August 6 2009|01.52 PM UTC

Erik Chang

Total Cost of Ownership: myTouch 3G versus iPhone 3GS versus Palm Pre

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As T-Mobile’s latest Android-based myTouch 3G hit the stores to compete with Apple’s new iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre, there are now more smartphone options than ever. How will you decide which device to spend your hard earn money on? Below is a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of the latest mobile technologies, analyzing the comparative features of each, along with the actual price you will pay for the phone and service over the course of a two year contract.

To see the true cost of owning one of these smartphone, based on your actual usage, you should check out Billshrink’s myTouch 3G vs iPhone 3GS comparison tool to find the best cell phone plans that works for you.

(click on each phone or pricing plans and total cost to learn more)

Compare Carrier Plans Compare Cell Phone Plans myTouch 3G Palm Pre iPhone 3GS

myTouch 3g vs iPhone 3GS vs Palm Pre

Check out the old graphics comparing the iPhone 3GS, Palm Pre, and T-Mobile G1.

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Felipe August 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm

I like much more to see…
Iphone 3G S v/s Palm Pre v/s HTC HERO (no myTouch)

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Anonymous August 6, 2009 at 4:34 pm

why no comparison to a HTC Touch Diamond or other Windows Mobile touch phone or Blackberry ??

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Kevin August 6, 2009 at 4:46 pm

These specs are for the HTC magic as released in europe not the MyTouch3G tmobile released in america.

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Anonymous August 6, 2009 at 4:46 pm

I think they should have tested the HTC Hero instead of the mytouch

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buried August 6, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Nice astroturfing. My AT&T plan is 75.00. I’d better tell my phone company they’re undercharging me several hundred dollars according to your “chart”.

Got Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate in there as well?

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Gregg August 6, 2009 at 4:51 pm

The My-Touch is cool – but the t-mobile 3G coverage is really really small. I’m actually kind of surprised that anyone even makes phones for them considering their unique in all the world 3G frequency.

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Andre Sanders August 6, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Amazing, this is another reason that I stay with Tmobile: rate plans. Although I’ve been with them going on 8 or 9 years consistently, they don’t always have the best coverage and their 3G is sorely lacking, but in the end, my cost is lower and until money is no object for me, they are my solution. More and more, I’m thinking of going with Android over iPhone. Pre isn’t a factor for me, because of Sprint. If Pre came to Tmobile, then I’d be considering it. iPhone is awesome, but the fact that it’s on ATT AND the control that Apple is having over the app store just turns me off from it.

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Subrand0m August 6, 2009 at 4:57 pm

so for $300 more a year, I can have double the space, more then 12 times the apps, video editing, tons more video options, and for $100 extra start up cost I can have the 32 gig version of the iphone 3gs. Now did I get that all right?

Because clearly the iphone looks better then everything thing else. Yes the multitasking is lacking but for all the up side to the phone the good out weighs the bad.

iPhone is still number one.

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Chris Hotz August 6, 2009 at 5:16 pm

What about Verizon? When will they have a competitive Smart Phone?

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Christo90210 August 6, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Fanboy

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J Erdmann August 6, 2009 at 5:30 pm

I see people commenting that they did not use HTC FUZE, any Windows mobile phone or and product from RIM.

I think the point of this article was to grab some attention with all the bad press Apple inc. has had in the last week and not actually show real value.

The goal of this article was to make the Apple iPhone come out costing the most.

the HTC FUZE, BlackBerry® Bold,BlackBerry® 8820 and BlackBerry® Curve(TM) 8900 Og purchased from ATT Will all COST more or the same price as the iPhone if you include mobile web and txt messaging.

It is safe to say that they did not spend much time on this article Nor did they even pull up one company website to look at pricing. Both Verizon and T-mobile have phones and plans that will net you more then the iphone.

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someguy August 6, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Perhaps a better way to make TCO comparisons is to show all possible hardware configurations/plans etc. for all phones and let the end user decide. There is after all more to it than just the cash price. In my area Tmobile just works and has for years with never a dropped call (can’t say the same for Sprint and AT&T is an unknown). What’s a reliable network worth to you?

Let’s also not forget that several other handset/netbook/nettop/smartbook makers will be (are) using Android and (unlike proprietary OS’s) Android can and will be ported to most anything.

Give Android an equivalent number of years to mature and we will no doubt see the number of apps increase, exponentially I would expect.

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Michael Koren August 6, 2009 at 8:52 pm

This review did NOT take into account the cost savings by AT&T’s roll over minutes. I’ve always in the past overdone my rate plans to avoid the hefty penalty that can be had by using up the allowance. So having roll over minutes to me feels a bit, at the 900 minute level, like having unlimited minutes because I can accumulate up to about 3000 additional minutes in back log after a few months of slacking and blow them off over the next few months indulging. But I once with Verizon went over by not very much and had a HUGE minute penalty that nearly totalled my regular bill!!! So I’m not sure about savings on “average” plans. Yes the unlimited plan sounds like it is a nice savings with Sprint. Granted! What I’ll do for my iPhone adult toy!

Fortunately none of the plans seem to extend your contract any more when changing plans. (If you can believe it, both Verizon and Sprint did this nasty thing until 2007 approximately but “big bad” AT&T/Cingular always let you change if you wanted without kicking out the contract.)

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Bill Deng August 6, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Palm Pre have a solid keypad that the others don’t have.
this cannot be ignored.

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Loc August 6, 2009 at 10:29 pm

you see…
i want to upgrade from my blackjack2
and iphone seems like the best option as for…
all i really want is gps internet txt and minutes
which any fone can offer
but the fact that the iphone can replace my ipod is what is selling it for me.
as soon as tmobile contract ends i think im going to att

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Teknolia August 6, 2009 at 11:19 pm

This isn’t a review, this is a picture showing the total cost of ownership assuming all things equal. What isn’t shown is the iPhone 3GS is in general faster than the Pre. It doesn’t show that multitasking is a gimmick when playing music slows down other programs. It doesn’t show how well the touch screen interface works or how smoothly (between the Pre and the 3GS the 3GS is easily more friendly, smoother and more accurate when scrolling) It also doesn’t show how the Palm Pre becomes an E-Z Bake Oven when using any streaming software or extended phone calls. Can’t say much about the Mytouch since I haven’t owned one yet. Between the first two the iPhone is easily the winner and it’s advantages heavily out weight the cost.

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kevin August 7, 2009 at 2:20 am

What about comparing pre’ is 4g and the rest arn’t?

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Erik August 7, 2009 at 3:51 am

What about Verizon? When will they have a competitive Smart Phone??

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Brian August 7, 2009 at 7:19 am

I don’t think I could stand having a phone without multi-tasking, which the pre is great at. I constantly use it to check my calendar while texting and looking at multiple web pages at the same time. It is not a gimmick, its just that some people don’t have a need for it. I don’t use my phone to listen to music, so I can’t put in a review there.

I have a big problem with how much apple abuses developers. They pull apps for no reason and make the developers cover 100% of the refunds, while apple gets to keep the 30% cut.

Also, the iPhone has had years to iron out bugs in the operating system, andriod has had about a year, and the pre has been out less then 2 months. It still needs some time to iron out bugs.

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JDBT August 7, 2009 at 9:26 am

I just picked up a MyTouch3G. I pay $49 for UNLIMITED Voice & Messaging + $25 for the data plan. That’s $74 which would make this the best deal by far. You just ask for the ‘$49 unlimited off menu plan’ which is available to ANY current T-mobile customer.

The phone itself is amazing. Smaller and lighter then the iphone and not nearly as thick as the pre. It’s the best form factor (I have owned iphones too) and so far I’m loving it!

@Erik – Friends don’t let friends use VERIZON they are the worst company I’ve ever done business with and they are GROSSLY overpriced and only sell crappy totally locked up phones with crappy proprietary versions of software.

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Hoagie August 7, 2009 at 9:33 am

This makes me want an iPhone even more now.

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Phil August 7, 2009 at 9:59 am

At&t simply has inferior phone service and until the iphone gets off At&t, it will always be an inferior product. I can’t say T-Mobile & Sprint are much better since I have Verizon. I wish Verizon had the iphone or a comparable product since I most importantly need consistent phone service above all else.

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Keven M. August 7, 2009 at 11:00 am

All of the rummors i have found point to there being a Verison iPhone in febuary of 2010.

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Javier August 7, 2009 at 11:45 am

T-Mobile MyTouch 3g Is the WINNNNNN!!!!!!

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Javier August 7, 2009 at 12:03 pm

T-mobile MyTouch 3g is the WIIIIIINNNNNNNN!!!!!!

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hgrising August 7, 2009 at 1:20 pm

When will someone put android on an iphone. That would be interesting.

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vivek August 7, 2009 at 2:15 pm

The BlackBerry Curve deserves a mention. As for these three phones, the IPhone is the winner but the Palm Pre isnt bad either.

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Steb0ne August 7, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Still the plan listed for Tmobile is cheaper… But it does not include as much as Sprint plan. It doesn’t give you mobile to mobile, 7PM Nights & Weekends, GPS (turn by turn GPS not that google map stuff). Sprint TV and Radio. Free Pandora radio, Exclusives like NFL and NASCAR (since they’re the sponsor).

+ Why would a Sprint customer pay $89.99 for 1000 minutes, when they can get unlimited everything for $10 more. Those other plans don’t touch all of that.

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BillShrink Guy August 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

As Teknolia pointed out, the simple comparison chart isn’t an end-all review for each of the individual smartphones, which no doubt has its own pros and cons. Obviously everyone will have different minutes, data, and text usage — not to mention the fact that some return customers will get cheaper plan rates (as mentioned by JDBT).

Steb0ne: All the plans above include mobile-to-mobile minutes.

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Ashish August 7, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Appears iPhone/Palm-Pre memory is not expandable so you are stuck with 16gb/8gb it has.
myPhone can have upto 32gb and memory card may be swapped … so almost unlimited memory.

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Niya August 8, 2009 at 11:05 am

My Phone 3G is the best phone ever!!!

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Victor H August 8, 2009 at 8:28 pm

I use T-Mobile and my since my contract was up I was offered unlimited voice for $49.99 and data + unlimited text = $34.99. So when I upgraded to the myTouch my montly bill after taxes etc. is about $95. So for 2 years that’s $2,280.

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Dotjinks August 11, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Why does it always seems to be that the sexier things we covet, are more expensive to touch and less easy to trust with a care about us or our money? I WANT the (very sexy) iPhone! I feel bad for Palm Web OS (Great effort!). Android (HTC Hero) is going into my pocket.

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jeff August 11, 2009 at 6:44 pm

the plan i was getting if i get this phone is only 64.98/ month unlimited data/text and 300 minutes voice {before taxes etc;}(then again, i only talk during the weekends and generally after 9p.m.). Only 1559.52 for the 2yr. Hopefully the updates come out soon fixing some of the bugs that have been initially reported. so far i like what i see. everyone and their mother has the “jesus phone” thats all i see here outside of blackberries or an occasional lg or samsung dumbphone, i prefer to be different and not part of the crowd. The palm pre is enticing, but lack of an expandable memory….kinda kills it for me.

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a. palmer jr. August 14, 2009 at 9:26 pm

I don’t carry a cell phone. Total cost…-0-

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John August 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm

This ignores the fact that on Google Voice you get unlimited text messages, which knocks $10 off the T-Moibile plan.

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Pete T. August 22, 2009 at 9:36 pm

All the phone are great. I can’t believe we are living in the days and time that makes the original Star Trek communicators bulky and obsolete. I feel the answer is getting one of these since it make life better and in the end cheaper. I saved $12 today because I could pull a coupon from my email at Borders for 40% off and the clerk could scan the bar from the phone, I save time by Googling Game Stop to check if Lego Batman, for my 4 year old son, was in stock; it wasn’t, and Google Blockbuster to see if the game was available for rent which it wasn’t, and finally responding to a Realtor about a house purchase contract which may save me thousands since I was able to response immediately instead of hours or days later. All these examples happen to me today which saved me both money, but more importantly time. I believe the real cost isn’t in owning one of these phones, but the real cost is not owning one of these phones. I have personally used the iPhone for the past few months for work and just receive the MyTouch for about a week and checked out the Palm Pre at the store. The bottom line is not which model, make, or color car one buys, but that you own a car to be more productive and add greater benefits and value to your life.
I’m a IT manager and can’t believe I was to cheap in the past few years to purchase a smart phones and now seeing high school kids and college kids have smart phones. Most people already pay for a cell phone plan which is around $40. I encourage you to try any phone out for 14 days and decide if for $1/day you can save at least that in time and money. In the end you can cancel your home phone line and even lower your cable at home for the price of the phone service. I am persuaded that no matter which phone it is above they will be as common as cars. I just encourage you be one of the first to get it. It’s truly about Freedom. We do live in the land of the Free. Hope this help.

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p August 24, 2009 at 2:05 pm
Ralph D. August 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm

To whom it may concern: Thanks for your survey on the 3 cell phones. It was really helpfull.

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adil September 13, 2009 at 3:48 pm

major drawback to MyTouch – it can only use internal system memory for apps, (512MB), memory card only works for pics, videos, etc.

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John Roberts September 23, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Having bought a new 3GS recently, I agree with those who believe it offers the best UI, screen, apps, power, and general usability. Unfortunately, I needed to be able to make phone calls, something AT&T wasn’t prepared to provide despite my being in a “best coverage” area. So back it went, and I think I’ll be happy with my new MyTouch until the iPhone is available on a carrier that has a functional network. Gave the Pre a hard look, but while it has promise, not a first generation phone I’d be comfortable with, though obviously those who find physical keyboards essential may feel differently.

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Larry the Bulldog November 5, 2009 at 7:50 pm

I was a loyal ATT customer all through the 80′s and 90′s and early turn of the Century. I needed a worldwide connection and ATT was the best. When merged/purchased by Cingular they became crooked. They let all of the ATT towers slowly degrade and tried to move everyone over to Cingular. I think there was a lawsuit for the manipulation involved. Anyway, I moved over to T-Mobile. 3G was what Europe started with and took a long time for the US to adapt to. I guess glitz and name recognition mean a lot some people.

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Joel G. November 7, 2009 at 11:19 am

Yes!! the MyTouch is a huge Threat to the iPhone! Sure the iPhone has way more apps but the Mytouch is still new so more will be created. Palm Pre is no match for these 2 phones. I love this chart, now i know im making the right decision by getting the sleek and sexy looking MyTouch lol

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Albert November 12, 2009 at 7:27 pm

This is a really cool and helpfull chart. I would say that the iPhone is cool and the myTouch is also, but I would go for the myTouch any day. I have been using the iPhone lately and yea its pretty cool. But I mean the myTouch( which I have now) is basically the same thing. But there’s more. The myTouch can do more things in it that the iPhone can’t do. Like for example, you can put a wallpaper on the screen, put things on the main page like that big clock, and google tabs( what ever you call it) on the screen. I just say its better because its more customizable and because you can do more stuff.

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Jamie November 21, 2009 at 2:01 am

when i checked the iphone had 3.2 megapixels on the camera, not 3.0

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Mike November 24, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Every company is still trying to beat the best. Not succeeding at all!! Iphone…period.

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Mai December 5, 2009 at 9:26 am

I love the MYTOUCH!!!!

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Anonymous December 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm

there are internal upgrades always available fo the mytouch, i would never look at anything but htc androids

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scott January 18, 2010 at 8:02 am

Obviously the Droid is superior over all phones. And the my touch

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Anonymous January 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm

This is how it works:people who get a mytouch or any other smart phone get them because they wanted an iPhone but had to settlle for tha knock-off phone that’s all it is. It’s like when people get a notebook or laptop they really wanted a MAC but settlled for a laptop or or, MP3s people buthose knock offs

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