How iPhone 3GS Compares to iPhone 3G and is it Worth Upgrading?

Iphone3gsWe purchased an iPhone 3G S for my husband as soon as it came out. The new iPhone is awesome! But I am still undecided about upgrading my iPhone 3G to 3G S. Here are some pros and cons:



  • Improved camera: The capture resolution is now 3MPixel and the new camera capture comes with auto-focus. It also has a nifty feature where you can tap on the screen to focus on different objects.

  • Video capture: As a parent, I would say this is the most important upgrade from iPhone 3G to iPhone 3G S. Video capture quality is pretty impressive for a mobile phone (VGA and 30fps) and the “Send to Youtube” option is great for easy upload.

  • Speed: The CPU of iPhone 3G S ( S stands for speed ). The speed went from 412 MHz to 600MHz and the RAM is doubled. Applications do noticeably start and run faster. Also the graphics chip is replaced with a more powerful one. This means better, faster graphics on games and applications.

  • Compass: This is a small addition but especially useful when discovering new places on foot. I use the iPhone GPS mostly when I am walking and use my car’s GPS when driving. So compass feature is something that I would find useful.



  • IStock_000008040927XSmall[1] Cost: This is the most important reason for not upgrading from iPhone 3G to 3GS.  If you are with AT&T already and you are not qualified for a discounted upgrade, it will cost you $299 for the 8GB, $399 for 16 GB, and $499 for the 32 GB to upgrade to iPhone 3G S. In addition, you will need to pay $18 upgrade fee. In contrast, if you are signing up for a new contract, you will need to pay $199 for the 16GB iPhone and $299 for the 32GB version.


I heard from an Apple sales guy that if you bought your iPhone 3G when it first came out in the summer of 2008, you are available for a reduced-price upgrade. He did not know the specific details but mentioned that you can go to the AT&T buy iPhone website and see if you qualify. 

  • AT&T contract renew: You need to renew your 2-year contract with AT&T. When Apple’s agreement ends with AT&T, I am hoping that iPhone will be available from Verizon as well. If I upgrade now, I will need to be with AT&T for another two years. AT&T’s service and coverage has improved greatly in the last year, but still it would be good to have the option to switch carriers.

Another pro or a con – depending on how you look at it- is that the new iPhone looks exactly the same (except for letter S at the back) as iPhone 3G. It is a con if you were wanting a new look, perhaps a thinner iPhone. It is a pro because your case and other accessories will still fit to the new iPhone 3G S.

Also, note that you will be able to get many new features, such as the copy-paste functionality, landscape keyboard, etc, by simply upgrading the software on your iPhone 3G.

Verdict: I will not upgrade to iPhone 3G S – at least for now.

Did you buy iPhone 3G S or are you considering upgrading? Drop us a comment and tell us what you think.

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