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BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

Apple iPhone 3G vs EDGE

Originally posted July 25th, 2008, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

We had an opportunity to test the new iPhone 3G in both 3G an EDGE mode in the middle of San Diego where both coverage is strong for both. Is 3G really 2 times faster?

iPhone EDGE
iPhone 3G
iNetworkTest (average)
CNN mobile
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20 sec
18 sec
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11 sec
29 sec
14 sec

This is a brief test session but, as you can see, the speed gains of 3G depend on where you are located and what website you are viewing.

We thought about including WiFi in the chart but that's the same no matter which iPhone you own. For example, in the test location, we got 1200Kbps when in Wi-Fi mode. That's four times faster than 3G in our testing.

In another location, we connected to a Wireless Broadband router via Wi-Fi. The router had a Verizon 3G ExpressCard installed. We saw a minimum of 600Kbps and a maximum of 1300Kbps. Base on that and our experience with Verizon 3G cards inserted directly in our MacBook Pro, it seems Verizon's 3G network is faster than AT&T's 3G network.

If Wi-Fi (AirPort) is available where you are, it's most likely faster than 3G. But when it's not convenient and you are in a 3G coverage zone, then it's nice to have 3G capability.

We tried locating ourselves in the middle of a San Diego. Both GPS and Cell Tower/ Wi-Fi Triangulation missed me by about one city block. In other words, your 2007 iPhone isn't a piece of junk.

I covet the iPhone 3G, being a buyer of all things fastest from Apple. But I just don't like standing in lines. Two weeks after its intro, the three local Apple Retail Stores are either out of stock, limited in stock, and always with long lines when they do have stock. That's good for Apple but frustrating for me as I live 60 miles away from the nearest store.

Yet I have to say that my 2007 iPhone is keeping me entertained with the 2.0 software, all the iphone apps (iTunes App Store), and cool web apps. Some are very practical like iNetworkTest, which we used for testing in this article or AIM which enabled me to chat with my friend, Mark, when he was standing in line for an iPhone. It echoed in iChat on my MacBook Pro so I could either type answers there or peck them into the iPhone.

Some are just fun like the Cro-Mag Rally racing game which uses the motion sensors to turn the iPhone into a wireless steering wheel. Or how about iRetroPhone, which simuates an old rotary dialing phone from days gone by.

I'm sure you have your favorites but the new 2.0 software and all the web apps take the iPhone to a whole new level, leaving the competition in the dust.

AT&T's 3G coverage is "surprisingly sparse," as one site pointed out. States where you don't even get any 3G coverage include Alaska, Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming, according to Silicon Alley InsiderRELATED LINKS
Check out AT&T's 3G coverage in your area.

You can check to see if your local Apple Retail Store has the iPhone 3G of your choice in stock before you waste your gas and time to go there.

Under the hood of the iPhone 3G including diagrams of the system architecture.

A purchasing checklist for the iPhone 3G. One thing we would add: have your login and password for the AT&T Wireless site handy.

The official AT&T Wireless page for the iPhone 3G with pricing and plan rates.

Apple's tech specs page for the iPhone 3G.

Alternatives to the iPhone from Samsung, LG, and others.

Apple Online Store

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