My Short Review of iPhone 3GS

I’ve had the iPhone 3GS for over a week. Here are a few thoughts on how I feel about the phone.


I bought the iPhone 2G back in September 2007, just after the price drop was announced. I was on Verizon, a carrier I much enjoyed being on. But the last phone I had Verizon was an LG Chocolate, a phone that didn’t live up to expectations. I was hoping it would turn out to be a good music playing phone because I was tired of lugging my iPod and phone around in my pocket. All it ended up being was a frustrating piece of equipment.

I figured a smartphone would be a good choice, but Blackberry phones seemed a bit too much.  The only other phone Verizon offered was the Motorola Q. A friend of mine had the Motorola Q. All she could say is it would crash often, even while on a call. Nice.

Now, I count myself as one of those people who are part of the halo effect. I received an iPod as a gift in 2005. Later that year I bought a 12” PowerBook. After few more iPod upgrades I bought an iMac.  Why not an iPhone?Initially I balked at the price.  It was way too much for a phone.  But when it dropped a couple of hundred dollars, well, I got the go ahead to get it.

My Thoughts on the iPhone 3GS

I was able to use the phone out of the box as it was fully charged.  Compared to the 2G, the phone feels smaller and lighter. The infamous oleophobic polymer screen adds to the experience.  Your finger seems to glide across the screen.

The recent OS upgrade to 3.0 has made the phone even better.  I don’t think I’ve ever owned a phone where the upgrades have made the phone more useful.  Sure, some of the features were available on other phones long ago (e.g. voice commands), but they are now on the iPhone and they are even more useful.  For example, the voice commands can control the music player.

It’s nice to have GPS, and coupled with the compass and Google Maps, for me it’s a killer combination.  I was able to use this in San Francisco this past weekend.  It helped me navigate around the city when I was unsure how to get to several places.  I can’t wait for easier turn-by-turn, such as that to be offered by TomTom.

Video on the iPhone 3GS is fair, better in bright light then in dim.  But it’s pretty neat when you can edit video on the phone and upload it right to YouTube.  They should add direct upload to other services, such as Flickr.

Battery life is good.  I average about a day-and-a-half.  The battery meter is now includes a percentage measurement.  I use the iPhone mostly like this:

  • 40% iPod
  • 30% web surfing (including accessing apps such as Facebook, Yelp, etc.)
  • 20% checking and reading email
  • 5% taking photos or video
  • 5% GPS and maps

My only negatives about the iPhone is with AT&T.  Do I regret the move to AT&T? No, not really.  Coverage is decent where I am at.  Oh, yeah, a few calls are dropped in some areas, but for the most part it’s good.  The only complaint I have about AT&T is the apparent charge for everything under the sun (e.g. text messages, data plan). But it’s part of the package, so it’s part of the pain to put up with.  The data plan for 3G and 3GS is $30. If you want 200 text messages it’s another $5.

Overall, I am happy to still be using an iPhone.

(Considering an iPhone?  You may want to read the Techcrunch article The iPhone 3GS: Should You Get It? It’s a good read.)

AJ Giron @verbal