iPhone 3GS is Blazing Fast

The iPhone 3GS is one of Apple’s older iPhone models, having originally hit the market way back in 2009. It comes in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB variants and has recently been updated to iOS 5 — the latest version of Apple’s world-beating mobile operating system. Hardened tech-addicts may consider it foolish to even think of purchasing a phone that is over two years old, but there’s clearly still a large market for the iPhone 3GS. According to recent US figures, it outsold every available Android model during the third quarter of 2011. That’s a remarkable achievement and is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why Apple has upgraded this vintage classic to iOS 5, its latest mobile operating system. Granted, the 3GS misses out on the headline-grabbing voice-operated assistant Siri, but almost every other important feature of iOS 5 has made the cut. There’s a completely overhauled notifications system, iCloud storage; an improved camera app; and a raft of new apps, including the Reminders app and access to Apple’s new Newsstand service, which allows you to purchase digital copies of many famous magazines.

From the outside, the iPhone 3GS parts looks exactly like the iPhone 3G, and that’s a good thing. It’s slim and sleek, measuring 4.5 inches tall, 2.4 inches wide, and .48 inches deep. The iPhone 3G S weighs 4.8 ounces. Like the iPhone 3G, the new model comes in black and white versions, and sports a 3.5-inch touch screen. Most of the changes to the iPhone 3GS have been made on the inside. Apple says that battery life is better, and it seemed decent in my hands-on tests. 3G smartphones typically have shorter battery life than non-3G models, as the high-speed networks draw more power. But the biggest boost is in the iPhone’s speed: Apple says the iPhone 3GS runs twice as fast as the iPhone 3G, and in my tests, the iPhone 3GS was blazing fast. Everything — from switching applications to opening attachments and sending text messages — was done in a flash.

The lack of external changes belie what’s going on underneath the iPhone 3GS’s glass and plastic exterior. The iPhone’s last upgrade added a faster cellular radio and a GPS chip, but otherwise, the iPhone 3G’s internals were largely unchanged from the original iPhone. The iPhone 3GS, on the other hand, is a major step forward in terms of the iPhone’s technological underpinnings. Its processor runs at 600 MHz, compared to previous models’ 412MHz. It’s got 256MB of RAM, compared to 128MB in previous models. The result is an indisputably faster device, not just at some tasks, but at every task. The iPhone 3GS booted faster than any other iPhone OS-based device, and launched every app I tried in record time. Its Safari browser had the dramatically fastest JavaScript engine as measured by the SunSpider benchmark, and loaded Web pages dramatically faster as well. Every aspect of using the phone felt noticeably faster on the iPhone 3GS than on the iPhone 3G. Even actions that only took moments before now happen instantaneously.

And Apple is again banking on some customer loyalty in only including a USB lead with wall-plug connector. We know this is Apple’s usual game, but we’d reckon a good portion of mobile phone owners have lost their charger in the past and been forced to use the USB lead to charge the handset before buying a new charger, so if you lose this one, it’s a dead iPhone for a while. Clearly Apple iPhone 3Gs repair service center is assuming that its customers have many iPhone compatible leads lying around  so has kept things minimal, and of course saved packaging, and therefore penguins and polar bears, in doing so.

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