iPhone 3G vs. 3G S: Our Unscientific Speed Tests Show a Clear Winner

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Apple claims the iPhone 3G S is much faster than the iPhone 3G, but is it? Keep reading for our impromptu, unscientific speed tests.

Upgrading

The iPhone 3G S may be a faster device, but the upgrade process is slow. Be prepared when you hook up the new iPhone (to the machine you previously synced your old phone with) to be asked to accept a new license agreement. You will then be asked to enter your Apple ID. Thus, you’ll need an active Internet connection. You’ll likely want to restore from your old iPhone backup and then you’ll have to wait…a very long time. My restore took about 40 minutes.

After the phone data is restored, iTunes will start restoring applications and other content you specify. Unlike previous restores, this one actually kept the icon positions on the iPhone (this may be a new 3.0 feature), but for some reason, it didn’t remember saved passwords for Wi-Fi networks.

One test I recommend running before going any further is a pixel test to confirm there are no stuck pixels on your new phone.

App Speeds

Now comes the fun part: app speed testing. I still had my old iPhone (now a glorified iPod touch!) so I could easily compare how my apps ran on the old phone with the new one. The iPhone 3G was already upgraded to 3.0 (which I recommend before switching to the 3G S), and they were both on the same network.

These are averages after three separate tests. Human error does slightly figure in, as I pressed the stopwatch on one iPhone while my assistant simultaneous pressed the icons on the new iPhone 3G S and the iPhone 3G.

  • Scrabble was one of the slowest apps for us. It loaded in 14.5 seconds on the 3G S and 21.4 on the 3G.
  • Next test was Rolando: 13.8 seconds on the 3G S and 21.5 on the 3G.
  • Trism 3.5 seconds on 3G S and 6.3 on 3G.
  • Calendar: 1.6 on 3G S and 2.1 on 3G.
  • Weather Underground on Safari: 5.9 and 9.6.
  • And finally TwitterFon: 1.6 on 3G S and 3.0 on 3G.

Overall impression after owing it for two hours: The iPhone 3G S is one-third to twice as fast in this blogger’s real-world test. Share your test results in the comments!

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