3G in NYC: Hands-On With T-Mobile's UMTS 3G Samsung t819 Slider

Noah Kravitz
 from  Oakland, CA
| Published: May 18, 2008

I'm back from a week on the East Coast, where I battled through a nasty head cold in order to test out AT&T's Mobile TV and T-Mobile's 3G network in New York City.  A super-nice sunny day and the promise of beers and burgers with some old friends helped get me through the rigors of testing out the LG Vu and Samsung t819 in between walking, eating, and window shopping in lower Manhattan.  It's a rough life, but I do what I can.

So how was the high speed life, T-Mobile style?  Okay, but not great.  Turns out the t819 doesn't have any sort of on-screen 3G indicator so I wasn't always sure when I was connected to the UMTS/WCDMA network and when I was connected via EDGE.  As best as I could tell I was able to get on via 3G in Times Square and again in Soho, but was stuck on EDGE the next day in Brooklyn when I was hanging out with Doug.  Web surfing via 3G in Times Square seemed pretty zippy, but the phone ships only with a relatively crummy WAP browser, so I was mainly looking at T-Zones.  T-Zones over 3G ain't really much better than T-Zone's over EDGE, you know?

I tried installing Opera mini on the t819 and Doug and I shot some video of a speed test comparing the t819 to my unlocked iPhone (running on T-Mobile) and an LG Vu (on AT&T's 3G network).  We did this in Brooklyn and the t819 basically fell flat on its face, scoring poorly in the smaller data tests and failing to complete the larger ones.  iPhone running on T-Mob's EDGE network blazed past the t819, while the 3G Vu absolutely blew them both out of the water.

So the unscientific results of my semi-scientific testing of T-Mobile's new 3G network?  Pretty inconclusive, unfortunately.  We're going to need a device made for Web activity - something like a Shadow II, 3G BlackBerry, or USB data card - to really see how TMo measures up in the high speed data game.  In the meantime, while it's nice to see T-Mobile's offerings starting to catch up to their reputation for price and service, when it comes to high speed data they've still got some work to do.

But we knew that, and we're still pulling for 'em to catch up.  Competition is good for consumers, right?

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