Last year I had a bone to pick with Apple for not including a call duration feature on the iPhone. Not a big deal to most people I'm sure; however, when it comes to testing talk time here in CNET Labs, I can't think of a more useful feature.
With last year's iPhone 3G, I was able to circumvent this inconvenience by tracking the phone's "Time since last full charge" duration. This number, as you might have guessed, tells you the amount of time that's passed since the phone was last fully charged. So, all I had to do was charge the phone fully, start the test, wait until the battery died, plug it back in, and check that number.
This worked fine last year, but with the current round of iPhone 3G and 3GS testing, I'm getting extremely varied results--so varied, in fact, that I can no longer trust this method.
No matter, though, since the latest iPhone OS 3.0 added a call duration feature. I figured I'd just set up the talk time test--which involves taping earbuds from a MP3 player to the mic of the iPhone and a landline phone, calling the landline phone, and waiting for the battery to die. Then I'd come back several hours later and have delicious results waiting for me (kind of like an iPhone-testing-results Crock-Pot).
Once again, I'm slapped back to reality as, unfortunately, the couple of times I've tried using the call duration feature on the 3G and 3GS I've had little luck. Apparently, if the phone's battery dies in the middle of a call, the duration of that call isn't saved on the phone.--yet another roadblock. … Read more