Saturday, February 3, 2018

iPhone X - Comparison of A1865 vs A1901/A1902

There is a lot of debate over the Qualcomm vs Intel modem versions of the iPhone X (and iPhone 8 AFAIK).

The A1865 contains a Qualcomm CDMA compatible modem, and is typically sold in the USA for Sprint and Verizon customers. You can purchase an unlocked A1865 for Verizon at the Apple store for full price.

The A1901/A1902 contains an Intel modem and supports all networks, sans CDMA providers.

Both the A1865 and A1901/A1902 support all global GSM standards.

So why get the A1865 if you don't need CDMA? Well from my speed tests the Qualcomm performed significantly faster in almost all conditions than the Intel modem. My methods of testing were not super scientific. I purchased both phones, plugged in the same T-Mobile SIM card and tested them each one after the other in locations I commonly sit with no WiFi coverage. All tests were inside of buildings around the Bay Area.

Here are the results:

So there you have it, an in the field comparison of the iPhone X Qualcomm modem vs. the iPhone X Intel modem.

Non-measurable performance differences:
- The iPhone X with Qualcomm seemed to perform drastically better in areas with low reception (1 bar).
- The iPhone X with Intel seems to have a slight advantage on battery. When carrying both of them for a few weeks I found the Qualcomm always ended up slightly lower on battery. Many other reviews online claim the Qualcomm is more energy efficient, esp in bad reception. This does not seem to be the case.
- The iPhone X with Qualcomm modem has a much more stable bluetooth connection. The Intel modem version (like my prior iPhone with Intel modem) has issues with BT audio crackling with my Apple Airpods when in a call (happens randomly for a few seconds per call and then clears up).

Favorite Products

Electronics / Accessories

Best travel computer:

iPad Pro 10.5 256GB + LTE with keyboard cover and Apple Pencil:

Bonus: Add a T-Mobile international sim card for $10 a month - 5GB roll over data a month with free international roaming. Never be without a working computer, no need to chase down wifi. Combined with killer battery life, ability to sign/send documents, hand written notes, and side by side multi tasking. There are few tasks that leave me wishing I had a normal computer/laptop when traveling. Factor in it's size, weight, small cable / charger (same as for phone) and it becomes a no brainier. For those who need to present the Lightening/HDMI cable works brilliantly. 

Bonus: Combine this with a short 1ft Anker Powerline Micro USB cable and Anker High Power Auto Charger for a winning combination

Best iPhone X Case:

PITAKA Carbon Fiber (with rubberized coating) case. Includes embedded magnetic plate for above mount. 

Best Battery Pack:

Aukey 20,000mAh Pack with 3 outputs (USB A) and 3 inputs (Micro, Lightning, USB-C)

Best Chargers:
I usually take one of each - The mini charger will do 2.4 amps (I have tested) of total power, this is actually more than the 10w iPad charger. These are almost as small as the included Apple iPhone charger. With international travel it isn't uncommon to only have one good outlet to use to setup a charging station, so I keep the big charger (iPad, iPhone, Battery pack, iWatch) but usually try to weasel one of these guys in near the bed with a long (7ft) iPhone cable. 

My current electronic travel kit:

Inside of a BAGSMART Travel Universal Cable Organizer Electronics Accessories
1 x Anker PowerLine Micro USB 3ft
1 x Anker PowerLine Lightning Cable - MFi Certified 1ft (usually used on plane or in backpack with battery pack)
1 x 1 M iWatch Cable
2 x British Style Plug Adapters (in universal international sockets, these usually stay plugged in best)
3 x random others - usually used as risers out of deep surge bar sockets.