Wednesday, October 24, 2012

iPhone 5 LTE Bandwidth: Yep, Netflix uses a LOT

I've had my glorious new iPhone 5 for about 24 hours and I put it to the test. I turned off home WiFi (since it seems the LTE is actually faster than WiFi anyway, I think I need a new router!) and did some tests.

Yesterday after upgrading my line to my new iPhone 5 and turning off my old iPhone 4, my data usage for this month was at a miniscule 160Mb.

Tonight, after only 1 day of (albeit, intentionally heavy) usage?


Yes, that's about 700Mb of data in ONE DAY. The 2 Gb/month tiered plan Verizon was trying to sucker me onto is quickly approaching. Even if I don't consistently use an insane amount of data, I am super glad I stayed with unlimited.

Now, I should clarify: this is the standard email and web browsing usage as normal. It goes faster so you definitely do more. I streamed about 20 min of Pandora at the gym today and that was maybe 13Mb or 20Mb. The real data hog was video streaming. I watched one 45 minute episode of Freaks and Geeks, which isn't even in super high-res HD (it's actually not even 16:9 HD ratio)... and that ALONE was 500Mb. Yes... 500Mb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Insane.

Now I don't expect to be streaming Netflix at my house all the time. But say I am at the airport with 2 hrs and want to watch a whole movie. That would be my entire 2Gb plan (if I switch to that) in one sitting. Sure, there may be WiFi at the airport, but it can be unreliable and sometimes you have to pay for it, and sounds like LTE will probably be better anyway. So this really is quite awesome.

My much more common use case will be 2 things, I think:
  1. Facetime over Cellular
    I am gonna use this like crazy. The main reason I bought a Smartphone in the first place was actually to video-call with family when I am out-and-about. So this is gonna be huge, and since it is essentially 2-way HD Video Streaming, it is gonna use bandwidth like crazy.
  2. GPS apps on iPhone
    I had suspected I'd continue to use my standalone GPS device, but my buddy Cesar just told me about "Waze", a really interesting crowd-sourced GPS map system. It tracks everyone else's car and feeds route information based on how fast/slow people are going along the way. It's really interesting and, of course, requires a bunch of data transfer when you don't have WiFi. I will have to check it out and see how it works, but if I like it, I think I'll be using this instead of my old GPS device... since it has traffic and construction and other live details that are taken into account in your route, it's quite an improvement over the static GPS device that I am currently using.

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