Apple iPhone 3GS Review

Apple iPhone 3GS Review

At first it was just good enough that the Jesus phone was finally being released, and last year Apps took it to a new level.  This time around Apple is counting on under the hood improvements to continue driving iPhone sales.  The Apple iPhone 3GS is the latest and greatest, bringing a faster processor, faster internet, increased graphics and an increase in storage.  Memory has also been doubled; it’s now available in 16 and 32GB versions, though the 8GB 3G will remain on sale with a new, lower $99 price tag.  Last year we liked the 3G, but felt Apple missed the mark by simply improving on the product rather than pushing innovation.  The App Store has proven to be a huge success, but this is on the software side and 2G owners have benefited just as much.  The 3GS threatens to be the same, and with minimal software improvement from 2.0 to 3.0 we have to wonder just how much of an upgrade that little S really brings.


For anyone who has used an iPhone before there isn’t much to say about the 3GS’s design.  It looks very similar to the 3G, and without a ruler you’d never notice that it is 1mm shorter and a mere 0.1mm thinner.  Despite rumors of a matte finish the hard plastic back remains, as do the rounded edges with chrome trim.  This time around both sizes are available in black or white.  It is slightly lighter than the 3G, almost too much so in our opinion.  Plastic housing and lightness don’t give the user a reassuring feeling normally, but the glass face helps to overcome this.  For a more in-depth look at the design check out our iPhone 3G review.

You can compare the Apple iPhone 3GS with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Overall the design is more of the same, and we’d bet that 99% of our readers wouldn’t notice if we reused last year’s pictures (for the record we didn’t…or did we?)  It’s a good design, but we would have liked to see some of the rumors come true.  A front facing camera would be nice, and a soft touch back would have been wonderful.  Apple says the materials are more fingerprint resistant this time, and while this may be true they are still very noticeable.  There isn’t really much to complain about though, it’s tried, true and iconic at this point.

Apple iPhone 3GS 360 Degrees View:



1. AlaneCzeQ

Posts: 19; Member since: Jun 12, 2009

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

2. Masters

Posts: 22; Member since: Apr 15, 2009


8. Osukaru

Posts: 68; Member since: Jul 02, 2008

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

13. AlaneCzeQ

Posts: 19; Member since: Jun 12, 2009

and when im sayin here is a proff : this phone is 3 megapixel one and resulution is 10 -> 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)

28. behold--me

Posts: 679; Member since: Jun 22, 2009

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

3. Arielnyc2006 unregistered

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

4. LGVX1993

Posts: 260; Member since: Jan 27, 2009

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

5. drewsky

Posts: 147; Member since: Jan 04, 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.

7. vmatikov

Posts: 55; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

10. drewsky

Posts: 147; Member since: Jan 04, 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.

11. vmatikov

Posts: 55; Member since: Jan 28, 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)

6. vmatikov

Posts: 55; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

9. pathmarkpolice

Posts: 102; Member since: Feb 05, 2009


12. davidneary01

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 25, 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 doubt it's a great phone but if you aren't moving forward your moving backwords..

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.

15. donchichi

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 25, 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.

16. mulda71

Posts: 42; Member since: Jun 25, 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...

53. jje1953

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 11, 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.

17. sushjames

Posts: 19; Member since: Apr 11, 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.

27. behold--me

Posts: 679; Member since: Jun 22, 2009

im kinda glad to hear that this scored below a 9 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

18. madlaw1071

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 25, 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.

19. martycota

Posts: 28; Member since: Jun 15, 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...

20. Jyakotu

Posts: 867; Member since: Dec 12, 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.

21. sprntfanboi02

Posts: 41; Member since: Jun 25, 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

25. behold--me

Posts: 679; Member since: Jun 22, 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

26. behold--me

Posts: 679; Member since: Jun 22, 2009

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

45. FU2

Posts: 11; Member since: Jun 27, 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...

22. theman414

Posts: 132; Member since: Jun 08, 2009

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

23. rshackindian

Posts: 21; Member since: Apr 11, 2009

scored lower than the sprint palm pre. ha ha

34. FU2

Posts: 11; Member since: Jun 27, 2009

Yet it has sold more than double..hahahahahaha stick with the ghetto i mean sprint
iPhone 3GS
  • Display 3.5" 320 x 480 pixels
  • Camera 3 MP
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 1219 mAh(12.00h talk time)

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.