If there is one thing Apple wants you to know about their new iPhones this year, it’s that they have 5G. The excitement around that feature is all over the map for people, quite literally, as depending on where you live and who your carrier is will have a major impact on how exciting this is for you. If you're on Verizon, it's possible 5000 Main St. could have blistering fast 5G coverage and 5004 Main St. could have basically none, for example.
Scope and Methodology
There is no way for me to tell you how good 5G is going to be for you, and this is not a perfectly scientific test myself. Basically, over 2 days with an iPhone 11 Pro, and then 2 days with an iPhone 12 Pro, I went around my town outside Chicago and did 20 speed tests on LTE and then 5G. I tried to be in the same place for each test, but variables like weather and exact GPS coordinates were not accounted for. Basically, I did my best, but this data would not be published in a peer reviewed journal.
I've been happy in general with the upgrade and it has genuinely made my phone feel more capable than before.
On average, I got 6.7x faster download speeds on 5G compared to LTE, averaging 87Mb/s down.
At its best, 5G hit 213Mb/s, eclipsing my home internet speed by a bit, while LTE only got to 27Mb/s.
And finally, sometimes your internet is just trash, which I'd consider less than 5Mb/s, and 5G had this happen twice in 20 tests, while LTE had 5 instances of this.
And finally, while 27Mb/s was the best speed I got on LTE, 5G beat that in 17 of my 20 tests.
For me, and literally no one else reading this unless you happen to live in my same neighborhood and have T-Mobile service, 5G has been a very nice upgrade. Despite being far more erratic than home internet, it's certainly been a major step up from what I had before.