Comparing the iPhone 3G's battery life

The iPhone 3G's rated battery life fares well against comparable cell phones.

iPhone 3G Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks

There's been some grumbling on the blogsphere about the iPhone's 3G's battery life, which Apple rates at five hours of 3G talk time. Indeed, five hours wouldn't get the most ardent road warrior through the day, but is five hours really that poor? Sure, it is quite low when compared with the iPhone's promised EDGE talk time of 10 hours, but when stacked up against other 3G handsets the iPhone holds its own. Below you'll find a selection of current 3G cell phones and smartphones and their tested talk time (in hours) from CNET Labs. Though not all the handsets listed here are direct iPhone 3G competitors, only the Nokia N78 beats Apple's device on the GSM side. Also, while 3G CDMA phones aren't exactly comparable, we've provided a few as a reference point.

Of course, as we say in our iPhone 3G review, real world use (where you're using several functions at once) will be a better barometer of the iPhone 3G's endurance. And in that regard the iPhone 3G's battery is draining quicker than we'd like.

3G talk time (in hours) of GSM phones
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Talk time (in hours) of 3G CDMA phones
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

About the author

Kent German leads CNET's How To coverage and is the senior managing editor of CNET Magazine. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he started in San Francisco and is now based in the London office. When not at work, he's planning his next trip to Australia, going for a run, or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).


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