Apple's new battery ratings for the iPhone certainly look impressive, but is 8 hours of talk time really top of the line as cell phones go? In a press release announcing the new figures, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that "the iPhone's battery life is longer than any other smart phone and even longer than most MP3 players." That's a broad claim, particularly since that 8 hours is just a promise. In our experience, the rated battery life of a device and the actual battery life can vary, something that Apple acknowledges in the fine print. And remember that battery life will depend on usage patterns and the network configuration.
I don't know enough about portable music to challenge Jobs' promise that the iPhone will surpass the power of most MP3 players, but I can say that he's speaking a little too soon on the other matter. Yes, the iPhone has a longer-rated talk time than many other smart phones, but in our CNET lab tests, we've had quite a few devices give us that much juice or more. The Cingular 8525, the I-mate Jaq, and the Nokia N95, E61 and E62 each had 8 hours of talk time; the RIM Blackberry Curve and Sony Ericsson P990i went for 8.5 hours; the T-Mobile Wing offered 9 hours; and the Nokia N73 lasted 9.5 hours. A few devices went for even longer, but they're more than a year old, so I'll leave them out of this comparison. For a full list of battery life results, check out our battery life charts.
Again, those battery life promises sound great, but we'll have to save our final verdict until we test it for ourselves.