iPhone 3GS review

The definitive verdict on the new 3G S iPhone

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A 'hilarious' thing is often said about the iPhone by some customers: it shouldn't really have such an iName given the poor call quality on it.

The first 3G iteration was certainly in a lot of hot water over the strength of its signal after a number of customers complained they simply couldn't access the high speed data when needed, with calls often dropping or not connecting at all.

The iphone 3g s

Unfortunately the new iPhone 3GS doesn't really manage to improve on the problems brought by previous iPhone iterations, as signal was once again patchy. In fairness, the call quality was good and fairly regular when signal was present, but that's not really the kind of top level quality you're expecting with a device as high-end (and expensive) as the iPhone.

Whether it's O2's network in the UK or just a general problem with the iPhone (we'd be tempted to believe it's the latter given other countries have reported similar problems) we don't know, but either way we'd hoped this problem would have been fixed.

The problem was at its worst on the train, with the iPhone very quickly defaulting to the EDGE network on multiple occasions (not a problem for calling, but data suffers) but for the most part dropping off radar completely.

We know that this isn't just a train problem as we were also carrying an HTC Touch Pro2 (not particularly known for its signal reception) on the Three network, and it managed to keep a few bars going when the iPhone had simply given up.


Contacts themselves have barely changed in all three iterations of the iPhone, with the same layout and interaction present in all three versions (bar the new Spotlight searching functionality).

The iphone 3g s

However, this isn't a bad thing, as Apple has the knack of making things that other manufacturers find difficult seem blindingly easy. When faced with the problem of having a list of names and only a touchscreen to help you interact, manufacturers took a strange variety of options.

Samsung used the volume key to scroll, LG divided up the list into letter groups and Nokia implemented a text input, all of which were a little convoluted. Apple lets you simply select a letter from the list on the right and flick through the list using a touch swipe when you get to the right place.

HTC employs a similar method in its Windows Mobile and Android models, as well as Apple's practice of giving you the option to send a message or add to a favourites list, with all the options laid out nicely in front of you, so it shows that simplicity works best when you have a decent touchscreen to work with.


Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
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
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
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersioniOS 4
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email
Height115.5 mm
Width62.1 mm
Depth12.3 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time300 Hour
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.


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.


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