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Here’s how fast 5G on your Samsung Galaxy S23 really is

This recent research from Ookla may help tip the scales in Samsung’s favor if you’ve been debating purchasing one of the newest Galaxy S23 phones.

In a recent speed test report, Ookla compared the Galaxy S23 models’ 5G performance specs to those of the Galaxy S22 from a year ago in a number of countries. The results were generally startling.

A worthwhile 5G upgrade

In terms of median download speeds, Ookla discovered that the Galaxy S23 models consistently outperformed their S22 equivalents in the U.S. by a significant margin. The Galaxy S23 outperformed the Galaxy S22 by 21%, and the Galaxy S23 Ultra had 16% quicker download rates than the Galaxy S22 Ultra from the previous year.

In particular, the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s median download speed was 187.83Mbps, compared to the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 161.87Mbps. The Galaxy S23 Ultra was rated as being the fastest among all six models in the research. Interestingly, the Galaxy S22 Plus beat out the Galaxy S22 Ultra for the distinction of more potent flagship, with 167.04Mbps versus 161.87Mbps.

If you’re satisfied with your Galaxy S22, a 20% improvement in 5G speed might not be enough to convince you to change. Nevertheless, Ookla advises that you “shouldn’t hesitate to upgrade” if you want the additional capabilities that the newer models offer.

Mixed results elsewhere

Yet, everything wasn’t rosy and sunny. In an unexpected turn of events, Ookla discovered that the speeds of the Galaxy S23 Plus and S22 Plus, which were measured at 166.85Mbps and 167.04Mbps, respectively, “were statistically too close to call.”

There’s no reason the Galaxy S23 Plus should perform significantly differently from its other S23 counterparts given that the entire Galaxy S23 lineup uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy platform, a customized and enhanced version of the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that also includes Qualcomm’s potent Snapdragon X70 5G modem.

The poorer performance may be caused by variations in the internal antenna design, but Ookla’s Speed test Intelligence approach is more likely to be to blame. These performance indicators are gathered from users of Ookla’s Speed test software who voluntarily test their network connections. This means that the accuracy of the data depends on how many tests have been run on a particular device. Another aspect is the location of those testing.

Users execute over 10 million tests daily, according to Ookla, which provides more than enough data for a statistically meaningful study. Yet, there is potential for these numbers to become somewhat distorted due to the complexity and diversity of 5G deployments.

Comparing it to the findings from other nations in Ookla’s investigation makes this more clear. The Galaxy S23 Plus, for instance, outperformed every other device in Germany, clocking in at 174.74Mbps. That is a 36% improvement over the Galaxy S22 and 23% faster than the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

It’s important to note that the Galaxy S23 models offered in Germany and the U.S. version are different from one another. This difference is primarily due to the low-band 5G frequencies, which aren’t likely to deliver these types of speeds in any case. Brazilian Galaxy S23 consumers were also the target of Ookla’s “really fast 5G speeds,” which peaked at 494.18Mbps and were once more measured using the Galaxy S23 Plus. Brazil and Germany both use “global” Galaxy S23 models that do not support mmWave, indicating that the country has some remarkably quick midband 5G coverage.

On the other hand, consumers of the Galaxy S23 in China did not notice any appreciable improvements in 5G performance over the Galaxy S22 devices. Yet the S23 Plus wasn’t included in these statistics because, according to Ookla, it “didn’t satisfy the statistical threshold,” which probably implies Ookla hasn’t gathered enough data from that specific model’s speed test readings.

With a high of 584.08Mbps on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, South Korea provided the fastest overall Galaxy S23 5G performance. Though it may not seem surprising, Samsung provides a specific model of their Galaxy S-series phones for the Korean market that can only support the speedier 3.5 and 3.7GHz midband frequencies utilized in that nation. As a result, there is no low-band 5G to slow down the median speeds.

Your mileage may vary

While the data provided by Ookla’s analysis are intriguing, it’s crucial to keep in mind that these are the median download speeds for all carriers across the whole nation. Statistics show that the Galaxy S23 models perform 5G networks more quickly than their forerunners, but this is to be expected given that they are equipped with more cutting-edge and contemporary 5G model chipsets and processors.

Nevertheless, in the real world, your carrier and the level of 5G coverage in your area of residence and employment will have a greater impact on how well you perform. Customers of T-Mobile and Verizon who are connected to their carriers’ respective 5G Ultra Capacity and 5G Ultra Wideband networks will probably experience speeds similar to what Ookla is claiming. Nevertheless, upgrading to a Galaxy S23 won’t make nearly as big of an impact if your Galaxy S22 displays a basic “5G” icon on your phone the majority of the time, unadorned by a UC, UW, or plus suffix.