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iPhones Reviews
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Apple iPhone 3GS review

From free, depending on contract

Manufacturer: Apple

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

You will not find a better internet-connected smartphone than the Apple iPhone 3GS.

You will not find a better internet-connected smartphone than the Apple iPhone 3GS  (apart from possibly Apple's latest phone the Apple iPhone 4).

Apple's latest iPhone hit the shelves on Friday 19 June, 2009, but with less fanfare than previous models. The iPhone 3GS has the same case, style and, apart from the ‘S', the same name at its predecessor - the iPhone 3G. See also: Apple iPhone 4 review.

Updated, January 7, 2010:

In the two years since it first arrived, the iPhone has become synonymous with the consumer smartphone and the hero product for touchscreen gadgets. But is it really the best smartphone around?

Indisputably a market-changing device, the iPhone has twice been refined, gaining 3G, a faster processor and a subtly better camera along the way.

Issues of call quality and battery life have been addressed, although you'd still do well to keep the charger handy - it's such a strong, varied device that you'll use it all day long.

Apple iPhone 3GS review

With those much-trailed apps for everything, the iPhone is now whatever device you'd like it to be: a portable games console, the web on the go, a YouTube player or a repository of photos and music.

Other manufacturers had apps created by third-party commercial partners and admirers, but Apple found a way of monetising the interest and creating a buzz around personalising your gadget.

Web browsing is famously superb - that huge 3.5in display and the ease with which you can search the web and zoom in and out of pages is yet to be bettered.

This ease of navigation has now been added to the contact management features, so you can easily search for contacts and messages. Much of the data management is still dependent on iTunes, of course.

The camera is some way behind the pack, with a meagre 3 megapixels and no flash or zoom. However, we can't help but admire the neat and easy-to-use video capture feature, which is perhaps the most significant addition to the 3GS model.

The iPhone's handy accelerometer allows for true navigation rather than simple geo-location functions, even if it may not be quite good enough to replace a standalone satnav.

And we'd argue that the iPhone falls a little short when viewed purely as a phone - you shouldn't have to press that many keys just to get to the numerical keypad. On the other hand, we find the ability to call direct from numbers embedded in a message impressive.

NEXT: Original full iPhone 3GS review

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Apple iPhone 3GS Expert Verdict »
Apple iPhone 3GS (16GB) Scores 8.6 out of 10 based on 1062 reviews

There are currently no technical specifications recorded for this product.

  • Build Quality: We give this item 9 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

The iPhone 3GS addresses most of the fundamental weaknesses of the previous models, adding raw speed, voice-activated phone and music navigation, an improved autofocus camera, and video-recording features.




With two major revisions in the past year, the iPhone platform has also progressed a long way. Beyond the wide variety of third-party apps, the base system has added copy-and-paste support; support for Microsoft Exchange calendars, contacts, and email; built-in voice recording; and search capabilities.



All of it works together to produce a more refined iPhone that first-time buyers will love and upgraders will appreciate.



If you’re upgrading from the iPhone 3G, you’ll appreciate the speed, although unless you qualify for a discount or have a friend or family member to give your iPhone 3G to, the upgrade price might make you consider waiting for what Apple’s 2010 iPhone might have to offer.



Users of the original iPhone will be floored by the speed of the phone and of the 3G wireless network, though they may find the phone’s shiny plastic back a step down from the original, elegant brushed-aluminium edition.



If you’ve never had an iPhone before, but are considering the purchase of a smartphone for the first time, you will not find a better internet-connected phone than the iPhone 3GS.

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