When Verizon finished rolling out its LTE network for calls, it became apparent that it also plans to drop its CDMA phone service altogether. Now, the carrier has begun offering its first LTE-only handset to subscribers, and it’s obviously an attempt to lure people who prefer basic feature phones over smartphones away from the legacy network. The LG Exalt LTE is a flip feature phone, and even though it looks much nicer and sturdier than its plasticky counterparts, it’s still far removed from the advanced devices we’re used to today.
Its specs underline that it’s definitely not something for those expecting everything an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy S8 can offer. The Exalt has an unnamed 1.1 GHz Snapdragon processor, a 3-inch WQVGA screen, a 5-megapixel camera, text-to-speech function, up to six hours of battery life, 8GB of storage and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. For people who just want a phone that makes clear voice calls, though, it could be more than enough. Since its calls go through Verizon’s LTE network, it takes advantage of the carrier’s HD Voice feature that delivers high-resolution sound.
LG’s Exalt LTE is available from Verizon’s website right now for $ 7 a month for two years or $ 168 up front. If it successfully entices feature phone lovers into upgrading, then the carrier can finally dedicate its CDMA network to powering internet of things devices.
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Every wireless carrier has various tests that say its network is the best, but most still view Verizon as the best overall choice when looking for that all-important combo of speed and reliability. (That combo doesn’t come cheap, of course.) Today, the company is announcing a new focus on speed: with the rollout of “LTE Advanced,” Verizon claims that users will see “50 percent higher peak speeds.” The new speed bump is available to users in 461 cities across the country. Of course, it’s going to take significant testing to verify the veracity of Verizon’s claims.
Verizon says that LTE Advanced works by combining the multiple bandwidth channels your phone can use into what’s effectively one bigger, faster pipe to your phone. “Typical” download speed will stay around 5 to 12 Mbps, but combining two channels can net peak speeds up to 225 Mbps — that’s a lot faster than most home broadband, let alone what you’ll usually see on your smartphone. The carrier also says that it can combine three channels for speeds close to 300 Mbps.
Verizon’s estimates for “typical” speeds seem low to us, but there’s no question that two- or three-channel speeds are significantly faster than what the carrier currently offers. Even if Verizon only reaches half of what it promises for peak speeds, it’s a pretty significant boost over the status quo.
It’s not at all clear what circumstances will let your phone take advantage of these higher speeds, however. Verizon vaguely says that it’ll kick in “when you need it most,” typically under conditions with “big data use.” Still, the potential for faster download speeds can’t hurt.
To take advantage of LTE Advanced, you’ll need a relatively recent smartphone — Verizon says Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S7 are compatible with the service, as well as various Moto Droids and iPhone models. You can see the full list of compatible devices here, and the full list of LTE Advanced cities can be found here.
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