Thoughts and Impressions of the iPhone 3GS From Three Years Ago



A few days ago I came across the unordered list of notes below. These are the notes I took shortly after upgrading my original iPhone to an iPhone 3GS in June of 2009 (I skipped the iPhone 3G because I disliked the new look so much I refused to give up my original):

  • My first 3GS had a dead pixel; the Genius Bar replaced it. My second 3GS had some sort of massive screen line-fuzz issue when the screen was showing mostly dark colors; the Genius Bar replaced it as well. Now on my third one already.

  • I’ve gotten used to the bigger bezel around the side of the screen, but I wish I didn’t have to.

  • 3G is great. Frequently AT&T is faster than whatever random public wi-fi I’m connected to.

  • The camera is fantastic. Also: video!

  • Battery life is great; I rarely run out. In fact, I’ve only run the battery dead once so far. It was at Anna’s cousin’s wedding — I was shooting video and taking pictures all starting in the morning until evening.

  • I’ve been using the landscape keyboard more frequently, if for any reason but to get a break from the norm.

  • The curved back and plastic definitely feels more comfortable in the hand. Though it’s not as heavy and sturdy feeling, it does offer a better grip.

  • The seal between the glass edge and the chrome edge is not sealed very well.

  • I’m using no case or screen cover, which is as it should be.

  • I love the oleophobic screen. Compared to my original iPhone, this one seems to be constantly clean and smudge free.

  • Spotlight is my most-used iPhone OS 3.0 feature.

  • I haven’t yet needed tethering, though I have tried it. It was a bit difficult to get my MacBook and my iPhone paired, but once I got it working the internet connection wasn’t half bad.

  • The black plastic that makes up the back scratches much more easily than the aluminum on my original iPhone did.

  • The build quality of this phone doesn’t seem as good as my original. I’m not a fan of the more sunken lock button and am certainly not a fan of the plastic backing. Even my silent toggle switch is loose and it buzzes when the phone vibrates for an incoming call.

  • Love that new apps install on the 2nd Home screen.

Reading through that list is such a blast from the past — I forgot the first two iPhones didn’t have an oleophobic fingerprint-resistant screen — yet the 3GS is only a few years old. It’s still for sale, I still see people using it, and heck, it’s the 3rd-most popular camera phone on Flickr.

Apple has pushed the iPhone forward extremely fast over the past five years. They’ve taken care of nearly all the low-hanging fruit, and every version of the iPhone seems to be the best possible version. Yet here we are again. It’s Fall, a new iPhone is just a few weeks away, and this next one will probably be a doozy.