Consumer Reports: iPhone bests Pre, BlackBerry

Apple's iPhone 3GS beats out the Palm Pre and several BlackBerry models in Consumer Reports' testing, taking the top spot in its 2009 smartphone list.

Jim Dalrymple Special to CNET News
Jim Dalrymple has followed Apple and the Mac industry for the last 15 years, first as part of MacCentral and then in various positions at Macworld. Jim also writes about the professional audio market, examining the best ways to record music using a Macintosh. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. He currently runs The Loop.
Jim Dalrymple

Apple's recently released iPhone 3GS pulled out a victory in Consumer Reports' latest smartphone showdown.


In handing the iPhone the top spot in this year's smartphone list, Consumer Reports on Wednesday praised the iPhone 3GS for its "superior display, reinforced by top-notch multimedia, navigation, Web browsing, and battery life." However, the iPhone didn't win in all of the categories.

Consumer Reports gave high marks to the Palm Pre and BlackBerry for their messaging functionality. The organization also praised the Pre as a "superior multitasker" for its "deck-of-cards handling of multiple applications."

In light of the changing features and needs of the smartphone category, Consumer Reports changed some of the criteria for this year's showdown. The changes helped some older phones--like the iPhone 3G--move up in the rankings, while other phones--like the Samsung Blackjack II and BlackBerry Pearl Flip--dropped due to the changes.

Changes include putting more emphasis on things like the display, navigation, multimedia, and messaging, while putting less of an emphasis on features such as talk time and voice quality.

It's unclear how the iPhone 3GS would have rated, had MMS messaging been available from AT&T at the time of the tests. AT&T said functionality would be available sometime this summer.

The full report is available to Consumer Reports subscribers.