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iPhone vs iPhone 3G

Author:  Dan Shannon
Date:  2008.08.15
Topic:  Phones
Provider:  Apple
Manufacturer:  Apple

iPhone vs iPhone 3G

Apple iPhone 3G TechwareLabs


As you may know there was a lot of hype about Apple's release of the iPhone 3G on July 11th, 2008. Many of us are wondering if it is worth the extra $10 per month to upgrade the speed of our phones. Also, is the 3G speed all its cracked up to be? Today we compare the two - will the original prevail over the new, or will the thought of better technology blow our minds? The new iPhone has some obvious differences including the added 3G and GPS hardware, But other than that, they both use the iPhone 2.0 software. So what's the difference?


iPhone vs iPhone 3G
TechwareLabs Apple iPhone 3G
iPhone vs iPhone 3G
iPhone 3G on Left
iPhone 3G on Left
iPhone vs iPhone 3G iPhone vs iPhone 3G iPhone vs iPhone 3G
iPhone 3G on Left
iPhone 3G on Right
iPhone 3G on Right
iPhone vs iPhone 3G
iPhone vs iPhone 3G
iPhone 3G on Right
iPhone 3G on Left


Speed Comparison

Speed comparisons between both the original iPhone and the newer 3G model resulted in about the same speeds on both the EDGE network as well as while connected to Wi-Fi. The 3G network is expected to run faster, in fact twice as fast as EDGE. I have read many complaints that the 3G network is not as fast as expected, however all of our results show speeds that match Apple and AT&T's claims of "Half the price, Twice as fast"



Wi-Fi (1.5Mbps AT&T DSL)

iPhone (1st Gen)

245.3 kbps
1161.1 kbps

iPhone 3G

497.2 kbps
497.2 kbps
1183.9 kbps
*Average of 10 Tests Performed Simultaneously at Same Location For Most Accurate Comparison

Battery Life

Something worth noting is the fact that although able to obtain "3G" speeds, the iPhone 3G received horrible battery life while connected to the 3G network. Apple said that they would not release the new iPhone 3G until it received at least 5 hours of battery life in normal 3G usage. With settings the same on both phones (EDGE network, brightness, bluetooth, etc...), the iPhone 3G prevailed with about half an hour better battery life than the first generation iPhone. While on the 3G network however, the battery life was reduced to about 3 hours. Keep in mind that this was during heavy use, not just checking mail and calling it a day. Typically the EDGE network on the iPhone 3G yielded 5.5 hours of heavy use.

iPhone 3G Specs iPhone First Generation Specs
iPhone 3G
First Generation iPhone


User Interface

The user interface between the iPhone and the iPhone 3G is practically identical. All applications in the iTunes App Store work with both the iPhone and the iPhone 3G model. The screens are exactly the same size, with the 3G model having slightly wider borders on the sides. The rounded edges on the 3G model make the phone feel smaller, however it is slightly larger than its predecessor (see above). The first generation iPhone has an aluminum backing that is highly resistant to scratches and easy to clean. With the new 3G model, they wanted to add "flashiness" to the backing. They made the back plastic and let buyers choose between a highly glossy black and highly glossy white. Both colors are hard to clean and gather fingerprints extremely easily. The good part about the new plastic backing is that it provides slightly better reception as well as allowing the GPS to work. The GPS leaves much to be desired. We were expecting a turn by turn GPS that allows us to dispose of our annoying TomTom and replace it with this. This was not the case! The GPS feature simply uses Google Maps to pin point your location. The good news is that the pin point moves with you on the map as you drive down the street.

iPhone vs iPhone 3G iPhone First Gen Interface iPhone 3G Interface iPhone vs iPhone 3G
Google Maps on iPhone (3G on Left)
iPhone Gen One
iPhone 3G
iPhone 3G is Available in Two Colors


So your probably sitting back in your chair wondering "Why would you buy the new iPhone if you already have the old one?" Don't worry, I've asked myself the same question. The lower price of $199 makes the iPhone extremely appealing to impulse buyers, however the additional $10 a month for the 3G iPhone plan cancels out the reduced price. Additionally the price of $199 is only available to those that are eligible for an upgrade, already own the original iPhone, or to those that want to sign up for a new contract. If you are stuck between a rock and a hard place, much like I was, on whether or not to upgrade from the older first generation iPhone to the new one, here's my advice - don't do it. The only new features are GPS (not even a real turn-by-turn GPS), and the 3G speeds, which eats up your battery. If I hadn't signed the 2-year contract already with AT&T, I would go back to the old iPhone and save the $10 a month.



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