Android and iOS fans have occasionally been known to argue over the relative merits of each device. Hard to believe, I know, but it happens. One perennial question is which family of devices performs best overall, particularly where cell phone signal strength is concerned. This is extremely tricky to answer, since performance often depends on the carrier in question, the type of modem inside the phone, and your distance from a cell tower. It’s possible to see the cell phone tower and yet be unable to get signal if the directional antenna happens to be pointing away from you.
Ookla has taken a stab at cutting through some of the confusion by measuring iOS and Android performance head to head across the world. What’s particularly interesting, in this case, is that average performance between the two device platforms can vary markedly.
In order to qualify, data for each country had to be available from at least 670 iOS and Android devices in January 2018. In some cases, like the US and Canada, performance between the two platforms is similar: 46.56Mbps for Android in Canada versus 45.4Mbps for iOS. In the United States, Android performance is 29.26Mbps versus 27.27Mbps for iOS.
Ookla found that Android is faster than iOS in 25 countries overall. In Iraq and South Africa, Android led by 24.9 percent and 23.9 percent respectively. Mongolia favored Android by 19 percent, Hong Kong by 17.2 percent, and Kuwait, 12.8 percent.
Overall, across the globe, iOS chalks up more wins, and by larger margins. Ookla writes:
There are 60 countries on our list where the mean download speed on iOS is more than 10 percent higher than that on Android. Highlights include: Thailand, where mean speed for iOS results was 60.5 percent faster than those over Android, Nigeria (51.7 percent), Kenya (43.4 percent), Bangladesh (41.5 percent), and Japan (38.3 percent).
One major difference between the two sets of data is the diversity of devices. The iPhone 7 was the popular Apple device in a whopping 72 countries, out of 28 iPhone models in total. On the Android side of the equation, Ookla picked up 1,983 different device models. The vendor in the top position varies significantly by country. In Iceland, for example, the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is the most popular device. In Finland, the OnePlus 3T has the top spot, followed by the Huawei Honor 8. In the map above, blue countries favor iOS, orange countries favor Android.
Head over to Ookla if you want to see performance on iOS and Android ranked by country, or for additional details on the experiment. If you travel extensively for business, this type of data could come in handy when selecting a device that’ll perform best in a wide variety of areas. What’s true in the US may not be true in Norway.
Disclaimer: ExtremeTech is published by Ziff Davis, which also owns Ookla.
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