iPhone 3G vs T-Mobile G1: Hardware Shootout!

If you didn’t know, Google and T-Mobile held a small event that introduced the world to Android and the first Android device, the T-Mobile G1. And though Android impressed many (TiPb included), a lot of people scratched their heads when it came to the T-Mobile G1. Sure it packed a lot of features, controls, layouts, etc in one device but looks-wise it just didn’t blow anybody away. Is this really the device that Google is going to use to introduce the world to Android?

So we decided to take a closer look at the hardware and see how it compares to the iPhone 3G!

Read on to see how the iPhone 3G compares to the T-Mobile G1 Here's a disclaimer: We know that the iPhone is the iPhone is the iPhone while Android can pretty much be anything anybody wants it to be. Apple and Google employ different strategies, different ideals, and different means but the goal is the same—to take as much of the cell phone market as they possibly can. We’re not going to delve into the differences because honestly, it’s too many to list.

Google is a company that (almost) receives as much attention as Apple so when they release a cell phone platform, we’re going to pay attention. Though some may argue that Android is trying to replace Windows Mobile more so than go after the iPhone, like it or not, the iPhone and the T-Mobile G1 are two devices going after the same consumer market. So let’s see how they compare, hardware wise, yeah?


Probably the biggest disappointment of all is the styling of the device. Though it looked considerably better than the leaked photos, the T-Mobile G1 still lacks a certain swagger to it. It seems like it’s so confused on what to be that it just comes off as plain. Not even to imagine the Jay Leno sized chin, in product shots the thing is ginormous. The device does seem to have an endearing quality to it, perhaps it’s the usage of very-approachable colors—you won’t find a glossy black or white here.

But overall, it’s sad that the design couldn’t be more revolutionary than evolutionary considering HTC doesn’t typically make bad looking devices (look at the Touch series). I think it can be said with fair certainty that the T-Mobile G1 will never win any design awards and will NEVER be mistaken as an iPhone.

Edge: iPhone, Comparing the styling of the iPhone to the T-Mobile G1 is really no contest and probably offends the heck out of Jonathan Ive.

Input Method

Plainness aside, the T-Mobile G1 is the perfect device to launch Android with. Why? Because it includes all the popular input methods: touch-screen, keyboard, and even a trackball. Developers are able to create versatile apps that will extend past the T-Mobile G1 because of all the input methods available.

But by including so many input methods, the T-Mobile G1 risks confusing the user experience. Would anyone ever actively use a trackball over a touchscreen? Is a keyboard that might not even be good (there have been complaints of it being too flat) worth the added thickness? And above all, having a touchscreen is fine and dandy with TiPb but where’s the multi-touch? Most other touchscreen devices are less sensitive and less responsive than the iPhone 3G and without multi-touch it can’t even be considered in the same league. Maybe the T-Mobile G1 will be better in that regard.

Edge: T-Mobile G1, I think people who can effectively use the iPhone’s keyboard won’t look twice at the added input methods of the T-Mobile G1 (I know I won’t). But it’d be careless to not admit that the T-Mobile G1 beats the iPhone in offering options. I mean, even Blackberry users can get in on the fun with the (out-dated) trackball.


Size and shape wise, the T-Mobile G1 does a great job in creating a easy-to-hold, good-in-hand feel. It’s a wee bit taller than the iPhone (4.6 inches vs 4.5) and noticeably thicker (.62 vs .48), but it does deserve credit for being narrower (2.16 vs2.4). The screen is a nick smaller at 3.17 inches vs the iPhone’s 3.5 inches but I can’t imagine people complaining about that difference. In all, dimensions wise the T-Mobile G1 is commendable, it’s pretty amazing how it can offer so many input methods in such a tight package.

But come on, really? To compete with the iPhone you have to package a more amazing product in stunning dimensions. The T-Mobile G1 doesn't do that. Instead it loses here, loses there, and pretty much loses everywhere when compared to the pure dimensions. Some may still complain that the iPhone 3G still doesn't "feel" like a phone but you'd be hard pressed to find a better package than the iPhone.

Edge: iPhone, Though the T-Mobile G1 surprised many with a solid build quality, it doesn’t approach the iPhone 3G (and original iPhone!) in terms of feeling great in the hand.

Storage, Headphone jack, Camera, Battery, Misc

Some people like expandable memory via MicroSD cards and sure it offers a lot of options for the future, but honestly, I would rather take the 8/16 GB out the box than the 1GB—its just easier that way. When bigger MicroSD cards become affordable we’ll probably be on 32GB iPhones and maybe even a G2.

Even worse than a recessed headphone jack is using a proprietary ExtUSB port. Seeing how much flack that the original iPhone got for not including a 3.5mm headphone jack it is simply jaw-dropping that the T-Mobile G1 would include something even worse. Yeah, we know HTC typically uses this style of port but come on, we’re really going to get excited to listen to our DRM-free music through this thing?

One thing the T-Mobile G1 has going for it is opting for a 3 megapixel camera that can auto-focus at close distance over the iPhone’s 2 megapixel fixed camera. Also, the T-Mobile G1 includes a removable battery while claiming to offer the same talk time (5 hours) as the iPhone 3G. A big plus for power users. Oh, and don’t forget that the T-Mobile G1 has a built-in compass that adds a ridiculous amount of slickness when using Google Maps Street View.

What they both have: Wi-Fi, 3G, EDGE, GPS, Accelerometer

What they both lack: stereo Bluetooth, video recording

Edge: Tie, In our book, Built In Storage + 3.5mm headphone jack = Better Camera + Removable Battery + Compass

Final Thoughts

Don't worry, the king is still the king and the world can continue on spinning. The iPhone 3G still takes the cake in this hardware shoot out. Yeah, who would have thought we would do that huh?

Though a lot of the features are similar, the things that the iPhone are better at are simply best-in-class while the T-Mobile G1’s offering were simply par for the course. Put it this way, the iPhone is a knockout punch while the T-Mobile G1 is just a light jab. The iPhone was made to stun and revolutionize the industry while the T-Mobile G1’s main purpose is to get the market ready for the Android onslaught. They're both successful at what they aim to do.

Even though we are the iPhone blog, we’re pretty excited at the potential of Android and were surprised about how solid the T-Mobile G1 was. Our baby-sister site AndroidCentral is covering all things Android and T-Mobile G1 so be sure to check them out!

What do you think? Do you think the T-Mobile G1 is a worthy contender of the iPhone? Let us know!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


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Reader comments

iPhone 3G vs T-Mobile G1: Hardware Shootout!


I feel like ignoring the "G1" in fact i don't even consider the "G1" Linked to Android at all... the G1 is just another normal regular everyday phone.
Why did they release Android itself on such a lame nothing device? I don't know... maybe they rushed.. and had no choice.
Honestly if it were me doing it I would have made Androids release on a spectacular device.. not some normal everyday cel phone. There's nothing special about it AT ALL.. period.
I don't see why it's getting so much buzz either... we should all just wait to see if anyone steps up to the plate and makes an amazing hardware phone using Android.. until then i don't think any of it deserves the Buzz it's getting.
We should just be talking about Android.
Last but not least... holy crap everyone seems to be forgetting so quickly HOW BADLY T-mobile SUCKS... dear god...NIGHTMARES

They should have released it on the new Touch HD - :P
I would like to see this review against the Storm. I wonder how that one would turn out?

I use the headphone and storage capacity of my iphone every single day, but I wouldn't use a compass or removable battery more than once or twice a month. And yeah, the camera has fewer megapixels, but I haven't seen side-by-side images taken by each phone. As a photographer, I'm guessing there will be no real difference as a result of resolution (though perhaps as a result of a better lens or camera electronics).

The apple keyboard is easy. Even my parents have no trouble with it.
The G1 has a compass. Only nice part IMO. I can't tell you how many times I have turned my iphone around my hand and asked myself "is it this way or that way?" I usually end up walking or driving untill I notice a change to get my bearings. It sucks.

Tmobile G1 totally demolished my Iphone! From software to hardware!! The truth is that it doesnt have any glossy case, but the sleek, business looking gadget has a sexsey body that doesnt smugg like my IPhone and they keyboard is a 5 star, so is tunewiki and the bluetooth headphones which u can now purchase that allows you to listen to music and talk to callers! It has the android market that just created a software to sync up to outlook and visa even chipped in to create a software specially for the GODPHONE! As Iphone users and AT&T users under acontract we're trying to down this phone that's only going above technology in it's prime! Only becuz we're angry that we spent our money on a product we thought would remain number one! GOOGLE is no chump, they're here to dominate and that's exactly what they have done before the cell is even released, with 1,700 applications ready to download and enough hardware that makes me a fan on the otherside of the fence. I love IPhone but the truth is that... We're nick pickin and eventually going to wish we had this under AT&T, just put pressure on Mac to compete with a beast biggerthan them. IPhone is the JesusPhone vs which seems to be the "GoDPhone". Jesus is the Son of GoD... Read ME!! I have no problem with switching because only electronically unintelligent computer ignorant illiterate people realize that this is going to be a monster device, and everything yall say they don't have their creating!! so stop telling them what they don't have if u want us Iphone users to be any competition! (sigh) Im switching!! G1-G1!!! Here I COME!!

Since this is a hardware comparision, I really think the size of the G1 (and other slide out keyboard phones) is misrepresented. When using the keyboard for various applications the phone almost doubles in size. I would be interested to see a size graph comparison based on that.

Tmobile is a bigger carrier than Atnt, maybe thats why Google decided to release it on their platform, anyhow I love IPhone and I must agree that the G1 from Tmobile is an advanced phone, a tad bit better than Iphone after reserching what it will do. Makes me really wish I could get it on At&T, maybe oneday, but until then IPHONE FOR LIFE!!

From what i've seen of Android, it's just as complicated and confusing as Symbian.
What really stands out here us the g1, what a horrid looking device!

A good comparison overall. Apple definitely has sexy products, however, as a former iPhone owner, I am excited for a change of pace. Google makes awesome products, so does Apple. If I had AT&T, I'd own an iPhone. Since I have T-Mobile, I'll use the G1. I'm especially excited to see all the impressive applications that could come out on this device! These phones are equivalent in my eyes as of right now, lets see what the future brings.

well im all about the internet, and as of now i havent seen any iphone that tops the speed of my dash, its just about the same. unless this g1 is much faster i cant say, i phone is an amazing looking device, but isnt it not replacable if broken or stolen, as tmobile has insurance on all their phones, well copy and paste is a cool new feature good for myspace facebook and photobucket, not to mention when writing essays early in class. hmm the usb does suck but hey thats why i have my 160 gig i pod.
the compass is a wow, but the multitouch is dayum crazy
well i gotta play with that G1 before i say wats best.
also anyone realize htc is compatible with itunes, is iphone compatible with windows media or jukebox? i dont know that so i cant say.
also i need pics of my girl when she away can she send multimedia to iphone?
i dunno man its tough

Put it this way i work for AT&T and i have t-mobile as my carrier..the iphone is way overrated , i already pre ordered my g1

after reading this it makes me wanna just keep my sidekick lx ...but i already ordered it so we will see wat happens..
i admit the iphone has a better sex appeal..lol

Well, I too am an AT&T customer, However, I've just ordered the T-Mobile G1. I currently own an iphone (1st Gen) so by having the opportunity to owned it and have used it, I am in need of something new. I was thinking of upgrading again as I do almost every year and was going with the 3G, but its just the same as my 1st gen iphone with 3 differences; video, gps and 3G network capable. Hmm, with that said the T-Mobile G1 is NEW!!!! PLUS MORE!!!!
I'm really excited that someone finally came out (15 Months late) to make apple a run for its money. Haven't you all noticed that apple is an "i" company, ipod, itunes, itv(flop), imac, itouch, and iphone. Its all about itself and I find it a little sellfish and monotonous. Apple a simple advice, let the other software companies in, then maybe you can have different ideas. Besides its not all about you, and the world does not revolve around your "Macworld" well, I take that back, their are some loonies out there and they are the Applefan boyz!!!!
P.S. For Sale iphone - $120....

No one seems to be mentioning the fact that although the G1 lacks in beauty, you can hook the sucker up to the Tmobile router and receive phone calls without using up any day time minutes. Can't do that with ATT.

HATERS NEVER PROSPER! The G1 is sick, and its about time that t-mobile has come out with something new to love. The iPhone, I do agree is nice, but who wants a phone that is so easy to scratch and hard to maintain. You pay over 200 dollars to get the damn thing, and then you gotta pay more just to make sure it secure.Whereas the G1 has a matte finish. I love touch screens but DAMN what happens when something happens to your phone and you can't access anything because it touch. Well thats where that nice hidden keyboard comes into play. The keys on the iPhone are so small, and I'm sorry but not all of us have small a** fingers, it just takes too long to type on the iPhone. T-mobile's service is a lot more affordable, and the reps are so good to you, unlike at&t, you pay them all this money, get horrible service, and still have to turn around and take it in the a**! THANK YOU T-MOBILE, I'll never leave!

The review here is very base on iPhone. You should read a review where a true comparison. If you want a useful phone, read more review from some else beside here.

So wait a minute. you guys are getting review of the g1 from ppl who owns iphones? that's pretty shitty! have any of this knuckle heads even seen a g1 first hand?

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some people will just take anything apple puts there overpriced name on and call it a god , if u think the iphone is better u have mental problems. The G1 has a (useful)keyboard , 3mp camera, accelerometer, amazing graphics for a phone (almost ps1/psp level) and will soon have many 3d games introduced at the start of 09', and to all you iphone lovers it DOES support multi-touch, and expandable memory; a 8gb memorycard is like 20 bucks on ebay, a 16gb is only about 50 and it will soon support 32gb+ cards (so much for your memory debate), it has a interface that actually uses up to 3 homescreens so u can customize it with icons and backgrounds , widgets, ect. not just the same boring menu. it can be locked with a code, secret swipe combination, eye recognition scan, or the iphone slide-lock. Because its open source ANY problem u can complain about can be solved and ANYTHING is possible with homemade or market apps. It will soon support flash (real flash, not lite) and web browsing is twice as fast as an iphone, and the iphone 3g is about 2/3 as fast as the G1. Apple is just too concerned w/ its apperance and has forgotten about what really matters. Go ahead, try me, give me a real reason why the iphone is better (besides saying "its shiny and thin!" like a 3yr old) :)

oh yeah, almost forgort the iphone cant even send media (pic, video)messages. my parents both have iphones so ive compared it to the g1, alot, and idk why companies make such advanced devices that cant even do simple tasks like record video (g1/iphone) even though their hardware are capable of it. With Android however this can be fixed and with Apple it can't.


I personally have a g1! And the g1 doesn't lack a video camera
Android has actually set out a update for the phone that puts its on there
Howeva you still can't compare the ipohne to the G1...regardless of who thinks which is betta....you gotta think....more apps...betta. the fun...
But the more apps...the more "bugs" and virsues and frozen games you get!
But Overall you gotta think wat kind of phone you kno can get affected wit a virus!

My friend has an iPhone and i have a G1. ive spent a lot of time looking at both both devices and I must say that the G1 wins. The iPhones screen is much smaller than that because you have your keyboard on the screen 50% of the time if you actually use your iPhone for things other than games. And the G1 has a real keyboard which is much, much nicer. the track ball and Menu and back button up the convenience of the g1 quite a bit, plus the call and hangup buttons are nice. the iPhone is a bit easier to unless your phone though because u have to press the somewhat small menu button twice to unlock the g1. Another huge up of the G1 is that it doesnt make annoying beep sounds when you text and your phone is on loud but the iPhone does. The Apps on the iPhone and G1 are abotu the same, though the iPhone might win by a bit but i think when the G2 comes out the apps will surpass the iPhones. Spacc wise the iPhone may will on memory but the G1 is just a more solid device and is proven to be a much more scratch free phone than the iPhone because the front of the Device curves forward so when u lay it on something screen first it is less susceptible to scratches. Finally i saved the best for last, STEVEN COLBERT USES A G1. that should be reason enough to get one.
Hope this helps.

all u guys are STUPID! this is a blog about iphones and not the G-1. The g1 can suck the iphones balls all day long. iphone all the way

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