A total of three iPhone X models are in existence, but at least one of them is faster than the other in terms of LTE speeds.
To be clear, the iPhone X that houses a Qualcomm modem is better at delivering wireless connectivity than the variant with Intel inside.
iPhone X Gets LTE Speeds Tested
First and foremost, the three iPhone X versions are the A1865, A1901, and A1902. The third one listed is available only in Japan, so it doesn't really concern users in other countries that much.
Now, the A1865 is the model with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X16 modem and it's the kind that Sprint, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular sell. Meanwhile, the A1901 is the one packing in Intel's XMM7480 modem and it's what AT&T and T-Mobile are carrying.
Consumer tech website Cellular Insights tested the A1865 and A1901 to get a closer look at how they perform with LTE Band 4, a frequency that major U.S. carriers use except Sprint. It's also used in Canada and other parts of Latin America.
The testing outfit conducted the analysis with four Vivaldi antennas, a sophisticated type of equipment that allowed it to accurately measure LTE performance and replicate scenarios where the iPhones are situated in different distances from a cellular tower.
The Results: iPhone X Models Not Created Equal
Exclusively shared to PC Magazine, the study began with a strong -85 dBm for the two iPhone X variants and continued by slowly reducing the signal strength until connection could no longer be maintained.
At the start, the two reached download speeds of 195 Mbps, but at -87 dBm, the Intel model could go at only 169 Mbps while the Qualcomm didn't drop to that download rate until -93 dBm.
Under weak signals of below -120 dBm, the iPhone X with the Qualcomm modem is 67 percent faster than the one with Intel when it comes to LTE download speeds on average. Now the former lasted until -130 dBm before dying out, while the latter could only make it to -129 dBm.
In short, iPhone X devices with Qualcomm modems are capable of getting faster LTE speeds than those with Intel components in certain situations where signal strength isn't that strong and they can last a bit longer.
Apple Wants Equality
What's interesting here is that the gap in LTE speed performance between the two iPhone X models is narrower than the one between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Cellular Insights also tested in 2016.
The thing is, it's believed that Apple might be the culprit behind it, deliberately toning down the capability of the Qualcomm-powered iPhone X to make it more or less in line with its Intel counterpart.
In other words, the Cupertino brand is suspected of disabling the features of the Snapdragon X16 modem, particularly its support for 4x4 MIMO antennas, four-way carrier aggregation, and LAA, because the XMM7480 doesn't support two out of the three features, rending it incapable of delivering gigabit LTE. Put differently, it wants the performance of both the Qualcomm and Intel variants of the iPhone X to be equal, so to speak.