iPhone 3GS Tops Consumer Reports Ranking, with Palm Pre Close Behind

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2009-07-02 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Apple iPhone 3GS asserted itself to the top of Consumer Reports' newest smartphone rankings, though the Palm Pre was close behind. The new capabilities and form factors of smartphones this year forced the advice-giver to reconsider its testing model.

The Apple iPhone 3GS topped Consumer Reports' newest smartphone ratings, according to the blog of the no-nonsense magazine that Americans have trusted for its unbiased reviews since 1936.   
 
The iPhone 3GS was not, however, a runaway winner, with the keyboard-boasting Palm Pre following close on its heels.
 
"The phones vary significantly in how they achieve their high scores," wrote Paul Reynolds on the blog. "The iPhone 3GS edged out high-scoring competitors such as the Palm Pre and BlackBerry Storm thanks to a superior display, reinforced by top-notch multimedia, navigation, Web browsing and battery life."
 
However, he continued, "The Pre, the Storm and other BlackBerry models bested the iPhone in messaging, and the Pre, with its new deck-of-cards handling of multiple applications, is a superior multi-tasker."
 
Testing smartphones this year caused Consumer Reports to rethink its measures, Reynolds explained. To better emphasize the differences he detailed above, he said Consumer Reports has added more attributes to its ratings system. Additionally, it put more emphasis on display, ease of navigation, and multimedia and messaging capabilities, and reduced the ratings weight of talk time and voice quality.
 
"The iPhone 3G and some other older phones have moved up due to these changes," wrote Reynolds, "while others, including the Samsung Blackjack II and BlackBerry Pearl Flip, have dropped in their ranking."
 
Consumer Reports has also stopped testing smartphones for "sensitivity," deciding that the real-life reception experience of each phone can no longer be accurately re-created.
 
The editors are keeping it in mind, though, as well as how to more thoroughly evaluate phone speed, versatility, operating systems and third-party applications. Reynolds explained that "smartphones are among the most complex products we test," and he encouraged readers to offer their feedback.
 
Regarding the winner, the iPhone 3GS, in a "video shootout" the editors commend its speed-both on the Web and in apps-as well as its voice control features, the Spotlight search, improved camera and updated software, which finally makes cut and paste possible, among other features.
 
The Palm Pre was called "a true multi-tasker," and its touch-screen was described as "one of the best we've ever seen." Plus, Sprint's service offering for the Pre, compared with AT&T's for the iPhone 3GS, was said to make the Pre the easier of the two on consumers' wallets.
 
Consumer Reports Rankings are available on its Website to subscribers. The iPhone recently also topped a smartphone satisfaction study by J.D. Power and Associates.



 
 
 
 
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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