Should You Upgrade to the New iPhone 3GS?

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iphone3gs-apple-iphoneI bought my first iPhone soon after it came out, almost 2 years ago. I bought my second iPhone last week, and received it 2 days ago. It was the smartest thing I've done since buying my first iPhone and here's why:

The iPhone 3GS is waaayy faster than my 2G. That's not my impression; it's a fact. Benchmarks conducted for ExtremeTech indicate the 3GS smokes nearly every smartphone on the market except one, which also happens to be running the same ARM Cortex-A8 processor as the iPhone. The 3GS also uses the PowerVR SGX graphics core, a bump above the PowerVR MBX in the iPhone 3G, says ExtremeTech.  In the real world, that means 600 Mhz, instead of 412 Mhz speed and 256MB RAM for the OS, double that of the 128MB in the original iPhone add it up and you can believe the S in GS stands for "Speed" as Apple claims. Apps launch and close faster; Web pages load and render quickly; and zooming and scrolling are speedier. Everything, in short, is more responsive.

3G, finally! I seldom used EDGE networking with my 2G. It was much too slow and there were plenty of times I couldn't rely on it at all. Fortunately, using Wi-Fi scanning apps I was often able to find an open network. Now, there's no worry that I can get online no matter (almost) where I am.

The sky's the limit with GPS. Using cellphone tower triangulation worked pretty well. I was able to pinpoint my location on a map close enough to figure out where I was and where I wanted to go. Now, with GPS, I can narrow my location or destination within a matter of feet. And if I want turn-by-turn directions, I can get that too. It's still not as useful as a dedicated GPS, but it sure beats using the sundial and sextant that I used to lug around.

Greater clarity. My new 3GS has 3 megapixel camera and it's auto everything: focus, macro mode and white balance. I also can now shoot VGA video (with audio) in portrait and landscape modes at 30 fps frames per second and I can edit my video inside the device.That's a lotta cool.

which was never enough for my music and apps to keep me happy. With my current 32GB, I have four times the storage room, which is a big plus. When it gets to 100GB, I'll be happier, but for now, 32GB is pretty darn good.

Listen and obey. To make a call or play music, I can now use voice control by pressing the Home button for two seconds and then speaking a command. That's the theory anyway. When I asked my phone to play songs by Stevie Ray Vaughn, my iPod played White Stripes. This is the one feature that has yet to work reliably for me. I'm not surprised. No voice control app I've used on the iPhone has been all that reliable.

Boy Scout memory. The built-in compass works remarkably well and it works with the map function to pinpoint your location. With GPS, I don't know how often I might use it, but it's nice to know that I can use those navigational skills I learned as a Boy Scout if I suddenly find myself lost at sea, or more likely, in one of those huge underground parking garages at some airport.

What it all adds up to: If you're asking yourself whether you should upgrade, the answer is: "It depends." If you have a 2G and you're nearing the end of your contract, then an upgrade is definitely the way to go. If you have a 3G, wait until your contract is about to run out. It would be hard to justiy the cost of upgrading, even with the newer knobs and dials.

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  • Greg

    I was in the same situation... I upgraded from my 2G which I have had since day one, to the 3GS. When Apple released the 3G I didn't see the point in upgrading just to get GPS and 3G - and the 3G was not twice as fast as they were advertising along with all the dropped calls and lack of network availability...

    The 3GS however is a different animal - It is 10X the phone of the 2G. It's smooth and fast, and packs a whopping punch. In short I love my 3GS!