Apple iPhone 3GS Review


The battery gets a modest bump from 1150mAh to 1219, but thanks to other hard and software improvements battery life has increased to 5 hours of 3G talk time and 9 hours of Wi-Fi browsing.  More talk time is great, assuming you can make a call.  While our reception seemed just fine, call quality was awful.  Despite showing full 3G signal strength callers complained that we were static-ey, cutting in and out, tinny and just generally poor.  Our end wasn’t much better; the volume was low enough that we had a hard time understanding callers even in quiet environments.  There were a few calls we had to abandon because the quality was so poor.


Whether or not to get an Apple iPhone 3GS isn’t as clear-cut as it used to be; first, and for many users foremost, is the fact that it just isn’t much of an upgrade from the 3G.  If you’re a 2G owner or a new user looking to hop aboard then the decision should be easy.  The other issue complicating the issue is the competition.  All things considered, we like the Pre better.  It may not have the app support yet, but the platform is more advanced.  Symbian just announced some monster spec potential and we still haven’t given up on Android.  Hell, even HTC is making Windows Mobile look good (OK, that may be stretching it.)

Last year the addition of 3G was a very compelling reason for users to upgrade or jump ship, but this time around we don’t really see anything that will grab the user’s attention.  It may entice some 2G owners to finally give up their aluminum back, but save for the gamers 3G owners have very little reason to upgrade their hardware, in our opinion.  The new internals make for a faster experience, there is no doubt about that, but we couldn’t justify spending a minimum of $300 (and up to $500) for such a minor tweak.  Since 3.0 is available as a free download, the new hardware just isn’t that compelling to us.

We were concerned last year that Apple missed the boat, but the App Store at least brought a software revolution to the table.  Let’s face it, it’s still a great phone and will sell like crazy, but there are minimal software improvements and the hardware isn’t head and shoulders above the competition anymore.  What once was a truly innovative phone has fallen into a rut, while the competition is breaking out of the box.

Apple iPhone 3GS Video Review:


  • Apple finally listened, adding MMS, video recording, voice dialing, A2DP and copy/paste
  • OSX 3.0 seems more stable than 2.0
  • Improved memory, processing power, 3D rendering and a more friendly price tag


  • The excitement just isn’t there anymore. Moreso than ever, it’s more of the same.
  • The decreased price point of the 8GB 3G may be good for Apple’s bottom line, but it’s starting to feel like the RAZR all over again.

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

60 Reviews



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)

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