iPhone 3GS vs. 4, reconsidered

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by sanford, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. sanford macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2003
    Dallas, USA
    Features aside, and the 4 is certainly a very nice-looking model, does anyone prefer the ergonomics and overall "feel" of the 3GS to the 4?

    I recently had my 4 stolen. With the 5 on the near horizon, rather than replace the 4, I just went back to using my 3GS until the 5 is available. The thing is, and I'm pretty sure it's not just painting a sweet aspect on a sour situation, I overall prefer using and carrying the 3GS to the 4. Without a side-by-side comparison, I don't notice the benefits of the Retina display. I never used FaceTime. And, I found the hard edges of the 4 uncomfortable to hold without a case, compared to the 3GS; and I'm not a big case fan for iPhones since iPhones are so thin and light cases add quite a bit of bulk.

    Now I'm certainly not saying if someone dropped a brand new 4 on me and said, Here, use this until the 5 ships, I wouldn't lean toward going right back to a 4. It's faster, camera is better and has a flash, etc. But despite the tale of the specs, that the 4 is lighter (it IS lighter, right?) and thinner, the 3GS feels to me overall lighter and thinner. Also, in my experience the 4 was more prone to marring and scarring than the 3GS. Nothing impairing use, but I was a lot rougher with my 3GS than my 4, and it looks mint, whereas the 4 definitely looked well-used.

    Anyone else have a similar sort of preference for the 3GS? I'm now hoping the 5 will return to a form factor more similar to the 3GS, although from what I've lately read via the rumor mill, both 4S and 5 will look and feel mostly like the 4.
  2. sananda macrumors 68020

    May 24, 2007
    Nope. I much prefer my girlfriend's 4 to my 3GS. It looks nicer to me and nicer to hold in my hand.
  3. bandofbrothers macrumors 601


    Oct 14, 2007
    I really like my iphone 4.

    Everything about it exudes class.

    If something happened to mine I would buy the iphone 4 lite version thats due out, until the iphone 5 was released.
  4. sanford thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2003
    Dallas, USA
    I think the 4 "lite," if it exists, is due out at the same time as the 5, so I'd still have to wait.

    I would have skipped on in and bought a new 4 for $300 (mine was a 32GB). But it would have cost me, even for the 16GB, $450 since I'd have to pay early upgrade until Nov. 1, when my full upgrade subsidy cycles. And then I'd burn my upgrade subsidy for a whole year. Me, I just won't cough up even $200 when I can wait scantly over two months and have the next generation iPhone for the same cost.

    Bearing in mind, it's not like I'm having to fill in with a throwaway-grade phone for a couple months because the 4 was my first and/or only iPhone. My sub-in is an iPhone 3GS. Which will even support iOS 5.
  5. lamboman macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    I don't own an iPhone 4, but have used plenty, and my friend has a 3GS, and I own an HTC Desire HD. The iPhone 4 feels nice and small in the hand for me, whereas the 3GS feels very chunky and a bit awkward, more so than my far bigger DHD. My DHD feels fine, but of course, it is massive, so you can't expect too much.

    The iP4's physical dimensions are great; if they can keep the width largely similar (only a tad bigger) for the next, bigger iPhone, that would be fantastic IMO.
  6. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
  7. Sedrick macrumors 68030


    Nov 10, 2010
    I skipped the 4 after release and held on to my 3GS. I've since played with the 4 in the store (and with friends) and frankly, it's just too dang small. I much preferred the HTC EVO. Even though it's 4.3", it felt more comfortable to hold and use because of the curved back. Still don't regret holding onto the 3GS, but I'm ready to upgrade. If the iPhone 5 is the same size/case/screen as what we have now, I'll have no reason to get it and I'll probably go with HTC.

    To the OP's point, even though the 4 looks modern and sleek, I much prefer the curved back of the 3GS (and most other smartphones out there).
  8. mpossoff macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2010
    The iPhone 4 is too delicate in my opinion. Would prefer a more durable device. I think the 3GS was more durable/tough.
  9. nmork macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2011
    Under your bed.
    Overall, I prefer the 4. The glass/metal build of it feels much more solid whereas the 3G/3GS honestly felt like a toy to me after a while. The 4 looks better, too.

    Only thing I dislike is, like others said, the 4 SEEMS waaaay too delicate. I'm afraid to even set it down without a case. But, then again, I'm OCD and one scratch even on the back would drive me insane. I know it's a lot more durable than I give it credit for, but still >_<
  10. Number 41 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2009
    The 4 looks nice, but it's too damn fragile. There's a very good reason why no one, other than Apple, considers glass a suitable material to build anything other than windows out of.

    The 3GS, on the other hand, is a tank. The slightly-raised bezel protects the screen when it's dropped, and the back can take just about any kind of abuse with the worst thing happening being a little crack on the edge (not an outright shatter).

    The 4 may be a beautiful design, but it's just not durable enough to be an everyday piece of tech for people who depend on their phones and use them constantly. If the 5 retains the same design, I'll pass on buying.
  11. acfusion29 macrumors 68040


    Nov 8, 2007
    i prefer the 3GS to the 4, but i still own an iPhone 4 :eek:
  12. Andy Ftw macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2011
    Haha, I'm the same. A 3GS with retina display would be perfect for me :)
  13. jrtaylor6 macrumors member


    Jan 20, 2011
    Tuscaloosa Al
    I had the same thing happen to me. I also went to the 3gs. The only complaint i had was just the speed of the 3gs to the 4. I did notice that the 3gs was a lot tougher than 4. I drop a 4 one time and cracked. I drop the 3gs countless time and it hasnt cracked yet.
  14. Reach9 macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2010
    In America
    The iPhone 3GS definitely feels better on the hand, than the iPhone 4. The current iPhone 4's design is completely flawed, like c'mon.. glass?

    If i had a choice between an iPhone 3GS with Retina Display, and front facing camera, and an iPhone 4, then i would take the iPhone 3GS. Here's hoping Apple goes back to the old style, clearly they did something right since the original iPhone, iPhone 3G and 3GS had similar designs.

    The iPhone 4 is the best looking iPhone yet, but i usually am using my smartphone than staring at it most of the time.
  15. awadeee macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2011
    Viper City
    I honestly prefer the form factor and overall look of the iPhone 4. I also think it's actually a bit heavier than the 3G(s). In addition, I definitely noticed the higher definition display instantly when I switched over to the iPhone 4. I wasn't a fan of how it felt in my hand at first but I got used to it quickly. I wouldn't go back to the 3Gs unless my iPhone 4 got stolen. I just use my 3Gs for hacking.
  16. Savor Suspended


    Jun 18, 2010
    Yes, which forced me to use a case. Plus, the 4 can be slippery. This is all a preference thing. No such thing as the perfect phone. I still prefer the 4's weight (feels less cheap) and overall features over the previous models. It is just one of those sacrifices you have to live with any phone. Give and take. I prefer my BlackBerry Bold's ergonomics more over any iPhone with the faux-leather back but it can be a bit too wide. But there is alot more I prefer having with my iPhone over my BB even if ergonomics isn't one of them. You will see plus & minuses for anything that gets compared.
  17. anonymous guy macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2010
    The curves of the 3G design is ergonomically more comfortable in the hand than the hard edges of the 4. The 3G design is showing its age though, and looks fat in comparison to a lot of smartphones engaging in the thinness race.

    Also, the glossy plastic backing, while much more durable than the glass, does age and scratch up pretty easily. The white hides the fine scratches more, but looks kind of like a white marshmallow from behind.

    For the next design, I wish they could use either metal or some sort of soft-touch matte plastic.
  18. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Really think the original iPhone had the best design. The flat metal back was much easier to hold than both the 3G and 4.
  19. Number 41 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2009
    And, when it comes to durability, no question at all: Metal >>>>>> Glass.
  20. Invincibilizer macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2011
    It depends on the type of glass. If the glass is heated to high temperatures before gradual cooling, it has the ability to be more durable and stronger than metal.

    iPhone 4 design is still the best one out there, 3GS design falls miles short of it.
  21. Merthyrboy macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2008
    Yeah I agree. The plastic made the phone feel cheapish to me on the 3Gs. Also Monk is such an awesome tv program.
  22. greygray macrumors 68000


    Oct 22, 2009
    I actually prefer the 3GS's contoured back compared to the square-ish back of my current iPhone 4, maybe it's just me :eek: It feels more comfortable in the hand IMO.
  23. boss.king macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2009
    The iPhone 4 design is far worse in terms of durability. In terms of Looks it may be better, but the 3GS is unquestionably more durable.
  24. moldy lunchbox macrumors 6502a

    Sep 9, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    I agree with most of the posts, cause personally I definitely miss the feel of the 3GS, but I love my iP4 too. I've only had the 4 for about 3 months and the square feeling still seems to feel uncomfortable in my hands after gaming and texting for long periods of time. I definitely don't remember that with my 3GS. But with the amazing battery life I've been gettin on the iP4 compared to the 3GS I can just slap my comfy Incipio NGP case on and get over the square-ness :)
  25. decafjava macrumors 68030


    Feb 7, 2011
    Well I've only ever had an iphone 4 so while I agree glass is probably not a good material to make the back from-I can't imagine giving up the faster processor, more RAM, more memory and retina display. :cool:

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