iPhone 3GS Hands-On - Is It Worth The Upgrade?


Posted June 19, 2009 - By bleahy

The iPhone 3GS comes with a few features you won't be getting through a software update on the iPhone 3G. They are:

  • Faster processor & upgraded graphics chipset.
  • Better camera with video support, auto-focus, auto-white balancing.
  • Voice command
  • Support for HSDPA 7.2MBit/s 3G (whenever AT&T actually gets around to rolling it out) 

The biggest feature, especially for those of you that play games on the iPhone, is the faster processor and upgraded graphics chip. What do I mean by faster? Watch this side-by-side comparison for loading Pop Cap's Peggle on a 3G and 3GS. It's a LOT faster on the 3GS.

iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 3GS Loading Time Comparison

iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 3GS Loading Time Comparison »

The 3GS is loaded up and taking shots before the 3G even finishes loading to the main menu. Additionally, the upgraded graphics chipset will support shaders that won't even run on the 3G. Whether or not developers decide to code games exclusively for the 3GS is another question, though.

What about the camera?

Are these worth the point of entry, though? It all depends on the tasks you throw at your device. If you take a lot of photos and want video: upgrade. The camera is so much better on the 3GS. It loads up faster, takes pictures faster, and they look better. The auto-focus and white balancing is a nice touch, but doesn't reach the level of quality that a true digital camera offers. Take a look at these comparison shots.

Mr. Sark in the Game Lab

iPhone 3GS Hands-On - Is It Worth The Upgrade?

Sterling McGarvey loves Friday!

iPhone 3GS Hands-On - Is It Worth The Upgrade?

The view into G4's courtyard

iPhone 3GS Hands-On - Is It Worth The Upgrade?

Overall, the quality of the pictures off of the 3GS is higher with Mr. Sark looking better on the old school 3G. That is possibly due to poor white balancing on my part, though. Throw in bonus features like direct uploading to YouTube and you've got the complete package. How is video quality, though? Take a look:

iPhone 3GS Video Test

The voice command is what it is... voice command. If you really miss not being able to dial by voice, it's a nice bonus feature. I wouldn't recommend upgrading for it, though. I guess it's nice to be able to control iTunes by voice.

Personally, I ordered the 3GS after seeing how much faster it loads games. There's a major increase in performance and game load times are probably my least favorite aspect of the iPhone. Being able to shoot video is a huge added bonus as I often find myself wanting to sneak video of events and games without having my digital camera ready.

Did you get the iPhone 3GS? Were you eligible for the upgrade or did you pay full price?

iPhone 3GS Hands-On - Is It Worth The Upgrade?


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