Hardware Review: iPhone 3G S

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On June 19th 2009 Apple launched the third iteration of their insanely popular mobile phone in the US and Europe, simply titled the iPhone 3G S. The ‘S’ stands for ‘Speed’ as Apple proudly proclaims this as “The Fastest, Most Powerful iPhone Yet”. Although on the surface the 3G S looks completely identical to the original iPhone 3G by boasting the same form factor and colors, the upgrade in the phones internals is where the 3G S really shines. Apple has managed to double the RAM over the original iPhone 3G boosting it from 128MBs to 256MBs, and the Processor has jumped from 440MHz to 600Hz which is even faster than the current iPod Touch and equal to the Palm Pre. This allows apps to load and run much faster and considering developers create games with the 3G S in mind we may see more graphically intensive and smoother running games appearing on the App Store in the near future. The camera has also been slightly upgraded from a pitiful 2MPs to a slightly less pitiful 3MPs but the cameras brilliant auto-focus feature and the ability to shoot videos and upload them straight to Youtube directly from the phone in a matter of minutes more than makes up for low megapixel count.

Despite all the improvement if you’re an owner of the original 3G and aren’t entitled to an early upgrade from AT&T, upgrading to the 3G S is moronic as they are charging an upgrade fee of up to $499. However if you own the original 2007 model or have yet to experience the magic of Apple’s iPhone the 3G S may just change your life. The first thing you’ll notice when holding the 3G S is just how beautiful the damn thing looks, it is by far the sexiest, most stylish handset ever created. However the iPhone is extremely slippery and prone to smudgy fingerprints so you might want to put your beautiful phone in a not so beautiful case for its own protection. The lack of physical buttons on the phone may turn some people off but the 3.5″ touch screen is extremely responsive and with the help of auto-correct, texting and emailing is a breeze. After a few days getting used to it I actually find it much easier to use than a standard mobile phones keypad. Even web-browsing is a smooth and simple, typical websites load fast (and will load even faster once AT&T upgrades their network to HDSA later this year) and with the touch screen you can almost navigate pages as fast as using a mouse. In my speed test I managed to unlock the phone, open Safari, go to Google, search for and load a story about Left4Dead 2 in under a minute. Of course with hundreds of thousands of Apps available on the App Store you could easily just download a free RSS Reader and load the latest stories from us (and unfortunately our competitors) in around 5 seconds.

The array of Apps available on the App Store is what truly transcends the iPhone billions of miles ahead of the competition, as TV ads says there really is an App for anything. Whether you’re in to Games (from the likes of EA, Capcom, Konami, Sega, Popcap etc.), Social Networking (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Skype, AIM etc.), News, Weather Updates, Travel Information, Musical Instruments, Megan Fox Pictures, Comedic Soundboards, Optical Illusions, Anything! you name it and more than likely there’s an App for it. If listening to music and/or podcasts is your thing then simply head over to the phones built-in iTunes Store. There you can easily download millions of songs from thousands of artists or download/stream your favorite podcasts (audio or video) directly from your phone and being an Apple product you can expect amazing sound quality and other neat little features like the Genius Player. Without a doubt the iPhone is the best portable music player ever created, the only MP3 player that comes close to matching it is Apple’s own iPod Touch.

Other new feature exclusive to the 3G S includes a built in Compass *Insert tumbleweed here*, Improved battery life, neat voice control features and internet tethering for your PC, MAC or Laptop. My only real issue with the iPhone 3G S is the awful default ringtones and the inability for non-US consumers to add their own custom ringtones, but hey there’s an App which gets you around that! I could easily go on for another several paragraphs detailing the Excellent Youtube Player, Email Push Functionality, Video Editor, Built-In GPS and dozens of other features which makes the iPhone 3G S a revolutionary product but the fact it there’s simply too much stuff to talk about. The only barrier to entry is signing up with a Network Provider who you might not necessarily want to join and if that’s the case I recommend you pick up an iPod Touch as it shares most of the iPhone’s features but it’s much cheaper, thinner and has a vastly superior battery life. The iPhone 3G S is without question the best mobile phone available today and will probably remain the best until Apple inevitably releases the forth generation of iPhone’s next year. If you have to means to pick one up please do and trust me, you will not regret it!

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