Get ready for 4G in the UK: Four devices you can buy right now

Get ready for 4G in the UK: Four devices you can buy right now

Summary: After a long wait, 4G is finally around the corner in the UK — but it's hard to find handsets that use the UK's particular LTE spectrum. Here's a bunch you can buy to be ready for T-Mobile and Orange's 1800MHz switch-on.


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  • Now that Everything Everywhere has been given the go-ahead to start offering 4G in the UK after 11 September, it's a good time to look at which devices will work with the service from launch.

    Undoubtedly, the operator will be lining up devices to lure customers into signing up for 4G once the service goes live on its Orange and T-Mobile networks. At this point, though, the company isn't saying what those handsets and tablets will be.

    Still, some people will need to buy a new handset before the LTE service arrives and won't want to have to get another in quick succession. So if you're happy to go pay-as-you-go, what devices are around now that will work on Everything Everywhere's 4G?

    Most countries and devices use a different band of spectrum for 4G to the 1800MHz being used by Everything Everywhere — Apple's new iPad, for example, doesn't work on it right now. But there are a few handsets knocking around that support 4G in the UK band. And while they aren't generally offered on sale in Blighty, that doesn't mean you can't get them. Read on to see four devices that will do the trick.

  • The HTC One XL, like all the devices on this list, has never been sold in the UK via the usual channels. However, it is available from some online retailers.

    The handset is the only one of the bunch that runs the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android; it also comes with 16GB of internal storage and a 4.7-inch (1280 x 720 pixel) display. Under the bonnet there is a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB RAM. It has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel forward facing camera for stills or video calling.

    More importantly, the handset's 4G LTE functionality is based in the 1800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, both of which will be used for 4G in the UK.

    The phone measures 134.8 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm, weighs 129 grams with the battery in, and is available to buy SIM-free for £399.

    Image Credit: HTC

  • While the Samsung Galaxy S3 is happily selling by the truckload at the moment, you'll struggle to find a 4G LTE variant. Fortunately, if you look hard enough, you can get your hands on a 4G version of its predecessor, the S II LTE 9210.

    Key specs are a 4.5-inch Super Amoled Plus screen (800 x 480 pixels), 8-megapixel camera and 16GB of internal storage. It also has a 2-megapixel forward-facing camera, and it will support microSD cards up to 32GB. 

    Perhaps the weakest part of this handset's spec list is the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system.

    Connectivity wise, it comes with the smartphone staples of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and will support LTE networks in the 800Mhz, 1800MHz and 2.6GHz bands — all of which will eventually be used for 4G in the UK.

    Admittedly, these phones are tricky to track down from UK-based sellers, though models can be picked up from locals on eBay. However, if importing from abroad doesn't faze you, the SII LTE I9210 could still be an option — there are sites that price in pounds but ship from overseas. We found one on sale at £410.

    Image credit: Samsung

Topics: 4G, Mobility, Smartphones, Tablets

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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  • What's the point of paying a premiums .....

    ... for features that you won't be able to use for about a year??

    So buy a 4G device, that you can't use in 4G .... and have the pleasure of getting a crappy battery life ... just for the bragging rights???
    • Where does your "about a year" claim come from?

      The summary line starts with:
      "After a long wait, 4G is finally around the corner in the UK..."

      And the very first line of the article says:
      "Now that Everything Everywhere has been given the go-ahead to start offering 4G in the UK after 11 September..."

      So it looks like 4G will be available in the UK in a matter of weeks. What do you reckon the odds are that Mr Woods is resident in the UK too?
  • TV interference?.

    I would be interested in Mr. Woods experience of interfernece problems when the new 4G service starts in the recently vacated 800Mhz band?.