Understanding the iPhone 3GSby Anand Lal Shimpi on July 7, 2009 12:00 AM EST
The Rest of the Time: Improved Battery Life
The new iPhone 3GS didn't last as long as its predecessor when gaming, but in every other area the new phone either lasts longer than the old one or remains unchanged. Moore's Law rocks.
|Apple iPhone 3G||Apple iPhone 3GS|
|WiFi Web Browsing||6.67 hours||8.83 hours|
|3G Web Browsing||4.5 hours||4.82 hours|
|H.264 Video Playback||~ 4 - 5 hours||~ 9 - 10 hours|
The important take away here is that there’s no real performance improvement when working over 3G - which is the majority of the time. The old iPhone had much better battery life because of the lower power operation on Edge networks, so if you’re migrating from an original iPhone to the 3GS expect to notice a significant reduction in web browsing and talk time on the 3G network. Apple continues to refuse to put in the effort required to automatically sense and switch between Edge/3G networks depending on need, or at minimum offer a faster way of disabling 3G in order to preserve battery life. Currently it’s a lengthy process (for an iPhone) to disable/enable 3G:
If you spend a lot of your time on WiFi however, the 3GS lasts significantly longer than the iPhone 3G. Apple’s estimate of nearly 9 hours is very accurate.
Video playback is also quite impressive. If you can deal with watching a small screen for that long you can easily make it through a few feature length transcoded movies while you fly across the globe.