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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

SMART PHONE FEATURE FIGHT:
iPhone 3GS vs iPhone 4 vs EVO 4G

Originally posted June 10th, 2010, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

While we all wait for the iPhone 4 to ship, I've been playing with the Sprint/HTC EVO 4G phone. Of the three Android phones I have tested, it's the most impressive. I've been reflecting on the key features of the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and EVO 4G. Here are what I see as the advantages of each over the other.

ADVANTAGES OF iPHONE 4 over iPHONE 3GS
Many of you (like me) currently own an iPhone 3GS. So is the iPhone 4 worth the cost of updating? Since the 3GS can run iOS 4, why should I upgrade? Let me summarize the features that cause me to say, "Duh!"

  • The Retina 24 bit 326 ppi 960x640 touch screen beats the 16 bit 163 ppi 480x320 touch screen
  • 800:1 contrast ratio beats 200:1 contrast ratio
  • 1000MHz Custom A4 processor beats 600MHz ARM Cortex processor
  • 7 hr 3G talk time beats 5 hr 3G talk time
  • Theoretical upload speed of 5.8Mbps beats 384Kbps
  • 802.11n WiFi beats 802.11g
  • 5mp back facing camera with backside-illuminated sensor capable of capturing pictures in low-light conditions with LED flash capable of staying lit for video recording beats the 3.2mp back facing camera with no flash
  • front facing camera with support for video conferencing (FaceTime) beats no front facing camera
  • Video recording in 720p beats 640x480 at 1.5Mbps
  • The placement of antennas around the perimeter likely means stronger signal reception
  • The iPhone 4 is narrower and thinner

ADVANTAGES OF THE iPHONE 4 over the EVO 4G

  • The Retina 24 bit 326 ppi touch screen beats LCD TFT 16 bit 215 ppi touch screen
  • 7 hr 3G talk time beats 6 hr 3G/4G talk time
  • 300 hr standby beats 146 hr standby
  • 802.11n WiFi beats 802.11g
  • 215,000 apps beats 70,000 apps
  • One-click sync of calendar, contacts, songs, videos, apps, etc., using iTunes beats "piecemeal, partial, do-it-yourself" sync
  • The iPhone 4 is narrower, thinner, and lighter

ADVANTAGES OF THE EVO 4G over the iPHONE 4

  • EVO has removable battery and removable microSD storage
  • The Sprint 4G (WIMAX) data network is faster than AT&T's 3G data network. Where not available, 3G works fine -- even in Death Valley, CA.
  • Unfettered multi-tasking (battery penalty aside)
  • Ability to serve as a mobile WiFi hotspot for up to 8 users
  • The 4.3" screen is bigger than iPhone's 3.5" screen
  • Both phones record video in 720p but EVO has an HDMI port that outputs 720p while the iPhone 4 uses a dock adapter to component video cables that output 480p or 576p.
  • 8mp backside camera beats Apple's 5mp camera in resolution, though Steve Jobs asserts "image quality also depends in large part on other factors, and the iPhone's backside-illuminated camera sensor with large pixel sizes allows it to deliver excellent image quality under normal and low-light situations." That's supported by MacRumors forum postings of EVO owners who say photos on the EVO are "grainy."

CONCLUSION (updated July 6th)
The EVO 4G is a worthy competitor to the iPhone. I admire Sprint. They are the "we try harder" company in the mobile communications world. But after 30 days, we returned the EVO to the Sprint store.

The Apple iPhone 4 is our choice for the best smart phone. Even with the "teething" problems such as signal loss when you hold it a certain way or the proximity sensor oversensitivity, it's still an impressive upgrade to the iPhone 3GS and raises the bar for competitors to reach.

Verizon hopes to steal some of the iPhone 4's thunder on July 15th when the Droid X appears in their stores. But from the early reports and spec sheets, it offers the same basic features of Sprint's EVO. What would be more impressive is if Verizon offered a version of the iPhone that supports 4G (LTE, WiMAX) data networks. That could happen as early as January 2011.

SPECS MATRIX

Apple/AT&T
iPhone 3GS

Apple/AT&T
iPhone 4

HTC/Sprint
EVO 4G

Memory/Max Storage

256MB RAM
32GB Flash Memory
(only 8GB once iPhone 4 ships)

512MB RAM
32GB Flash Memory

512MB RAM
512MB Flash
8GB MicroSD
(Expand to 32GB)

Screen Rez

480x320

960x640

800x400

Screen Size

3.5"

3.5"

4.3"

Battery

1219mAh

1400mAh (est.)

1500mAh

Max Talk Time

5 hr on 3G

7 hr on 3G

6 hr on 3G/4G

Max Standby

300 hours

300 hours

146 hours

Internet Max Use

5 hr on 3G
9 hr on WiFi

6 hr on 3G
10 hr on WiFi

none quoted

Video Max Playtime

10 hours

10 hours

none quoted

WiFi (802.11)

b + g

b + g + n

b + g

best data protocol/
max data speed

HSDPA/HSUPA
7.2M down, 384K up

HSDPA/HSUPA
7.2M down, 5.8M up

WiMAX
10M down, 1M up

Height

4.5" (115.2mm)

4.5" (115.2mm)

4.8" (121.9mm)

Width

2.44" (62.1mm)

2.31" (58.6mm)

2.6" (66mm)

Depth

.48" (12.3mm)

.37" (9.3mm)

.5" (12.7mm)

Camera

3.2MP back facing;
NO front facing

5MP back facing
plus LED flash;
"VGA" front facing

8MP back facing
plus LED flash;
1.3MP front facing

Weight

4.8 oz (137 grams)

4.8 oz (137 grams)

6.0 oz (170 grams)

OS X Sync/Backup

Automatic Sync/Backup of Music, Movies, Contacts, iPhone, and Calendar using iTunes

Automatic Sync/Backup of Music, Movies, Contacts, iPhone, and Calendar using iTunes

Piecemeal, Manual Sync/Backup: Finder can copy music to MicroSD card and apps from MicroSD card; iPhoto can capture photos; third party apps can backup Contacts and Calendar to Google "Cloud"

TV Output

component cable outputs up to 576p

component cable outputs up to 576p; VGA adapter outputs up to 1024x768

HDMI port outputs 720p

WHERE TO BUY NEW APPLE PRODUCTS including the iPhone
USA readers can help us earn a commission by using this Apple Store USA link or by clicking on any Apple display ad. For UK readers, visit Apple Store UK.

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copyright 2010 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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