There's no doubt that 2011 has been the year for 4G. Years ahead will clearly prove to be more groundbreaking as we finally obtain "true" 4G and break records in mobile network speeds. But for all intents and purposes, 2011 is the year of 4G; it is the foundation for the network improvements that will inevitably happen over the next few years or decades ahead.

Alongside faster, stronger and vastly improved networks have come a long list of smartphones capable of accessing the faster speeds and harnessing the power of "4G."

When the first of these phones arrived, most notably the HTC ThunderBolt on Verizon's LTE network, I was ecstatic to say the least. I couldn't wait to test the LTE waters and see how the network would operate in optimal conditions. Needless to say, I was blown away by the sheer speeds. Several network speed tests – although the first 20 or so I had ran were incorrect due to the application I had used not accommodating for 10+ Mbps uplink speeds – concluded that LTE speeds were fast enough to rival that of my home Internet (which doesn't say much for my home connection, though).

That said, LTE was still in its infancy and faced more than one problem, both on the network and on the cell phone side. Even though LTE had been live in Charlotte for some time and had been thoroughly tested, I still ran into connectivity issues, as did many other reviewers. I could be cruising right along, browsing the Internet and ... BAM. Connection lost.

Not only that, but it was (and still is, for the most part) terribly for battery life. During the entire four months that I had the ThunderBolt, it would only last a maximum of six hours per charge with LTE enabled, whether I used it or not. The worst part was that Verizon did not offer a way for LTE-enabled devices to toggle LTE on and off, obviously in an attempt to take some strain off of their 3G network. If you were in an LTE area, you were forced to use it. Fortunately, some clever individuals found an easy way to disable LTE through the hidden radio settings page. After this, dealing with LTE was a much better experience.

Despite all of this push for broader, faster, more advanced networks, there are still a large portion of phones that can only tap into 3G networks, like the DROID 3 or quite possibly the quickly approaching iPhone 5. This makes me wonder whether 4G, or lack thereof, will be a deal breaker for the masses when push comes to shove.

I'm currently using two 3G devices as my personal phones. It's quite a step back from using a G2x and ThunderBolt, and quite honestly, it's driving me nuts. I can certainly deal with carrying a 3G device, but since it's available in most of the areas I spend my time and for no extra charge (so they say), my vote clearly goes to 4G.

As new phones come out and more networks are expanded, 4G capabilities will definitely become a deciding factor in the buying process. But for the time being, I don't automatically discredit a phone because it doesn't utilize 4G. Some features outweigh others for me, and a great camera and decent battery life are two of the most important. Depending on what phone I'm looking at, 4G may or may not be a deal breaker.

What about you, ladies and gents? Will you buy a non-4G phone? Or does your phone have to have 4G connectivity? What about the iPhone? If it doesn't have 4G, will you still buy it? Sound off below!

Don't forget to VOTE! Each week, PhoneDog Fans vote for their #1 smartphone in the Official Smartphone Rankings. Vote now and contribute to the industry's most relevant weekly ranking charts

Related posts

Comments & discussions  

36 Reactions to this post

"Does 4G matter to you?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
Thanks for your participation! :)

Terry Oakes not in my area
Matthew Bond 4g only matters if u live in an area with 4g. I have Verizon and live in jersey but there's no 4g, will it stop me from getting a 4g phone, no. But it doesn't give me incentive even though the 3g is bad because I mainly use WiFi.
Diljot Singh Shoker http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQ3MiqUQ35k&feature=channel_video_title
???? ???? ??????? Nobody beats the lightning speed of Verizon's 4G LTE!
Chad Allen Not right now it doesnt has Verizon is the only one with a legit 4g network rolled out but im no fan of their lineup of phones so when its more of a presence on all carriers it will definitly be important to me but not right now!
Paul Alexandru Phones are not ready for 4G.Neither you,Aaron ahha didn`t use it so much even on a phone like galaxy s2 which is fast enough in 3G
Noah Greene No not at all considering the fact that I had and it sucked ass
William Smith Yea, nfl mobile at work.
Erman Guido Not at all
Missy Wheeler Not really. Rarely use it.
Kyle Cordiano AT&T's LTE network isn't widespread yet so I am ok with their "4g" network for now. I've head the iPhone 4 w/o 4g and i survived. Haha
Kyle Ruben Morris- Kyrumo I love the 4G on my Bionic :-)
Abram Wenevermet Dennis No it doesn't..ill be happy just 2 have good 3G but unfortunately I'm stuck with Sprint for the moment..
Nic Gruwell I'm not paying extra for 4G.. 3G is fast enough.
Taylor Gutzmann i don't get 4g where i live so i don't care about it that much
Lee Grip Gresham I don't have it yet, so yeah...
Kojack Sanders No because you can't get 4G in my own house.
Glenn Serrano Jr Nope. Especially if its going to kill the already dying quickly batteries faster.
Aron Thiehoff Not at all, does it really matter that I have to wait 5 more seconds for a page to load or 15 more seconds for.netflix to buffer, hell no.
Tim Fuhrmann Not in the least bit important. All my data usage is done at home, when I'm on WiFi, so I could really care less about if my phone is 3G or 4G. It was the same for me when 3G launched, I didn't use data, so it didn't bother me either way. Hell, in the 8 years I have had a mobile phone, I'm only on my third 3G device(my 12th device overall).
Nancy Brandes No caps with Sprint.
Jacob Bessey Not if I cannot use the network with the data caps its totally worthless.
Equaknox Knox for me..yes sir...on 4g n 3d...the bomb..vs 3g speed....not going with out..besides..if a cell on market dont come stock wit it..forget it..
Leo Baxter Didn't think it did until I got the thunderbolt and wound up on a 3g only area...ugh
Mike Link Of course!
Ramsey M. Moorman LTE for sling box, remote desktop and video chat.
David Olivarez Only if its LTE.
Derrico Brown Yea it does. Sprint's 4G is AT LEAST 5x faster than their 3G data when I did tests with my HTC Evo 4G and Evo 3D. I don't have it on all the time like I used to (because I like having some what of a battery life), but it definitely comes in handy when I'm downloading a huge file like a rom or video. And the upload speed is twice as fast than 3G. That comes in handy when I'm uploading a YouTube vid. I refuse to ever by a device that isn't 4G after seeing the difference
Jorge Hugo Galindo I got it in my area but I have 80mb down home network so when I'm at home nope doesn't matter at all but when I'm out n about I guess if its available.
Christian Sotelo It this to me
Julio Batista doesn't to me....I don't get 4G in my area.
Hansel Starley I wish I had it yes.

Most popular Videos
Most popular Videos
Most popular Videos

Most popular Reactions
Most popular Reactions
Most popular Reactions

This weeks "People's Choice Rankings" best smartphones
People's Choice Rankings

See all hot devices