Here Come the Tests: iPad 3G Speed, Battery Life, GPS
Reviewers spent the weekend putting the new iPad Wi-Fi + 3G through its paces, with expected emphasis on the speed of the cellular data network. And while results so far have all been what you would expect - 3G throughput on an iPad is about the same as 3G throughput on an iPhone - most users seem to be reacting to the gulf between the speed of the iPad's CPU and the relative crawly-ness of a meg up and 100-200 kbps down. Somewhat more unexpected is the iPad's improved GPS reception and battery life.
Gizmodo got out first with detailed results
comparing the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G with an iPhone 3GS, an iPad with WiFi, and the same iPad attached to Verizon's MiFi 3G "mobile hotspot."
The iPad kept up with the iPhone 3GS, even beating it in some tests, and interestingly enough met or beat Verizon's 3G speeds. This is a pretty bad sign for Verizon's effort to lure iPad customers to their solution: even though the MiFi does offer the ability to share bandwidth with up to five devices - something tethering cannot do - the throughput is the same or worse while the monthly costs are much higher. Verizon insists on a two-year contract paying $60 a month with a 5GB monthly cap, while AT&T's unlimited deal is only $29.99 a month and you can cancel at any time. The iLounge testers found that it only took them a few hours of browsing around and playing with Maps to blow through 30MB of data, making any
capped plan - be it AT&T's 250MB $15 plan or Verizon's 5GB for $60 - probably not worth it.
found that GPS accuracy was much greater than the iPhone 3GS, though Gizmodo in particular complained about how long it took the iPad to achieve GPS lock. Once synced up, though, the iPad's GPS was both more precise and faster to update than the iPhone. The improved results are likely due to the higher performance Broadcom BCM4750UBG assisted-GPS chipset in the iPad WiFi + 3G, compared to the Infineon Hammerhead II used on the iPhone 3G and 3GS (the iPad WiFi has no GPS). Differences in the way the two chipsets implement MS-Assisted mode to establish location
may account for the longer Time To First Fix (TTFF) on the iPad's Broadcom GPS.
Most reviewers found that battery life compared well to Apple's 9-hour brag: FOXNEWS's Clayton Morris
got just under 10 hours with "heavy Internet use and video streaming," while iLounge
was able to go 8:38 between charges. For road warriors looking to use broadband on the go, this is good information, though one hopes that the big, crystal-clear screen doesn't distract from driving.
image via Gizmodo