Improvements compared to RTL2832U + R820T2:
The RTL-SDR has made huge strides to democratize software defined radio, with its low cost and tremendous tuning range. But while the R820T2 can be tuned all the way up to 1.7GHz, performance falls apart at the upper end of that range. Above 900MHz the R820T2 suffers substantial attenuation and above 1.5GHz some tuners show major signal artifacts. And of course the R820T2 can never be tuned as high as the famous E4000. We are going to fix that, with a new RTL-SDR board designed for satellite communications.
Here is the rundown of the major differences:
Extending tuning range, designed to cover 925MHz to 2175MHz.
Quality voltage regulation. The on-board switching regulator is disabled and replaced with a linear regulator that suppresses ripple out to 10MHz.
Quality components, notably better capacitors. There are no electrolytic capacitors on this board and all noise-suppression capacitors use low-noise film instead of ceramic.
Better layout. Did you know that on the common R820T2 boards, the second-most critical part of the signal (the analog tuner output) passes directly under two oscillators? One of these oscillators operates at 1.05MHz which has unavoidable harmonics.
Size. The early prototypes measure 4cm by 6cm, a bit larger than the dongle you are used to. This however will become more compact in future revisions. Right now the board is double-sized for easier hand rework and debugging.
Drivers are not yet complete and the board is not optimized or quantified, so we can't share any hard numbers on how much better the signal is compared to the standard RTL-SDR. We will follow up when more details are available.