The battery life on Apple's new 3G iPhone isn't great, but it beats that of other AT&T 3G smart phones we've seen. However in our tests, the iPhone 3G's performance fell short of that achieved by
PC World's Test Center ran the iPhone 3G through our standard talk-time battery life test, and found that on average it ran 5 hours, 38 minutes,
That's a big tumble from the superior performance of the original iPhone, which ran on AT&T's slower EDGE network and lasted the maximum 10 hours of our testing time. But the 3G iPhone, which uses AT&T's HSDPA/UMTS network where available,
Two of them, the BlackBerry Pearl 8130 and the BlackBerry 8830, edged out the iPhone by 4 minutes, with average talk times of 5 hours, 42 minutes each. But the BlackBerry Curve 8330
RIM has announced, but not yet released, the BlackBerry Bold--its first
Most other smartphones we've tested
Of other handsets that support AT&T's HSDPA/UMTS network, only the HTC Touch Dual came close, with an average talk time of 5 hours, 18 minutes. The AT&T Tilt pooped out at 4 hours, 47 minutes, trailed by the Pantech Duo at 4:46; the Motorola Q9 Global at 4:43; and the Palm Treo 750 at an abysmal 3:53. The iPhone 3G also beat out non-BlackBerry competitors on Sprint and Verizon's EvDO mobile broadband networks, including the Palm Centro (4:19) and the Samsung Instinct (5:33).
3G networks in general are notorious power drains, but the network type used by AT&T is particularly power-hungry because voice calls use the same mobile broadband network as data tasks. In contrast, the EvDO technology on which Sprint and Verizon base their 3G networks supports data only; voice uses older CDMA networks, which (in theory at least) use less power.
The good news for AT&T and other HSDPA/UMTS customers is that they can make voice calls while using their phones for data (that is, tasks such as
And the good news for 3G iPhone owners is that they're probably better off than most other AT&T 3G