San Diego-based chipmaker Qualcomm has published a new report that touts the cellular performance of its latest modem, the Snapdragon 845’s X20 modem.
Using newly available data from Ookla that compares and contrasts speed test data not just by geographic region and network operator, but by device and chipset, the chipmaker found the X20 modem outperformed competing modems from Intel.
To compile the report, Qualcomm and Ookla analyzed 1 million speed tests conducted during the three-month period between April and June by users of Snapdragon 845-based smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S9 and OnePlus 6, and Intel-based iPhones on T-Mobile and AT&T.
According to Qualcomm, the data shows double and sometimes triple-digit percentage differences in download speeds between Snapdragon 845-based Android smartphones and “non-Android smartphones with Intel modems” (read: the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X).
In a specific example comparing how the modems performed against one another on T-Mobile, the chipmaker found a 53 percent difference between typical download speeds achieved by Android smartphones with X20 modems and Intel-based iPhones. Similarly, in scenarios where said devices were at the edge of the carrier’s network, there was a 2x difference in upload speeds.
What’s more, Qualcomm says that trend was true across multiple other metrics, including latency.
“It goes to show it’s not just theoretical differences between these devices,” said Sherif Hanna, director of 5G product marketing at Qualcomm, in a phone interview with MobileSyrup. “The differences on paper do actually bear out in the real world.”
“The reason we’ve chosen to go public with this and call it out explicitly is that the data is so compelling and it comes from a credible third-party,” Hanna added. “This is neither our data nor our analysis. It’s all Ookla’s analysis.”
While Qualcomm’s findings are impressive, one thing to note is that pitting the X20 against Intel’s current crop of modems is, in some ways, a lopsided comparison.
The X20 is the chipmaker’s latest top-of-the-line modem. By contrast, the XMM7480 and XMM7360, the two Intel modems included in this study, represent Intel’s current and previous generation chips. The company’s new flagship modem, the XMM 7560 (that is, the modem that’s designed to go head-to-head with the X20), wasn’t included in the study; it’s set to ship alongside the new trio of iPhones due later this year.
Additionally, the study, at least this version of it, doesn’t include how the X16 and MDM9645M, the two Qualcomm modems Apple sourced to provide CDMA compatibility with iPhones sold through Verizon and AT&T, against their Intel counterparts. Hanna says the company looked at that data as well and did find notable differences. However, Qualcomm decided against publishing that data at this moment.