HTC 4G Launch and Velocity Handset
Last night we attended the launch of the all new Velocity 4G handset from HTC. The launch was a great opportunity to try out both the new handset and the new 4G network from Telstra. Here are my thoughts on the technology –
4G – You Will Want It
Regardless of whether you think you need it or not, the new handset launched by HTC is a solid performer from a specs level. It has a 1.5 gigahertz chip, 8 megapixel wide angle lens camera and the screen is nice and bright. Just as important though, it feels great in your and although it’s large, will fit easily in your pocket.
4G Is Fast, Even When You're Not On 4G
Telstra has been smart in the way they have set up the network. When you are in the 4G zone, you will achieve upwards of 25 megabit download speeds. Last night, we achieved 27 megabit down, and 2 megabit upload. That is faster than ADSL2+, which most of you would be using at home. I ran a comparison speed check on my Galaxy S II smartphone using the Telstra NextG network, and achieved 8 megabit download, and 1.3 megabit upload. However, when you are outside the 4G zone, you will move back to NextG, and will use 2x NextG threds to download your data. This means you get downloads at the speed of other NextG phones. So the result is twice the speed of NextG away from 4G, and five times NextG in the 4G zone.
What About Indoor Reception?
So bit vs bit, 4G is awesome, however we did notice the in building reception was down on 4G vs. NextG. We were in Eastern Suburbs of Sydney (Rushcutters Bay – and way inside the 5km distance of the GPO) and inside a building, the 4G signal strength was at 2x Bars and my NextG was a 5 bars. Does this mean loss of signal quality indoors, an area where the NextG network has excelled for users?
4G Is Cheap
When you buy brand new technology, you expect to pay more. This is the conditioning tech companies have done to us over the years. 4G though is not expensive. On the $79 cap, you get the Velocity handset free, plus $800 in calls a month and 2Gb of data. There is also unlimited sms and other sweeteners, but this is the gist of it. Also, it is easy for you to stay inside your monthly download cap, if you use the widget that comes bundled with the handset. This way you can maximise your data use and ensure there is no excess costs associated with using the phone.
Why This Is Good For You
Telstra leading with a competitive pricing play for 4G means the competition is now running the calculator over how they will charge their customers for access to their 4G network when they launch. Competition in phone services in Australia is fantastic; you only need to go to the USA and experience their 3G networks to see how lucky we are (seriously, 3G in the US really sucks with drop outs and signal loss, and has done in the three years I have visited and used it in locations like Los Angeles, Las Vegas and others). With 4G coming, it means more choice for you the consumer as you will now choose between 3G and 4G plans. With the 4G plans costing what current 3G plans cost means there will be downward pressure on the current 3G plans. So if you don’t want fast data, you will likely be able to get a better deal for your current use. Further, all the heavy downloading people will rush this network for the better quality speed, and leave the 3G network, unclogging it for the rest of the people who just want basic data use, without the fancy speeds.
OK, But Will My iPhone Work On 4G
No, your current handset will not work on 4G. 4G requires a unique signal and your phone antenna doesn’t receive it. However, I bet that when the next iPhone is released later this year it will be 4G compatible, and you will move to the 4G network when you buy it and change to the latest iPhone handset.
About Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown is one of Australia's foremost commentators on consumer lifestyle technology. He publishes, produces and hosts CyberShack, is Channel 9's technology expert, and hosts Life & Technology and 2GB and NewsTalk 4BC.
Charlie is able to communicate, educate and inspire a huge audience, without confusing technological jargon.
Life & Technology is on the air Sunday mornings at 10am on 2GB and NewsTalk 4BC.