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Review: iPhone 3GS

updated 09:10 pm EDT, Sat June 27, 2009

iPhone 3GS Review

Apple enthusiasts have almost been lulled into a certain degree of complacency with iPhone releases in the past two years: each one has been accompanied by a major hardware change along with whatever software changes may have been promised. The iPhone 3GS marks the first time Apple has had a subtler upgrade in store. But with a faster processor and graphics, a digital compass and voice control, is it enough to persuade first- or second-generation iPhone buyers to invest? We'll find out in a special iPhone 3GS review that focuses on what's changed in this smartphone.

By Electronista Staff


    Comment buried. Show
  1. midtoad

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007


    5 stars?

    I just don't see how you can rate this thing with 5 stars. That rating implies there's no room to improve it, and that is perfection personified. That's hardly the case here. As you pointed out, the camera has no flash (unlike the cameras on virtually all other smartphones), and there's no multitasking, again unlike most other smartphones. No front-side camera either, so forget about video calls. No removable memory, no removable battery. With all those shortcomings, even four stars would be a reach.

    On the flip side, the user experience on the iPhone is superlative, and a high-water mark that others can only dream of. The device is a pleasure to use.

    But still - 5 stars? That makes you appear to be hopelessly biased.

  1. lowededwookie

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008


    No it doesn't

    Just because something is 5 stars doesn't mean it doesn't require improvement.

    A review should be based on the device at hand not its future potential.

    A real review should look at the product and look at what it does and make judgements based on that.

    Does it do what it says it does? Yes.
    Does it do what it says it does well? Yes.
    Is it easy to use? Yes.
    Is it value for money? Depends on your perception of value.

    Just because a review gives 5 stars doesn't make it biased it's just how the reviewer weighed everything up.

    In other words this version is rated 5 stars. The next version may be rated 5 stars. The version after that may be rated 4 or less. You review by what you have not what you think it should have.

  1. thibaulthalpern

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008



    This is an inane analysis. Is every upgrade there to persuade owners of previous generation iPhones to upgrade? Is this called complacency? Wow, what are we missing here? We're missing a knowledge of environmental literacy here. A phone upgrade should not necessarily be seen as persuasion for older iPhone users to upgrade.

    The analysis in this article is inane and begs for more environmental awareness and begs for less consumer consumption!

  1. slider

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Not really subtle

    I would disagree that this update subtle. The guts have been greatly improved to include doubling the capacity of storage. I can't compare to the original iPhone, but it does feel good in the hand, what would you do to case and still be able to offer the slim design with larger display? In this case I'd say if it fits leave it - I think Apple found a good balance here - it's not all about making things smaller and smaller. If they kept this design and just continued to improve battery life and capabilities as technology allows - I think that's a win. A smaller iPhone means a smaller screen. A slimmer iPhone means a different feel in the hand. We should expect to keep seeing iPhones in this form factor with things like 4G, longer battery life, and storage in the future. IMO there's not a single phone out there that is following the iPhone that comes close to the balance achieved by the iPhone's current design.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: no it doesn't

    A review should be based on the device at hand not its future potential.

    Really? So people who reviewed the earlier iPhones had no reason to gripe about missing features, like search, or copy/paste, voice dialing, bluetooth headsets, etc?

    Actually, according to your tests, you would be giving the Zune 5 stars. Ready to do that?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Not really subtle

    I would disagree that this update subtle. The guts have been greatly improved to include doubling the capacity of storage.

    To mere mortals and the general population, these are enhancements they would not notice or feel. Only the geeks are going "Check out the changes to the guts!".

    If Apple released a new MBP that looked like the current one, but was faster and new logic board, more RAM, and a better iSight, and argue that it was a major change?

  1. SlimGem

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008



    @ testudo,

    So if your idea of a major change doesn't encompass the internal components being totally upgraded and improved, then what does?

    If they were offered in the colors chartreuse or fuchsia would that be a "major change" in your book?

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008


    Who cares

    Who cares what Testicles think. The 3GS deserves a five star rating period.

  1. Mojo

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Apr 2000


    Testudo Needs A Life!

    If I come across an article that he hasn't commented on I'm shocked!

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2008


    Did you read it?

    "We can't give it a perfect rating as a result, and we don't believe there will truly be such a thing as a perfect phone."

    It may not be possible to give 4.5 stars in their setup, but it's clear if you read the article that they acknowledge the iPhone is not perfect.

    Perhaps prudence instead of opinion would be a better pursuit on your part.

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