Is 3G all that it is cracked up to be?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Fuzzy Orange, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. Fuzzy Orange macrumors 6502

    Fuzzy Orange

    Jul 29, 2006
    I've been reading some posts in the last few days that really slam the EDGE network, saying that 3G is very much better. I live in Las Vegas, a major city, so I'm almost positive that there is 3G coverage here. But anyways, the uninclusion of 3G has me wondering about the purchase of my iPhone. A somewhat big part of the reason I want an iPhone is that it has the full web browser; not the ones found in a BlackBerry or Blackjack. But if the iPhone goes horribly slow, is their really a point? Does EDGE really work fine, and internet speeds are okay on it (maybe around dial-up speed)? Or is 3G the savior of phones everywhere?
  2. TheBigLebowski macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2007
    Washington, DC
    Is 3G all that it is cracked up to be?

    As someone who's had both EDGE and 3G phones, I can say emphatically that "YES! It is worth it", if for nothing else the fact that a 3G phone can handle simultaneous voice & data (which EDGE can't). The speed difference is substantial, as well.
  3. CEAbiscuit macrumors 6502a


    Jun 28, 2006
    The Kitchen
    There is actually no comparison. 3G is quick-ety quick compared to EDGE. Plenty of info out there to back it up... as for being a savior... I hope there will be better options than both in the not so near future.
  4. swither macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2007
    Here in sweden the 3g network supports up to 3,6 mbit/s which is a lot faster than any speed edge can reach. A lot of people here uses 3g phones because of the high speeds and the video call support.

  5. diabolic macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    While 3G is faster, I personally wouldn't let the iPhone EDGE be a dealbreaker.

    As far as interface and ease of use, you'll love Safari on the iPhone.
  6. kbonnel macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2004
    In a nice place..
    In some cases YES, 3G is worth it. In others, NO. As mentioned before, you can do both voice and data at the same time. In some situations this is cool. (like IMing while talking to a friend, but not an issue with the iPhone). The best part of 3G is when you can use your phone as a modem for you computer. I get fantastic speeds here in Italy.

    So, for the iPhone, EDGE is perfect for now. The safari browser on the iPhone is perfect for doing quick things, not for spending all day on it, IMHO.

  7. pr5owner macrumors 65816

    Jun 10, 2007
    umm 3.6mbit vs 250kbit? you tell me theres no noticeable diffrence after you've used 3.5G on a REAL network with a real phone.
  8. aricher macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2004
    I got my iPhone on Friday. EDGE is sllloooowww but not a deal breaker. Just about everywhere I've been here in Chicago has had a free or unprotected wifi connection and the wifi flys. When I have had to resort to EDGE patience is the key - having the full web browser is amazing - example - I was golfing yesterday and at the end of the game my wife wanted to hit a golf store to pick up some stuff. I called up the browser (on EDGE) Gooogled "golf stores chicago" got a list - sent a close location to google maps and had driving directions ready to go. Sure, the process was a tad slow but much faster than having to hunt down a phone book or "real" computer with a net connection to search for stores, print directions, etc. This was one of 4 time I performed searches/driving directions in just one day.

    Take it for what it's worth, EDGE is slow but it's the only game for iPhone right now. This is the best phone/device I have ever purchased - worth every cent
  9. siurpeeman macrumors 603


    Dec 2, 2006
    the OC
    what does uninclusion inclusion mean? :confused:
  10. appleii2mac macrumors regular

    May 23, 2007
    As a user of 3G (VZW EVDO), I have to say that 3G is not really that much faster than EDGE as the difference in speeds would have you believe. The main reason for this is the high latency on both systems. You will see a true difference relative to "speeds" if you transfer a single large file. But for web browsing, the difference is less noticeable (but still there).
  11. Zadillo macrumors 65832

    Jan 29, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    3G is nice, and I think when Apple figures out how to add it in without being a major battery drain (i.e. so the iPhone isn't like the Samsung Blackjack), it will be a nice addition.

    But from my time using an iPhone so far (I haven't bought one, just tested a few out with EDGE at the Apple Store and the AT&T Store), I would gladly take the iPhone + EDGE over a Blackjack, Cingular 8525 or Treo 750w with 3G any day.

    My current phone is a Treo 650 (EDGE), but I had been looking at various 3G smartphones because I liked the idea of a much faster smartphone. Browsing the web with my Treo 650 is painful; it takes forever, and once a site does load up, its terrible to navigate through. I've gotten to the point where I only load up WAP versions of sites now.

    Now, you'd think that a Treo 750w or Cingular 8525 or Blackjack (all with Windows Mobile, all with the mobile version of IE) would be much better, since they have Mobile IE and 3G.

    And I will admit; compared to the iPhone, an intensive site like does load up quicker on these devices.

    However, once the site loads up, navigating through a complex web site on mobile IE is a huge pain; the rendering is ugly, navigating through the site is difficult, you can't really quickly get to specific parts of a page.

    So yes, the iPhone is slower with EDGE; but first, it seems like the iPhone does a great job of loading up text on a page while the rest of the page elements, etc. load up (something my Treo 650 doesn't do well), so it is possible to start reading and browsing fairly quickly while you wait for the graphics to load up, etc.

    But once the site is loaded, navigating through it is a pleasure......... the time I "lost" waiting for it to load up over EDGE is easily made up over the ease of actually navigating through a site and reading it.

    So yes, an iPhone with 3G would be quite good, and when it comes out it will be very nice. But as it is, right now, I would take the iPhone with EDGE over any smartphone with 3G any day of the week.

  12. appleii2mac macrumors regular

    May 23, 2007
    Safari vs. PIE vs. Opera

    Just for comparison, I tried loading on my iPhone with Safari, and then did the same on my VZW EVDO (3G) Windows Mobile Pocket PC phone. Here are the load times:

    Safari: 1 minute 26 seconds (on Edge)
    Pocket IE (PIE): 50 seconds (on EVDO)
    Opera : 57 seconds (on EVDO)
  13. Zadillo macrumors 65832

    Jan 29, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    Sounds about right (I've actually seem somewhat faster load times on the AT&T 3G phones like the Treo 750w and Cingular 8525 at the AT&T store...... I think under 30 seconds).

    Can I ask you, what do you think about navigating a site like through Pocket IE, or even Opera?

    I posted my own thoughts, but that's based on just trying it out in a store. I'm curious to hear your thoughts (i.e. if I'm totally off base in thinking that navigating a site like that is a much better experience on the iPhone, even with the slower initial load times, or if you do get used to navigating a site through Pocket IE, etc.).

    I'm thinking I could be offbase (given that I've only used Safari on the iPhone and Pocket IE in stores)...... my only personal experience is with Blazer on the Palm OS Treo 650.
  14. mattster16 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2004
    From someone who has never owned a smartphone (until the iPhone) I'm not that dissapointed in the EDGE speeds. In actuality I have hardly had to use it, there is almost always a Wi-Fi network everywhere I go that I can connect to. I turned off Wi-Fi for a bit just to see how the speeds would be. I read on the New York Times review (which really bashes the iPod heavily) that it took 2 minutes to load Yahoo but it only took about 45 seconds for me. Plus you can start looking around the page before everything loads anyways.

    I see myself always using Wi-Fi unless I'm on the go and need directions or to check my work email. For those purposed EDGE is just fine, waiting a couple minutes for something to load is better than not having the information at all.
  15. appleii2mac macrumors regular

    May 23, 2007
    It really depends on the site. CNN wasn't too bad because both browsers formated it as one long column. But you end up having to scroll down the entire website to get to things at the bottom, which is kind of time consuming.

    Other sites ( spring to mind) are absolutely horrible in PIE (just started using opera recently). They essentially don't correct the size of the page, so you end up having to scroll vertically as well as horizontally.

    With safari, the webpage loads really small at first (zoomed out), but zooming in and navigating is a real breeze. Sites with lots of links on them can be tricky though (like a personalized google homepage) because you have to be careful not to click on any links by mistake.

    I'm not surprised that the AT&T 3G phones are significantly faster than my EVDO phone. AT&T's implementation of 3G (HSDPA) is significantly faster than the current release of VZW's EVDO (Rev. 0 I believe).

    It should be noted that my WM phone is running WM 2003 SE. Browsing experience may be different on WM5 or WM6 devices.
  16. Zadillo macrumors 65832

    Jan 29, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    Sounds about the same with Windows Mobile 5.... I don't think MS has made any significant changes to Pocket IE in a while.

    Yeah, Pocket IE and Blazer for Palm OS both handle a site like the same way; turn it into one big long column. This is sort of what I meant when I said that I would take the longer loading times of EDGE with the iPhone over 3G and Pocket IE, because the time it takes to navigate some of these sites ends up removing the advantages of the speed loading.

    I suspect EVDO Rev A would be faster then (I just read that Verizon updated to EVDO Rev A across their entire network).

    About links..... when I was playing around with the iPhone, I noticed that it seemed to work fairly well to "pinch" to zoom in closer to a set of links to make it easier to hit on the one I wanted.

  17. appleii2mac macrumors regular

    May 23, 2007
    Yes, but you will still need to get a new Rev. A phone to get the faster speeds on VZW. I'm not even sure if they've released any yet. Plus you're stuck with whatever phone they decide you should be allowed to use. That's actually one of the main reasons I've been looking to get away from VZW.

    As for the links, I think the problem is on my end. If I push the screen and hold it, it doesn't follow the links. It's when I touch the screen with a link there and remove it that it accidentally (from my perspective) follows the link.
  18. noquarter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    The EDGE network is over-subscribed and as soon as each node hits its EDGE capacity, it steps down any additional connections to its default GPRS network. If you do stay on EDGE for your entire session, you're lucky if you end up with 50-75k.

    Doing any kind of sustained web browsing is like watching grass grow, and even email can be spotty and inconsistent.

    I just don't understand all the hype around this phone when it has to rely on a service that is so poor.
  19. FeralCat macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2003
    Maybe because:

    1) it's an Apple product, which means that it will be well designed in terms of both hardware and software
    2) it's got a real web browser on it, rather than a POS portable version of one

    3) no one expects to use EDGE for much when you will get better throughput with wi-fi anyway.

    At any rate, it's a great phone for me and my needs and a great first smartphone. I'm very happy with mine, and I can only assume it will get better over time.
  20. appleii2mac macrumors regular

    May 23, 2007
    I was actually planning on waiting until the 3G version came out after doing some research on AT&T/Cingular. But a few days ago I heard they had done some upgrades on their network that significantly boosted throughput in many markets (although I saw someone from AT&T deny this on Bloomberg). This made me decide to take a chance and give it a whirl. So far, it has been quite reasonable. Would I like it to be faster? Absolutely. Is it usable? Definitely. Will I get the 3G version when it comes about? Positively.
  21. noquarter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    What makes you think they're going to come out with a 3G version? From what I've read, they could have easily made it 3G capable but chose not to as part of their deal with AT&T. Read this:
  22. appleii2mac macrumors regular

    May 23, 2007
    "The iphone could easily have been made to work with 3G"? Yes, in theory. But the battery life would have been much worse, it might have generated a lot more heat, and it would have been larger. Besides, large parts of the US aren't covered by 3G.

    It was an engineering decision to go with Edge. Engineering and design is always an exercise in compromise.
  23. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    Apple may have shot itself in the foot in this regard. While the US may not have great 3G coverage, Europe is predominately 3G based. I know the UK has 90%+ 3G coverage and the rest of Europe seems to be in the same situation. I will be interested to see how the iPhone release pans out in Europe as a 2 year contract is almost unheard of over here.
  24. appleii2mac macrumors regular

    May 23, 2007
    Maybe they will have a 3G version (perhaps with less battery life) available for their European launch.

    It would seem foolish to not launch with 3G in europe.
  25. clayfu macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2007
    you guys should try opera mini on your WM5/6 devices, works just the same as safari except you can download files.

    Exact webpages come up and you can zoom in and zoom out.

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