The Real Shocker: Impact of 3G on Talk Time

The impact of WCDMA vs. EDGE on talk time battery life is important, because while simply talking you get absolutely no benefit from faster download rates while power consumption increases. There is one side benefit from being on a 3G connection vs. EDGE - you can receive phone calls while maintaining a data transfer, which simply isn't possible on either of these two devices over EDGE.

The Samsung Blackjack, by default, will attempt to connect to a WCDMA network first.  If no UMTS networks are available, only then will it default to EDGE, and likewise if no EDGE networks are available then it will fall back to regular GSM.  You can change the behavior of the Blackjack, especially when it comes to how to prioritize the various networks, but ideally the user would never have to bother with any of that. 

The iPhone doesn't really have an option here, the voice connection took place over AT&T's EDGE network.  

The most shocking results come from the Blackjack and the impact of leaving 3G enabled on talk time: battery life is cut in half.  The 52% reduction in talk time takes the Blackjack from lasting almost 9 hours to slightly over 4 hours.  If the iPhone would be impacted similarly, a 3G version of the current phone would result in less than 3 hours of talk time. 

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  • James Fixen - Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - link

    Had a good laugh: a smart Dutch dude became so angry that his battery of his iPhone 3G drained, that he asked some manufacturers in Linkedin to built him a rechargable, strong but small battery without funny cases or cables. The product will be out in two weeks and gives, almost 70% more energy (1770 mAh) than earlier devices, f.e. Kensington or iSound (1000 mAh). Reply
  • coco - Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - link

    Sure the battery on iPhone 3G is not that great, but what can we do? We want small size phones, powerful features and lengthy battery life.

    Just get a backup battery. I got mine from iPhoneck brands. Their new 3G backup battery is probably one of the better looking products in the market. Their website is www.iphoneck.com

    Reply
  • abpages - Wednesday, May 28, 2008 - link

    Yep same here, i'm in Australia and would have bought an iPhone if it supported 3G. Such a shame. I ended up with a Samsung Blackjack and it's fantastic sofar.

    Ron Stark
    http://www.BrisbaneWebDesign.net.au">http://www.BrisbaneWebDesign.net.au
    Reply
  • edwinder - Sunday, July 22, 2007 - link

    Hi Anand,

    Stop defending the iPhone's lack of 3G. (You seem to keep justifying their lack of the 3G feature saying how they made a 'wise' choice). In other parts of the world, and its a very well known fact that 3G drains the battery tremendously. Yet every single phone has 3G and we work within their operating limits.

    From a technology/market demand/innovation perspective, adoption of new technologies will push the envelope that will benefit the end users (you and me). This pushes the manufacturer to keep innovating, unlike Apple, who decided to take one step back and provide less features and charge you a bomb for it, and you keep praising them.

    I'm disappointed.

    Edwinder

    Reply
  • peternelson - Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - link

    Despite the hype about the justification for using old wireless standards: ie physical space and power consumption aka battery life, I think there is another important factor they neglected to mention:

    Since 2G is less chips, less pcb assembly mounting and traces, and the chips themselves are simpler and more mature, THE OLD CHIPS MAKE IT CHEAPER TO MANUFACTURE THAN 3G.

    Simple as that. Reduced costs of production and parts make for bigger profits.

    That is the truthful reason, but they are not likely to admit that as a primary factor in the decision. It wouldn't be "cool" to tell people their equipment is outdated already.
    Reply
  • Squuiid - Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - link

    I have an AT&T 8525 and disable 3G on it.

    When using MS Push I get less than 10hrs on it with 3G, I'm in NYC with full signal all day.

    On GSM it lasts all day till I get to charge it at night. So even thought I have the 3G capability, it is unusable due to ridiculous power consumption.

    Reply
  • sprockkets - Saturday, July 14, 2007 - link

    Are you saying you can use edge to make voice conversations instead of GSM? I have never heard of that. So what about GPRS.

    The whole point of why you get less talk time over UMTS is because it is WCDMA and is inherit in the technology. Wikipedia it and see for yourself.

    While not real proof, if I use an edge connection for data, it sounds like a voice conversation over speakers. Sure you use edge for voice?
    Reply
  • drwho9437 - Saturday, July 14, 2007 - link

    It is not clear to me from your webpage results that the faster connection wasn't largely impacted by the fact that it simply rendered more pages. That is what is the cost of rendering the page, not just getting the data.

    The talk time stuff is interesting, looks like something you could fix up in firmware easily though.
    Reply
  • nvmarino - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    It would be helpful to know how long the battery lasted on both phones with the screen on but doing nothing.

    And what the hell did you guys talk about for 9 hours, anyway?
    "Can you hear me now?"

    "Good..."

    :)

    --Nino
    Reply
  • kennyb - Saturday, July 14, 2007 - link

    Excellent article. The first time i saw an iPhone i knew Apple wouldn't allow a user-replaceable battery. Why? It would ruin the iPhone's aesthetics. If you've ever bought a Mac before you'd understand. I expect Apple to incorporate a really slick mechanism to open the chassis without uglifying the iPhone sometime soon.


    Also, when i heard that 3G would not be supported, i immediately thought about [chip]space. Maybe EL Stevo mandated that the iPhone not exceed "X" mm thickness. Hey, it happened with the Powerbook G4.

    Yeah, i want one. Yeah, i don't need one.
    Reply

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