iPhone 3GS still worth it ?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Dr. McKay, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Dr. McKay macrumors 6502a

    Jan 20, 2010
    Belgium, Europe
    Simple question : is the iPhone 3GS still worth buying ?
    The iPhone 4 is currently too expensive for me, let alone the 4S.

    I would only use it to check my mail, browse the web a bit and some apps (nothing graphically intensive, no games, no movies, no music). Facetime and taking pictures are also things I have no interest in. I would however use the GPS.

    I currently have a Nokia E5. Nothing fancy, but it does the job. But I really want an iPhone. And the 3GS is the only one within my budget.
    So either I get a 3Gs now, or I wait for the release of the iPhone 5 which will lower the price of the 4 and 4S (at which point I would only be able to afford the 4). But I'm a bit weary of the 4 (antennagate and other hardware problems apparently), so that's why I'm considering the 3GS.

    Anyone have a 3GS running iOS 5.1 ? How's performance ? Battery life ? I'm not looking for raw speed, I just want a good user experience (no jerkiness when going through menus), not having to wait 10 or 15 seconds for an average app to launch...

    Any thoughts ?
  2. ste1164 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2009
    I would leave it and just save up your money. Put so much aside each month. My friend has a 3GS and hates it because it's so slow now.
  3. deppest macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2009
    I am using a 3GS with the latest iOS 5.1. No problems whatsoever with a similar user profile as you. Mainly use it for browsing the web, ebooks, email, calendar, youtube etc. some light occasional gaming and tons of music. menus and apps respond just fine. GPS also fine, using it regularly with an app called MotionX-GPS and of course google maps. battery life: normally needs daily charge. I also prefer the form factor over the 4/4S.
  4. chambone macrumors 6502a


    Dec 24, 2011
    I have a 3GS, but it's on 4.3.3. Anyway, if you never owned an iPhone you'll be very happy with a 3GS. It's not much slower than a 4, the only real drawback is the lack of retina display. But the 320x480 display is far from unusable. Small print reads just fine etc.
  5. rowley macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2008
    London, UK
    I've had a 3gs for a year, and recently upgraded from 4.2 to 4.3, then to 5, and now 5.1, and I've found 5.1 the best for battery use and wifi stability.

    Of course no retina display or front facing camera, but thats fine.

    I'm waiting on my contract renewal before I move up, and this phone will be donated to a family member.
  6. Dr. McKay thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 20, 2010
    Belgium, Europe
    New question : suppose I get the 3GS, which means that iOS 5 will be the newest OS I can run on it (it would come as a very big surprise if it could run iOS 6).

    But what would I be missing out on ? Would I still have access to the app store once iOS 6 is released (I suppose people who are still running iOS4 can still buy apps ?) ?
    I mean, it's not like the arrival of iOS6 would turn my 3GS into a 'dumb' phone, is it ?
  7. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

    Dec 10, 2004
    Absolutely not.
  8. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    iPhone 3GS vs iPhone 4S

    I would wait/save to buy the 4S. I had the 3GS for about 6 months and have enjoyed the phone very much, but I knew that I would want to remain up to date with OS additions and innovations and keeping the 3GS would not be the way to do that.

    I already dealt with the 3G only having a partial upgrade to iOS4 and I didn't want to have compatibility issues so soon after getting a new phone. With the 2 cameras, more powerful CPU, more RAM, retina display, 4G connectivity(I have 4G with AT&T), and the combination GSM/CDMA makes it a better buy in my opinion. I also have a much better GPS experience with the 4S than I did with the 3GS.

    I know that you said you have no interest in watching movies, listening to music, FaceTime, or taking pictures. But if you don't want to even bother with some of the features that make the iPhone so much better than a basic phone with internet connectivity, why pay a premium price for the plan plus data to do essentially what you're already doing? I would recommend instead picking up an iPod Touch(even though it would be WiFi dependent). You could still do almost anything else the iPhone can do, and it would save you quite a bit in the long run.
  9. WillFisher macrumors 6502


    Feb 19, 2011
    I've been using my 3GS for the past 2 years, its still going, but its starting to wear down now. Software wise, I think it still runs pretty well. Theres the odd bit of lag now and again, but generally it is still going like a trooper!
    The only reason I want to upgrade to a 4/4s is that its starting to fall apart! But aside that, I'd say they're still worth it.
    And on that note, I still know lots of people with a 3GS, so they can't be all that bad!
    Roll on iOS6, and THEN they'll show their age.
  10. ecflagcorp macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2010
    I just recently upgraded from my 3GS to a 4S. My 3GS was working just fine. Apps were a little slow to load/update, but it wasn't aggravating enough to throw it through the wall. I used it for a little over 2 years and never had a bit of trouble out of it.

    The only reason I could upgrade like that was because of a Trade-In/Buy Back thingy that helped out alot! :D

    Although, when the newer iPhone comes out (whenever that may be), the 3GS might be harder and harder to deal with, software upgrade wise, because they will begin to weed out that model. I would save and at least get the 4. That way you can keep it longer and not have to deal with trying to scramble and upgrade when the 3GS gets weeded out.
  11. slu macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2004
    My wife uses a 3GS with iOS 5.1 and has much of the same usage patterns as you. It works great for her. When I have used it, I have seen no issues and it has been a pleasure to use..

    As long as you are OK with not getting the next iOS update, you should be fine with a 3GS for 2 years. Most apps currently run on iOS 4+. I would imagine you won't have issues with apps for quite some time.
  12. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    Don't waste your money on a 3GS.
    It's already 3+ years old.
  13. chambone macrumors 6502a


    Dec 24, 2011
    No, you would still be able to download apps. One problem is that some apps will be requiring iOS6 by that time (if current developments are any indication at least). I've run into on or two third party apps that don't run on iOS 4.x, but Apple especially is guilty of this practice. pages, keynote, garageband, iphoto, airport config for example all require iOS5.
  14. awadeee macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2011
    Viper City
    If you can get one cheap and don't feel the need for the bells and whistles of the newer models, or it's your first iPhone and you've got cold feet, I'd recommend getting a 3Gs. I've got two of em, one at 4.2.1 and one at 4.3.3 both jailbroken and they run smooth as butter. The only reason I upgraded to the 4 (bought it outright) was because I wanted the better camera and retina display. I do almost prefer the form factor of the 3 though!
  15. tctony macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2009

    No point in getting a 3GS when the monthly bill will be the same as something that is actually current.
  16. chambone macrumors 6502a


    Dec 24, 2011
    How can the monthly bill be the same when something as current as a 4S costs almost twice as much? And who says he wants a subsidized phone?

    The smart money is on a factory unlocked phone anyways, whatever model he's buying.
  17. Fusion79 macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2011
    Omaha, NE
    Exactly. Assuming you are starting a new contract, spend $100 and at least get a 4. The cost of a phone on contract is small compared to the cost of the service over two years.
  18. cbronfman macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2008
    Washington DC
    Signal strength MUCH better on 4S

    I had the iPhone 3GS for 28 months (from launch day of 3GS to launch day of 4S). It was a good phone (served me well) but I would NOT suggest buying it now. The signal strength is much improved on the 4S (as well as the obvious screen, cameras, processor speed etc.). For basic functionality - signal strength is key. I also agree the those posters who have pointed out the cost of a monthly contract - might as well pay that price on the best technology. Wait until you can afford it.
  19. coconutxyz macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2011
    it is lighter and better to hold than 4/4s for me...only problem is battery but i plan to change it soon
  20. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    Find a second hand iPhone 4...

    Trust me, the 3GS, as nice as it is, just isn't the same as the 4. Not just speed wise, but the screen is worth every penny. Plus it keeps it's resale value and you can sell it later.

    I don't plan to upgrade to the 4s or the next iPhone...perfectly happy with the iPhone 4.
  21. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Agreed, I wouldn't buy a 3GS now. Save up for the iPhone 4 or 4S.
  22. GalvaJ macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2011
    No Way

    Keep what you got. Forget about the price of the phone. It's the contract you'll be locked to for the next two years that you need to think about. Not worth getting into that for a 3GS. Keep the phone you got, and with the money saved it's probably better to get a 4th Gen iPod Touch to use on WiFi.
  23. Dr. McKay thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 20, 2010
    Belgium, Europe
    FYI : I wouldn't be buying the phone on a contract. In Belgium, where I live, you CAN buy it with a contract, but you don't HAVE to (it's actually illegal in Belgium to only sell a particular phone with a contract).
    So no jailbreak, simlock free and 150 euro cheaper (roughly $200) cheaper than the iPhone 4 (new, from the Apple store).
    I already have a phone subscription with 250Mb/month data included (had the subscription for a year and have never needed more, I don't even use half of that).

    If the 3GS runs smoothly on iOS 5.1, then I'll be happy. It's not even sure the iPhone 4 will be able to cope with iOS 6 when it arrives (apparently, the 3Gs and 4 are not THAT far apart, performance wise).
  24. danderton macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2010
    performance wise there is a difference between the iPhone 4 and 3GS. I really wouldnt get the 3GS, i would imagine that the 3GS would be dropped with iOS6 or at least 6.1 and you have to remember it will be a 3 year old phone this June!!
  25. GalvaJ macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2011
    The 4 was definitely a major leap from the 3GS. I consider it to be a pretty substantial upgrade. That phone is just too old to hop into now. If possible, just start putting a little bit of money aside on your own schedule and hopefully, by the time Fall comes around and the 6th gen iPhone comes out, you can get that or the cheaper 4S.

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