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Apple iPhone 3GS Review

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User Interface and Software:

The Apple iPhone 3GS naturally ships with the latest version of iPhone OS.  The most useful upgrades are the addition of voice command and copy and paste, though these have been standard in most smartphones for years now.  The OS update is available to all iPhone owners, but voice command is only compatible with the 3GS.  Apple has a weird balancing act going on of playing catch-up on basic features (video recording also makes its official debut here) while innovating in others areas (video editing, UI, the App Store.)  The addition of stereo Bluetooth and MMS round out the “why the hell doesn’t a phone this advanced have this” features, but the “why the hell did it take this long” question still remains a mystery.  There are many more small tweaks in 3.0, for a more comprehensive list check out the unofficial iPhone User’s Guide.

The voice command is fairly routine, though does allow for music control.  This is not a unique feature, as Microsoft's Voice Command allows users to do this as well, but still handy nonetheless.  Beyond dialing from contacts or numbers, the user can also skip tracks, play an album by name or ask what song is playing.  While cool, we don't think these features are incredibly useful but some may enjoy them more than others.

The voice command in Apple iPhone 3GS is fairly routine - Apple iPhone 3GS Review
The voice command in Apple iPhone 3GS is fairly routine - Apple iPhone 3GS Review

The voice command in Apple iPhone 3GS is fairly routine


The 3GS is snappier, that’s for sure.  Apple claims that everything you do is up to 2x faster with the new hardware, and we wouldn’t doubt this claim.  It is a welcome improvement, but nothing groundbreaking.  The 600MHz processor is not unmatched in the industry (the Pre runs the same CPU actually,) like the original processor was when the 2G launched.  Safari runs quicker as well, with some tests putting it over 120% better at rendering than the 3G and 20% better than the Pre, which also runs a Webkit based browser.  Here there definitely is a noticeable difference.

Voice Memos and Compass make their debut in the Apple iPhone 3GS, with the former being more useful than the latter.  The most useful part of the compass is that maps now orientate in the direction you’re facing.  Beyond this you will find the standard set of applications out of the box, with tens of thousands of others ready to be downloaded, most for a price.  We should start seeing some better games come for the 3GS due to its support of OpenGL ES 2.0 compatible hardware and a more powerful 3D chip.  This probably means that we’ll also see games compatible only with the 3GS.

Voice Memos and Compass make their debut in the Apple iPhone 3GS - Apple iPhone 3GS Review
Voice Memos and Compass make their debut in the Apple iPhone 3GS - Apple iPhone 3GS Review

Voice Memos and Compass make their debut in the Apple iPhone 3GS


Spotlight search allows the user to search their contacts, calendar, notes, mail and iPod, similar to the universal search found in the Pre.  Unlike the Pre, when the iPhone comes up empty on results the iPhone does not go out and search the web for the answer.  It also only searches mail subjects, not the entire message.  It’s a useful enough feature, but we feel Apple could have taken it further to make better use of it.

Spotlight search - Apple iPhone 3GS Review
Spotlight search - Apple iPhone 3GS Review

Spotlight search


One side note, after going straight from the Pre to the Apple iPhone 3GS, the lack of multitasking is very apparent.  We’d happily carry around an extra charger in exchange for the extra functionality.  Or you know, an extra battery if that was an option.

54 Comments
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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. AlaneCzeQ (Posts: 19; Member since: 12 Jun 2009)


camera resolution - 10 when other phones have 8megapixels and get 9 for that ... weird imo

posted on 24 Jun 2009, 13:18

2. Masters (Posts: 22; Member since: 15 Apr 2009)


True.

posted on 24 Jun 2009, 15:47

8. Osukaru (Posts: 68; Member since: 02 Jul 2008)


Its the iPhone, everyone /Drools for it..... Sad

posted on 24 Jun 2009, 19:48

13. AlaneCzeQ (Posts: 19; Member since: 12 Jun 2009)


and when im sayin here is a proff : this phone is 3 megapixel one and resulution is 10http://www.phonearena.com/htmls/HTC-Touch-HD-Review-review-r_2060-p_5.html -> HTC HD 5megapixels and score is 8 and I dont talk about quality but RESOLUTION it means HOW MANY MEGAPIXELS it has got it was first example second one: supported formats - 7 HTC HD - 6 what the hell its win mo it plays everything ! and here u need to conver it on your pc ... I know that the quality of screen is 10 but its resolution ist not top notch coz on the market we've got 800x480 so it suppose to be lower I think this review was good about 2 years ago when nokia n95 came out now I think that Iphone sux big time ... why coz everybody supports it and that is why apple hv made so little changes coz all of reviewer loved it and the are giving better marks than the phone deserves i know that people like AVERANGE JOE will love this phone coz its easy but why TECH JUNKIE who would like to get TODAY : AMOLED, flash with cam, multitasking, bluetooth to send files (maybe its possible dont know sorry if im wrong), better screen res, antiscratch surface and some design changes and i can count more. look what have samsung done ... they are cheaper and better ... lg also :) well maybe its only me but ITS still IPHONE the FIRST ONE with FEW CHANGES (mainly in soft)

posted on 26 Jun 2009, 14:19

28. behold--me (Posts: 650; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)


pathetic ........its not even that great I AGREE WIT U

posted on 24 Jun 2009, 14:03

3. Arielnyc2006 (unregistered)


Thats the main reason I have not acquired the iphone, poor ATT call quality.

posted on 24 Jun 2009, 14:31

4. LGVX1993 (Posts: 260; Member since: 27 Jan 2009)


This is one of the few times where ive seen a phone with bad call quality.

posted on 24 Jun 2009, 15:05

5. drewsky (Posts: 147; Member since: 04 Jan 2009)


I agree with who made this review. It makes to sense to get the 3GS, just get the 3G, with the 3.0 software. The camera is a little better, the processor is faster, but thats really it. I expected Apple to change the design s little bit more. And what happend to ATT making the data plan cheaper? Thats the main reason I don't have one. I would hate to pay $30 a month for any phone.

posted on 24 Jun 2009, 15:21

7. vmatikov (Posts: 55; Member since: 28 Jan 2009)


AT&T never said they'd change the price of the data plan lol... Anyway you're right, there's a slim diff between the 3G and 3G S, but I think it's a matter of taste.

posted on 24 Jun 2009, 17:53

10. drewsky (Posts: 147; Member since: 04 Jan 2009)


There was a rumor, that ATT would make a LIMITED data plan for the Iphone that would cost $20. But I just found the article that killed that Idea. oh well, I'd much rather have a Omnia i8910.

posted on 24 Jun 2009, 18:05

11. vmatikov (Posts: 55; Member since: 28 Jan 2009)


Hence, it's a rumor. Lol anyway what diff does it make? In my opinion if you want an iPhone, you're gonna pay what they tell you to. And you clearly aren't that person (not that that's a bad thing btw)

posted on 24 Jun 2009, 15:19

6. vmatikov (Posts: 55; Member since: 28 Jan 2009)


Hey just a little note to the reviewers... You guys mentioned that of the two grills on the bottom, audio only comes out of the left one, and you also mentioned that the two grills would naturally indicate stereo speakers. Idk if you guys know or not but I just wanted to mention that under the right grill is the mic.

posted on 24 Jun 2009, 16:17

9. pathmarkpolice (Posts: 102; Member since: 05 Feb 2009)


Meh

posted on 24 Jun 2009, 19:12

12. davidneary01 (Posts: 16; Member since: 25 Nov 2008)


its just suprising that apple the "kings of cool and innovation" have now let this phone go 3 generations with zero and i mean 0 design changes..even the instinct tried to improve itself a little with curvier edges and a sleaker look..no doubt it's a great phone but if you aren't moving forward your moving backwords..

posted on 25 Jun 2009, 03:25

14. MTLance (unregistered)


Lol Apple don't have to do much these days thanks to lazy competitors but now the competitors are working way harder than they would. i.e. Nokia just woke up from iPhone kicking its butt and coming out with E72(Very sexy phone and I'm in love, I just hope there is a good review for it), Palm has an Apple man with Pre totally kicking iPhone butt, and not to mention BB ain't giving that up that easy but with Storm 2 on its way.

posted on 25 Jun 2009, 03:53

15. donchichi (Posts: 1; Member since: 25 Jun 2009)


I'm very surprised the review for Iphone is rated so high and the N97 so low. There are advantages on both phones whereas the Iphone is more for viewing videos and music but not a good phone overall. Be a bit fair on the reviews as I have 5800 and iphone and after a while the hype just dies with the iphone. Its like a very beautiful lady but she can't cook, can't clean and can't do nothing. After a short while you'd go for the average girl who can do more.

posted on 25 Jun 2009, 07:07

16. mulda71 (Posts: 42; Member since: 25 Jun 2009)


How do you rate a phone so high if you say the phone call quality blows? Because I agree, every iphone I have tried is absolutely unusable as a telephone. I really want to buy one, but I just can't buy a phone that, you know, doesn't work as a phone! How do so many people put up with that?! I mean I know it's cool and all, but...

posted on 11 Mar 2010, 09:37

53. jje1953 (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Mar 2010)


Well, I think you make the proper point. For a lot of folks, the iPhone is an iPod that you can make calls with. It's fairly apparent, that call quality is the least of Apple's concerns, because they know the typical iPhone buyer is probably more interested in the other features, than they are in the call quality. I'm considering an iPhone myself, and I could tell you, that the other features outweigh call quality, because frankly, I don't make that many calls. Not that I want a phone that sounds like two cans connected by string, but I've always wanted an iPod, and maybe you kill two birds with one stone.

posted on 25 Jun 2009, 07:28

17. sushjames (Posts: 19; Member since: 11 Apr 2009)


well i think reviewer gets paid if they praise the iphone...well i'm not offending anyone but still if you notice reviews about iphone from all the website they only say good thing about it.. i don't understand.. Anyhow can't believe apple just introduced one phone (iphone) now it's taking most of the mobile market.. well it's great for them.. sad for other manufactures because they generate 20 - 30 models per year still they can't compete with this one...can someone please explain me what makes apple product so special ?? .. well thanks for reading my comments.

posted on 26 Jun 2009, 14:08

27. behold--me (Posts: 650; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)


im kinda glad to hear that this scored below a 9 http://www.cellphonesignal.com/the-pearl-the-best-smartphone-out-there/ look at this link BEST SMARTPHONE where do u see the iphone 3G? its below the motorola Zine ZN5 i dont even think that was meant to be a smartphone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted on 25 Jun 2009, 09:38

18. madlaw1071 (Posts: 3; Member since: 25 Jun 2009)


#16 nails it and I'll go a step further, the 3 most common uses for a cell phone the Iphone excels the least at. It sucks as a phone, has no push email for most providers and still has no MMS(no definitive date). Other than that it's a great phone.

posted on 25 Jun 2009, 11:38

19. martycota (Posts: 28; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)


Is the iPhone taking most of the mobile market? I like to think that most of the millions of people who bought it, are the ones who keep buying them when they release new ones, meaning that overall, 1/3 only equals the total subscribers...

posted on 25 Jun 2009, 14:56

20. Jyakotu (Posts: 817; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)


All these comments are acting like Phone Arena gave the iPhone 3GS a perfect score. Heck, it scored lower than it's previous iPhone counterparts.

posted on 25 Jun 2009, 16:00

21. sprntfanboi02 (Posts: 41; Member since: 25 Jun 2009)


yeah plus we know how much better this phone is than the previous iphone.....oh wait thats right its the same phone....oh wait thats right apple finally put cut and paste in their phone....didnt my htc 6700 have that

posted on 26 Jun 2009, 14:02

25. behold--me (Posts: 650; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)


doesnt every smartphone have that my phone from 2006 had some of the features that the iphone didnt have (video) it was DISCONTINUED IN 2007 AND STILL BEAT THE IPHONE WITH THAT ok uh appple get real it shouldnt take 3 yrs to get video capture or QWERTY on a full touch....... my behold? 5mp landscape qwerty almost 8 months before the iphone video and pic editing

posted on 26 Jun 2009, 14:03

26. behold--me (Posts: 650; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)


oh wait and the all original MMS MESSAGING dammit apple get with the program haha

posted on 01 Jul 2009, 00:01

45. FU2 (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 Jun 2009)


DISCONTINUED should be the key word in your entire paragraph...There is NO smartphone to this day easier or more fun to use than the iPhone, thats why its selling like hotcakes.. Unlike your Moto Q or whatever other Discontinued JUNK you were carrying around...

posted on 26 Jun 2009, 00:54

22. theman414 (Posts: 130; Member since: 08 Jun 2009)


I'm so glad I got rid of vx6800 for this today!

posted on 26 Jun 2009, 08:37

23. rshackindian (Posts: 21; Member since: 11 Apr 2009)


scored lower than the sprint palm pre. ha ha

posted on 27 Jun 2009, 12:07

34. FU2 (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 Jun 2009)


Yet it has sold more than double..hahahahahaha stick with the ghetto i mean sprint service....lol

posted on 30 Jun 2009, 12:28

41. hereticcavi (unregistered)


ghetto? your ghetto, ghetto

posted on 01 Jul 2009, 00:03

46. FU2 (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 Jun 2009)


^^^ let me guess sprint customer...lol...typical...Must be why they have to have security guards in all the retail stores...You know for all the high class people that pay their bill on time...oh wait...maybe thats why sprint is about to go belly up..hahaha OK on a lighter not, can we even consider sprint a cell company now that they have sold off all their towers?? lol... Whats next??

posted on 26 Jun 2009, 13:54

24. behold--me (Posts: 650; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)


i watched on the news when they announced the FIRST iphone i thought omg HOW AWESOME!!! the iphone 3G came out and the apps upgrade was cool but those BASIC FEATURES WERE MISSING now the iphone 3GS (notice no space lol) and it looks EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE 3G AND REALLY CLOSE TO THE FIRST GEN. never a fan............ there's been no design change! people get bored with it if u put the same phone out over and over (moto razr) switch it up a little bit like EVERY OTHER MANUFACTURER DOES imagine this....do u think that if t-mo released another G1 that looked EXACTLY LIKE IT but had a faster processor and maybe a few more apps n crap that people would buy more of that second one than its predecessor? wel apple used to be the king of innovation and multimedia, but starting to fall behind. sony ericsson is making its multi-media phones and camera phones aka walkman and cyber shot series........ nokia is changing their xpressmusic phones LG has second and 3rd gen. of older phones and they look different!!!! (i.e. enV, shine, viewty, etc.) even samsung is changing their phones appearances and even has specific lines to meet the needs of buisness or just music ppl htc has those phones that just look professional.......and get the job done right which manufacturers have good cameras? all of them! oooh 3mp!!!! samsung has the behold and omnia=5mp the pixon=8mp and even the pixon 12=12 mp sony e. has 12, 8, and 5 on most of their new high end phones and even the mid range ones nokia was slowest to get in the camera buisness but even they have 5 and 8 mp lg has 8mp phones htc has 5 and a rumored 8mp phone oh wait, wheres apple? 3mp......wow

posted on 26 Jun 2009, 15:36

29. AlaneCzeQ (Posts: 19; Member since: 12 Jun 2009)


3mp......wow but its like apple is sayin : it takes SUPERB pictures DEAL with it fanboys where are you know ? is it 3g or 3gs ? which is better compared to money u have to pay for it ? this is my question to fans :)

posted on 01 Jul 2009, 00:04

47. FU2 (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 Jun 2009)


The answer is neither because you probably cant afford them...lol

posted on 12 Jul 2009, 13:47

52. AlaneCzeQ (Posts: 19; Member since: 12 Jun 2009)


only child would reply like this ... sad but true

posted on 26 Jun 2009, 18:47

30. cheech4 (Posts: 9; Member since: 29 Dec 2008)


PRE>Iphone

posted on 27 Jun 2009, 12:06

32. FU2 (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 Jun 2009)


WRONG^^^^ Pre= what a joke

posted on 28 Jun 2009, 20:50

38. AZNphoneGeek (Posts: 200; Member since: 15 May 2009)


FU2, go FU your iPhone then

posted on 01 Jul 2009, 00:05

48. FU2 (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 Jun 2009)


^^^ good idea...

posted on 26 Jun 2009, 20:23

31. mullaihno (Posts: 1; Member since: 26 Jun 2009)


come on guys he phone is better it has a better camera, video recording, stronger 3g, faster processor and graphics, longer battery, voice dial, memory and ram, more durable body and display and better bluetooth all that and it looks sexy.

posted on 27 Jun 2009, 12:06

33. FU2 (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 Jun 2009)


Agree...The best device period=iPhone....All others are imitations...

posted on 27 Jun 2009, 15:43

35. mulda71 (Posts: 42; Member since: 25 Jun 2009)


sure, if you could just place a phone call on it, it would be.

posted on 29 Jun 2009, 18:38

40. sprntfanboi02 (Posts: 41; Member since: 25 Jun 2009)


are you saying they are imitations because apple is constantly updating their phone to get basic features that my smartphone from 2006 had in it? cough cough cut and paste cough

posted on 30 Jun 2009, 12:29

42. hereticcavi (unregistered)


also remember when att got live tv last year.....Didnt sprint have that for like almost 5 years....AWESOME 3g speed d00d

posted on 30 Jun 2009, 13:11

43. sprntfanboi02 (Posts: 41; Member since: 25 Jun 2009)


i do remember that.....do you remember when att charged $50 more a month for their everything plan.... oh wait they still do......and oh yeah dont you have to pay an extra $10 just to get turn by turn navigation on the iphone.......wow.......that comes standard on the pre

posted on 30 Jun 2009, 23:57

44. FU2 (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 Jun 2009)


Standard on the Pre is the video camera...oh wait.... hahaha what a joke..the Pre feels like its made from some of the cheapest plastic there is... ITS JUNK on a carrier that is bleeding at every seem..Not to mention Palm is about 3 months shy of going belly up...hahahaha JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted on 01 Jul 2009, 00:06

49. FU2 (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 Jun 2009)


Yeah they did and their still going belly up..hmmmmm Live TV must be important somewhere....lol

posted on 27 Jun 2009, 20:17

36. sensei_phn (Posts: 6; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


They would prefer the Pre over Apple's latest attempt at screwing everyone in price and network coverage. Fianlly someone gets it.

posted on 28 Jun 2009, 20:39

37. AZNphoneGeek (Posts: 200; Member since: 15 May 2009)


ya know what on tthis whole apple thing... if apple made a car, people would buy it. if they started a food chain, people would eat there and they would buy the car and eat at the restraunt even if were the worst junk on earth cause it was made by apple. from a business and product standpoint, they are silly good. personally i hate everything about them. i even hate my own ipod but i still use it because it's an awesome mp3 player. sad. whats even sadder is the fact that the iphone hasn't changed in 3 generations. oh wait it has... it's multitaskless-ness (is that even a word) is now UP to twice as fast. thank goodness for the compass eh. i'll stick to my blackberry curve because i can listen to music, web browse, and text all at the same time. oh yeah, and it was free. oh yeah, it's tough as nail too. god i hate apple stuff so much.

posted on 29 Jun 2009, 16:53

39. SmartPhan (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Jun 2009)


How is it that the category point totals are so much better for the N97, but IPhone's overall score is higher? You don't even seem to be that impressed by any of the iPhone's specific features. It seems like more fan-boy appreciation for the iPhone's design over "smart-phone" functionality... and don't say that they're in different classes when an unlocked iPhone is just as expensive as an unlocked N97.

posted on 01 Jul 2009, 00:07

50. FU2 (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 Jun 2009)


Yeah your right...What a joke...

posted on 01 Jul 2009, 01:29

51. uphaillife (Posts: 2; Member since: 01 Jul 2009)


FU2 is an obvious fanboy. anyways, the thing is: strip the apps and you got a normal smart phone with horrible limitations. 3 mp camera? horrendous screen?http://tinypic-com/view.php?pic=2cyr5w2&s=5 (replace - with .) bad music/sound quality. it sucks as a phone and a media player. wifi is the only thing i like about it

posted on 25 Mar 2010, 18:32

54. lacrymosa (Posts: 6; Member since: 25 Mar 2010)


when you think about it. the iphone seems just like an att version of the tmobile sidekick. a new overpriced version comes out every year with the smallest change and everyone who had the older model jumps on bored with it and starts bragging about the one new feature the phone should've had in the first place

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Display3.5 inches, 320 x 480 pixels (165 ppi) LCD
Camera3 megapixels
Hardware
Single core, 600 MHz
256 MB RAM
Size4.50 x 2.40 x 0.48 inches
(115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3 mm)
4.76 oz  (135 g)
Battery1219 mAh, 12 hours talk time

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