Contrasting with Wall Street Journal and NY Times reviews published today, USA Today’s Edward Baig offered almost universal praise for the iPhone 3G, awarding it 3.75 out of 4 stars and “an enthusiastic thumbs up.” In his review, Baig cites disappointment over the device’s inability to access AT&T’s 3G network “in parts of my northern New Jersey neighborhood and elsewhere,” but lauds each of its other features, stating that “the list of reasons the device doesn’t make sense for a certain class of users is shrinking fast.”

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Singled out for special praise were Apple’s “improved overall audio quality” and addition of GPS to the device, which was accurate “as I drove along in my car, searched for nearby pizza places, and requested directions. Alas, the feature begs for the audible turn-by-turn directions found on Samsung’s Instinct and others.”

Baig also confirmed 3G speed improvements seen by other reviewers. “It generally took 10 to 30 seconds to load popular websites through 3G, a lot zippier than when I accessed the sites on Edge. Oddly, parts of the pages sometimes showed up first on the older iPhone screen. But pages always finished loading on the 3G device first, often by a half minute or more.”

Unlike The Wall Street Journal, which noted that battery life was a major issue, Baig suggested that the two devices were similar in performance. “I started receiving low battery warnings toward the end of a busy work day;” he said. “I found myself charging the device overnight, the same as with the older iPhone.” However, Baig cited battery charging issues, saying that he “couldn’t juice up the latest device using my Bose SoundDock or Belkin car kit. Apple says there will be adapters to permit charging with certain older accessories.” According to Baig, this issue was attributable to iPhone 3G’s lack of compatibility with FireWire charging devices; it remains to be seen whether the new device behaves differently from the original iPhone in this regard.

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