Website load times: iPhone 3G S vs. iPhone 3G


Even though the iPhone 3G S isn't the major upgrade many were hoping for and most of its new features should have been included on the original iPhone two years ago, I was still happy when FedEx knocked on my door yesterday with my iPhone 3G successor in hand.

The improvement I was most looking forward to experiencing myself was the new handset's 600MHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, a significant upgrade from the 412MHz underclocked ARM11 CPU used in previous generations. There are many ways to measure a processor's performance, some much more scientific than others, but website load times are what I personally find most useful and easiest to understand. For my mobile internet needs, I prioritize faster over fuller so the lack of Flash support and other Web 2.0 requirements are a non-issue for me.

I've done website load time comparisons on multiple gadgets many times before (see "Related entries" below for relevant links), so the list of chosen websites and my testing parameters/disclaimer are the same as always:

  • This was not a scientific study or professional lab test.
  • Each browser's cache was cleared before each set of tests.
  • Load times were measured from the same location (about 12 feet from a 802.11g wireless router) in Honolulu in a one-hour period from the click of the "Go" button to the complete page load according to the browser's progress bar.
  • The same SIM card was used in both iPhones.
  • Wi-Fi and 3G network signal strengths were at their max and consistent throughout the testing period.
  • Load times vary by location, time of day, ad servers, content, etc., so your results may not be identical to mine.
iPhone 3G S
(iPhone OS 3.0)
iPhone 3G
(iPhone OS 3.0)
Amazon8 secs10 secs18 secs23 secs
CNET11 secs14 secs34 secs40 secs
Digg14 secs19 secs33 secs39 secs
Engadget14 secs21 secs29 secs37 secs
Google News6 secs8 secs12 secs16 secs
Micro PC Talk10 secs14 secs15 secs22 secs
MySpace13 secs15 secs19 secs27 secs
NY Times
20 secs23 secs39 secs46 secs
11 secs17 secs20 secs26 secs
9 secs12 secs19 secs22 secs

It's been clear since I compared load times on the Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet (links below) that the Cortex A8 was closing the gap between ARM and x86 processors, and I think the iPhone 3G S's results solidify the CPU's ability to truly compete in the Intel MID space.

I've never agreed with those who considered the first two generations of the iPhone and iPod touch to be MIDs, not just because I was remaining faithful to Intel's definition but also because the internet experience provided by those devices was just too slow. Though an Intel MID still provides a more complete/full experience, I won't have to bite my tongue when someone uses the term to describe the iPhone 3G S . . . a true voice-enabled MID.

Related entries:

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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