iPhone Beats BlackBerry Bold in Browser Speed Test? Not So Fast…
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
Late last week, I came across a blog post on Wired.com entitled “BlackBerry Bold Loses Against iPhone in Browser Race.” Naturally, as I (obsessively) follow both the Apple iPhone and Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry smartphone line, the story immediately caught my eye. But after only a few seconds of watching the video that accompanied the post, it was clear that this particular “test” was flawed.
The video originated from a site called MobileComputerMag.co.uk–though it has since been pulled–and it quickly made its way to various blogs and tech news sites. The recorded “test” was supposed to gauge both the new BlackBerry Bold and iPhone browser speeds over a Wi-Fi network. In the various speed tests performed, the iPhone consistently beat the BlackBerry Bold.
The only problem: The guy performing the test had very little understanding of how BlackBerrys connect to Wi-Fi and mobile networks, and the BlackBerry Bold used in the experiment kept skipping back and forth between EDGE and Wi-Fi—and EDGE is significantly slower.
There were three immediate giveaways that the test was flawed: 1) The Wi-Fi Alliance icon that normally appears atop the BlackBerry browser when connected did not appear while browsing, which means the device wasn’t using a Wi-Fi network; 2) you could literally hear speakers buzzing in the background as the Bold attempted to communicate with the GSM mobile network, which only happens when the cellular radio is active; and 3) the MobileComputerMag.co.uk staffer kept giving false information about the Bold’s Wi-Fi. For example, when he noticed that the icon wasn’t displaying while browsing, he said that was normal and that BlackBerry users cannot surf the Web using Wi-Fi if the mobile network is not connected. Neither statement is true. (For more on the dreaded BlackBerry buzz, read “Why Your BlackBerry Causes Speakers to Buzz.”)
As mentioned above, MobileComputingMag.co.uk has since removed the video at RIM’s request because it “did not show a fair comparison between the BlackBerry Bold and the iPhone.” I’d say that’s an understatement.
However, the updated MobileComputingMag.co.uk story still clearly says “the BlackBerry OS has no option to disable the cellular data connection and leave Wi-Fi active – it’s either both or neither. Which is pretty ridiculous.” Ridiculous, indeed. Ridiculous that after posting a video laden with misinformation, and then begin called out on it, MobileComputingMag.co.uk still doesn’t have its story straight.
Even worse, the site apparently no longer has access to a BlackBerry Bold, so it cannot post an accurate speed test. In other words, the question of which device is faster over Wi-Fi is still unanswered.
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Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.