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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  • thebeastie - Sunday, July 13, 2008 - link

    It is interesting to see how 3G sucks battery power.

    I am with Telstra and their new deal with the Iphone is that you get 5Megs a month 3G but you get unlimited Wifi access at all Telstra hotspots which are all places starbucks etc which is good for me as I spend a fair bit of time having coffee at starbucks etc :)

    I am currently about to expire on my 2 year Imate JasJam Telstra contract, and I think I will roll over onto a Iphone, but I do see a few downfalls as well as some I can't be sure of until I get the Iphone

    Firstly Telstra have NextG which gives me better speeds then standard 3g (I have tested this it really is a big difference)
    So I will have to give this up.

    Secondly I will have to give up my wireless modem ability of the Jasjam which I do use a fair bit as I am a top level emergency IT contact for out of hour support and keep my laptop in my boot of my car, (Don't try to tell me its practical to solve complex problems via any phone screen )

    Thirdly I have noticed that the quality WMA playback on the Jasjam (windows Mobile version 6) is fantastic compared to other music players I have that include creative products I have had.
    The Jasjam with a MicroSD card and Mortplayer are a good combo.
    I do encode all my CDs (via windows media player ) or buy music online in high quailty WMA because its the most convenient these days.
    I will be disappointed with the WMA quailty playback is exactly as comparable to the JasJam.

    No keyboard, I guess this will be interesting for me as how well I will be about to push off a large sms message in a few seconds as I have managed to master the JasJam keyboard very effectively.

    No copy and paste: I have read the iphone has no copy and paste, I have used this extensively on the JasJam, from copying and pasting phone numbers, emails, and URLS etc when using it for various tasks it really does come in handy in moments when you just want to get things done quickly.

    My current plan of thought is I will use both, mainly just swapping over my sim card when I need wireless modem ability, I will have to ask if this is possible.

  • MaxxxRacer - Monday, July 14, 2008 - link

    With regards to the keyboard: at first I hated it, but now that I have used it for 3 days I am quite fast, about as fast as I was with my Mogul, which had a full QWERTY keyboard.

    As far as removing the sim, you will have to have a paperclip, toothpick or the sim removal tool to do so. Secondly, if you remove the sim alot you may run into the issue of the contacts getting heavily worn and the phone saying you have no SIM installed. This happened to me yesterday when I was at the Zoo. I had to use the toothpick in my Sandwich to reseat the SIM and get the phone working again. Not convient.. That said, I love my iPhone despite being a staunch Apple hater.
  • Doormat - Saturday, July 12, 2008 - link

    The 2009 iPhone should have the same 3G speeds (possibly faster uploads) along with the 3G comm chip fabricated at 65nm instead of 90. We'll see if Infineon can hurry up and get their X-GOLD 61x series chips fabricated in time for the '09 launch (right now the say 2nd half of 09, but that could be July 09 or it could be December 09). Reply
  • Aries1470 - Sunday, July 13, 2008 - link

    Why wait for the 2009 model? I think the SE Xperia X1 will be a much better phone and battery life will be better too. Although that is my personal opinion.

    Here are some links to read up on it.

    Personally I find this to be a very good phone, on paper at the moment and I will be upgrading to this phone most likely.

    As for another that said about WM and 640x480 etc... well they should look no further than the i-mate's. They are great & also have large screens with a monitor out too for connecting to a projector/ monitor etc. I remember way before the original iPhone came out I was going to get their

    Here is a link to their site.
    One of their better models is the 9502 out of their current collection.
    It is a 640x480 with keyboard, touch-screen, GPS, 3.0 Megapixel auto-focus camera, etc...

    Now the problem with the WM6 devices that I remember reading somewhere is that they are restricted to 65k screens. My old i-mate (pre-3G) is great, and lasts a fair amount of time, by that, I mean a couple of days with out a re-charge. Now I have delegated it to a GPS solution ;-) and never really seen the 65k limit as hindering.

    So it seems that WM is not THAT after all.

    [daydreaming]Ok, now to go and collect my phones for my advertising efforts[/day dreaming]
  • Aries1470 - Sunday, July 13, 2008 - link

    "So it seems that WM is not THAT after all. "
    Should read:
    "So it seems that WM is not THAT BADafter all."

    Btw, here are the links properly inserted this time:

    Hope it works this time.
  • cs1323 - Saturday, July 12, 2008 - link

    The iPhone 3G has proven to be really fun and easy to use. Being able to place calls, check out the weather, look up YouTube videos and browsing the net without being tied down to a Wifi hotspot is astounding.

    Since I've owned an iPod Touch beforehand, I kind of got a feel of how much power I can get out of it when playing my music and video files and surfing the web via Wifi. With the iPhone, I was expecting to see a little more kick. After a full day of listening (roughly) to about 5 songs, watching 5 minutes of video, 15 min of 3G browsing, and 10 min of YouTubing.. my battery finally died at the end of the day.

    Is this about average? I guess you're expected to charge your iPhone *every* night if this how you are to use it properly.
  • NestoJR - Saturday, July 12, 2008 - link

    Thats ALL you did and it died at the end of the day ?

    I have the original iPhone and aside from 3G browsing, from my experience you should be able to do A LOT more than that. Maybe try turning off the 3G if ur not planning to use it. Thats the thing for anyone whos disappointed with the battery life within the first few days or week. It is lower than some handsets and I came from a Blackberry 8700 that could go 3 days before needing a charge. But with the iPhone, I know I was constantly playing with mine when I first got it and it died twice on me, like mid-day. So YES, you should/do need to charge it every night AND I'd make a point to grab a car charger and charge it when you can. (LOL, when I didn't have a car charger, I went to Best Buy and put it in one of the speaker docks to charge, standing around for 15 minutes, brand new iPhone sitting there dead, employees asking me if I need help and I'm like "no I'm fine, I'm just charging my phone. 8)"

    Nowadays, I can make my iPhone last a day and a half but I try not to do so. Under realistic use (you know, only using it when you need it), it'll last the day easily. Aside from phone use, I use it to check the weather, stocks, bank account, look up definitions, do conversions, reference things, Google maps for directions, phone numbers, etc., text. But if I have time to kill and start surfing for no real reason and watching youtube, use bluetooth or the camera (these 2 seem to be the biggest killers to me), and it will drain the battery super fast. I don't talk much on my cell, never have, and am on the 450 min plan FWIW. Oh and you'll learn that once you get that first 20% low battery warning, it goes down REAL fast IF you continue using it for surfing, watching vid, etc. It won't die immmediatly, but it reminds me of a camcorder battery thats basically telling you it will die in 2 minutes (if that), but no real warning before that haha. If you let it remain idle, you'd prolly get a few hours out of it or near a hour of talk time. But play with it and dead in half a hour or less I'd say.

    The sealed battery design does irk me and I really have no idea why Apple insists on this but so long as you just remember to bring a charger with you, you'll be fine. I'm a road warrior so I'm able to charge it frequently if need be. All that being said I'm itching to go out and get the 3G, I'm a patient person for the most part but I hate waiting for EDGE and the GPS would help immensely with directions. I live in the boonies and the current triangulation can give something like a 5 mile radius for my current location and can be off by a few miles at that. Its workable but hardly ideal. And I still have my $100 Apple Store credit from the price drop... =)
  • araczynski - Saturday, July 12, 2008 - link

    didn't know about the nokia 810, but that looks much more impressive than the iphone, especially with that resolution and me being more interested in surfing rather than downloading/buying games for the phone. Reply
  • ShangoY - Friday, July 11, 2008 - link

    "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."

    Are you joking? Why do people have to be Apple apologists? Can't you just say "Gee, apple was too lazy to redesign the iphone to get a bigger battery"? They couldn't add a millimeter or two more and stick in a thicker battery? What, they don't design the freaking thing or something? And what is the reason their lame ass designers can't put a memory slot in the thing?

    Oh wait, I forgot it's the Gospel of Jobs, you don't NEED anything he doesn't give you.
  • MonkeyPaw - Saturday, July 12, 2008 - link

    You said exactly what I was thinking when I read that. Apple would rather sell a cooler looking phone than one that is more functional. It's the Apple way! Reply

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