Using the iPhone 3GS… 11 Years Later (2020 Review)

by birtanpublished on November 2, 2020

When one thinks of iphone most probably think of the newest phone or the iphone 10 or the 5s or the iphone 4 or maybe even the first iphone i'd be willing to wager most of you wouldn't think of this one the iphone 3gs a plastic iphone that brought a ton of improvements but was ultimately overshadowed by the revolutionary iphone 4 the next year but just because this phone might be a bit more forgettable doesn't mean it's uninteresting as well as nostalgic as it runs the

Famously skeuomorphic ios 6. hey how's it going i'm josh from 91 tech and today we're taking a look at the iphone 3gs from 2009 to today how does the iphone 3gs hold up in this video i'm not just going to go into how the 3gs performs in a modern world because let's be real it's an old phone it's obsolete and when i say old i mean really old it runs ios 6 and what you can do with it is fairly limited though to its credit it does run

Smoother than many newer iphones on their last software versions it's also worth mentioning a lot of the b-roll is going to be kind of shaky but awesome i was up in whistler last week so i got some pretty cool footage of this thing on like gondolas and stuff it was a very cool experience and don't worry i had my mask with me but yeah so some of the footage is shaky i apologize but let's get into this video the iphone 3gs was better than the iphone 3g in every way possible on the inside the camera was significantly better and brought

Autofocus and the samsung manufactured cpu was twice as fast as the previous years voice control was also added which was a very limited version of siri that could do things like control music playback or handle calls perhaps unsurprisingly this phone outsold both the first iphone and second iphone combined and i'd argue that it was the real turning point as iphones and smartphones in general became more mainstream don't forget smartphones were still in their infancy around this time and the

3gs was just leaps and bounds ahead of the competition and considering that what does it say about the next year's iphone 4. there's no getting around how much better the iphone 4 was and i've done a full video on the history behind it from 2010 to now if you're interested link in the description the retina display was just so much better than the 3.5 inch display on the 3gs with the same size but double the pixel density in person it's absurdly easy to see the difference but even on camera here you can totally tell

That the iphone 4 just blows the 3gs away it's honestly hard to believe we used to use screens of this quality and totally be fine with it the design of this phone also helped its overall forgettability as it looked so similar in shape to the first iphone and retained the 3gs plastic shell that was a big focus of a lot of reviews at the time this was the first time apple had reused a design for an iphone and it wouldn't be the last much to the consistent chagrin of reviewers but the 3gs wasn't meant to be a replacement for the 3g but more of an

Upgrade for original iphone users coming off their 2-year contracts of course it sold really well and garnered a much larger audience than just that so it's safe to say reviewers weren't exactly always spot on but yeah this thing does look about the same as the 2008 iphone 3g we have glossy plastic forming a curvy thick shell with a stainless steel frame on the front and the aforementioned 3.5 inch display that display has a resolution of 320 by

480 so yeah beautiful the home button under that screen does kind of have the tendency to seize up with a lot of use and the iphone 4 was the same way unfortunately on the bottom of the phone we have the 30 pin charging port and lightning wouldn't come for another three years on the top of the phone we have the headphone jack so label that probably the only feature this phone has over the iphone 11 pro max we also have the full size sim card slot up there also quick note can we

Talk about how much bigger phones are now this is my 11 pro max and man it just feels massive in comparison to the 3gs not sure how we were ever able to use this small display but for a long while large cell phone seems like more of a pain than anything else as people wanted something to easily fit in their hands and pockets funnily enough one of the biggest complaints about the iphone 3gs was the lack of physical keyboard again 2009 but i figured i'd mention that because wow that hasn't aged well actually if

You want a humorous read go look at some negative reviews of the first few iphones there are some really ridiculous statements that have aged about as well as milk from the same year but back to the design this is definitely a hefty phone the plastic also hasn't aged very well for a couple of reasons of course since 09 apple has stuck to more premium materials like glass and aluminum with the sole exception being the iphone 5c from 2013 but we don't talk about that one but beyond just that the plastic also scratches and chips way

Too easily i highly doubt you'll find any of these nowadays that will be in good condition and mine here certainly isn't although it's much better off than most others i've seen there is a small crack by the charging port there and that was a pretty common issue you'll find on most of these things however a brand new or very lightly used iphone 3gs is in my opinion absolutely gorgeous if you look up photos of the 3gs for when it came out it just looks so clean it came in two colors white and black the white is really nice

And note that there is a black bezel which is something apple would bring back with the 2020 iphone se and technically the 5c as well the glossy black is really slick and actually reminds me of the jet black iphone 7 one of my favorite iphone colors of all time if you have a good condition iphone 3gs there's no question it's a nice looking phone but unfortunately if it gets used for more than just sitting in a collection it's not going to stay that way not that there's much use for these things beyond

Collector reasons anymore i suppose they do work as decent little music players battery life isn't great but not horrible for me at least and we have a few good storage options in 8 16 or 32 gigabytes spotify doesn't work on ios 6 though so you'll need a decent sized itunes library to make that use case applicable i think part of the reason for the poor durability isn't just the materials but also the fact that smartphone cases weren't really a mainstream concept yet i think they really took off a lot more with the iphone 4 being glass

And having the tendency to crack whenever you dropped it and comparing this phone with the iphone 4 isn't a good idea because again the iphone 4 looks a lot better despite only being a year newer i mean as said that's the reason this phone is so forgettable the iphone 4 just outdid it in every way possible and likewise this phone outdid the iphone 3g and so if you're thinking of this design the 3gs is probably the phone that comes to mind and that's okay because some phones were bound to be forgettable technology was moving forward

At an extremely fast rate in the early iphone days one thing that was consistently changing was the camera tech behind each iphone i'm not sure if apple expected the camera to be quite as used as it was but it didn't take long before iphone became the most popular camera in the world the iphone 3gs brought autofocus as well as video recording yes video recording kind of weird to think that there was no video recording on the first two iphones but those phone cameras were awful and so you can infer from that how good

Video would be the 3gs features a 3 megapixel shooter and you can see photos here they haven't aged well but this was about as good as it got back in 2009 for a cell phone in ideal lighting conditions you can at least tell what's going on in frame and i will say there is a certain nostalgic element to these photos i don't have to describe why these aren't any good you can see them for yourself but a good example of how far we've come is this photo right here the light behind the bridge is completely blowing out the entire

Image compare that to this photo from my iphone 11 pro and wow night and day i think we too often take newer camera tech for granted every single little flaw is exaggerated to making certain phone cameras seem better than others but honestly whether you have iphone oneplus samsung pixel all phones from within the last few years really you can take fantastic photos especially considering that these devices fit in our pockets and are with us literally everywhere video recording was a headlining feature

And were able to record in 480p or in other words as apple likes to call it vga quality it's funny to think that that used to be considered a good thing and i'd say it describes this video here pretty darn well but hey in 09 the fact that your smartphone could record video at all was pretty amazing even though many digital cameras could take some video people back then typically would still get separate camcorders for that and with video becoming more popular in smartphones that no longer was a necessary commodity

You may have noticed by now that there's no front-facing camera that wouldn't be added until the next year with the iphone 4. so if you wanted a selfie you'd have to take it the old-fashioned way and hope for the best so that's the camera great for 2009 but not so much today but still it's kind of fascinating to look in hindsight and kind of judge what used to be top of the line speaking of what used to be top of the line let's take a look at the tech specs the iphone 3gs was the last iphone not to feature apple's own chipset with instead a

Samsung arm based processor that was capable of being twice as fast as the previous generation that's a big leap in only a year and it's the reason that if you try to use a 3g compared to a 3gs the 3g will feel like molasses trying to move uphill we also get 256 megabytes of ram or in other words about a quarter of a gigabyte before the next year would double that count but this in itself was doubling on the 128 megabytes we saw in the 2008 3g you might be thinking wow that iphone 3g sounds like it sucked and it's worth

Pointing out that it actually didn't improve much over the first iphone beyond bringing 3g network capabilities its purpose was more about being cheaper as the first iphone was too expensive to ever hit broad appeal at least back then of course now people will buy 1 000 phones without batting an eye but back in 2007 the iphone for 500. with four gigabytes was a pretty penny for a cell phone the 3g managed to significantly lower this to 200 dollars with eight gigs of space so yeah it wasn't much better than the first iphone but the price was pretty

Reasonable of course those prices are a bit misleading as they required a plan but the 3gs continued the 200 price point which is nice to see since the iphone 4 it feels like phones have been on the upward trajectory in price but that wasn't always the case and to be fair apple does now have a wide range of iphones to choose from like the 400 iphone se so there's something there for everyone performance on this phone is a bit difficult to judge due to the age yes it isn't fast but it's also over 10

Years old and so that's to be expected the software with ios 6.1.6 is surprisingly smooth i wouldn't go so far as to say it's fast but it doesn't feel like the sluggish experience you get with the iphone 4 on ios 7 or the 4s on ios 9. this phone can absolutely handle ios 6 which speaks of not only how big of a jump this phone was as the 3g struggles on ios 4 but also how well optimized ios 6 was i'm not sure apple has ever been able to quite get back to that level of stability in terms of speed across all their

Phones although i will say ios 12 was a pretty good version in my opinion the big benefit with ios 6 besides the speed is the old design this was the last version of ios that kept the classic skeuomorphism that steve jobs loved so much with the 2013 iphone 5s bringing ios 7 and a more flat plain in some ways boring experience i do think moving on was a necessary change but there's something special about sliding to unlock and being presented with the old look even if it is on a 480p display there's

No reason to get an iphone 3gs anymore and for the few of you that always show up in these types of videos no don't buy the iphone 3gs don't even consider why would you consider it i swear i get comments saying hey should i buy the 3gs as a backup phone the answer is no you can get a much better phone for the same amount of money pretty much like there's really not a lot of circumstances i would say that this phone is still worth it however i don't know every individual

You might have a use case for this phone or you might be an apple fan and just want it for your collection and that's totally fair however it's important to note that besides the rough battery life ios 6 is just kind of hard to use now with most apps being very unsupported and it's annoying to get pretty much anything working old legacy games like temple run are still fun but besides that there's not a whole lot you can do here yes you can jailbreak and you can do some fun stuff with that and

In fact if you're into jailbreaking i fully recommend it it's almost a pity how fast this phone became obsolete it was so much better in 2009 than the previous iphones but the iphone 4 was just on a whole different level the retina display was such an important innovation in the progression of smartphones and although the 3gs doesn't have it there are still aspects of it that are fun to look at and reminisce about i remember i had a friend back in the day who had an iphone 3gs it was probably 2011 or so and he absolutely loved that phone and i

Was very jealous because i had a crappy htc wildfire s a phone from 2011 but one much slower and crappier than the 3gs unfortunately i believe his phone ended up being stolen which is a real pity but i do have some fond albeit faint memories attached to that device i imagine he definitely does too so i asked you did any of you own the iphone 3gs i think my question today is what was your favorite old game on like classic ios versions like angry birds for example or temple run or doodle jump etc

What did you like playing let me know in the comments down below i've had the 3gs for quite a while now and i've really liked this device it's fun to take another look at it and hopefully you enjoyed if you found this video interesting maybe hit that like button and consider subscribing for more content just like this i know video content's been a little bit slow lately and i am working on that i have plans for quite a few videos for the rest of the summer so uh look forward to that uh but also maybe follow me on instagram and twitter

At 91 underscore tech if you want to keep up and if you want to even talk to me myself you can join the discord i'm there sometimes probably not when you're on odds are but you know i am on sometimes thank you so much for watching i'm josh from 91 tech my hair is a mess and i will see you all next time you

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