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Christmas Gift Guide

Best phone for Optus' 4G Plus

Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact

Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Microsoft Devices Lumia 640 XL LTE

Optus LTE-A Carrier Aggregation

Oppo R7

Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

Google Nexus 6P

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+

Sony Xperia Z5


Huawei Mate 7

Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Optus has been doing a lot of work on its expanded 4G network, which it occasionally refers to as 4G Plus and quite often just call plain old 4G.

It's a little more complex than Telstra's 4GX -- while Optus is offering a similar 700MHz service, it also has the 2,600MHz spectrum. The 2,600MHz offering works over shorter distances, but can allow increased bandwidth for data.

To muddy the water even further, Optus still offers 4G on the 1,800MHz and 2,100MHz spectra and is offering carrier aggregation on 2,300MHz. But more on that later...

Need a primer on all the terms terms around 4G and LTE? Well look no further than this link.

Caption by / Photo by Optus

Both the 5.2-inch Z3 and the 4.6-inch Z3 Compact, work on the 700MHz band. They'll also work on the 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz and 2,600MHz making them both a solid offering for the whole gamut of the Optus 4G Plus network.

Caption by / Photo by CNET

Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will happily work across the Optus 700MHz and 2,600MHz offering -- as well as 1,800MHz and 2,100MHz, just for good measure.

Caption by / Photo by CNET

If you're after your 4G speeds on a budget, then the Lumia 640 XL LTE might be a great option. For just AU$399 you're getting a big 5.7-inch screen and a 13-megapixel camera.

Caption by / Photo by Dave Cheng/CNET

Like Telstra, Optus is offering a super-fast LTE-A Carrier Aggregation connection in some areas. Whereas Telstra is using Frequency Division Duplexing, Optus uses something called Time Division Duplexing, which means it's not aggregating two different spectra, but instead using time allotments on the 2,300MHz band. Optus says this allows for a theoretical download speed of up to 220Mbps, with early tests showing peak speeds of 160Mbps.

This has had a limited rollout, with Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra covered as of last year.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Nic Healey/CNET

Oppo has recently made its first carrier partnership in Australia, choosing Optus for its R7 smartphone. It's a Category 4 device, so you won' be getting the truly top speeds, but it's not exactly Gus the Snail either.

Caption by / Photo by Aloysius Low/CNET

The brand new iterations of the Apple iPhone and its bigger friend are also great for the Optus network, just like the older models.

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While Telstra has the Nexus 5S, it's Optus and Vodafone who get the big screen 6P made by Huawei. The category 6 device is available on plan from Optus or outright at some very sensible pricing.

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Telstra may be offering the best speeds for category 9 devices, but that doesn't mean the two new Samsung phones won't work well on the 4G Plus network from Optus.

Caption by / Photo by Juan Garzón/CNET

If you're after the latest Sony Xperia flagship, then Optus has you covered -- assuming you like Black. Yes, only the Z5 noir is available on contract, but that's at least nicer than it being yellow or something too colourful.

Caption by / Photo by CNET

The G4 has a killer camera and those high-end leather good looks, but it's also a category 6 device, meaning you'll get great speeds across the 4G Plus network.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Huawei Mate 7 is an unusual case -- while it can't work across the 700MHz spectrum, it does work on all other Optus 4G bands and supports the telco's carrier aggregation. Given that the 700MHz is such a big part of the Optus strategy, use this with care -- unless you're in a CBD (especially Canberra), where it should offer some top notch speeds.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Yes, both the S6 and the Edge will get you top notch speeds on the Optus network. Samsung is really pushing category 6 LTE into all of its flagship phone range.

Caption by / Photo by Juan Garzón/CNET
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