Best smartphones for the Telstra 4GX network

Looking for the phone that'll get you the best speed on Telstra's 4G network? Here are the phones that work on the 700MHz band, as well as the few that can access LTE-A carrier aggregation for truly blistering speeds.

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Nic Healey

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Best phones for 4GX

It was last year that Telstra finally flipped the switch on its new 4G offering, dubbing the network 4GX. The name refers not only to Telstra's new slice of the 700MHz spectrum, which offers better underground and in-building coverage, but also to the existing 1,800MHz.

If you're a Telstra customer and want to get in on the 700MHz action, here are some of our top-rated phones that'll more than do the job.

Need a primer on the different types of 4G around Australia? We've got you covered.

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Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Apple's last generation of phones, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, both work on both the 700MHz and the 1,800MHz, so Telstra users are covered even if you're outside of the areas that 700MHz is currently available.

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Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact

Sony's two Xperia phones from 2014, the 5.2-inch Z3 and its 4.6-inch sister, the Z3 Compact both still work on the 700MHz band as well as the 1,800MHz. The phones are also waterproof and dustproof and the Z3 Compact comes with a Blue Tick, meaning Telstra recommends it for rural coverage. Now that the Z5 range is out, these are a great bargain. (If you're worried you missed the Z4, don't panic. It was a tablet not a phone.)

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4 of 14 Josh Miller/CNET

Microsoft Devices Lumia 830

Until we finally see the Lumia 950 that Microsoft recently promised, the Lumia 830 remains the so-called "affordable flagship". It's also ready for 700MHz, unlike the Lumia 930.

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5 of 14 Dave Cheng/CNET

Microsoft Devices Lumia XL LTE

The Lumia 640 XL LTE from Microsoft takes the basic Lumia 640 model and bumps up the screen to 5.7-inches, increases battery life and adds in a 13-megapixel camera, while also giving you 4G connectivity. Even better, it manages to do all this at a price of AU$399.

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LTE-A on Telstra's 4GX

The 4GX name also encompasses so called 'carrier aggregation' or LTE-A, which Telstra offers via what's called Frequency Division Duplexing -- often just called FD or FDD. In Telstra's case, this means your data is delivered (or received) across both the 700MHz and 1,800MHz spectra, greatly increasing your data speed. There are only a few devices on the market that can do this at the moment, but more are on the way.

Telstra is on the cutting edge of data speeds in Australia at the moment, with support for faster and faster devices. This includes the new crop of so-called 'Category 9' LTE devices, which allows for a theoretical top speed of 450Mbps.

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Samsung Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+

The last two phones from Samsung, the hotly awaited Note 5 and the confusingly named Galaxy S6 Edge+, are both Category 9 smartphones. This means they're getting the top speeds for the Telstra 4GX network. While you won't get that elusive 450Mbps, we've observed a staggering 208Mbps on the S6 Edge+ when testing around Sydney.

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8 of 14 James Martin/CNET

Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus

Apple's recent upgrades to its smartphone line are also Category 9 devices and should see similar speeds to the Samsung phones.

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Nexus 5X

This Google has gone with two new Nexus phones: The big-screen Nexus 6P from Huawei and the smaller and more affordable Nexus 5X, made by LG. In Australia, if you want the Category 6-enabled 5X on contract, then Telstra is your only option as the exclusive telco partner for the phone.

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10 of 14 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Sony Xperia Z5

You won't get the insane speeds of the Samsung and Apple phones, but as the famous quote goes, the Xperia Z5 is fast enough for you, old man. This Telstra love also includes the smaller-sized Z5 Compact.

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11 of 14 Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

The Galaxy Note Edge is the other Category 6 device that can work on 4GX, which isn't too surprising given it's basically the Note 4 with that wonderfully distinctive drop-off edge.

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Samsung Galaxy 6 and 6 Edge

Both the Galaxy S6 and the curved-screen Edge are category six devices working across all the available LTE networks and on carrier aggregation. Some of the speeds we're seeing on Telstra have been amazing.

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13 of 14 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

LG G4

It's taken a little while to make it to Australia, but LG's leather-clad G4 flagship phone is going on sale on July 14 and, yes, it's a Category 6 device.

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HTC One M9

The latest in HTC's long line of One phones -- the One M9 -- is perfectly primed to give you solid speeds on the 4GX network. In fact, in our testing, we saw a top download speed of 151Mbps and an average of 89.95Mbps.

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