Apple iPhone 4 vs. the old Sony Ericsson T68i I owned in 2002

by Jerry D on August 21, 2010

I found my old ‘Arctic Blue’ T68i the other day and was struck just how far mobile techology has advanced in 8 years. Especially compared to modern-day smartphones like the Apple iPhone 4. Pitting the two together is far from a fair fight, but it serves to show how much we often take modern phone functionality for granted…

iphone 4 vs t68i Apple iPhone 4 vs. the old Sony Ericsson T68i I owned in 2002


The wireless options on the iPhone 4 include 3G/HSDPA (signal strength may vary if you’re ‘holding it wrong’), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR. My old T68i, meanwhile, doesn’t have any Wi-Fi (802.11b was in its infancy back then), no 3G connectivity (3G phones didn’t start to appear until 2004) and Bluetooth version 1.0. (1-0)

Size & Weight:

Even though the iPhone 4 has a 3.5-inch display, Apple’s engineers have still managed to make it a neat 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm handset. Sony Ericsson’s antique phone is 101.0 x 48.0 x 19.5mm in comparison.

Obviously the T68i is the smaller phone. It’s also the lighter of the two, weighing a mere 84g compared to 137g. Yet the iPhone is still thinner, an amazing 9.3mm where the T68i measures 19.5mm. (1-1)



Every new phone these days features a digital camera and the iPhone 4 features a 5.0 Megapixel lens, which boasts tap to focus functionality, an LED flash, geo-tagging, plus VGA and 720p HD video recording up to 30fps. There’s also a front-facing camera for video calls.

The T68i hails from an age when digital cameras were far from standard issue. This Sony Ericsson phone doesn’t have one built-in, but the technology was available as a snap-on extra. If you bought the CommuniCam MCA-20 accessory you could take and store up to 14 full VGA pictures (or up to 200 pictures in QQQVGA format).

Nokia also released its first camera phone in 2002. The 7650 handset featured a 0.3MP camera for taking snaps at 640 x 480 pixels. (2-1)


The iPhone and the T68i both have their place in history. The original iPhone was the first to introduce multitouch and ‘pinch to zoom’ to a mobile device. The iPhone 4 improves upon that first 3.5-inch display, boosting the resolution to a stunning 640 x 960 pixels.

The old T68, meanwhile, was the first phone to feature a backlit colour screen. Capable of displaying 256 colours, it shows its age with a resolution of just 80 x 101 pixels. Still, with only a WAP browser, a few simple games and the joy of SMS, there was no need for anything bigger. (3-1)


On the inside, the iPhone 4′s engine is a 1GHz Apple A4 chip. There’s no hard data on the processor used in the T68i, apart from the fact it was (a) slow and (b) was probably measured in Hz rather than MHz. As for software, Apple’s iOS4 can do everything from HD video editing to console quality gaming.

The T68i can only really shout about its voice memo and calendaring features. Although you could also customise the look of the menu screen by adding your own images. You could also browse the web on the T68i though (albeit slowly via its simple WAP browser and GPRS connectivity). (5-1)


Storage-wise, the iPhone 4 provides a massive amount of space out of the box with 32GB. This compares to the T68i’s 500-entry phone book and 400KB of user storage. Without an expansion slot on the iPhone 4, 32GB is the maximum amount of storage available. You were also stuck with the default memory on the T68i, which was quickly eaten up if you installed any themes to brighten up your tiny home screen. (6-1)

Battery life:

Measuring battery life isn’t an exact science. But Apple’s spec sheet lists 7.0 hours of talktime for its phone, compared to around 11.0 hours for the Sony Ericsson T68i. As for standby time, the phones can last for 300 hours and 384 hours respectively. The T68i scores 1, the iPhone 4 0. (6-2)



The iPhone 4 also includes GPS/A-GPS sat-nav functionality, a digital compass, plus a clever 3-axis gyroscope. As previously mentioned, the old T68i featured the first colour screen with 256 colours and a small joystick for menu navigation. (7-2)

The Apple iPhone 4 wins!

iphone4 2up front side Apple iPhone 4 vs. the old Sony Ericsson T68i I owned in 2002Obviously the iPhone 4 emerges as the winner of this fight (7-2). But then this wasn’t a serious or official bout. If anything, it shows just how far mobile technology has come in less than 10 years and makes you wonder just what the phones of 2018 will be like. The T68i wasn’t the first handset that I owned. That honour goes to the chunky Motorola mr1 with its extendable antenna, two-line LCD and stylish belt-clip accessory. I wonder if I’ve still got it somewhere…

What was your first cell phone? Leave us a comment below now…

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