Not too long ago, the iPhone 3GS was released on the Rogers network and lucky for us, Rogers was able to drop off a demo unit for us to review and compare. So lets get down to business.
The iPhone 3GS is available in 16gb for $199.99 or 32gb for $299.99 on a 3-year term. Both of which are available in white or black. The 3G is now only available in black and in 8gb for $99.99 on a 3-year term. If you’re interested, check out the pricing here.
The Rogers iPhone 3GS isn’t much of a change from the original 3G. There isn’t any changes from the looks besides a brighter “iPhone” and “xxGB” font on the back. The 3GS is 2 grams heavier but if you can tell the difference, you should be doing this review. Size wise, both 3G and 3GS are exactly the same. The 3GS has a new processor that runs at 600MHz while the 3G runs at 412MHz and the RAM has doubled from 128mb to 256mb. The graphics is also been stepped up from OpenGL ES 1.1 to OpenGL ES 2.0. These specs might not be a huge difference but is quite noticeable when scrolling through menu’s and using applications.
Nothing, in terms of navigation, has changed on the iPhone 3GS from the original iPhone 3G. It is still very simple to use, the user interface is very friendly, and buttons are fairly large for people who have problems reading. Sliding left on the homepage reveals a new program called “Spotlight.” This program is like a phone search. Typing in, for example, John Smith will reveal the contact, the emails, as well as text messages and a lot more. This software is new to the 3.0 firmware and can be accessed on all 3 generations of the iPhone with a 3.0 update. We however noticed a fairly large improvement over the iPhone 3G and the 3GS. Navigating through menu’s as well as opening applications are a lot smoother and faster without any lagyness.
The new iPhone 3GS features a program called Voice Control. This is a hands free voice command program that is easy to use and very easy to access. Holding down the home button pops up the Voice Control program. Once it beeps, you can say sentences like “play music, dial xxx, call john smith, previous track” and so on. This is very simple and when testing it, I didn’t notice any lag or problems with the iPhone listening to my voice.
The iPhone 3GS has a screen size of 3.5′ and is 320 x 480 in resolution which is the same as the iPhone 3G and 2G. The 3GS has a OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics API and is heard to be a very big improvement. The glass screen has also been improved since the 3G and and has been coated with a fingerprint resistant oleo phobic coating. I have noticed that the screen is more reflective and the coating seemed to actually work pretty well. It also doesn’t leave such big of an oil mark if you make calls and fingerprints aren’t as noticeable.
The iPhone 3GS has a built in magnetic compass. When using it, I did notice that it would have a random change. I have also heard that it doesn’t do too good when using it in a car because of all the metal around. The compass has a setting of either Truth North (Default) or Magnetic North. To calibrate the compass, it’ll ask you to move the iPhone in an infinite loop/figure 8 sort of way which sometimes does the trick but I still do get random changes of directions.
The iPhone has a new application called Voice Memo which is a simple voice recorder. This can be accessed on all phones as well with the 3.0 update. When testing the voice recorder, I noticed that when playing back, it was very clear and barely heard any distortion. Near the bottom of the “virtual mic” is a db measurement. Though it might not be very useful and might not be very accurate either. It’s looks very cool and can be used to make sure you arn’t screaming in your memos. The voice memos can be accessed by the button right of the db measuring tool. This shows your list of Voice memos and can be played back and shared via MMS or Email. When you sync to your computer, a voice memo play-list shows up and that is where its located.
Call Quality hasn’t changed much since the 3G. I noticed that the earpiece was a tad louder though. Speakerphone seemed to be the same and had that annoying echo that the 3G originally had. I haven’t had any dropped calls so it seems to be good and the person on the other line could hear be loud and clear.
Video and Camera:
The iPhone 3GS has an improved camera lens of 3.2 mega pixel. This also adds auto-focus but to me, it seemed a bit confusing and more annoying then helpful. To use it, you first press where you want the camera to focus, a blue square will show up where its focusing, then you press the shutter button. The iPhone 3GS also adds the ability to record videos at 30fps which can be accessed by changing the small switch at the bottom right of the camera to video recording. Video quality was actually very good and I didn’t notice any lagyness.
The main reason why the iPhone 3GS has an S is speed. The new iPhone has a 7.2mbps data speed vs. the iPhone 3G at 3.6mbps. When we tested the 3GS 9 times, the fastest download speed we’ve ever got was 2.8mbps while when testing the 3G 9 times as well, the fastest we got was 1.5mbps which is about double the speed. You can probably expect more since when testing the speed, I was in my basement. (Left = iPhone 3GS/Right = iPhone 3G)
iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 3GS
I believe that the iPhone 3GS is an improvement from the 3G but if you already have a 3G, it’s not worth it upgrading. The camera is a great improvement and the Internet is quite a bit faster. Start-up and shut-off time is about twice as fast as well as opening applications. YouTube video quality on 3.5G is no difference from 3G and size wise, both are the same. If I were an iPhone 3G owner. I’d wait for another iPhone to come out next June with more features. (Which is usually when Apple releases an iPhone)
(Left = iPhone 3GS | Right = iPhone 3G)