We tested and selected the Best Smartphones with LTE in terms of Display Quality, Performance, Battery life and more. Above you will find the results in the Ranking and below we provided you with more info about LTE and the in-depth tests of each Smartphone in the Ranking.
When buying a smartphone, it is by no means only the inner values of the camera or display that matter. If you want to use your smartphone for mobile surfing on the go, the antenna inside is the most important thing. But you should also check whether you have a smartphone with an LTE tariff.
Because a smartphone with LTE ability is just as important as a suitable antenna in an LTE mobile phone. But which smartphone LTE is the best? This information can be found above in our Ranking of the Best Smartphones with LTE.
Below you will find some information about LTE in general and the in-depth tests of each LTE smartphone.
Guide: LTE in Smartphones
If you want to buy a mobile phone at a low price, you are confronted everywhere with the information that you should buy a mobile phone with LTE standard so that you have the perfect connection. So there is a smartphone with an LTE tariff available from all common providers.
But what does it actually mean when you have an LTE mobile phone in your possession? It is a mobile phone standard that describes the transmission rate in the mobile network. These standards are divided into different generations.
The first generation is described as a 1G network, but according to a smartphone LTE test it is no longer used today. You can still devote yourself to a 2.75 G network, which is known today as Edge.
This is always available if, for example, you have no more data volume in your tariff. If you have a 3G smartphone with a contract, you will then receive a mobile phone standard that allows a transfer rate of 384 Kbit/s.
If you then switch to a 4G smartphone, you will get an LTE smartphone that can operate at up to 500 Mbps. However, there are differences between 4G, LTE and LTE+. But how can that be? In principle, a 4G mobile phone does not automatically have to be an LTE smartphone.
This is because LTE in the US usually does not have the speed of a 4G smartphone. However, providers are increasingly offering LTE+. If you buy such an LTE mobile phone, then according to a smartphone LTE test you will receive a mobile phone that can keep up with 4G and can even work up to 500 Mbit/s.
Tip! The fifth generation is not yet on the market. However, it is expected that the first smartphones with 5G will be available by 2020 at the latest.
What to look out for when buying a Smartphone with LTE
If you want to buy an LTE mobile phone, you should first make sure that such a smartphone with LTE without a contract also has an LTE function. This LTE function is an antenna that is used inside. However, current models or new products usually have this antenna installed.
So if you have an antenna with LTE function installed, you are theoretically generally able to use LTE mobile telephony. If you look at a purchase guide, you will always be able to see directly which smartphone is sold as an LTE mobile phone and which is not. Experience and the recommendation of other customers can also help here.
If you prefer a smartphone with LTE overview, you can read about this in a smartphone LTE tests below. To find out which model you will ultimately buy, please refer to the relevant test report summaries.
Ranking First: Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
- High working speed
- Strong battery life
- Great triple camera with tele and ultra wide angle
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the largest and most powerful model in Apple’s new iPhone fleet. In addition to a large screen, it scores points above all with its enormous battery. Will it be Apple’s long-awaited long-distance battery runner? The test.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is anything but a lightweight, weighing a whopping 8 oz – 0.63 oz more than the XS Max. This is clearly noticeable and, apart from the size, for some people an argument against buying it.
Less noticeable is the increase in thickness by 0.4 millimetres to 8.1 millimetres, with camera bead even 9.4 mm. The iPhone 11 Pro’s frame is made of stainless steel, the back is made of glass.
This is matted, so it lies much more pleasantly in the hand than the smooth surface of the XS models. The three cameras are located on a clearly protruding square on the back of the smartphone and even stand out a few millimetres.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the successor of the iPhone XS Max and has a display diagonal of 6.5 inch with a sharpness of 458 ppi (2688×1242 pixels). Like its predecessor, it uses an OLED screen. Apple calls it “Super Retina XDR” and promises a better quality than the display of its predecessor.
This was confirmed in the test: The screen of the iPhone 11 Pro Max is significantly brighter (887 candelas compared to 730 on the XS Max), many times more contrasty (172,610:1 instead of 10,051:1) and a touch more colourful (97.6 vs. 97.5 percent) than its predecessor.
Even compared to the other two iPhone 11 variants, the display of the iPhone 11 Pro Max is brighter and has a higher contrast (iPhone 11 Pro: 841 candelas, 165,130:1). It represents the best display Apple has ever built into an iPhone.
However, the company has saved on the pressure-sensitive 3D touch technology, but this is hardly noticeable in practice. Instead, the Haptic Touch introduced with the iPhone XR is used: To call up context menus, you simply place your finger longer on the screen. So the 3D Touch feature is history for now.
Apple gives the iPhone 11 Pro Max three cameras with a resolution of 12 megapixels each. Like iPhone 11, there’s a standard camera with a slight wide-angle (26 mm focal length) and one for ultra-wide-angle shooting (120-degree viewing angle, 13 mm focal length).
The Pro models also have a third telephoto camera with a double optical zoom (52 mm focal length). The front camera also has a 12-megapixel resolution and comes with a stronger wide-angle lens than in last year’s XS models.
Clever: In portrait mode, you only shoot at 7 megapixels with a smaller viewing angle, but as soon as you hold the iPhone 11 Pro Max horizontally, it uses the full 12 megapixel wide-angle range. The iPhone shoots video in 4K quality at 60 FPS, both front and back.
For the first time, you can optionally film in slow motion with the front camera – Apple jokingly refers to it as “slofies” (slow motion selfies). The Quick Take mode allows you to record video from the photo mode by pressing the release button for a long time.
With the triple camera, Apple is jumping on a trend that has been observed in the Android warehouse for quite some time. Nevertheless, Apple’s operation is less complicated: switching between camera lenses is seamless, even during video recording.
On the edges of the camera app you can see a preview of the wide-angle shot when looking through the standard lens. This makes the advantage of the wide-angle perspective visible. The new iPhone uses artificial intelligence for photo optimisation: Numerous effects are designed to optimise the photo quality in detail.
For example, the improved Smart HDR gets more contrast out of backlit shots. New is the night mode of the wide-angle lens in all iPhone 11 models: The camera automatically activates it in the dark and brightens up the subjects. According to Techtest reporter Steven Weinrath, the camera delivers impressive pictures in the dark.
Before shooting in night mode, the iPhone informs how many seconds the night shot will last. The mode can be switched off manually.
The main camera achieved a similarly good quality in the test as its predecessor. The night vision mode had little effect in the test scenario with sparse light. It only came into play in really dark scenes, such as in a room lit only by candlelight – where the camera’s night mode has an enormous effect.
While the iPhone models from 2020 did not take a usable picture in such situations, the iPhone 11 models show an amazing amount of detail. The performance here is identical for all three iPhone 11 models (whether with or without Pro).
In most situations, however, they don’t reach the level of the Huawei P30 Pro. Click here for the detailed iPhone 11 Pro vs. iPhone XS iPhone camera comparison.
The quality of video recordings is excellent. For the first time, 4K video recording is possible with all cameras at up to 60 FPS, even with the front camera. The only limitation is that the front camera cannot access the real-time optimization at 60 FPS recordings – for this you have to change the setting to 4K at 30 FPS.
Another shortcoming in the test: During indoor shots, video recordings in some offices showed a visible flicker. However, this only occurred with some LED lights and is possibly related to special characteristics of the refresh rate. With the iPhone XS, the effect was not noticeable.
Apple uses the new A13 Bionic processor, which was slightly faster than the old A12 chip in the test. The measurements of the operating speed on all three new iPhone with LTE variants are so good that Techtestreport had to adjust the previous evaluation limits.
More important than this speed boost, however, is the additional processor, the third-generation neural engine. Only this makes many real-time optimizations in camera shots possible. Furthermore, there is 4 gigabytes (GB) of main memory, as in the XS Max or the cheaper iPhone 11.
The processor is energy-saving and, according to Apple, cleverer. According to this, it masters machine learning and only uses the areas it needs at the moment.
In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro Max reached a typical battery life of 15 hours and 14 minutes. This makes it the iPhone with the longest battery life that Techtestreport has measured so far – outperforming its predecessor as well as the previous best value of the iPhone 6 Plus (14 hours and 56 minutes).
This is not only due to the new chip: By dispensing with 3D touch, the built-in displays are thinner and offer room for a larger battery. The Techtestreport test laboratory discovered a battery with 3,969 milliampere-hours (mAh) when disassembling the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
By the way, this time Apple is supplying an 18-watt quick-charging power supply unit (Power Delivery) – exclusively for the Pro models. iPhone is compatible with wireless Qi chargers, but not with the USB-C standard; it remains Apple’s exclusive Lightning port.
iPhone 11 Pro Max uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 wireless standard and lacks a 5G module, which is rumoured to be a feature of the iPhone 2020 generation.
iPhone 11 Pro Max offers a lot for the money: a large 6.5-inch screen (OLED) with high brightness, better contrast than the 2020 XS generation and the best battery life of any iPhone yet. On top of that, the same good triple camera as in the smaller model.
It scores with really good image quality during the day and conjures up an amazing amount of pictures in the dark thanks to the automatic night mode. And ultra-wide angle and telephoto shots offer new photographic possibilities.
Last but not least, the A13 bionic processor makes for great speed, which is why the iPhone 11 Pro Max is ranking First on the Best Smartphones with LTE.
Ranking Second: HTC U12 Plus
- Best Price
- Fast LTE
- Great Performance
- No wireless charging
Samsung, Huawei, Apple: These manufacturers dominate the American smartphone with LTE market. Now HTC is competing with its top model HTC U12 Plus (HTC U12+).
The first impression was particularly impressive with the shimmering case surface made of several layers of glass. But is the technology underneath the chic surface any good? Techtestreports’ large laboratory test reveals several strengths.
In 2020, no smartphone with LTE will be able to do without an 18:9 screen. This is also optically the biggest difference between the HTC U12+ and its predecessors, the HTC U11 and HTC U11+. With the elongated format, the screen diagonal grows to 6 inches without the device being too bulky.
The display area is between that of the smaller predecessor (U11) and the larger one (U11+). It’s understandable that HTC doesn’t offer a smaller version for the U12+ this time. However, HTC refuses to follow the fashion trends in one respect, relying on established LCD technology (Super LCD 6) instead of OLEDs for the display.
The contrast ratio of 1,928:1 is therefore not too high – Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Plus, for example, achieves almost 11,547:1. In practice, the contrast is still more than decent, and precisely because the colours don’t look as sweet as Samsung’s, the laboratory certifies that the HTC U12 Plus has better colour fidelity.
It is very sharp with 2880×1440 pixels (Quad HD+) and a pixel density of 537 pixels per inch (ppi). There was a negative surprise in the brightness values: A first test sample only reached a disastrous 361 candelas (Cd) per square meter, a second test sample still a very moderate 438 candelas.
Ergo: The HTC U12 Plus is very badly suited for outdoor use – actually unacceptable for a device in this price range. It’s incomprehensible that HTC didn’t choose a brighter display for its top mobile phone with LTE.
With the U11, HTC had created a new design that competitors are now copying, for example in the OnePlus 6: The housing consists of several layers of glass with slightly different colours, which results in exciting colour nuances depending on the incidence of light.
The iridescent glass case of the HTC U12 Plus looks just as chic in the red and black versions as it does in the U11, but attracts not only looks, but also fingerprints. If you’re sensitive about this, you should go for the third version of the U12 Plus with a transparent case, where fingerprints aren’t quite as noticeable.
The design has changed in some points since the U11. The metal frame is now stuck between two curved glass plates. This makes the case more comfortable to hold and doesn’t look as clumsy as the U11 Plus.
However, the sides are not as rounded as on the U11, and the metal frame is clearly noticeable as an edge. Instead, the case frame is considerably narrower on the right and left.
The good news for those who are tired of the popular copying of the iPhone X design: The new HTC comes without a copy of the display cutout (Notch).
In addition to size and format, the most important innovation of the HTC U12 Plus is the camera: For the first time since the HTC One M8, a top model from HTC features a dual camera. On the back, the manufacturer combines a 12 megapixel camera with a relatively fast aperture (f1.7) and a 16 megapixel telecamera with double the focal length (aperture f2.6).
The telephoto lens allows double optical zoom without loss of detail and bokeh portrait photos with depth-of-field effect (sharp object in front of blurred background). Only the 12-megapixel camera has an optical image stabilizer. In the test, the image quality in daylight was very decent.
However, the quality in low light is decisive in this price range. HTC has come up with quite a few ideas here: For better sharpness control in low light, a so-called laser autofocus is built in in addition to the phase detector autofocus already built into the U11. The improved HDR function “HDR Boost 2” is supposed to take more photos in a row than before.
However, at least under laboratory conditions (still life in low light) the camera did not convince in dark mode. The bottom line is that the U12 Plus unfortunately doesn’t quite match the excellent camera performance of the Google Pixel 2, which is not only manufactured in HTC factories, but also co-developed by many experts taken over by HTC.
The dual camera on the front of the U12 Plus consists of two 8-megapixel cameras and, like the rear lens, allows self-portraits with depth-of-field effect.
This creates new possibilities for creative selfies – interesting for comparing mobile phone with LTE self-portraits. Apart from that, the image quality of the front camera was convincing in the test, only just missing a “good” with a grade of 2.5.
The U12 Plus scores with excellent quality for video recordings. Unfortunately not a matter of course, but for videos at least as important as good pictures: HTC attaches great importance to decent sound and uses four microphones.
If you want, you can use the audio boost function to place the sound recording at a specific point in the room, so that the smartphone can record music from the stage loud and clear, while the audience’s chatter is less audible.
When shooting a video, the mobile phone should be able to zoom in on objects with little jerk thanks to smaller zoom levels. If desired, you can activate automatic camera movement, optionally even with slow motion (Full HD resolution with 240 frames per second, fps).
4K videos – common for smartphone videos today, as the Techtestreport test shows – can be recorded at up to 60 fps, so they run more smoothly than with the U11 (30 fps).
HTC Edge Sense 2
The HTC U11 was the first smartphone with LTE to feature squeeze-on operation, which is what the shrunk HTC U11 Life offered. Also with the HTC U12 Plus, a strong handshake on both sides of the display is enough to start the camera or take a picture.
A new feature is the double-tap on the edge: a list of favourite apps or contacts appears in a semicircle on the edge for quick access. The additional gesture works on both sides, but required some practice in the first practical test. It complicates the squeeze operation rather unnecessarily.
Another innovation is practical: If you hold the case down without loosening the grip, you prevent the display from turning automatically.
In the HTC U12+, the Snapdragon 845 calculates, supported by 6 gigabytes (GB) of memory. In the US, the U12 Plus is launched with 64 GB of internal memory – expandable via microSD memory card. The power memory of the IP68 standard dustproof and waterproof smartphone offers a guaranteed nominal capacity of 3,420 milliampere-hours (mAh; HTC advertises 3,500 mAh).
At 11:46 hours, the battery life is decent, but the power consumption of the display is significantly higher than other phones with LTE with the same test brightness. Quick charging is possible with the included power supply, wireless charging is missing despite the glass case.
Android 8.0 Oreo with HTC’s in-house Sense user interface, which meanwhile hardly differs from standard Android, serves as the operating system.
The U12 Plus offers luxury class technology in a shimmering glass housing. The slim and large 6 inch display (18:9 format) looks chic and performs well.
Positive: The HTC U12 Plus works very fast. The telephoto lens offers a twofold optical zoom; a second camera lens is built into the front for atmospheric portraits. The image quality of both cameras is basically decent, but weakens in low light.
All in all the HTC U12 Plus is ranking second on the Best Phones with LTE and because of its’ comparatively low price, the HTC U12 Plus won our ‘Best Price’ Category. So if you are searching a great Smartphone with LTE on a tighter budget, this is your choice !
Ranking Third: Huawei Mate 20 Pro
- Big 4K Display
- Quick charge
- Good triple camera with wide angle
- Photo quality in low light not great
Mega-battery, good camera and XXL-display: The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is brand new, it is one of the best smartphones with LTE. Here is the test!
“Isn’t that a Samsung Galaxy S9+?” A question that inevitably comes up when you first hold the Huawei Mate 20 Pro in your hands. Because the new smartphone of the Chinese looks a lot like the mobile phone from South Korea.
But first things first: The back consists of slightly rounded glass on the left and right – which makes the Mate 20 Pro particularly comfortable to hold. Typical for glass, fingerprints are quickly visible everywhere and the Mate is extremely slippery, especially with sweaty hands.
A high price for so much elegance. Fortunately Huawei thinks along with you and puts a transparent silicone cover in the sales box.
Those who prefer to carry the high quality manufactured and without an excess pound equipped mobile phone with LTE in their trouser pockets should take a closer look at the green and blue variants.
Here, the glass is covered with a layer that is slightly roughened and reminds of a spider’s web with its long stripes. As unusual as the Spider-Man look may look, it’s also very handy.
The compact dimensions are astonishing when you look at the built-in mega battery (more on this under “Hardware”): The Mate 20 Pro, which is waterproof according to the IP68 standard (30 minutes at a depth of up to two meters), measures just 157×73.1×9.5 millimeters at just 6.6 oz.
An iPhone XS Max weighs almost 0.7 oz more and is even slightly larger.
From the front, the Mate 20 Pro could also be a twin brother of the S9+, but the display is 0.2 inches larger at 6.4 inches on the Mate and has a so-called notch.
In the bulge at the upper edge of the screen, there is not only the front camera hidden but also a light sensor and infrared receiver for the face scan (see below).
Surprisingly, Samsung-typical edge edge is also found in the new Huawei, but without any noteworthy additional function. It is rather intended as an optical delicacy.
Good keyword! Because the long 19.5:9 screen is also a real treat: Thanks to HDR 10, the huge OLED panel ensures natural-looking colours (colour fidelity of 98 percent) and high contrasts (8,272:1).
But the brightness could be higher (640.4 candelas per square millimeter). With its QHD+ resolution of 3120×1440 pixels, the display is crisp and sharp; 545 pixels per inch cavort on the excellent screen. Interesting:
A fingerprint sensor is hidden under the display glass. Once it has been trained within a minute, it works as well as the classic finger sensors. If you like watching movies or series on your smartphone with LTE, you’ll get your money’s worth – the stereo speakers are loud and deliver a good sound.
Performance and Battery Life
The specially developed Kirin 980 processor (2×2.6, 2×1.92 and 4×1.8 gigahertz), combined with 6 gigabytes of memory, makes the Mate 20 Pro a true speed monster. The device is currently the fastest Android smartphone on the market.
Only the new iPhones are a bit faster. Huawei relies on the 7-nanometer manufacturing process for the Kirin 980. Which simply translated means that the chip is even smaller than the competition and requires less energy – at least in theory.
And indeed, in practice, the Mate 20 Pro with its 4,200 milliampere-hour battery really runs away. In the intensive usage mix, it only said goodbye after 16 hours and 44 minutes. A value that the iPhone XS Max (10 hours and 48 minutes) and the Galaxy S9+ (13 hours and 31 minutes) can only dream of.
Just as powerful is the revised quick charge function, thanks to which the Pro is fully charged within a good hour with up to 40 watts. A small comparison: iPhone XS and XS Max bob along with the included power adapter at seven watts.
Also new: unlike the P20 Pro, the Mate can be charged wirelessly – and it even charges the iPhone and all other Qi-capable devices wirelessly when you place it on the back.
Unlike the P-series, the internal memory of 128 gigabytes (112.8 gigabytes freely available) can be expanded on the Mate. However, this requires a new type of memory card that is the same size as a nano-SIM: the NM-Card from Huawei with 64, 128 or 256 gigabytes of additional memory.
The Chinese in-house development comes as a surprise, where a uniform standard has finally been established in recent years with the microSD. So why is Huawei making a new card when its own creations such as Sony’s Memory Stick failed miserably in those days?
It’s all a question of space! Huawei told Techtestreport that the space is used for the large battery and the four antennas. They provide strong measurement results in both the LTE network (Cat. 21 at 1.3 gigabits per second) and the WLAN (up to 1.7 gigabits per second, 2.4 and 5 gigahertz).
A lot has also happened to the triple camera arranged in a square: the monochrome sensor has been removed – although black and white is still on board as a filter – and makes room for a super wide-angle camera (20 megapixels at a focal length of 16 millimetres), which now allows amazingly close macro shots (a good 2.5 centimetres).
In addition, the 40-megapixel lens (27 millimeters) and a triple optical telephoto zoom (8 megapixels at 83 millimeters) familiar from the P20 Pro have been added. The camera quality is as good as the P20 Pro with many details and rich colors, but not better. The iPhone XS and the Google Pixel 3 are ahead of the game.
The missing monochrome sensor becomes noticeable in low light. If you don’t take pictures with the night scene mode (up to six seconds of long time exposure possible without a tripod), you’ll lose some details in comparison to the P plane image.
In return, the front camera (24 megapixels) delivers consistently good results. Exciting: The front camera can bring objects like cuddly toys and figures to life with the help of an app. The scanning process requires some patience and practice, but the results are impressive.
Huawei uses a facial scan, as with the current iPhones with LTE, which projects infrared dots onto the face and compares the pattern with that of the registered user. The probability that two people can unlock the device is said to be 1,000,000:1.
Techtesteport has trained the Mate 20 Pro on our colleague, of whom we have a precisely reproduced artificial head. With the dummy head we were not able to unlock the Mate 20 Pro. A Huawei Mate 20 Lite tested for comparison failed in this constellation.
The Mate 20 Lite, trained on Mathias Otten, unlocked at the sight of the artificial head. The reason is a simplified facial recognition technique. We haven’t been able to detect any weaknesses in the Mate 20 Pro so far, except that it can be trained on an artificial head.
Temperature or pupil movements are apparently not included as features. But that also applies to Face ID.
However, the real highlight of the camera is still artificial intelligence (AI). Huawei has reworked it once again and now offers even better recognition of motifs with more scenarios and more settings.
For example, if the Mate 20 Pro detects a dog, it immediately switches to the appropriate mode with optimal image settings. Like Apple with its new Smart HDR technology, the AI chip breaks the image down into up to ten pieces in a fraction of a second and automatically optimises each piece of the puzzle.
Autofocus has also been improved by the AI, as the smart helper recognises real people and then never loses sight of them again. That’s why the exciting cinema mode is only possible in the first place: thanks to various filter options, the recorded video (maximum 4K at 30 frames per second possible) can be changed in real time.
The “Portrait Color” mode is particularly spectacular: while the human being remains in color, the AI colors the rest in black and white. This is technically impressive and also looks original.
The Mate 20 Pro has a great 6.4 inch display. It is huge, sharp and delivers great colours and contrast, only the brightness is disappointing. The processor is fast and economical at the same time, resulting in a remarkably long battery life.
And then there’s the powerful triple camera, with features such as the ultra-close macro mode and real-time video filters that enable the enhanced AI. Also good: the memory is expandable, the battery is wirelessly chargeable and the Mate is waterproof, which is why the Mate 20 Pro is ranking third on the Best Phones with LTE.