Live iPhone 3G vs. iPhone Comparison Test Results Here

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As long-time iLounge readers know, we devote considerable time and energy to testing new iPod and iPhone products, running hard-core battery, audio, video, and other tests prior to publishing our reviews. Since Apple handed out advance free units to its favorite reviewers, hoping to get the most favorable iPhone 3G reviews out in advance of the product’s release, we have decided to publish our production model iPhone 3G’s test results as we go through the process, starting immediately so that buyers can get as much accurate information about the new device before making a purchase.

You can find our test results, updated continuously, by clicking on the article’s headline above. We will also respond to reader questions as convenient throughout the process. Our Gallery of iPhone 3G unpacking and comparison photos is also available.
iPhone versus iPhone 3G Calling Test results:

With the iPhone on its standard network and the iPhone 3G on the 3G network, we made sets of two telephone calls simultaneously, keeping the iPhone and iPhone 3G in use at the same time, and asked a discerning caller to tell us how we sounded, while listening for how the caller sounded as well. We tested the iPhones this way in handset, speakerphone, and Bluetooth modes. Our caller said that the overall sound signatures of the two phones were the same; neither one possessed heavier bass, treble, or midrange emphasis.

In handset mode: With the iPhone being used as a handset, without earphones, speakerphone, or Bluetooth engaged, our caller described us as sounding virtually identical between the two phones. On our side, at similar volume levels, the iPhone 3G call had a slight, unimportant edge on clarity.

In speakerphone mode: On our simultaneous call, our caller told us that we sounded noticeably better on the iPhone than on the iPhone 3G. By contrast, our caller sounded somewhat louder at the iPhone 3G’s maximum speaker volume than on the iPhone. Contrary to comments made by Apple’s handpicked reviewers, we did not find the difference between old and new iPhone speaker levels in calling mode to be extreme. We suspect that this may be because Apple changed the original iPhone’s speaker at some point during production, diminishing its performance, as we have read scattered reports from readers that their iPhone speakerphone levels were too low, and saw no improvement when Apple released a firmware update claiming to improve speaker performance. A production change might explain this difference.

In Bluetooth mode: We paired the exact same Bluetooth headset, the multi-point, Bluetooth 2.0-capable BlueAnt Z9i, simultaneously with both the iPhone and iPhone 3G. This headset has the ability to switch between multiple Bluetooth devices on the fly, so we used it to compare wireless sound quality between both phones on the same phone call. Our caller told us that, unlike the iPhone in handset and speakerphone modes, the iPhone 3G sounded “noticeably” better than the original iPhone in Bluetooth mode, with superior clarity.

We did not experience any unusual echoing effect with the Z9i, again contrary to what one early reviewer reported; this may have been caused by an unfamiliar or problematic accessory. We’re going to continue testing for this.

iPhone versus iPhone 3G versus iPod touch Screen Comparisons:

As was the case with the iPhone and the iPod touch, the iPhone and iPhone 3G screens are not exactly the same as one another. Resolution and physical size are the same, at 480×320 and 3.5” on the diagonal, but color balance and viewing angles differ from unit to unit. In direct comparison to one another, the color balance on our iPhone was slightly blue relative to the iPhone 3G, which has a slight yellow tint. Our most recent iPod touch – our fourth replacement unit – by comparison has a slightly more pure white screen. The viewing angle on the iPhone appears to be a little better than the iPhone 3G and the most recent iPod touch we’ve tested, with more of a tendency to show negative blacks on certain angles.

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Note, however, that these comparison results may not reflect the experiences of all users. Apple has been switching screen suppliers without informing customers, so both original iPhones and iPod touches have varied from one another in screen quality. We would describe iPhone 3G’s screen as a hint below the iPhone’s on viewing angle, a little better on color balance, equivalent on brightness, resolution, and size, and otherwise extremely similar.

iPhone versus iPhone 3G Camera Test results:

Though the iPhone 3G’s 2.0-Megapixel, fixed-lens camera was not dramatically changed from its predecessor from a hardware standpoint, Apple claimed prior to the iPhone 3G that software tweaks would improve its performance. To see whether the same software tweaks might have benefitted the original iPhone when updated to version 2.0 of its system software, we did comparison tests yesterday between iPhone 1.1.4 and iPhone 2.0 camera performance, finding no difference between them.

Our comparison test shots from the iPhone 2.0 and iPhone 3G cameras revealed very small differences. It should be noted up front that our test iPhone’s camera has been subjected to plenty of potential lens abuse thanks to the lack of really excellent lens protectors out there, and we’ve noticed over times that images are slightly less sharp than they were when the iPhone was fresh out of the box. Consequently, we don’t think that any tiny sharpness differences evident here are truly the result of the iPhone 3G being better; it’s just that the iPhone is older.

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We held both devices next to each other when taking these images, attempting to keep the shots as close to one another as possible in exposure and shakiness. Most of the shots appeared more or less identical, however, the iPhone 3G’s camera appeared to produce outdoor photos with more of a blue tint, versus the more naturally colored iPhone’s, as shown in the plant shots here. Both sensor resolution and actually captured detail appeared to be the same between them, as did the graininess users always experience when trying to take photographs in dimly lit rooms.

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Neither camera seemed more responsive in previewing or taking pictures, and neither seemed better than the other at reducing shake or motion blur; note that we did shake a little because it was hard to grip and shoot pictures with both cameras at once. Our impression is that, contrary to Apple’s claim, there’s no tangible improvement to the iPhone 3G’s camera, and in some conditions, you may find its color rendition a bit worse. Both cameras now geotag their results with current latitude and longitude coordinates; the iPhone 3G’s tag is more likely to be a little more precise thanks to its integrated GPS, a generally unimportant difference.

iPhone versus Black iPhone 3G: Physical Differences

We would normally be reluctant to use the word “nauseating” in a discussion of Apple products, but the way that our iPhone 3G looked right out of the box—covered in the fingerprints and smudges of the AT&T employee who opened the box and activated it—was just that disgusting. These are photos of how the iPhone 3G looked straight out of the box when we went to photograph it; we had wanted to purchase a white one to avoid these sorts of issues in our photography, but Apple apparently didn’t ship anywhere near enough white units, so we were stuck with a black one.

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With the original iPhone, Apple’s matte finished plastic and metal rear shells may have picked up scuffs, dings, and minor discolorations, but they didn’t show fingerprints and smudges unless you literally ate fried chicken with your fingers before touching the device. iPhone 3G may well be Apple’s most easily smudged device to date, outdoing the original iPod nano and iPod video in ease of glazing. We fully expect to have to towel it off before every round of pictures we take, and as previously noted, protective film or cases are most certainly in its future. It’s obvious why Apple was so afraid to let people photograph it after its WWDC unveiling.

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The only good news, sort of, is that the included cleaning cloth can bring the device closer to cleanliness—assuming you carry it around. Unfortunately, our chrome Apple logo was already permanently scratched by the time we opened the package ourselves; expect the same thing to happen if your phone, like ours, is left on a hard surface during an in-store activation process.

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iPhone versus White iPhone 3G: Physical Differences

When the fifth-generation iPod and first-generation iPod nano were discontinued, it looked like the end of white as a color for Apple’s pocket devices, but the iPhone 3G’s white version has rejuvenated the color.

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Simply put, the white version doesn’t show smudges to anywhere near the extent of the black one. While it still gets marked up fairly easily, you won’t notice fingerprints unless they’re from something other than finger oils.

iPhone versus iPhone 3G: Music/Non-Calling Audio Differences

Though the iPhone 3G’s newly metal-grilled bottom speaker and microphone didn’t make a profound difference in telephone calling, the speaker is a little more powerful than the original iPhone’s, which makes music or the audio portion videos a little easier to hear over ambient noise. The audio sounds slightly more full-bodied on the iPhone 3G than on the iPhone, as well.

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However, the major difference between these two devices isn’t the speaker, but rather what comes out of the headphone port. Everyone knows that Apple has fixed the first iPhone’s incompatibility with common 3.5mm headphone plugs, but what hasn’t been widely reported is that the iPhone 3G most certainly has a new audio chip, quite likely the same Cirrus Logic one that made it into the iPod classic. Direct comparisons between the iPhone 3G and original iPhone showed that the new model has an almost completely clean noise floor, just like the iPod classic, rather than the comparatively noisier iPhone, which used a similar Wolfson Audio sound chip to the iPod nano, 5G, and touch products. We have more testing to do on this front, but what we can say is that the iPhone 3G sounds hugely cleaner with a high-end pair of earphones than the original model.

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Initial tests of the Dock Connector output from the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPod classic suggest that the iPhone 3G and iPod classic’s line-level output is extremely similar, with the iPhone sounding more or less the same. One interesting difference between the units: TDMA noise, also known as iPhone cell phone interference, isn’t exactly the same. When the iPhone 3G is in EDGE mode, it’s just as annoying as the iPhone when you’re near unshielded speakers. But if it’s on a 3G network, the interference changes; it becomes much quieter, and sounds like a low laser buzz instead of a chirp. In fact, the 3G interference is low enough in volume and pitch that some people won’t even notice it when using older, unshielded speakers.

iPhone versus iPhone 3G: Maps and GPS

One of the only well-publicized hardware changes from the iPhone to the iPhone 3G was Apple’s addition of GPS to the new device, but the exact functionality of the feature has been obscure up until now. When Steve Jobs demonstrated GPS in an unusually dry portion of the device’s WWDC keynote speech, he made clear that the device was capable of tracking your location, but stopped short of saying that it could actually be used for what people really wanted – turn-by-turn driving directions with the Google Maps feature.

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How well does the GPS actually track your location when you’re using Maps? When we tested it in a convertible with the top up, the answer was “pretty well,” but qualified by a few realities: first, the iPhone’s Maps software doesn’t use typical GPS techniques for locking your current position to what’s on the map. Instead of assuming that your little blue dot needs to travel on the white lines on Google’s maps as you drive, the dot inaccurately ducks off to the left and right sometimes, and if you’re rounding a corner, the dot sometimes goes off the street onto what would be a yard, driveway, or parking lot. Typical GPS software makes educated guesses as to how you’re traveling on the streets, rather than grass, dirt, and lakes, and queries a bunch of different satellites to get accurate positional data. On curvy roads, it seemed like the iPhone was either getting less satellite data, or making less intelligent decisions about where you’re likely to be at a given moment, perhaps both. That said, we noted that it was surprisingly accurate on straight roads, properly pinpointing our positions relative to various intersections as we drove through them.

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A second issue is that Apple has done nothing to automate Maps’ movement in ways that would make the GPS feature truly useful. When your blue dot moves on or off the Map, the screen doesn’t automatically move along with it, either via recentering or zooming. There’s also currently no way to switch from the fixed map position to one that rotates with compass movements. It is unclear whether the iPhone’s GPS hardware is going to remain limited by its software, or whether the problem is in the opposite direction; in any case, buying an iPhone 3G over a Garmin unit for GPS navigation purposes would be a huge mistake.

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As a third issue, the iPhone’s lack of built-in map data—and corresponding need to query the Internet for current position information—is both a blessing and a curse. At any given moment, you could conceivably have the most up-to-date map information possible, with new roads, restaurants, and addresses added in realtime rather than waiting for a “Navigation System DVD Update.” However, during our test drive, the iPhone lost connection with a 3G network tower and the map went blank, needing to reconnect to acquire map data again. When it did re-acquire the map, though, it quickly knew our precise location better than the original, semi-location-aware iPhone.

iPhone versus iPhone 3G: Accessory Compatibility Testing

Another difference Apple snuck into the iPhone 3G is the latest change to its ever-shifting definition of Dock Connector accessory compatibility.

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Last year, Apple broke video accessory compatibility with the iPhone, then the iPod classic, nano, and touch. Virtually every previously released third-party video dock, cable, and portable display accessory just stopped working properly; Apple left developers with huge stocks of products they couldn’t sell, and consumers were forced to go out and buy replacements for accessories that were supposedly iPod-compatible. This time, Apple has quietly discontinued support for certain types of charging accessories, namely ones that used the FireWire standard rather than USB. Unlike the video accessory change, developers should have known that this one was coming for a long while, so you’re less likely to be affected if you’ve made a recent purchase.

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Because of this change, in addition to old accessories such as Belkin’s Auto Kit and Bose’s original SoundDock—identified by one of Apple’s hand-selected reviewers as no longer capable of charging the iPhone 3G—you’ll find that more recent accessories such as XtremeMac’s RoadShow have also stopped working in any way. They’ll bring up a passive screen that says “Charging is not supported by this accessory,” then a new nag screen that says “This accessory is not made to work with iPhone – Charging is not supported.” For RoadShow, which only did two things—AV-out and charging—this change kills any last vestige of utility the old accessory might have had, requiring the purchase of at least a new charger.

iPhone versus iPhone 3G: EDGE vs. 3G Data Speeds

The single most notable feature of the iPhone, and the one that was changed to make last year’s device more palatable to international customers, is its inclusion of “3G” networking capabilities—the ability to use higher-speed cellular networks that have been taking the place of older GPRS and EDGE towers. Apple has pitched the 3G functionality as offering “twice the speed” of the prior iPhone, a statistic that has been alternately repeated and questioned; 3G networks are theoretically capable of far more than twice EDGE’s speeds, but in practice, some buyers will find that their 3G performance is good, some will find it weak, and some will find it entirely non-existent where they live. By creating the iPhone 3G and then allowing AT&T to require all customers—including those in many U.S. states without 3G coverage—to sign up for the more expensive $30 data plan rather than the $20 EDGE plan, Apple has put some users into a comparatively poor economic situation without giving them any performance benefit.

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What about where 3G works? The iPhone’s performance appears to vary considerably from location to location. In our East Amherst, New York office, the results of two different web site iPhone speed tests placed the iPhone and iPhone 3G at very comparable speeds even though the iPhone 3G was on the more expensive, newer 3G network. We saw a speed of 172kbps for the iPhone and 175kbps for the iPhone 3G, with another site showing 106.7kbps versus 106.8kbps—basically no real difference. Then we tried a third site, and saw the iPhone 3G receive a 3G network speed slower than the EDGE one. Shocked by these numbers, we tried to load four different web sites on each device at the same time, and came up with the following results:

CNN (original site): iPhone 3G – 1 Minute 49 seconds, iPhone – 2 minutes 4 seconds. iPhone 3G was 14% faster. iPhone 3G – 29 seconds, iPhone – 36 seconds. iPhone 3G was 24% faster.
iLounge: iPhone 3G – 52 Seconds, iPhone – 1 minute 6 seconds. iPhone 3G was 27% faster. iPhone 3G – 38 seconds, iPhone – 53 seconds. iPhone 3G was 39% faster.

Overall, the average speed difference we saw across these four sites was an improvement of only 26%. Notably, both our iPhone and iPhone 3G are showing two or three bars of signal strength, and it is quite possible that bigger gains are evident when 3G signal strength is higher; then again, it is possible that a stronger 2G signal could be of similar benefit. For reference, we also ran tests using the iPhone 3G’s Wi-Fi mode, which was several seconds faster at rendering web pages than the original iPhone’s Wi-Fi, for whatever reason. Here are those results.

CNN (original site): iPhone 3G – 1 Minute 49 seconds, iPhone 3G Wi-Fi – 30 seconds. Wi-Fi was 363% faster than our 3G result. iPhone 3G – 29 seconds, iPhone 3G Wi-Fi – 10 seconds. Wi-Fi was 290% faster than our 3G result.
iLounge: iPhone 3G – 52 Seconds, iPhone 3G Wi-Fi – 22 seconds. Wi-Fi was 236% faster than our 3G result. iPhone 3G – 38 seconds, iPhone 3G Wi-Fi – 5 seconds. Wi-Fi was 760% faster than our 3G result.

On average, Wi-Fi offered 4 times the speed of the 3G connection here. We are running tests elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada, and will try elsewhere in Western New York, and will report the results when we have them. Our suspicion is that the numbers will vary considerably from place to place, depending on the location and quality of 3G network towers.

This evening, we added additional testing results from Orange County, California. Here they are.

CNN (original site): iPhone 3G – 31.6 seconds, iPhone 3G Wi-Fi – 26.6 seconds. iPhone 3G – 14.4 seconds, iPhone 3G Wi-Fi – 11.6 seconds.
iLounge: iPhone 3G – 38.2 Seconds, iPhone 3G Wi-Fi – 24.4 seconds. iPhone 3G – 13.5 seconds, iPhone 3G Wi-Fi – 5.3 seconds.

These results show fairly consistent Wi-Fi times, but major differences in 3G performance – two or three times faster than the exact same phone operating in a different city. In other words, even if you live in a place with 3G coverage, you may wind up with performance only slightly better than the prior iPhone, but then, you may see substantial performance gains. While you should not expect the iPhone 3G to beat Wi-Fi speeds under any situation save for a really slow Wi-Fi network, under some circumstances, speeds may come close.

On Saturday morning, we added additional testing results from Las Vegas, Nevada. Here they are.

CNN (original site): iPhone 3G – 36.2 seconds. iPhone 3G – 16.0 seconds.
iLounge: iPhone 3G – 38.3 seconds. iPhone 3G – 15.6 seconds.

Headphone Port Problems

During phone testing of one of our two iPhone 3G units, we were surprised to discover that phone calls would spontaneously end when the headphone plug was pulled out of the port. We were able to reproduce the issue over and over again with that unit, our white 16GB model, but found that our black 8GB unit had no such problem. Just for the sake of testing, we also tried the same test with the same headphones on an original iPhone, which didn’t have the issue; this appears to be a limited defect rather than a general one.

More details to come shortly…

  1. So in reality and outside of the distortion field, Mr. Jobs lied about the enhanced call quality of the new iPhone vs. old. Meaning the absolute weakest aspect of this device remains weak. Which also continues to make this device worthless as a *phone*.

    Thus, Apple with its device weaknesses, and AT&T with its call plan greediness, have guaranteed that I will not purchase an iPhone 3G. Even as a die-hard Mac user, the device now has ZERO appeal for me.

    It’s just as well, seeing as how both Apple and AT&T have not only failed to learn the lessons of last year’s “iPhone Day,” they’ve made them worse!

  2. I think I might also hang on to my old iPhone, save $15/mo, stay “upgrade eligable” for the next iPhone, and hope that more wifi hotspots sprout up in places where I hang out.

    My top hardware wishes after 3g and GPS were louder sound and a flash for photos.

  3. I think it is a little soon to know whether Mr Jobs lied to us about improved reception.

    Until the phones are compared from a wide range of locations with varying cell reception we can not be sure.

    Going from the metal case to a plastic one should help with reception.

  4. Gimme a frickin’ break “Herr Doktor”… You may not want an iPhone of any persuasion, and that’s your prerogative. But your clueless drivel about it being, “worthless as a *phone*? If that’s true then why are iPhone users largely satisfied (79% per FORTUNE mag)?

    No one can reach any reliable conclusion about the device in the absence of time to collect meaningful statistical data.

  5. Holy Cow, I just plugged in my Shure SE450’s to my new iphone 3G and the SQ improvement is huge. I thought the iphone sounded pretty good but this far is better. Very clear with better bass. This is the first thing so far that makes me feel good about upgrading. The GPS is a pretty big disappointment and Thank Goodness I bought a white one because that black one in the picture looks like crap.

  6. Don, all you have to do is clean it off with a lint free cloth — it’ll look mirror-finish beautiful… Now, as long as you don’t touch it with human hands, it’ll stay that way… 😉

  7. “Herr Doktor”, f/k/a “The Doctor”, takes every opportunity he can to flame iPhone/Apple/AT&T/Steve Jobs on this board. It’s pathetic, but I suppose it is, indeed, his prerogative to be the resident contrarian troll of iLounge.

    That said, I won’t disagree that it is a little disheartening that Apple didn’t pump more effort into the 3G. Yes, everyone primarily clamored for the 3G speeds and the GPS function (or rather, they complained about the lack thereof in the first iteration), but Apple oversold those enhancements and neglected some of the other issues. Increasing the capacity to 16 GB and 32 GB, improving the camera by leaps and bounds, and preserving the original iPhone’s rear build quality would have been much appreciated.

    But as I have preached before, none of these downfalls nor the activation/shortage issues that reared their ugly heads today will do a scintilla of damage to Apple’s reputation or its bottom line.

  8. Your GPS review is a direct contradiction of how Apple shows/describes how GPS works in their own “Guided Tour” video. In the video, it shows the blue dot constantly centered while the map moves around it.

    The pictures above seem to completely contradict that. The blue dot in the video never seems to move “on or off the map” as this review states it does.

    Maybe I’m just missing something.

  9. Apple employee….I would like to challenge that statement.

    I spent a few months working at the Regent St store, London. The employees were not incompetent at all. In fact, many of them were probably more qualified to do jobs like music engineering, recording, post production (film & tv), and photoshop than many people who actually work in the industry. They’re pleasant to deal with, wonderful people and very very helpful.

    I suggest you think about what you say before bad mouthing ‘apple employees’ in general.

  10. Really nice article — thanks for doing the A/B comparison. I have to say I’m really happy with the 2.0 upgrade to my iPhone EDGE (the ‘leaked’ July 10 firmware restore). Both my Yamaha receiver ipod dock and Bose Sound Dock still work (though with the old error messages). I’m finally ditching my BlackBerry since I successfully connected to my corporate Exchange server today 🙂

    I was all ready to buy a 3G until I saw the thousand+ people in line at the Michigan Ave Apple Store in Chicago at 11am this morning. In addition, I also carry a Garmin GPS to use in rental cars when I travel, plus I haven’t been that impressed with the coverage or the speed of the AT&T 3G PCMCIA card that I’ve had for about a year.

    Right now, I’m not sure I’m getting an iPhone 3G — I’m really happy with the 2.0 upgrade so far — apps are nice, but Exchange for me is _huge_. I can finally ditch my BB 8700 🙂

  11. Wow, that toy photo really DOES work as a 3D effect, very nice indeed!

    Really great article, wonderful that you guys are doing this LIVE, basically ASAP. My wife was ousted out of being able to get an iPhone 3G for her birthday because…she is already an ATT customer (4 years now just about) and is NOT elegible for the $199 price. Made us both very angry and we’re not paying $399.

    Some of the negatives will be helpful to release my steam about that.

  12. I was in London last May and brought my iPhone with me to keep in touch with my business in the US. I had called ATT to activate the international calling feature prior to leaving. When I got there i could not make a call, or us text messaging. Midway through the day I came down w/ food poisoning and found myself restricted to my hotel room, too sick to do anything. my wife took the phone to the Apple store on Regent Street to try and get some help. She found a young man that worked there that had just returned from the US and walked her through every step to get the phone working over there. He made calls for her on the store phone to the proper people and upon her return to the hotel not only could i call back to the US but to my friends in the UK and text mesage as well. I have to support Spooky2k in his statements about Apple employees being in some cases over qualified for their position. I believe that anywhere you go you are going to find people that are more than knowledgeable about what they are doing, but also you will get people that are put into the wrong position and can’t help you. these people should be re-assigned to a postion that they are qualified to fill an dbe helpful to customers.

  13. Complete disaster in Traverse City.

    There is no Apple store here and the ATT store was out of phones by mid-morning. As if to make maters worse, the ATT employees weren’t allowed to do anything today but iPhone sales, so there was a store full of employees standing around and steady stream of unhappy customers most of the day.

    This being the only retail location in a 30 mile or more circle people were not happy about the offer to pre-purchase and have to come back for activation when the phone came in a few WEEKS!

    I think the choice of AT&T as a partner has been the biggest problem here in Michigan. The ATT employees seemed clueless and without any ability to hunt for the clues.

    I want an iPhone but getting into the grips of ATT for 2 years really scares me now.


  14. My new 3G iPhone in south Louisiana runs great, TONS faster data download than my 1st gen iPhone, MUCH better sound, GPS works flawlessly, I have none of the problems this reviewer had.

    Not to mention it comes in a clear plastic wrap, so you don’t get scratches and smudges. The fact they claim they did right out of the box tells me they either are liars, or didn’t pay attention to the AT&T employee who removed it, which they are instructed to not do. That part of the review just throws up tons of red flags to me about the integrity of this review.

    Smudges on my black 16GB 3G iPhone are hard to see in normal light. I am also a photographer, and can easily enhance them and make them look much worse, just like they obviously did on purpose in this review. Another red flag to me about the integrity of this reviewer.

  15. Too bad they dropped support for charging over Firewire. I still use an old Firewire wall charger from a iPod photo (remember those? :)) with my new iPod touch and iPod nano. Oh well…

  16. Flippy: Keep up the blind fanboi-ism. Apple needs sheep like you to keep them in business, through good times and bad.

    Too bad said fanboi-ism also requires repeated, immature name-calling in a public forum. Oh well.

  17. Well Guys we in Australia have been waiting for 18 months for the arrival and having queued outside the Apple Sydney store for 4 hours in freezing weather (it’s winter here!) and taking 2.45 hrs to activate it I am suitably amazed. The Voadafone employee who activated it for me handed me the box and asked me to open it and then talked me through the activation as I connected it up to the instore iMac. Also I have just plugged my new Technics DJ1210 headphones in and I’m very impressed. Still have to work out our data issues down here but we’ll see how we go with data roaming !

  18. Sorry the correctly applied label offends your delicate sensibilities, Frau Doktor. As for the “fanboi”/”sheep” charge, I think my own comment speaks for itself: I am critical of Apple here, there and everywhere all the time, and I think that they’ve mishandled many facets of the iPhone 3G launch.

    That said, as an actual first-gen iPhone owner, rather than a fly-by-night slash-and-burn poster, I can attest to the strengths and weaknesses of the phone fairly. I suppose that handicaps me in your eyes, but then again, you post your bilge here to draw reaction, so I hope I’ve satisfied you.

    Interesting that “troll” = immature name-calling that draws your reproach. I wonder where “sheep” and “fanboi” fits in your exalted lexicon.

  19. I’m surprised the Apple person got your iPhone all grubby. When they activated mine at the Apple Store at the Domain in Austin, all they did was peal back the protective covering enough to insert the connector. It took only a few seconds to activate and he put it back in the box. 20 seconds later the ATT signal locked and I was on my way out the door. I found the staff at the Apple Store great, one brought me a bottle of water when I was outside, and were honest about supply. The messaged early when they were running low on 16GB black models but I was already close enough in where I could still make a choice.

    When I get a 3G signal I’ve found pages downloading much faster than the results you found in your tests. Trouble is in my area (right around the Domain shopping area at Mopac and Duval) a strong 3G signal is hard to get. loaded on my 3G iphone in 10 seconds compared with 8 on wifi. ilounge took 38 seconds and 25 on wifi.

    I seem to live just on the edge of a 3g cell tower since most of the time I get 1 bar and from time to time it will show the ‘E’ and five bars. I live really close to the Domain and it is even weaker. I noticed last night the demo phones inside the store were all showing ‘E’ and when I checked the settings 3G wasn’t turned off. I would imagine that ATT will put a 3G antenna near the Domain soon, but it does suck now. That’s my only complaint so far about the phone and just like my chief complaint last year, it really is more of ATT’s problem.

    When I’m in 5 bar 3G areas everything is great. Since my iPhone is my only phone I was hoping the alleged better sound from 3G from my house would be better, but just as I’m typing this, the phone went to GSM/EDGE and its 5 bars. Thanks ATT! Don’t fill my area in dark blue on your map!

  20. Soo is the 3rd party charging thing something a software hack could fix???

    cause that’s a BIG problem for me, cause i have a dension dock in my car and having that being able to charge my ipod was a BIG selling point for me to get the 3G…

  21. Long, long wait here in Dallas at the Apple store, but good results on the upgrade (thankfully the Apple employees told business customers in line while waiting that they had to turn off the business discount to upgrade BEFORE we made it into the store, then turn it back on via AT&T after the phone was up and running – quite the ridiculous situation, I might add) and a quick activation with no removal of the clear plastic wrap. AT&T stores had low inventory and left people waiting in line knowing they did not have enough phones in some locations. Nice. Don’t get me started.

  22. My black iPhone 3g had absolutely no scratches on it. The AT&T employees didn’t leave off the protective plastic covering when touching the iPhone during the instore activation.It sounds like the iLounge reviewer got his iPhone activated by an incompetent employee.

  23. It feels like we may have lost track of the reasons for this, at least from what I thought. That was to ask questions.

    Jeremy, is the processing any faster? My current iPhone starts to lag when doing some tasks like typing, and now that I have software 2.0, it just seems slower.

    Also, does the 3G’s extra sensors have any proven purpose? Do the 3G’s accelerometers work any differently than the current ones?

  24. First don’t get me wrong I love Apple and the the technological advancements they bring to the market but…..

    Screen: I visited my local Apple store tonight and I didn’t notice any issue with the iPhone 3G screen. Maybe if I was comparing it to the iPhone maybe I would see a difference but I found the color, brightness and clarity excellent.

    Black vs White: The unit shown in the iLounge review was far worse then anything I saw on the demo units in the store. White on the other hand look dirty from so many people handling it over the last couple of days. For me I would choose black.

    Test Call: I made a call to my home answering machine and found the background noise to degrade the overall quality of the message I left. I eliminated phones with this level of quality when I was decided on my Verizon Razr.

    3G and Wi-Fi: The 3G service at the Apple Store appeared to be maxed out based on the number of bars. In addition I did some tests with the WiFi on. My impressions of the 3G to access the Internet was, this is suppose to be faster? How slow was it before? OMG!!! WiFi was much better but my impression when compared to using my iMac or even my BlackBerry Verizon 8703E was, it is usable if you needed Internet access but would I set there and productively use it, probably not. Instead I would wait until I could get to my iMac.

    What about MobileMe?? I see no one discussing MobileMe. I find accessing my e-mail directly from MobileMe’s site extremely slow compared to .Mac. I find the so called cloud which is suppose to keep my MobileMe and Mac mail in sync; eventually but don’t hold your breathe. The performance I’ve experienced over the initial days very disappointing.

    Could this release of iPhone3G and MobileMe be Apple’s worst offerings ever? Hopefully overtime, but not too much time, the shortcomings of both will be resolved and improved.

    For me I’ll keep ready the reviews and revisit my Apple store and discuss my concerns before I make any purchase. For at least the short term I’ll keep my Verizon Razr and 5G iPod.

  25. I do not know what kind of testing you are doing for the voice! But I called a bunch of friends who always complained about my call quality with my old iPhone and they said I sounded really loud and really clear. I did not tell them that I was on the iPhone either.

    The speaker is increased in volume as well! So Steve Jobs did not lie that the quality was increased. Remember ever call you make depends on your location and if you receive full reception.

  26. I too am an existing AT&T customer who stood in line at an Apple Store for 1 1/2 hours to purchase the 3G iPhone only to be told that I was not eligible for an upgrade and could not purchase the phone for the subsidized price! They even had two AT&T reps there that reaffirmed this decision. I left rather pissed off. I finally called AT&T myself and was told that AT&T had erred on my last purchase date and that I could go to an AT&T store, speak with a manager and could qualify to purchase the 3G at the advertised discount price! I’m in no rush to do so, but will wait until all the hoopla dies down.

  27. I can speak to the GPS and I have been an avid GPS user for many years. I’m here to tell you this GPS is not just good, it is excellent. It is sensative, fast, and accurate. Also, using my new iPhone 3G yesterday with Goodle maps was a pleasure. And by the way, the maps DO SCROLL with you movement. If you move the map manually it will stay locked. Just hit the locate button at the bottom left and it will start scrolling again. This really makes me wonder how much trust I can put in the rest of the comments here. Obviously this is less than scientific testing, and that’s ok. It is something..

    Anyway, the GPS along was a good enough reason to upgrade. I am less than pleased with 3G performance. My house is on the fringe and may get one bar in 3G. Phone is always switching between Edge and 3G while at home. That can’t be efficient. Seems 3G coverage in the Boulder Colorado area is just OK at this point. They certainly have a lot of towers remaining to upgrade/add 3G to.

    Should you upgrade, depends. If you have good 3G coverage, yes. If you want a great GPS, yes. Otherwise, I’d say no. Upgrade you software the existing phone. If you don’t have an iPhone at all you are missing out. The few things that bothered by will shortly be solved now that that App store is open. I’ll give it a couple months and then I’ll be one happy camper. BTW, I have many smart phones, Windows Mobile phones, and a recent blackberry. All are nothing compared to this phone, at least in how I like to use it. At least what is available works most of the time and I’ve never had to ‘reset’ my iPhone.

    In short, I love this phone!

  28. If you cross your eyes to fuse these photos, you can see them in 3D. That’s because the photos were taken with the iphones side to side.

  29. i have spent nearly 1000$ for various ipod and iphone accessoirs including speakers like bose sounddock portable, a harman kardon go&play and some ihome-radios.

    all worked fine with my my ipod touch and my 1st gen iphone, i haven’t had any serious issues with GSM-interference either. but what bothers me is that the new iphone 3g doesn’t seem to charge in various docks.

    could anyone test it with bose sounddock portable? as ilounge had written it doesn’t with the old sounddock.

  30. I purchased 2 iphones on friday, one white for my mom, and one black for myself. As such, I can definitely attest to the fact that the my black iphone is simply a smudge magnet. The white iphone also seems a bit smudge prone, but it doesn’t seem as noticeable on that one. Never the less, I’m still in love with the black model. It’s a beautiful piece of hardware, though i do find myself polishing it quite frequently.

    As for scratching, I have noticed just the slightest of very light hairline scratches on the back, which I would expect on any plastic device, though I suspect that overtime it could come to look quite shabby. Perhaps a latex cover for the back is in order.

    Beyond that, the phone has been a dream. I’ve put it through some heavy use, and so far it has exceeded my expectations. Granted, I’m transitioning from a Motorola Q, so most likely a cup and string would exceed my expectations. But as far as browsing the internet, the wifi is fantastic, the G3 reception in my location (south OC) has been great so far, and I really haven’t been in any areas that utilize EDGE (just fortunate I guess).

    I have noticed a few glitches here and there, most of them relating to poorly designed apps from the new app store. Though every once in a while I notice that the keyboard can become sluggish while texting. Yet if I exit to the main screen and then go back, the issue corrects itself. I suspect it’s a glitch with the new software, and I suspect it will be corrected in a subsequent update.

    All things considered, now that I have it, I’m completely infatuated with it. In fact I would go so far as to encourage haters to continue discouraging people from buying the phone, so that they don’t become commonplace, and I can continue to feel special for having one… But I suppose that’s not likely with a million units sold this weekend. Oh well…

  31. My new 3G drops every call I make. My OG phone only dropped when I had no service – in obvious bad spots like underground –

    Is this a 3g prob or something else>

  32. Well, things are looking good down in Metro Detroit. There are 2 Apple stores within 15 minutes of my house and 2 more within 45 minutes. We have also had really solid 3G coverage here for the past couple of years. I loved my first gen iPhone and I really love my white 3G iPhone.

  33. Yeah, I’m not getting iPhone 3G. I’m keeping my original iPhone until the 3rd generation iPhone comes out. There weren’t enough improvements in the 3G for me, and I held my iPhone up to an iPhone 3G and loaded the same webpage at the same time and it was exactly the same speed! Not worth 15$ more a month for me. I’ll wait a year or so to get the next iPhone.

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