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The iPhone 13 Pro Max has just been crowned the fastest 5G smartphone across all U.S. and Canadian carriers, according to research conducted by Ookla, maker of the popular Speedtest app for mobile devices.
In its Q4 2021 Market Report, Ookla ranked the performance of U.S. carriers for speed, consistency, and reliability, however it also rated the speeds of the most popular devices in the U.S. and Canada during that same quarter.
While it shied away from declaring a “statistical winner,” it noted that the iPhone 13 Pro Max came out on top, with a median download speed of 90.58 Mbps.
In second place came the iPhone 13 Pro, which clocked in at 89.61 Mbps, while Google’s Pixel 6 5G came in a very close third at 89.05 Mbps.
The iPhone 13 mini also made the top five, coming in at 84.73 Mbps, just behind the Pixel 6 Pro 5G.
While the discrepancy between the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the iPhone 13 Pro seems odd at first glance, since both devices pack in the same Qualcomm X60 5G chipsets and same A15 CPU, it’s important to consider that Ookla’s results aren’t based on empirical laboratory testing of the devices in question, but rather an averaging of data from users who conduct performance tests with Ookla’s Speedtest app.
Ookla doesn’t confine its findings to just the U.S. In fact, it publishes reports for over 40 different countries, from Algeria to Vietnam.
In Canada, the iPhone 13 Pro Max fared even better, achieving a median 5G download speed of 144.24 Mbps. The iPhone 13 Pro was still in second place, the standard iPhone 13 followed behind third, while it was Samsung’s Galaxy S21+ 5G that came in fourth, followed by the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G in fifth place.
The differences were more stark here, however, with Apple’s iPhone 13 models beating out Samsung’s phones by a healthy margin; the S21+ 5G only clocked in at 116.73 Mbps
Among the U.S. carriers, T-Mobile once again came out on top, and in fact it actually surged ahead, with median 5G download speeds of 187.12 Mbps, a significant jump over the 135.17 Mbps speeds that Ookla observed in its Q3 2021 report.
T-Mobile also scored top marks for consistency, reliability, and especially availability; it’s the only carrier that can boast that the majority of its users with 5G-capable devices actually spend most of their time on 5G.
T-Mobile scored 61.4% on this metric, while AT&T came in second, with 48% of its users actually benefiting from 5G. Verizon came in a distant third at 36.4%, which isn’t all that surprising considering its early focus on deploying smaller pockets of mmWave.
One other interesting tidbit to come out of Ookla’s latest report is that even though the iPhone 13 leads the pack with the fastest 5G download speeds, Apple is actually in third place behind Google and Samsung when it comes to having the fastest smartphones overall.
Since Ookla’s report measures download performance across all the available cellular technologies, from 3G to 5G, it’s likely that Apple’s older devices pulled its score down here. This is one area in which the longevity of the iPhone actually has a downside; users who are still running Ookla’s Speedtest on an iPhone 6s — which can still run iOS 15 — will contribute just as much to these stats as those with the latest iPhone 13 Pro models. By contrast, there are likely fewer folks still toting older Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy devices, most of which are stuck on outdated versions of Android, and don’t care too much about the speeds they’re getting.
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