Voice Quality Battle: iPhone First Gen vs. iPhone 3G

Most of the early reviews of the iPhone 3G have cited vastly improved call quality, partly due to work Apple has done to the hardware and partly due to the inherent boost you get when you’re within 3G coverage. To put the iPhone 3G to the test, we tried a little experiment. Mind you, it’s not exactly scientific, but we think it will give you an idea of how much improved the iPhone 3G is over the first-gen iPhone. Download the MP3 files below and listen for yourself. For the first test, we made two calls indoors, one with the first-gen iPhone and the second with the iPhone 3G. We read the same paragraph from a New York Times movie review of the awful Love Guru and attempted to do so at the same volume in our voice. Both iPhones were set to max volume before placing the call. Have a listen at the first two tests and decide for yourself which sounds better. To me, the first-gen iPhone sounds ok, but I definitely noticed more fuzziness on the line. Some words are garbled. With the iPhone 3G, the call sounds much clearer and very few words are clipped. Listen to a recording of a call made from indoors with the first gen iPhone Listen to a recording of a call made from indoors with the iPhone 3G For our second test, we took both iPhones right outside our office in Times Square and read the same paragraph when leaving a voicemail message. Please forgive the geekiness of my voice. What’s most dramatic here is the difference in volume between the two calls. Again, I tried my best not to shout on either call, but the iPhone 3G call was much louder, maybe because the iPhone 3G does a better job of minimizing background noise. On the first-gen iPhone voicemail, my voice sounds faint and like it’s trying to compete with the sound of traffic in the background. Bottom line: you won’t need to shout when you’re on a call with the iPhone 3G to be heard. There’s one other point I wanted to make. During the outdoor test on the first-gen iPhone, I couldn’t even hear the voicemail beep on my end and didn’t know exactly when I could start leaving the message. On the iPhone 3G, the beep was perfectly audible. Stay tuned for a our full review, but for now I have full confidence in saying the iPhone 3G is a much better phone. Listen to a recording of a call made from the city street with the first gen iPhone Listen to a recording of a call made from the city street with the iPhone 3G

Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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  1. sudhakar Says:

    what is 1G AND 3G PHONES

  2. Neil Says:

    The voice quality is much improved, however, it is the sheer quality of the user interface that really stands out.
    I had a chance to try the Instinct first and can safely say that it doesn’t hold a candle the iPhone.
    You can of course plug in your favorite headphones and use the handset microphone to talk. This makes long conversations a breeze instead of a chore.

    But good grief, this is only v2.0. Apple hints that it’s just getting started with thing.

    Palm CEO Ed Colligan quoted in 2006: “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,’ he said. ‘PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

  3. vcu1990 Says:

    Hello! I just restored my iPhone 3G black 8GB running the 5A345 firmware to 5A347 and now it appears that the volume from the speakers are lower than before. Is anyone else experiencing this problem?

  4. Nick Says:


    Yeah…turn them back up.

    When you restore it the volume on everything goes back to 50%.

    I had the same exact problem.

  5. E Says:

    how do you turn the speakers back up? …I just got the iPhone 3G and the volume on phone calls is absolutely horrible! :(

  6. Susan Says:

    >} most dramatic here is the difference in volume between the two calls. Again

    I really detect VERY little difference.

    Without knowning ahead of time… I really couldn’t tell you which 1 was which.

  7. rankpay promo code Says:

    Google Voice is an absolute lifesaver. I can’t believe some of the features it offers, for example the ability to have an out of state area code. I’ve got some invites if anyone wants any. Also I hope that Apple rethinks the Google Voice app, hwo could such an amazing program get killed by Apple?

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