If you walked past an Apple store last weekend, you likely saw lines of people anxiously waiting to buy the new iPhone 3GS. The iconic phone is the cheapest yet -- $199 for the base model. And it adds common cell phone features absent on earlier iPhones, including multimedia messaging, video recording and voice dialing. But should you buy it? Here's what top reviewers are saying about the phone:
"The iPhone 3GS doesn't make the same grand leap that the iPhone 3G made from the first-generation model, but the latest Apple handset is still a compelling upgrade for some users. The iPhone 3GS is faster and we appreciate the new features and extended battery life, but call quality and 3G reception still need improvement."
-- Kent German, cnet.com
"There are still downsides to consider when thinking about buying an iPhone. The OS still does not support background processes outside of Apple's own applications—something that the Pre's webOS can apparently handle quite smoothly. Some users still hate the iPhone's on-screen keyboard, and there's no indication that a physical keyboard (even as an add-on) is coming anytime soon... Despite its flaws, we still give it a thumbs up."
-- Jacqui Cheng & Clint Ecker, Ars Technica
"The 'S' in iPhone 3G S stands for 'speed' and with a new 600MHz CPU (versus the old 412MHz) plus the doubling of RAM, that speed spike is immediately apparent. Apple claims a doubling in the average speed across all functions - including opening web pages with the Safari browser to opening and executing apps. And that claim is hard to dispute. The phone zips along, making its predecessor look like a slouch."
-- Stephen Hucheon, The Sydney Morning Herald
"Apple’s best overall iPhone yet; an iterative but legitimate upgrade to the original iPhone 3G... Battery life for 3G calling and data remains unacceptably low, requiring heavy phone or 3G data users to perform mid-day recharging; use of other new features, including video recording, drains battery at even more rapid rate."
-- Jeremy Horwitz, iLounge
"In short, the 3GS offers a boatload of improvements on the iPhone 3G with no real downside and the same price. Brand-new iPhone customers should have no hesitation before buying: Considering the huge variety of apps, there's no better smartphone to buy today. Current iPhone users have a tougher decision ahead. First they must ask themselves if the features offered exclusively on the phone (as opposed to the free upgrade, which they should download immediately) are worth the expense of a new phone"
-- Steven Levy, Wired
Video of the iPhone 3GS being unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2009