I went with the Samsung (for now) due to it's lighter weight and smaller footprint compared to the Novatel - oh, and it was available today.
Here are some more results from inside my house in Annandale, Va, with 3 bars of LTE indicated. This time I tested each device independently as opposed to the simultaneous test I did earlier in this thread.
Overall very satisfactory. Maybe this weekend I can find a site that's more in the sweet-spot of an LTE tower.