ReviewedI have been giving Apple products a lot of love this past month. Today SaBest handed me an iPhone 3GS to test, to coincide with their Facebook Post of the price drop on this model. It has been interesting spending some time with the iPhone.

I know I have been giving a lot of attention to Apple products recently, what with my iPod Touch and iPad reviews, but they are great little gadgets – walled garden despot looking over your shoulder nonewithstanding…

I would like to pre-emptively apologise for the quality of the pictures that I have used lately. My proper mik ‘n druk camera has decided to take a holiday of sorts, so as soon as I have managed to sort that sorry state of affairs (a combination of battery lasting exactly half a picture shot and a broken lens cover) the quality of pictures will improve.


It is surprisingly hard to write a review of a modern cellphone. These days they are so well made that all the key features are expected to work well. They make calls well, they SMS well, they have a good battery life and they have internet access. The iPhone excels at three of these, and then comes to the party with a fourth dimension that is only now beginning to be rivaled by Android devices. Applications.

That Battery Life

It is well known that iPhones struggle with battery life. The 3GS is no different. In fact, when it just arrived, the 3GS made headlines because of it’s battery life issues. While using this one I could see the battery draining away, especially when I used it a lot.

General Quality

Streetspark App on the iPhoneThe iPhone shares its awesome build quality with other Apple products. It is a bit larger than expected, and my Samsung, which seemed big to me at first, is decidedly tiny when placed next to it. Call quality is great, and that touch screen… oh it is a joy! My Sammy sports a resistive touch screen, and it is hard to describe what a difference a Capacitive touch screen makes! No longer needing to add any pressure as my finger glides over the screen is awesome, and it is really responsive. OOH! And it has multi touch! (sorry for that folks, had a geek moment there…)

Internet Connectivity

The 3GS has 3G and Wifi connectivity to get on teh webz. Bluetooth is available as well when you need to transfer files, or use a headset. The iPhone also deals with the network proxy at the office well, better than any phone I have tried so far. What I really like, and this is a feature that I saw both on the iPod Touch and the iPad, is that I could specify proxy – or not – individually for every connection. This takes a lot of the manual configuration out of wifi roaming. More Operating Systems should employ this feature.

OtherYummy Apps

The iPhone also has a 3megapixel Camera, and is smaller and sleeker than the previous generation device. It is also much more responsive than the previous iPhone. No wonder more than a million were sold on the first weekend that it was released. You just need to watch that battery…

It also sports a great accelerometer, probably the best in the industry, and an assisted GPS chip. Assisted GPS is a cool technology where your 3G connection is used to update the position of the geosattelites for your GPS antenna before the phone needs to go looking for them. It makes for less delay between asking the phone where the heck you are, and it telling you that in fact, you are back where you started, only facing the other way. And angry at going in circles. The iPhone really is the do anything personal PDA.


The strength with the iPhone, like the iPod and iPad, is with Apps. You literally get more apps than you can shake a stick at. A lot of them are free too, like StreetSpark for instance. You get applications for literally anything, from book readers to sleep cycle analyzers (Renier from SaBest swears by this one) and a lot more. This is where the iPhone becomes a serious buying choice. Yes there might be phones with prettier screens, or longer battery life, or this or that. The iPhone just brings all of these together and then throws in applications for good measure.


Ease of use – The iPhone is easy to use, there is a bit of a learning curve though. The touch screen quality is second to none. It is an elegant design that revolutionized the smartphone as we knew it. For ease of use I give it a high 4/5, I had to re-type on the keyboard a few times when using it, and when entering proxy details it doesn’t always save the port on the first go.

Four Kitties!

Q-Rating – yeah I bolded it, I am egotistical like that. Two things fail the iPhone 3GS that costs it a 5/5 – battery life, and the fact that iTunes is not available in South Africa. I am sorry but applications and addons is such an integrated part of what the device is that I can knock it a point for iTunes not being .za friendly alone. Another point should fly out of the window due to the lack of flash support for Apple devices. Come on Apple, you suck because of that! But being the great device that it is I will give it a 4/5 nonetheless. Watch out world – the 4G will be something to experience.


Take note all of you: This device will never score a perfect five until the iTunes and Flash issues have been resolved. It will even influence my buying decision, for me the Android wins out even before trying it due to this.


I understand why everyone wanted an iPhone when it came out. And i can also understand how nothing came close to competing until Google unleashed Android devices on the masses. I can’t wait to get my hands on an Android phone to finally draw a comparison. I have a sneaky feeling that a good Android phone might just have the edge on the iPhone, but that will all change when the 4G arrives on the market.

Honorable Mention

A quick shout out to SaBest for loaning me the iPhone! Like them on Facebook Here. They are one of the premium South African SEO companies, and have recently branched out with an office in London!

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