Apple iPhone 3GS

June 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Here we go again. The Apple ‘iPhone 3GS’ is now on sale and it is already shaping up to be even more controversial than both its predecessors. On the hardware side it brings a slightly improved camera (3 megapixels with autofocus, compared to 2MP fixed focus), video recording, marginally better battery life and up to 3x faster performance. It sounds good, but more importantly what’s NOT to like…?

The preamble: My cult and contentious reviews’ system. Designed as a time saver to highlight the potential deal breakers in a product before you commit to reading lengthy reviews on your favourites sites and/or magazines. For a more detailed description please read: the Rules

Just the Bad Points Review: Apple iPhone 3GS:

Apple iPhone 3G S (yes, there's a space)
Apple iPhone 3GS (the original space between ‘3G’ and ‘S’ has now been removed – go figure!)
  • Evolution not revolution. This is the old model tweaked, not an overhaul
  • iPhone OS 3.0 brings most of the software benefits to iPhone 3G owners that the 3G S offers. Find a full features list here
  • Price. The iPhone 3G S is far more expensive than the iPhone 3G was at launch. Check with local telco before setting your heart on it
  • Push Notifications bring third party app alerts but do not represent full multitasking. When a programme closes it closes completely
  • Addition of turn by turn GPS still requires the purchase of third party software such as from flagship partner TomTom, which is extra expense
  • Low light camera performance is worse than the iPhone 3G (big problem if you want to take photos on nights out)
  • Screen not improved at all. Same resolution (320 x 480 pixels), jump not made to OLED
  • Searching emails across the server only checks the recipient and subject line details, not the body text
  • Looks just like the old iPhone 3G. There’s not even an ‘S’ on the back

Flaws still present from before:

  • A new model should be announced by June judging by Apple’s past track record
  • Camera lacks a flash
  • 16GB & 32GB options capacities available but no SDHC/microSDHC expansion slot to add to it
  • No second camera for video calling
  • iTunes tie: media content locked to specific computer, no simple drag & drop way to add files
  • Limited codec support excludes likes of Ogg Vorbis audio and – crucially – AVI video so lengthy format conversion required with third party software
  • Non-removeable battery so it can’t be swapped out on long journeys & requires expensive procedure to replace at an Apple store should it degrade outside the warranty
  • No Flash support in the mobile Safari web browser

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