When I first reviewed the iPhone I talked about its battery life as being borderline for the business traveler. Whenever I travel with the phone, it always needs a charge by the time my first dinner meeting rolls around. Steve Jobs originally proclaimed that battery life and chip size were both reasons that the first iPhone didn't have 3G support, the question is does the new iPhone offer 3G performance without the battery life penalty?

Unfortunately, as Apple doesn't design any of the chips or battery technology that goes into the iPhone, it doesn't really have much control over things like 3G battery life. And thus, the iPhone 3G suffers like any other smartphone when operating on a 3G network.

The test below is the same one I ran in the original iPhone review, in fact that iPhone and Blackjack data is taken straight from that review - the new data is obviously the iPhone 3G, operating in 3G mode. The battery life is expressed in minutes and the results are expectedly not very good:

At 197 minutes, the iPhone 3G can keep you browsing for a little over 3 hours before completing dying. That's with no additional phone calls or anything else going on in the background, just constant surfing. The problem is that this is a very realistic scenario for many users. If you're out of the house and stuck somewhere without a laptop, you'll want the speed of 3G but the battery life will mean that your surfing experience is almost half as long as it would be on Edge. Granted, you can load pages faster in the same amount of time, but you'd have to load pages around twice as fast on average to equal the same productivity.

In our 3G performance test from earlier this afternoon we found that while 3G can easily be up to 10x faster than Edge, the real world browsing performance will generally be significantly slower than that. Only our AnandTech loading test was able to perform at the required 2x speed to make the iPhone 3G, in 3G mode, more energy efficient than running it in Edge. The Facebook and Digg tests both weren't fast enough to balance out the additional power draw.

We'll be running more tests on the iPhone over the weekend, so stay tuned for more updates...


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  • alora222 - Monday, February 2, 2009 - link

    Try the TripChill iPhone travel assistant the next time you travel. Get real-time flight alerts, book hotel and car, view alternate flights, notify friends of travel status, manage your itinerary, and much more.

  • alora222 - Monday, February 2, 2009 - link

    Try the TripChill iPhone travel assistant the next time you travel. Get real-time flight alerts, book hotel and car, view alternate flights, notify friends of travel status, manage your itinerary, and much more.

  • mrloon - Monday, July 28, 2008 - link

    I still cannot comprehend the "solution" to battery life is to turn basically all the features off. I did pick up an iPhone 3G, and regrettably am stuck with it. Had the phone on a complete full charge, called up and talked to a friend (local call) for about an hour and 10 mins, and I went from 100% charge to 5% charge. The solution of "turn off options" is mute, being that with other 3G devices, I can have all options on and easily talk for over the 5 hour mark, and easily not have to run to a charger for a few days. The other option of having a charger in your car, in your house, in your boat with a goat, etc, is insane. What happens if I'm a commuter on a train, or air, where there is no option to charge. Say I just got into my car, drove to the train station to commute to the airport; in that scenario, I'd barely have power a few mins after stepping onto the train. Add the low battery performance, with an impossible keyboard (double dare any of the "oh it's easy to type on" folks try holding onto the rail in a subway and type a few sentences in anywhere close to the type on any physical QWERTY keboard), a GPS that has no GPS app yet (though one rumoured b TomTom which will probably cost more than just getting a TomTom physical device), no way to add your own ring tone except to buy from iTunes, no way to truly customize the sounds the device has (other than a few options for the ringer and for inbound mail), and a host of other faults, it's a toy, plain and simple. If you need a device that you can use over the course of a day without the device going through detox after an hour and needing a charge, get anything, I mean ANYTHING, but don't get an iPhone. Hey, if ya don't agree with me, and looking for an iPhone, I'll gladly ship you mine free long as you pay the stupid cancelling charge for removing the device from my bill. Maybe I'll even have to post up a YouTube video of me smashing the device with the head of a passing Mac user. So, in closing, yes, the phone is *that* bad, and calling it a phone is even an insult to the old days big box phone on a rope from Alpine and such. Reply
  • Zoos - Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - link

    I would really love to see a more thorough test of different settings... for example, most of the ones listed on this page: http://www.apple.com/batteries/iphone.html">http://www.apple.com/batteries/iphone.html

    It would be horrible to have to constantly switch so many things on/off as needed, but perhaps disabling something innocuous like bluetooth will actually make a big difference! An accurate test would surely require actual load monitoring, as the battery will perform differently from run to run.
  • coco - Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - link

    Sure the battery on iPhone 3G is not that great, but what can we do? We want small size phones, powerful features and lengthy battery life.

    Just get a backup battery. I got mine from iPhoneck brands. Their new 3G backup battery is probably one of the better looking products in the market. Their website is www.iphoneck.com
  • MaxxxRacer - Monday, July 14, 2008 - link

    Prior to owning the iPhone 3G I had the HTC Mogul Pocket PC (WM6). The Mogul was an absolute monster at eating batteries, despite its bountiful 1600mah battery (that was quite heavy). The iPhone 3G on the other thand is much slimmer, lighter and FASTER with better battery life. While waiting in line for my second iPhone (got the last one at the apple store on the 11th) for 7 hours the phone drained the battery to near death. This was with downloading and playing games most of the time.

    Today I went from a full charge to 20% in 10 hours with several phone calls made, 2 hours of ipod use and lots of game playing and toying around.

    The bottom line is this. If you play with the phone non stop you will get about the claimed 5 or 6 hours of use and will need to charge it a few times a day. But if you use the phone like a normal human being you should only need to charge it once a day and for infrequent use, every other day. To be safe, charge it every day.

    Personally I have a charger at home, in the car and at work, to ensure that I have a charger wherever I am.
  • gutcheck2008 - Monday, July 14, 2008 - link

    I have one. The battery life is shorter then the version 1 iPhone, but there is really no comparison between the networks. Look, you can charge the thing at home, in a car, or on a computer and it charges really fast. I don't think anyone has pointed this out btw, to charge the battery to full takes about 30 min in the wall, or in the car, or on a PC. Then, I can take it, use it all day and then when I come home, charge it again. It is really a cool thing to have and I really am happy with it. Reply
  • kdarling - Sunday, July 13, 2008 - link

    Posting battery life comparisions is pretty meaningless without us knowing what batteries are being used.

    Is the Blackjack using its default tiny 900mAh, or an extended one?

    The original iPhone has a 1400mAh battery, so of course its life would be much larger than other phones without extended batteries.

    Any idea what the 3G iPhone uses? Best evidence so far is 1150mAh.
  • imaheadcase - Sunday, July 13, 2008 - link

    I mean seriously, its a niche market. You might as well do a review of a Toaster that is colored Pink while you are at it.

    If you are going to do reviews on freakin phones, at least do lots of phones..esp the ones that are 100x better than any iphone on the market.
  • steveyballmer - Sunday, July 13, 2008 - link

    The instinct and other phones that run WinMob trounce this toy!


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