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iPhone 3GS review

The definitive verdict on the new 3G S iPhone

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 8 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 3 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 12 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 320

View full specification

For

  • Great touchscreen
  • Faster processor
  • iPhone 3.0 software
  • Camera with autofocus

Against

  • Poor coverage at times
  • Expensive to upgrade to
  • Internet tethering costs extra
  • Battery life doesn't seem to have been improved

Some of you may have used the PC suite for the iPhone 3GS before: it's also known as iTunes to some people.

The fact is that Apple has managed to bring a super-efficient piece of software to the iPhone as well as making it a portal to music and additional paid for content. Nokia with its nascent Ovi portal must be pretty much salivating at the fantasy of having such an intuitive interface on its books, as it not only looks great, it convinces users to part with more cash for content.

The iphone 3g s

Setting the iPhone up wasn't too bad as it was much the same as any other Apple peripheral, with the necessary naming and backing up process taking some time as well as having to download all 90MB of the new iTunes software to make the host PC compatible. Most people will want to get cracking on making their iPhone more media friendly, so having to wait the best part of half an hour to get cracking wasn't the best idea.

But being able to view and control so much of the iPhone 3GS without having to worry about fiddling with menus and such in the phone itself is always going to be a real boon, although the latest version of iTunes for the iPhone isn't really anything to get that excited about.

What we do like is the option to tether the phone to the PC / Mac and have it act as a modem. There are a number of options to already do this from other phones on other networks, but this has really brought O2's pricing plans to the fore.

The iphone 3g s

TechRadar has spoken to O2 at length on the subject of tethering and the cost (not least the fact that some people have managed to bypass paying nearly £15 for 3GB pf data per month, or nearly £30 for 10GB) but while many feel the price is too high and they should be allowed to use the free data they already pay for, O2 maintains that its price plan is competitive and that it needs to monitor data to ensure all users can use the mobile internet without being affected.

It's likely the network will need to shrink the cost of tethering if possible in the near future, as the amount of blogs and forum posts about the anger over the tethering is starting to grow rapidly.

That said, browsing over the 3G networks is pretty quick, and there was no massively perceptible loss in speed compared to Wi-Fi (providing you have good signal, which as we've covered earlier, is pretty hard to come by at times).

Other special mentions should go to the quick and reliable Wi-Fi connection, especially in your own home, as well as the addition of constant connection to The Cloud network, as you'll no longer have to log in every time you re-enter a compatible zone. We would love to find a way to keep the Wi-Fi scanning but not popping up with a list of networks every time we even think about using data.

The GPS chip on board, as we said earlier, is fast and reliable, although the radius of your current position is sometimes a little wide. Similarly Bluetooth was nice and efficient, although it was oddly slow to find over the ear headsets, which we can only put down to an early software glitch.

However, it did seem to have a lot more joy with A2DP-enabled headphones, so given that's going to be our main peripheral of choice, we can't help but feel happy on that front.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBNo
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashNo
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSDPA
SAR Value0.45 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyiPhone 3GS
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution3 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemiOS
Brand NameApple
Battery Talk Time12 Hour
Product ModelMC637BA
Screen Size8.9 cm (3.5")
Screen Resolution480 x 320
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)135 g
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Processor ManufacturerARM
Operating System VersioniOS 4
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email
RealtoneYes
Call FeaturesCall Log
Height115.5 mm
Width62.1 mm
Depth12.3 mm
Radio TunerNo
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product NameiPhone 3GS 8GB Smartphone
Processor Speed600 MHz
Processor TypeCortex
Product LineiPhone 3GS
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeDigital Compass, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberMC637BA
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing Information

iPhone 3GS. More to love. Less to pay.

Keep applications open in the background. Organise your apps with folders. Shop for books in the iBookstore. The 8GB iPhone 3GS takes advantage of all the great features of iOS 4.

Multitasking

Now you can run your favourite third-party apps - and switch between them instantly - without slowing down the performance of the foreground app or draining the battery unnecessarily. So you can listen to a football game while emailing. Or receive a VoIP call while playing a game.

Folders

Drag and drop to organise apps into folders on your Home screens and get fast access to your favourites.

Package Contents
  • iPhone 3GS 8GB Smartphone
  • Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic
  • Dock Connector to USB Cable
  • USB Power Adapter
  • Documentation