2.5 to a factor of 7.

At 5 GHZ there is a remarkable fact that individual tested devices in combination with the R7800 (Qualcomm) achieve considerably higher speeds than with the R8000 (Broadcom), but also fall back much further. Here, in contrast to the 2.4 GHz frequency, we see not only a clear difference between individual smartphones, but also between the two router chipsets.

Samsung Galaxy S8 64GB Black
The Samsung Galaxy S8 performs best across the entire test.

However, we cannot say this if we look at the average performance of the test field as a whole. At 5 GHz, the average speed of the test field at the R7800 is 193 Mbit/s, where the participants, in combination with the R8000, achieve an average speed of 194 Mbit/s. At 2.4 GHz, the differences are also small: 68 Mbit/s with the R7800 and 63 Mbit/s combined with the R8000. These are differences that fall within the error margin.

Furthermore, we clearly see that the purchase price of a smartphone does not necessarily correlate with the average speed of the WiFi connection. For example, the four cheapest participants in the test - Motorola Moto E4 (149 euros), E4 Plus (179 euros), Wileyfox 2 X (199 euros) and the Huawei Y7 (185 euros) - at 2.4 Ghz - perform mostly between the top and the middle classes. ZenFone AR and KeyOne are, on the other hand, quite disappointing when we compare the Mbit/s to the euros. Finally, the S8 in particular, followed by the U11, iPhone 7 and 8 Plus and OnePlus 5, are able to achieve top performances that reflect the corresponding purchase price.

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