SMART LTE 4G Review

SMART Telecommunications will be offering their latest and fastest broadband service called Smart 4G LTE sometime in 2012! We got our hands on an early unit of the Smart LTE USB dongles that will be used to access the SMART 4G LTE service and tested our hearts out!

What is SMART 4G LTE?
SMART LTE is the next generation of broadband access with download speeds up to 42 mbps. (Note: In the beta test, one of the beta testers have experienced speeds of more than 60mbps)

Where are the Smart LTE 4G sites located?
As of this writing, the LTE sites in the Philippines are found in the following locations: http://www1.smart.com.ph/Bro/lte/lte-sites. Based on our testing, we found Greenbelt and around the area of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) as having good LTE coverage. Jump Center in Megamall is also a surefire spot.

Smart LTE Testing Speeds and Impressions
The Good
All of the speedtests were done in the Central Business District Makati Area with the highest personal download speed recorded was around 33mbps. That’s insane. It’s like being in a country that has blistering internet speeds like South Korea and being able to download my favorite tv and anime episodes in less than 10mins each. Torrents, http downloads, you name it – the Smart LTE downloads them like a big hole was torn from the internet cloud and just sucks in data like there was no tomorrow.

Remember the first time you got DSL when everyone else was on dial-up? That’s right. Your problem the would be where to store your downloads. =)

For Gaming, latency was around the high 100+ms to the high 300+ ms to US based locations which is 2x/3x faster than even business internet connections. [Will try to get a ping test to Singapore for the Dragon Nest MMORPG, times should be around the best ones going to the US servers]. Oh and before i forget, the blazing speeds i mentioned above also translates when downloading via Steam. =)

The Bad
– Signal Limitations. The LTE signal comes and goes even in the heart of the Makati district. Some areas such in front of AIM or along Salcedo seem to be the more reliable LTE areas aside from the Jump Experience Center in Megamall. But your experience with the LTE service will rely greatly on how good an LTE connection you get.

The Ugly
– Some problems encountered were DNS problems, erratic and occassional unstable speeds.
– USB Modem uses quite a bit of power, it drains laptops using battery power that more quickly.
– The big USB dongle also takes up almost 2 USB slots. Also get quite hot during extended periods of usage.

Bottomline:
If you manage to get a stable LTE signal, then the Smart LTE 4G service is like the best thing that ever happened to your internet browsing life. If not, it will still fallback on WCDMA or HSPA+ connections but who wants to pay LTE class money for HSPA+ speeds?

We still don’t know how much the service will be costing (will it be a monthly use or based on usage) but hopefully even the lower end packages will be affordable for heavy net users like me.

Speedtest Images
[to be uploaded]

Minimum System Requirements for SMART LTE
Operating System
Windows XP SP2/ SP3
Windows Vista SP1/ SP2
Windows 7
Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 (with upgrades)

Hardware Requirements for SMART LTE
Hardware requirements should meet the standard requirements of the installed OS
Minimum 100 MB of free memory
USB 2.0 port

Disclaimer: Codamon.com is part of the SMART LTE Beta Testing. Thank you to Smart for the opportunity.

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