Often replicated, never bettered, the Apple remains the daddy of the touch-screen world.
While it has certainly been improved, the camera remains the iPhone’s Achilles heel.
Building on the success of its predecessors, the iPhone 3GS raises the bar even higher.
It’s been over two years since Apple introduced the world to the original iPhone, and still you’ll be hard pressed to find a phone that demands more column inches and attention. Of course, Apple hasn’t rested on its laurels, revamping its mobile first with the iPhone 3G, and now the much lauded iPhone 3GS – the ‘S’ stands for speed. And despite the recent influx of flagship devices, the iPhone still holds its own.
The iPhone 3GS sports the same width, depth and breadth as the iPhone 3G, but with a choice of a white or black back, and either 16GB or a whopping 32GB of memory. Its minimalist design coupled with the pièce de résistance – the gorgeous 3.5-inch display – maintains the iPhone’s status as one of the best looking handsets on the market.
Apple is priding itself on the claim that the iPhone 3GS is two times faster than the iPhone 3G in everything it does, from surfing the net to opening up applications. It’s difficult to establish how accurate this is, but it is definitely faster than its predecessors.
Its lightning speed is not the only tweak the iPhone 3GS is packing. We approached the voice control feature with bated breath, as this is always a bit hit or miss when it comes to mobile phones, but we needn’t have worried. Activated by holding down the home button just below the screen, it’s ready to work straight out of the box. Once you have synched your contacts with your phone, you will be able to simply say a person’s name to call them. However, that’s not all. You can also select music via this process. For example, say ‘play songs by Foo Fighters’, and the phone will belt out relevant tracks via the built-in iPod.
Apple has included up to 11 customisable home screens that can house up to 159 apps between them. To flick through them, simply swipe your finger to the left and then back again. Swipe to the right when you’re in the main home screen and you’ll be taken to a search option for everything from contacts to song titles to applications. Apple has disabled the landscape QWERTY keyboard when using the search facility, but it appears when writing emails, messages, notes or web addresses.
Something that has got Apple fans rather excited is the phone’s ability to copy and paste text – another slick affair. To copy text from a website for example, press your finger on the area of text until it highlights blue and then select the copy icon that appears when you remove your digit. To paste the text into an email or text message simply repeat the process. You can also copy and paste videos and photos, and if you change your mind about what you are pasting, just give the phone a shake.
The iPhone 3GS needs special recognition for a near flawless navigational experience. Working in conjunction with Google Maps, locking a satellite fix was instant, even indoors. The ‘drop pin’ function is a welcome addition, enabling you to literally flag your destination on the map, with the quickest route from your current position then being displayed. The inclusion of a digital compass also means your map will always be pointing the right way, no matter which direction you are facing. While there are no voice instructions (though a variety of apps serving this purpose are available), users can choose between driving, walking or transit (i.e public transport) routes.
Much has been made of Apple’s decision to only upgrade the camera to three megapixels. While the results are improved, it still suffers from some fundamental flaws. For example, there is no flash and as a result, low-light shots will leave you wanting more, and the lack of zoom is another glaring omission.
That said, Apple has at least included a video camera. It also suffers from a lack of flash, and the editing options are fairly minimal, but you can upload directly to YouTube and the on-board microphone was pretty good at picking up audio.
The iPhone 3GS has had its critics, particularly when O2 announced its rather extravagant price plans. However, we’d bet that a large number of them hadn’t even got hold of one. Yet again, Apple has produced a remarkable piece of hardware, with software improvements to boot. It’s a cinch to get to grips with, looks great, and has an (almost) never-ending supply of applications via the App Store. Yes, the camera could be better, but that shortcoming is soon overlooked. On this evidence, the iPhone dynasty is showing no signs of cracking.
|Type of phone:||Mobile phone|
|Display:||16 million colours|
|Special Camera features:||auto focus|
|Music formats played:||MP3, AAC, WAV|
|3.5mm jack port:||Yes|
|Display description:||TFT capacitive touch-screen|
|Standard color:||Black or white|
|Connectivity:||Bluetooth, A2DP, USB, Wi-Fi|
|Announced date:||June 2009|
|What's in the Box:||N/A|
|International launch date:||July 2009|
|Battery life when playing multimedia:||N/A|
|CPU:||ARM Cortex A8 600 MHz|
|FM Radio Description:||N/A|
|Internal memory:||16GB or 32GB|
|Memory Card Slot:||N/A|
|Messaging:||Email, MMS, SMS|
|Internet Browser:||HTML, Safari|
|Games:||Yes - App Store|
|Talktime:||20 minutes (2G) and 300 minutes (3G)|
|Display size:||3.5 inches|
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