Speed Test - Droid vs iPhone 3Gs


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Nov 18, 2009
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So I'm sitting on a 3Gs and a Droid, trying to commit to one or another, leaning towards the Droid (in 30 day trial period on both). I've been reading exhaustively about the speed and differences between Verizon and AT&T's network (plus all of the commercials now!). So I decided to do my own, unscientific test, and thought it may be of interest to somebody.

I downloaded the speedtest.net app onto both the 3Gs and the Droid and ran a series of tests on each. I made sure no other background services were running to take up any bandwidth or processor "juice". I live in north DFW, so I used the Dallas server for half of the data, and a Cincinnati server for the other half. I wanted to use a West Coast server, but there were none that were common between both apps on each phone. I did do this between midnight and 12:30 am, so obviously a low point in network activity, which could make it somewhat misleading to everyday use. But this is not my day job! :)

I did 12 tests each, and took the average of the eight most consistently close numbers, due to a few occasional outliers. The results were interesting. The iPhone won out on download speed (not by much), but was blown away in upload speed - almost as if AT&T has it capped between 250 and 300 kbps.

I also did a WiFi test just for kicks, to see which handled WiFi better. I used my home wifi connection (Verizon Fios - 20 down / 5 up), and the iPhone really outdid the Droid, and Verizon clearly has the Droid capped at 1000kbps uploads on wifi. And yes, I did ensure nothing was running anywhere on our network to mess with it, and tested each phone separately so they wouldn't share wifi bandwidth.

Here are the results (I'm trying to figure out a way to publicly share the spreadsheet with the backup data):

iPhone: 2023 kbps download average / 267 kbps upload average
Droid: 1843 kbps download average / 723 kbps upload average

iPhone: 16,627 kbps download average / 5029 kbps upload average
Droid: 10,617 kbps download average / 1034 kbps upload average

Keep in mind, AT&T has always been solid in the DFW area, so I realize this is a very region specific test (and, again, doing it at midnight doesn't help with comparing to daily use). The AT&T upload speed on 3G was most interesting to me, as well as the WiFi difference (which I use half the time at home and work anyway).

Thank you for that contribution!
But i have a technical question. THe Up and downspeed is normally
given by your broadband connection through your provider right?

So it only depends on the Browser how fast he can render data right?

SO i dont understand the WiFi results, they cant be off THAT different....

what up/down do you have with a Wifi computer?

On your questions, I'll answer as much as my layman brain can...

Yes, the 20/5 numbers come from my provider, but I've seen them consistently met - not only when I'm actually downloading or uploading large files (if they take long enough for the progress bar to show the top speed!), but also when I do speedtests. I just ran a couple on the laptop I'm on, and both times I was between 19 and 20mbps down, and right at 5 up.

So, I guess it would have to at least partially depend on how the browser renders it (though I'm not sure how that would apply since I used apps, not the browsers), but processor speed probably plays a part too, I would think. That all gets above my head, honestly.

Yes, the WiFi results dumbfounded me, as well. But I triple checked not only the Droid, but my network and other computers, and made sure nothing was interferring. And even if there was something interfering, the iPhone had to deal with it as well b/c I went back and forth on each test - not all on one and then all on another. So, no idea... On the upload speed, I've read elsewhere, and clearly from the results see that Verizon caps the wifi upload speed at 1000kbps - every single time I tested it would race to that point and just stop.
an added note... the wifi results seem to be improving on the Droid as both phones sit in front of me and I keep hitting "test again". So maybe something is affecting it, or maybe it's just not as good at grabbing the signal. But it's just flat out inconsistent. I'll hit 16mbps one time, then 9mbps the next time. The iPhone is consistently between 16 and 18 mbps each time, with no outliers at all. And, as I stated, my laptop is consistently 19-20 each time, again with no outliers.

Not really a big deal, as most public or office WiFi spots aren't utilizing near these speeds, but still interesting...
It seems to me, that to get an accurate reading, you'd have to do a speed test when the phones had the exact same signal strength. If I did a speed test in my house, the Droid would win by far...since no other provider actually delivers consistent service here.

But none the less, interesting. And perhaps says something about the speed test apps on Android vs. iPhone.
good point - I didn't look at that right before I tested, but historically (i.e. the few times I've run a field test on the iPhone over the past few days in my house) the iPhone has had about 10% lower signal strength than the Droid...(looking at the actual numbers, not the "bars")

but obviously that's a moving target... heck, I even read today that the signal strength indicators on most phones might be meaningless anyway
My best friend has a 3GS and I have the Droid, we both have the same speedtest.net app and we have run speed tests in many different places using wi-fi and 3g and the results vary. Sometimes the iPhone wins sometimes the Droid wins. Maybe its just where I live but it seems like they are both pretty even. I wouldn't let this test be a big factor in your decision making for which phone to get...just my 2 cents.
a good 2 cents... I'm in a very similar situation as there isn't really a big difference between VZW and AT&T where I live, and I don't travel much... the one thing holding me back on my decision more than anything is the fact that I can't do voice and data at the same time... well, that and my wife will likely eventually want an iPhone, and I'd have to convince her the Droid (or other VZW phone) is as good, which might be tough for her!
Speed means nothing. It's a handset device, you only need a few megabits max anyways.. The real key is latency (how long your request takes to propagate). If you look at those speed tests you'll probably notice that ATT has higher latency, at least here in Columbus, Ohio where I'm at. I consistently get 2500+ms ping times on ATT, but 160 to 180ms on Verizon.

From articles I've been reading lately there has been claim that ATT has their towers set to buffer high amounts of traffic due to congestion, unfortunately this has a side affect as its not allowing TCP/IP to do its job. Which is probably why I am having so many issues with browsing the web and using network apps lately. I'm coming from a Blackberry Bold and will say that ATT service has gone down hill here lately in terms of reliability, hence my main reason to switch. My girlfriend has the IPhone and she is having issues as well as of the last few months. Rather disappointing as I've always hated Verizon due to their bastardizing of their phones, but you have to admit they have a good network.
very good point and observation... and you hit that nail on the head - the average ping on all of the at&t tests was close to 2000ms, while on verizon, between 150 and 200ms
I did these tests at work with an iPhone and a Droid as well, and came out with about the same results. The download speeds were close, some wins for the Droid but most were iPhone, but the uploads were all Droid and by a much bigger margin.
PROCESSOR speed is the speed test that will be most relevant

I suspect that the PROCESSOR speed is the speed test that will be most relevant in comparing the iPhone to the Droid.

The Droid seems to be blazing fast compared to the iPhone... and it may simply be due to processor speed and memory...

Anyone have any info on benchmark speed tests of the two processors?