iPhone 3GS: First impressions against the iPhone 3G

Last week AT&T announced that they were going to allow those early iPhone adopters who purchased an iPhone 3G between the release on July 11th and September an option for the early upgrade to the iPhone 3GS. So, I, being the geek naturally, ordered a 32GB Black iPhone 3GS; thus it has arrived.

While I didn’t get the immediate gratification of getting the new iPhone last Friday, I also didn’t have to wait in the sweltering Chicago temperatures again to get my Phone.

So here are my thoughts of the iPhone 3GS versus the iPhone 3G. There are a few features present in the iPhone 3GS that are not in the iPhone 3G. These include: Compass (hardware-based), Voice Control (Possibly hardware, but not sure), Video Camera (Hardware-based), Faster processor (hardware-based). All of these items appear to be something that software cannot upgrade and would only come with the new handset.

There is one major difference between the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, in terms of what is included in the box, you get the new headphones with remote and microphone with the iPhone 3GS.

As for the handset itself, cosmetically it is exactly the same. The buttons are in the same places, sorry, button is in the same place. All of the iPhone 3G accessories fit perfectly, including my Griffin Wave cases. I think this is one of the smartest moves that Apple made with the iPhone 3GS.

After activating my iPhone 3GS I noticed one major thing immediately. This iPhone is faster; much faster. The response from the processor with just opening up anything is faster. Mobile Safari, Settings, and general application loads are all faster. The processor isn’t nearly as fast as the current Macs (about 66% slower). However, it is plenty fast for the mobile platform. The biggest change has been the addition of the L2 cache, which decreases read and write times.

The next major improvement is the Camera. Below are two of the same pictures taken from the same angle, the first picture is from the iPhone 3G, while the second one is from the iPhone 3GS. Both pictures were taken from the same distance from the keyboard. I used both of my ultra-compact iPhone power adapters along with my old iPod Mini as a stand. These are the results.



The iPhone 3GS picture was auto-focused by the camera. This is probably the biggest reason why I upgraded. The increased size of the pictures from the camera, 3.2 Megapixel on the iPhone 3GS versus 2.0 Megapixel on the iPhone and iPhone 3G, have made quite a difference in the clarity of the pictures. The picture sizes are now around 1.4 Megabytes each instead of 667 Kilobytes.

I haven’t tried the video yet, but this is something I would like to get to in the next few days. Despite all that has been added, there are two negative things I have found.

The first is the iPhone 3GS has a yellow tint to the screen. Now this happened last year as well and eventually cleared itself up after about a week of use. I expect the same thing to occur with this new phone.

The second thing, and something I have not seen reported much, is that Apple has reverted back to the original iPhone’s vibration mechanism. The vibration on the iPhone 3GS is not the same as the iPhone 3G. I’ve already managed to miss a phone call because I did not feel the phone ringing.

Overall the iPhone 3GS is a vast improvement, even if just in speed, over the iPhone 3G and original iPhone. Don’t remind me of how much I’ve spent over the past 2 years on phones. I guess I can’t complain too much since the iPhone is essentially another computer.

I'm into everything technology related, particularly anything Apple related. I enjoy programming and tend to lean towards server-based technologies over client-based. You can contact me on twitter, via e-mail, or follow me on friendfeed.