iPhone 3G S Review Roundup


So you’re getting antsy waiting for the new iPhone 3G S to arrive. You can’t wait for the beefed up processor, the extra application memory, better battery life and a 3 megapixel camera. But ultimately, does the next gen iPhone live up to expectations? Thanks to Macworld’s 3G S review roundup, you can easily find out what some of the lucky few (aka ‘experts’) think of the incoming Jesus Phone. While most of the reviews are generally positive, Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg and Wired’s Steven Levy do take the time to point out that because of the free feature-laden 3.0 software upgrade (copy and paste, MMS, tethering, spotlight search and more) , many current 3G users could very well do without the 3G S, or at least wait until they are eligible for the hardware upgrade without having to pay a premium.

Are YOU ready for the 3G S? Is the faster processor and improved battery life enough for you to make the jump? Take a gander at some of the excerpts and links to the reviews after the break.

Walt Mossberg, Wall Street Journal:
“During my week of testing, the new model proved dramatically snappier in every way than my iPhone 3G. Its processor is 50% faster than in the prior model, and it sports a new graphics chip. Applications opened much more quickly. Web pages loaded far faster. The camera was ready to use almost instantly. And I never once saw the occasional, annoying iPhone behavior where you strike a key while typing and it sits there, seemingly stuck, before you can continue.”

Bottom Line – Both the new iPhone and iPhone OS are packed with features that make a great product even better. But, for many users, the software may be enough of a boost to keep them from buying the new model.

David Pogue, New York Times:
“The new iPhone doesn’t just catch up to its rivals — it vaults a year ahead of them. At this point, the usual list of 10 rational objections to the iPhone have been whittled down to about three: no physical keyboard, no way to swap the battery yourself and no way to avoid using AT&T as your cell company.”

Bottom Line – All of these changes make it much harder to resist the iPhone on intellectual, feature-county grounds. The new iPhone doesn’t just catch up to its rivals — it vaults a year ahead of them…In short, the substantially improved, still elegant iPhone 3G S makes it dangerously easy for your heart and your head to agree.

Andy Ihnatko, Chicago Sun-Times:
“Everything feels faster. Safari on the iPhone 3G S seems as interactive as a desktop browser. At times, pages were being rendered so quickly over WiFi that I had to double-check to make sure that the usual time-suckers (JavaScript and plugins) hadn’t been turned off, and that I wasn’t using some sort of cut-down mobile site.”

Bottom Line The new iPhone is more than its individual features. It’s a convincing vote of faith. The 3G S, and the iPhone 3.0 OS that it runs, is tantalizing in the new wave of apps and accessories that they imply.

Ed Baig, USA Today:
“Apple also improved the digital camera on the 3G S, though I still find shooting with it a bit awkward. The autofocus camera is up to 3-megapixels, compared to 2 megapixels on the 3G model. You can tap an object in the frame that’s not in the center to have the iPhone shift its focus there and adjust the white balance. The new camera does a pretty good job on really close-up shots. There’s still no flash for snapping low-light pictures.”

Bottom LineThe 3.0 software and 3G S phone may not check off everything on your iPhone wish list. But they give iPhone loyalists plenty of new reasons to celebrate.

Jason Chen, Gizmodo:
“The iPhone 3GS is not an insignificant step forward in the iPhone family. The Nike+ support, magnetometer (compass), video recording, voice command, better camera, better battery life and faster data network are all improvements nobody would call a step backwards. But the biggest day-to-day improvement over the 3G is undoubtedly the increased processing speed, which is why Apple called this phone the 3GS (with the S standing for super fast) in order to designate that it’s basically the 3G, but better.”

Bottom Line – As a whole, the iPhone 3GS is the best all-around smartphone available. If you’re looking for a refined, augmented version of what you already know, a phone that, not for nothing, runs all the tens of thousands of apps on the App Store, choose the iPhone 3GS.

Steven Levy, Wired:
“But the new phone introduces a long list of improvements, big and small. Taken together, they’re enough to re-establish Apple’s once-shrinking lead in a brutal technology competition that is making the chariot race in Ben Hur look like a stroll in the park.”

Bottom Line – In short, the 3GS offers a boatload of improvements on the iPhone 3G with no real downside and the same price. Brand-new iPhone customers should have no hesitation before buying: Considering the huge variety of apps, there’s no better smartphone to buy today.

Joshua Topolsky, Engadget:
“A spot where we really saw the fruits of Apple’s labors…was actually in the more graphically intense apps for the phone. Comparing a CPU-hungry 3D game like Resident Evil: Degeneration on the 3G S with the same title 3G yielded striking results. The load time was drastically reduced, and rendering and frame rates on the game were noticeably smoother than on the older device (though game speeds stay the same) — a side effect of the more powerful guts we’d hoped to see, but weren’t sure would be so stark. If you’re an avid gamer looking for the device with more power, the difference will be crystal clear: the 3G S obviously flexes in this department.”

Bottom Line -  So while it’s tough to argue with the package Apple has put together, we couldn’t help feeling a bit let down by the 3G S. Maybe we’ve been spoiled by devices like the Pre and Ion , but the additions of video recording, a compass, and a speed bump just don’t seem that compelling to us.The mix of new features and a ever-growing App Store will still be potent to new buyers — but pricing schemes which amount to hundreds more for current owners might give previous early adopters and eager upgraders reason for pause.

Kent German, CNet:
“In many ways, the iPhone 3G S delivers on its promises. The battery, which could sometimes deplete in less than a day on the iPhone 3G, lasted longer in our preliminary tests, and the phone’s software ran noticeably faster. Yet, we still have some concerns. A faster AT&T 3G network isn’t going to happen overnight, and some features, like tethering and multimedia messaging, aren’t scheduled until later in summer 2009. We also struggled to see any change in call quality, which, as any iPhone owner can tell you, remains far from perfect.”

[via Macworld]

Next ArticleOS 3.0 - A Glimpse Through Apple's Recent History (or why we should not have to pay for iPhone updates)