Wed, 22 Jul 2009 iPhone 3GS UK review
Absolutely everything you need to know about getting an iPhone 3GS in the UK on an O2 contract
- Manufacturer: Apple
- Pros: Improved performance makes the interface much better; games run faster; built-in magnetic compass points you in the right direction; Apps run better than before; improved camera is a joy; vibrant App Store makes it the most interesting gadget on the market
- Cons: Once again it's expensive; shame that no free upgrade was made available for UK customers; call quality is a tad lower than other mobile phones; Voice Control doesn't work very well with a British accent
- £440.40 (16GB); £538.39 (32GB) Pay & Go
- Free - £274.23 (18-24 month contract)
- Star rating:
But we wanted to take a bit more time for the full in-depth UK review. Our experience of both the iPhone and iPhone 3G launch showed that these things develop over time, and not always for the best.
Chances are that most reviews you read will be based on the US version of the iPhone 3GS. The UK proposition of the iPhone 3GS is somewhat different. On the one hand there's the issue of pricing, and the lack of a free upgrade; on the other hand we also get features in the iPhone 3.0 update that our American friends lack, such as MMS and Internet Tethering, plus access to The Cloud and BT Openzone; there's also the issue of having O2 as a service provider versus AT&T. Aside from all the extra features, we get the more advanced HSDPA network offering 7.2Mbps whereas AT&T customers are stuck on the older 3.6Mbps network.
Then there are features such as Voice Control. Previous experience has suggested to us that this might be worth testing thoroughly with a UK accent. A decision that proved wise, but more on that later.
On top of that, we also caught up with Eric Jue, Apple's Worldwide Senior Marketing Manager for a half hour conversation regarding the iPhone 3GS. He offered us some thoughts and insights on the iPhone 3GS.
Since the launch of the iPhone 3GS there has been some concern over the amount of heat the device emits, a concern that Apple has addressed; and there has been some concern over the battery life, a concern that Apple has not publicly addressed. Both of these require further investigation. We have battery and heat testing, on top of a slew of speed and performance tests.
The new iPhone 3GS home screen
But above all there's an excitement factor that we've been through in two iPhone launches now, and it doesn't seem to be abating. Much as though we love getting swept away in the iPhone wave once every 12 months, we thought it'd be best to wait till the storm subsided before giving a definitive UK verdict. The general consensus is that this time Apple has "nailed-it". Despite concerns over heating, battery life, pricing and upgrade options – the iPhone 3GS has sold out in all territories. There's no doubt that the iPhone 3GS is popular, but is it deservedly so?
So we decided to give a couple of weeks and here we are. These are our complete and unmitigated thoughts with regards to buying an Apple iPhone 3GS in the UK on an O2 network, either as a Pay & Go option; as a completely new contract; or by upgrading from a previous iPhone model.
NEXT: That "S" stands for "Speed"
Page 1: iPhone 3GS UK review
Page 2: That "S" stands for "Speed"
Page 3: The iPhone 3GS internal specifications
Page 4: Dedicated gaming on the iPhone 3GS
Page 5: How fast is O2's 3G network for the iPhone 3GS?
Page 6: Measuring O2's 3G coverage in the UK?
Page 7: Faster app launch and run times
Page 8: So, what about that iPhone 3GS magnetic compass?
Page 9: The improved 3-megapixel camera
Page 10: Video editing on the iPhone 3GS
Page 11: The iPhone 3GS battery life test
Page 12: Measuring the heat of the iPhone 3GS
Page 13: iPhone 3GS Voice Control in the UK
Page 14: Is the iPhone 3GS any good as a mobile phone?
Page 15: UK Pricing for the iPhone 3GS
Page 16: Buying Advice