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Old November 13th, 2009, 01:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 3G vs WiFi when at home - which uses less power?

There was a similar thread on this but it got no real answer. I'm just wondering which uses less power when not really doing anything, idling I guess you could call it. The only data being transferred would be incoming email and whatever other background data traffic might be going on.

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Old November 13th, 2009, 01:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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When you have wifi available, use wifi. It will use less power, It is faster, and it wont use your data.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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brettlewis, is this true?

I purposely did not charge my phone last night. When I went to bed it had 40% battery left. I had wifi on, and when I woke up today the battery had 15% remaining. This was only about 8 hours of idle time. I don't think the battery should be used up that quickly while doing nothing (no syncing, all apps closed).

I had guessed this was because I left wifi on. I'm going to try this again tonight and turn off wifi to see how the battery is used overnight.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I've observed wi-fi is much more efficient on the battery. Went most of the day at home on wifi last weekend with very little discharge.

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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes, wifi is much more efficient. You may Of had other processes on. Was you screen left on? Maybe try to turn down your brightness.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Verizon's 3G network is fast enough for web browsing that i have no need to switch to WiFi. I stay on 3G constantly.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Infacft wifi has first priority. If there is wifi available 3g willturn off to save power
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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Not sure it does that to save power but more likely to save Verizon money by having less usage as well as wifi is in most cases faster.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If you have wifi on it might but it is not good to keep it on when no wifi networks are available. But wifi does use way less battery then 3G so if you have it, use it.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by famac! View Post
Verizon's 3G network is fast enough for web browsing that i have no need to switch to WiFi. I stay on 3G constantly.
my wireless network at home is about 8x faster than 3G(2000 kbps(Verizon) vs. 17000 kbps(me)). that's the main reason I use wifi at home over 3G.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:37 AM   #11 (permalink)
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When you turn on WiFi, do you have to do anything to tell the phone to not use 3G while WiFi is on? Pardon me if this is posted elsewhere, but the answer might be handy in this thread.

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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswhite60 View Post
When you turn on WiFi, do you have to do anything to tell the phone to not use 3G while WiFi is on? Pardon me if this is posted elsewhere, but the answer might be handy in this thread.

Thanks -

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from my observations, no. When I turn on wifi, the icon seems to take the place of the 3G icon. So maybe the phone only allows one on at a time?
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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:39 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks for this thread, I'm shocked to know that. I would have thought that the Wi-Fi used MORE power, and so I always turn it off at night.

I, too, have the 30Mbps/5Mbps FIOS at home, so I'd much rather be using that anyway.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:59 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default 3G vs WiFi Range

I bet 3G uses more power because it's got to transmit further, WiFi will only go a few hundred feet but 3G goes all the way to a cell tower. So it's little transmitter needs more power to transmit.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 11:08 AM   #15 (permalink)
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If you have wifi use it. It iis not dwitched to save verizon money, its switched to save you money. 3g takes out of your data and the overages are killer. Point is, wifi is fast, will save you power, and will save you money
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Old November 13th, 2009, 11:10 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brettlewis View Post
If you have wifi use it. It iis not dwitched to save verizon money, its switched to save you money. 3g takes out of your data and the overages are killer. Point is, wifi is fast, will save you power, and will save you money
for those with the unlimited data plan(which I am sure most people got), does it really save us money?
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Old November 13th, 2009, 11:16 AM   #17 (permalink)
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You have to get the "unlimited" plan, they don't offer any plans with certain amounts of data.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 11:29 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brettlewis View Post
If you have wifi use it. It iis not dwitched to save verizon money, its switched to save you money. 3g takes out of your data and the overages are killer. Point is, wifi is fast, will save you power, and will save you money

If all you are doing is web browsing and the occasional download, you will never come close to the 5GB cap of Verizon's "unlimited" plan. Personally for me, there is no need for WiFi. Browsing is super fast on 3G so i just have WiFi turned off permanently.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #19 (permalink)
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The do have limited data plans. I have one. It was an employer decision, but when I blasted through the limit on day one we saw how silly it is.

Changing that today.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 11:35 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brettlewis View Post
Infacft wifi has first priority. If there is wifi available 3g willturn off to save power
That's not true.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 11:38 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brettlewis View Post
If you have wifi use it. It iis not dwitched to save verizon money, its switched to save you money. 3g takes out of your data and the overages are killer. Point is, wifi is fast, will save you power, and will save you money
Again, you're wrong.

The unlimited phone plan is just that, unlimited. The 5G "limit" you heard about is specifically for TETHERING ONLY.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #22 (permalink)
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If someone wants to do a test, turn on WiFi and 3G and leave the phone sitting around doing nothing for a long time. Then go and check the Battery Use and see what uses more (Wifi or Cell Standby). That should be a good indication of what uses more power.

I'd do it, but I don't think I can leave my Droid alone for a long time without using it.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 01:05 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I'm going to do a test. I'll run pandora for an hour on a fully charged battery then recharge and do it with 3G. I know the sample size is kinda small but maybe it will produce some kind of result.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 01:10 PM   #24 (permalink)
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From my experience and this is true with most phones as well as the Droid WiFi is much more battery hungry than 3G. Reason being that a WiFi connection is active at all times even when you aren't streaming anything a 3G connection is less battery intensive when it is actively streaming content.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 02:47 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Part one of the test is done. Here are the usage stats after 1hour of Pandora One streaming with the volume on the lowest audible setting over wireless:

Top 5 Battery Users
Mediaserver 58%
Wi-fi 20%
Phone Idle 8%
Cell Standby 6%
Android OS 3%

90% Battery Remaining

Part Two of the test. Here are the usage stats after 1hour of Pandora One streaming with the volume on the lowest audible setting over 3G:

Top 5 Battery Users

Mediaserver 72%
Phone Idle 10%
Cell Standby 8%
Android OS 4%
Pandora 2%

90% Battery Remaining

Just as I expected, I need a larger sample size but so far it seems like 3G is better on the battery. A 4% increase in Phone Idle/Cell Standby with 3G but the Wifi used 20% more. The thing is, 20% more of what? I don't know how many mAH were used so I need a larger sample to get a more accurate result.

I'll see if I can get a 4 hour sample tomorrow. I can't go much over that as Pandora will time out after 5 hours and I don't want an interruption.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 04:07 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Don't use wifi at all! Use only Verizon's network. You pay for it. Stick it to da Man!!!
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Old November 14th, 2009, 04:11 AM   #27 (permalink)
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In my experience WiFi Is a power leech,

On my HTC Magic I can stay on 3G all day and the battery lasts , If I'm on WiFi the battery drains real quick and according to the Power manager it drains alot....
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Old November 14th, 2009, 04:13 AM   #28 (permalink)
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my wifi is faster, i am gonna test mall wifi tomorrow! and my wifes mom has wifi too, i will try it later.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 05:31 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Stop posting anecdotal evidence. In MY experience, red cars are faster than blue ones.

But srsly guys, someone put some numbers on this to settle it. Doing your own tests willnot settle the issue. I'm sure someone knows the answer and has statistical evidence to back it up.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 07:08 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Very nice wsbsteven. Im thinking I will do my own test.

I live REALLY close to a cell tower (about a mile. Better cell reception but I get cancer -meh) and will do the same test.

Anyone know if there are any battery apps that give more information than than Android?
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Old November 14th, 2009, 08:48 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Anyone know if there are any battery apps that give more information than than Android?
I looked for some but I didn't find anything that gave the information I was looking for (like mAH usage).
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Old November 14th, 2009, 09:13 AM   #32 (permalink)
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I would definitely think that considering you never actually turn off 3G it would take more power to run the WiFi, but perhaps it's a matter of how much more work the 3G receiver has to do when working with data.

Apple - Batteries - iPhone

"Note that if you frequently use your iPhone to browse the web, battery life may be improved by using Wi-Fi instead of cellular data networks."
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Old November 14th, 2009, 09:16 AM   #33 (permalink)
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WiFi uses LESS battery power, do a simple google search on the issue and you can see. Would anyone like me to post a few links that I found?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhone 3G wikipedia
six hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi or five on 3G
Quote:
Originally Posted by XDA-Developers Forum
I have owned many pda's and pda's/phones and battery life with wifi has always been pretty poor. But man does 3G eat up the battery waaaaayyy more than wifi. Here's a test I did streaming shoutcast and using TCPMP as the player.

3G- With screen off and streaming constantly I get 1 hour of streaming and the battery is already at 50%.

WiFi- With the same options as above I get 1 hour of streaming and battery goes down to 80%.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 09:24 AM   #34 (permalink)
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This is probably common knowledge. But if you didn't know, you can see what is using how much battery.

See Wi-fi at number 2. Though these particular number aren't probably too accurate, since the phone was only on for 24 minutes.

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Old November 14th, 2009, 09:29 AM   #35 (permalink)
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really, WiFI should be slightly more efficient. It has sleep mode just like 3G. Wakes up as needed. Data plan or not I use WiFI when I can. Faster and less port blocks, and likely more private. 3G is plenty fast enough for my needs but the WiFI is under my control and not watched by the Stazi.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 09:30 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRPercodani View Post
WiFi uses LESS battery power, do a simple google search on the issue and you can see. Would anyone like me to post a few links that I found?
I could definitely see this when running something with constant bandwidth needs. It would be interesting to see a *day* of just weather updates, browsing the web here and there, maybe a news widget and see what a day of constant wifi being on vs. 3G which is only used a few times throughout the day. My guess is that wifi is going to show a significantly higher draw since its on when the device is doing nothing.

I really think the answer is going to be based on how you use your device throughout the day. If you are streaming audio over the web constantly then wifi makes sense. If you are just hitting the data here and there throughout the day, I'll bet you'll see turning off wifi would make a difference to the positive. I personally have wifi on while I'm at home.

Or, perhaps each device has its own way of changing power usage of these items based on set parameters.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 10:23 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brettlewis View Post
When you have wifi available, use wifi. It will use less power, It is faster, and it wont use your data.
exactly my thoughts...
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Old November 14th, 2009, 02:52 PM   #38 (permalink)
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I was able to test wifi for 4 hours using Pandora at the lowest audible volume as in my first test.

Using Wifi

Mediaserver 55%
Wifi 22%
Phone Idle 9%
Cell Standby 7%
Android OS 3%

70% Battery Remaining (seems like it was barely 70% as a couple minutes of charging off the pc made it 80%)

The results aren't much different than the 1 hour test, wifi used a little more power and mediaserver used a little less. I had some issues during the test with Pandora deciding not to play another song 2-3 times which required reloading the app. I worked as fast as I could to keep it from skewing the results.

And here it is:

3G Pandora for 4 hours

Mediaserver 74%
Phone Idle 11%
Cell Standby 8%
Android 4%
Pandora 2%

40% Battery Remaining


The 3G test was clean, I didn't have any interruptions in my audio and I didn't have to turn on the screen at all. One thing that I noticed is that I had Wifi using the widget and 3G using the program which loads album art for each song. That may have increased the draw on the battery. I will retest the wifi again with the pandora app running later but as of right now, wifi is better with the battery during continuous usage by a good margin.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsbsteven View Post
I was able to test wifi for 4 hours using Pandora at the lowest audible volume as in my first test.

Using Wifi

Mediaserver 55%
Wifi 22%
Phone Idle 9%
Cell Standby 7%
Android OS 3%

70% Battery Remaining (seems like it was barely 70% as a couple minutes of charging off the pc made it 80%)

The results aren't much different than the 1 hour test, wifi used a little more power and mediaserver used a little less. I had some issues during the test with Pandora deciding not to play another song 2-3 times which required reloading the app. I worked as fast as I could to keep it from skewing the results.

I'll get to the 3G test later today if I can.
yes, please keep us updated. i would like to see some actual real world results once and for all. although, i have been reading everywhere that wifi uses less battery than 3G.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 04:03 PM   #40 (permalink)
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The main thing is that the Droid/Verizon 3g is fast enough to keep the wifi off most of the time. Unlike the iphone, in which you want to turn the wifi on whenever possible as ATT data is so slow in NY area. So I am finding that the battery lasts a good long time keeping wifi and gps off for everyday use.

I'm diggin it!

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Old November 14th, 2009, 04:34 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepguy_1980 View Post
This is probably common knowledge. But if you didn't know, you can see what is using how much battery.

See Wi-fi at number 2. Though these particular number aren't probably too accurate, since the phone was only on for 24 minutes.


Wifi is shown as using battery life because it's seen as a process. 3G doesn't show up this way. So this isn't a good way to draw a comparison.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 05:05 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Wifi is shown as using battery life because it's seen as a process. 3G doesn't show up this way. So this isn't a good way to draw a comparison.

It has to be accounted for in one of the items listed.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 06:12 PM   #43 (permalink)
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It has to be accounted for in one of the items listed.
My guess based on what I've seen is it's in cell standby.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 06:19 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Cell standby is just that, standby. I have been looking into this issue for the past few hours and what I have found is that with a CDMA device you can't actually turn the 3G radio off like you can with a GSM device. On my G1 I can actually switch from just EDGE to EDGE and 3G, but with the DROID you don't have that option.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 06:27 PM   #45 (permalink)
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quixand, yes it is.

1. If there is wifi, it will connect to wifi and use it over your 3g.
2. Unlimited has a 5gb data limit. You can go over your unlimited plan. Tethering is not yet available (legitimately) from Verizon. You can go over on your unlimited plan. I asked these questions at Verizon when i bought the phone.

Fact is: Wifi is faster. Wifi wont use data, unless you download. Wifi uses less resources. Nothing more to it. If you have wifi, use it.

Im not saying 3g is bad. I have to use 3g at school and it works great, but my data racks up faster (although still relatively slow). You can view your data usage on "my Verizon" app.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 06:37 PM   #46 (permalink)
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No quixand is right about WiFi, you would have to have it TURNED ON for it to connect. It doesn't magically turn on just because a network is in range. I am sitting next to my D-Link and my DROID is in my hand......nope it definitely isn't "prioritizing" WiFi over 3G.

And for the 5GB cap, I had a heated debate about this a few weeks ago and turned out to be wrong. Read EVERY TOC/TOS on VZW's site and you will see they don't mention ANY 5GB cap, or any cap for that matter, for either the Email and Web for Smartphone or Unlimited Data. Now if you used a massive amount of GB every month they could flag you, but, they don't have any cap mentioned on any legal documents.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 06:42 PM   #47 (permalink)
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but then I've read some people lose there "push" emails over wifi...not sure why that would be.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 06:47 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Cell standby is just that, standby.
Then why (from the posted tests) is the amount of cell standby and Phone Idle higher while using 3G only than Wifi? Sure if you look at the term "Cell Standby" you would assume it was just that, Standby. I'm not 100% sold on it being what it says it is. I didn't say without a reasonable doubt that it was 3G power usage but I'm not going to let the circle say it's a square until I investigate it more.

This needs to be looked at objectively so we can put this to rest.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 06:49 PM   #49 (permalink)
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quixand, yes it is.

2. Unlimited has a 5gb data limit. You can go over your unlimited plan. Tethering is not yet available (legitimately) from Verizon. You can go over on your unlimited plan. I asked these questions at Verizon when i bought the phone.

Fact is: Wifi is faster. Wifi wont use data, unless you download. Wifi uses less resources. Nothing more to it. If you have wifi, use it.
If there were a limit, the My Verizon page would track it with a cap, just as it does all of the other services. None of the fine print even indicates that there is a limit. This was hashed on on Crackberry last year.

Wi-fi isn't faster if it's not connected to the internet, or uses some sort of internet connection slower than 3G (i.e. dial up).
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Old November 14th, 2009, 06:53 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Then why (from the posted tests) is the amount of cell standby and Phone Idle higher while using 3G only than Wifi? Sure if you look at the term "Cell Standby" you would assume it was just that, Standby. I'm not 100% sold on it being what it says it is. I didn't say without a reasonable doubt that it was 3G power usage but I'm not going to let the circle say it's a square until I investigate it more.

This needs to be looked at objectively so we can put this to rest.
I do agree, I'm not positive it is or isn't 3G but all I use is 3G and the cell standby hasn't gotten very high at all. Making a educated guess I would think it would climb a lot higher then 12% if it was including 3G, I will ask a friend who still uses a G1 if he has cell standby and something else to indicate data usage.
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