iPhone 3G vs Netbooks: Who's the mobile Internet daddy?

You want the Internet on the go, but you're not sure which device you'd rather have, an iPhone 3G or a netbook. Read our comparison to find out

If like us you need the Internet like you need air and sugary drinks, you'll be utterly thrilled by the advent of affordable and portable netbooks, such as the Asus Eee PC, and the new and improved iPhone. But you've only got so many pockets, and smashing the piggy bank only goes so far, so what if you could only pick one mobile Web device?

We've lined up the iPhone 3G against mini laptops in an effort to find out if you're better off being a netbook ninja or an iPhone 3G thrasher. It won't be a pretty fight, but we hope at the end of it that we're closer to figuring out which we value most.

iPhone 3G
The most apparent advantage of the iPhone 3G against any netbook is its size. You'll barely notice the iPhone 3G when it's nestled in your pocket, whereas a netbook won't even fit in your trousers unless you're MC Hammer.

But a smaller size means a smaller screen -- just 3.5 inches across -- and while browsing the Internet on the iPhone 3G's screen is very good, it's not exactly the same as having a 8.9-inch or 10-inch display in front of you, to show off Web sites in all their glory.

The other obvious disadvantage of the iPhone 3G's design is the lack of a mechanical keyboard. Admittedly, some netbooks' keyboards aren't very good, but we'd sooner type out a long email on an MSI Wind, for example, than on the iPhone.

What the iPhone 3G has that a netbook doesn't, of course, is a phone for actually talking to people -- maybe if IM is down, we don't know -- and there's built-in Wi-Fi and 3G too, which means you can browse the Web or send emails almost everywhere you go. You also get GPS, which helps if you get lost.

Battery life on the iPhone 3G isn't too bad either and while it's difficult to compare it with a netbook's battery life because of the different features involved, we think that the iPhone's battery copes better overall than most netbooks.

What'll it set me back, guv?
The lowest price you can expect to pay for all this Apple-induced mobile goodness stands at £99 for an 8GB iPhone 3G on a £30 per month contract for 18 months. By the end of your contract, you'll have paid £639 in total and in return get 75 minutes of calls every month, 125 texts and unlimited Web browsing via 3G and Cloud Wi-Fi hot spots.

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