Speed Test – App of the Week

By on November 14, 2010
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Know your speeds.

When you’re roaming around with your iPhone 4 around town (or world), sometimes it really helps to know the speed you’re getting over Wi-Fi or 3G since these two may give you a full bar signal, but actual speeds will always vary. Why do you want to know your speeds? To increase productivity of course.

So imagine you’re sitting in Starbucks some trendy café, and you remember you had to make a call to one of your colleagues or friends over Skype in some other country. Now you can simply hit the Skype app icon and wonder why it’s taking so long to sign-in and once (if) the call connects, why you guys can’t hear each other properly, get frustrated, waste time and ultimately not have a meaningful conversation at all. On the other hand if you had checked your speed and seen that you’re barely getting 0.1mbps of download and even lesser in upload speeds, you wouldn’t have bothered making that call in the first place. A simple SMS to your friend saying that you can’t make the call now and rescheduling it would have saved you both a lot of hassle.

On other occasions you can use Speed Test to troubleshoot some of your networks, if you think there’s something wrong with your network connection. While playing a multiplayer game on your laptop for instance, you wouldn’t want to Alt+Tab out to windows, and then go to the actual speedtest.net website to run a test. Simply running the app on the iPhone will give you the answers you need, i.e. whether any lag you experience in your games is caused by your connection (if Speed Test gives lower than expected speeds) or within your laptop (if the app gives the expected speeds).

So the three basic things that Speed Test looks for are Ping, Download & Upload speeds. Before you can begin the test, the app will search your closest international server (using GPS) so you can get a realistic speed result. In the settings of course the server can be changed to your liking, but unlike the speedtest.net website, servers can only be chosen in a predefined parameter. In my case the closest server I got on the iPhone 4 was Doha (365kms away) while the furthest was Kerch (2802kms away).

Settings will also give you the option to display speed results in kbps, Mbps or kB/s as well as sorting the test results history by speed and date. In the Results history tab, you can view many of your recent tests, with the additional option to email said results giving the latitude and longitude of the location where the tests were carried out as well.

Speed Test is not only very informative, it is also one of the most stylish apps I’ve seen on the iPhone 4. Updated for the iOS 4, Speed Test looks gorgeous on the Retina Display while also having a very pleasant animation for when the speed is being tested. The only downside to Speed Test is that the speed bar on download only goes up to 10Mbps, however it will show you your actual speed results (over 10Mbps) in the bar above the speedometer. Otherwise I have no complaints with Speed Test, especially since it is a free app (supported by non-intrusive ads at the bottom). For being practical, fast, accurate, good-looking and free, Speed Test gets our App of the Week.


From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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