Spec showdown: EE’s 4G LTE phones compared

EE LogoThe UK’s first 4G LTE network will launch in October, in 10 cities across the country, courtesy of EE, the new brand from the owners of Orange and T-Mobile. This is one of the most exciting things to happen to the UK mobile industry in some time, because we’re about to catch up with the USA and many other European countries, as high speed data is introduced to our phones.

Except, due to all sorts of technical reasons that you don’t need to know, you can’t use your existing phone with EE’s 4G LTE network, even if you live in one of the places where it works. You’ll need to buy a new device that’s compatible with a 4G LTE signal, and EE has announced a selection from which you can choose. There are some familiar names in there, but there are some subtle differences between them and their 3G counterparts.

To help you decide which EE 4G phone you should buy, here’s a spec showdown of each model that’s available right now, and a teaser of what’s to come.

Apple iPhone 5.

Yes, the latest and greatest Apple iPhone is compatible with EE’s 4G network. This phone needs little introduction, but for the first time Apple has increased the screen size along with giving it a speedier processor.

Key Specs:

  • 4-inch touchscreen with an 1136 x 640 pixel Retina display.
  • A6 processor.
  • 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording.
  • iOS 6.

Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE.

In other countries, the 4G version of Samsung’s massive selling Android flagship is ever-so slightly different from its 3G equivalent, as the quad-core chip is swapped for a dual-core processor. This isn’t the case here in the UK, and the 1.5GHz, Exynos 4 Quad chip is still in its rightful place inside the S3. It also comes with the latest version of Google Android pre-installed too.

Key Specs:

  • 4.8-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen with a 1280 x 720 pixel HD resolution.
  • 1.5GHz, quad-core Exynos 4 Quad processor.
  • 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording.
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

HTC One XL.

While the Galaxy S3 managed to retain its quad-core processor, the One XL has had to swap its Tegra 3 for a dual-core Snapdragon processor. It’s not the end of the world, as the Snapdragon is more than capable, but it’s still a bit of a blow to the underrated HTC flagship.

Key Specs:

  • 4.7-inch LCD2 touchscreen with a 1280 x 720 pixel HD resolution.
  • 1.5GHz, dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor.
  • 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording.
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Huawei Ascend P1 LTE.

Huawei’s offering is the cheapest in EE’s 4G range, but don’t think that means it’s very low spec, as although it’s not quite as impressive as the One XL and the S3, it’s still a decent device. The only area where it really lags behind is internal memory, as it has a mere 4GB, considerably less than the 16GB of the S3 and massive 32GB for the One XL.

Key Specs:

  • 4.3-inch touchscreen with a 960 x 540 pixel resolution.
  • 1.5GHz dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP processor.
  • 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording.
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

The new tablet/smartphone hybrid from Samsung will be available through EE from October 15, and it’s a considerable upgrade over the original Note, boasting a larger screen — but in the same size body — a faster processor and the latest version of Google Android.

Key Specs:

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen with a 1280 x 720 HD resolution.
  • 1.5GHz, quad-core Exynos 4 Quad processor.
  • 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording.
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

If none of those set your pulse racing — however if they don’t, you’re obviously very hard to please — then later on this year, EE will release both the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820 phones on its 4G network. Both run Windows Phone 8 and have dual-core Snapdragon processors, while the Lumia 920 has the exciting PureView camera and a luscious 4.5-inch screen with a 1280 x 768 pixel resolution, while the 820 a 4.3-inch, 480 x 800 pixel display and a standard 8-megapixel camera.

As for pricing, the S3 and One XL are listed as costing £19.99 with a £41 per month contract over two years, while the Ascend P1 LTE is free on £36 per month, two-year contracts. The iPhone 5 varies a lot, but an average two-year contract at £36 per month means the phone is £109. Prices for the Galaxy Note 2 and the Lumia phones has yet to be announced.

These are all then subject to the extra monthly charge EE will add-on for 4G LTE access. The company hasn’t released how much this will be either, but insiders are expecting it to be less than £10 more per month.

Visit EE’s site for more details, and get ready for 4G on October 30.

About Andrew Boxall

Andy's fascination with mobile tech began in the 90s, at a time when SMS messages were considered cutting edge, but it would be at least a decade before he would put finger-to-keyboard as a freelance tech writer. In the interim he wrote about travel, formulated strong opinions about films and drove a series of audacious cars