iPhone 3G review: Twice the hype, half the novelty

Twice the hype

GSMArena team, 11 August 2008.


It's finally here - the iPhone 3G. No, we mean that literally. It's finally at our office and boy, are we excited! GPS, HSDPA purring under the new iPhone hood with a hefty number of software enhancements.

But all them software goodies are available for the first-gen iPhone too - so is it worth the fuss? It may as well be, but we never know before we take it out for a spin.

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Apple iPhone 3G official images

Key features:

  • 3.5" 16M-color TFT display with a resolution of 480 x 320 pixels
  • Quad-band GSM support
  • Tri-band UMTS support with HSDPA
  • Built-in GPS receiver
  • Wi-Fi
  • 8 to 16GB of onboard storage
  • Accelerometer, proximity sensor and ambient light sensor
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • Silky smooth user interface with multi-touch user support
  • Unsurpassed web surfing experience
  • Push email with MS Exchange support
  • AppStore access for direct application download and installation
  • Redone rear
  • TV-out port

Main disadvantages:

  • No video calls over the 3G network
  • The handset wobbles on hard even surfaces
  • There are a number of messaging downers
  • Camera has no auto focus, nor video recording… nor any settings at all
  • Safari browser doesn't support Flash and Java, doesn't have a download manager
  • Bluetooth support limited to headset use only (no A2DP or file transfers)
  • No office document editor
  • No copy/paste functionality
  • You cannot sync Notes and TO-DOs
  • No memory card slot (but knowing Apple there will never be one)

Now, since we'll be heavily comparing the old and new iPhone, how about the following arrangement - the first one we'll call Number One and the newbie will be Number Two. Sorted. Wait a minute, no good? Crap, we knew it. OK then, the first one will be the iPhone 1G (as in "generation" of the device), while the new one will still be iPhone 3G (as in "generation" of the wireless network). That might sound inconsistent, but it's short and we like it this way, so before you go ballistic in the comments section, remember Number One and Number Two.

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The iPhone 3G 16GB (White) in hand

So, back to the drill - the 3G-enabled iPhone was rumored ever since the iPhone 1G surfaced last year. Now that we have the real thing in our hands, it doesn't seem that groundbreaking anymore. Nevertheless, there are quite a few things to cover so we think reviewing it in detail is worth it. There's the updated design, the new white color (which we happen to have), the new iPhone 2.0 firmware/software/OS (call it what you will) with AppStore on board, the push email functionality and, finally, the GPS and HSDPA topping.

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The Apple iPhone 3G

We will also be on the lookout for improvements in terms of audio quality, loudspeaker volume and camera image quality against the iPhone 1G.

Seems like quite a workload, so let's waste no more time and get to it. Join us after this short break for more on the iPhone 3G.

Reader comments

  • Karo Kappen
  • 09 Jul 2015
  • Hku

I too got a iPhone 3G I can't also use whatsapp and I can't Also upgrade my version I got ios 4.1 what will I do i love this phone very much what will I do now I can't Use any application in my iPhone could some one solve my problem my gmail is kar...

  • Anonymous
  • 04 Oct 2013
  • 0wq

What can one do to upgrade 3G so it can accept What's App? Is there a download that one can download to upgrade? My e-mail is: archiemuza@gmail.com Please advise?

  • Anonymous
  • 31 Oct 2012
  • 0Cb

it is an ipod touch with gsm. mega music with very powerful output for big headphones. no smartphone today is equal in audio quality and power,except iphone range. is just an ipod indeed,remember