Almost 2 years ago I did this comparison for the iPhone 3G. As the 3GS was similar to the 3G and it’s a time consuming pain in the ass to do this test, I decided to skip it last year. To make up for my break, I tried to make this test a bigger pain by taking readings every 5 minutes. The extra work paid off, the iPhone 4 charging chart is much smoother and accurate!
- Started with completely dead iPhone.
- Wall outlet charged on standard US 120 Volt / 60 Hz using Apple include plug adapter and USB cable
- USB charged on late 2008 13″ aluminum MacBook.
- iPhone was checked quickly (1-2 seconds of screen time) every 5 minutes for it’s current charge. This was done for both test so even if it had a minimal impact on charge time, the comparison would still be equal.
- iPhone screen was kept at very dim level to lessen the impact of checking charge.
- WI-FI was kept off.
- iPhone 4 was active on AT&T 3G during charge. I had some activity on the phone while charging, but it was very minimal and should not impact the results.
- During outlet test I received 2 text, a phone call (canceled call), and 1 voice-mail from the canceled call.
- During USB test I received 1 text.
Stating the obvious, the iPhone 4 takes longer to get a full charge on USB than an outlet. What you may not have realized is how big the difference was, an extra 30 minutes! That’s 23% longer to get a full charge on the USB. If you’ve ever had a completely drained iPhone, you know it takes a bit of time before it turns back on. Plugged into an outlet, it took 3 minutes 11 seconds to come back to life. On USB it took almost 2 minutes longer, 4 minutes 49 seconds.
Obviously the convenience of USB charging is great, but if you’re in a rush to get charged and get out of the house, always go for the outlet.
Compared to the 3G
The 3G took 90 minutes for a full charge on outlet, about 31% faster than a full charge for the iPhone 4′s 130 minutes. On USB the 3G took 140 minutes, about 13% faster than the iPhone 4′s 160 minutes. Keep in mind that the iPhone 4 has about a 20% larger battery, so it makes complete sense that it takes longer to charge.
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