Is the iPhone 3GS still worth buying?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ranny2, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. ranny2 macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    Hi there,
    I am looking to buy an iPhone, but being a student, lack the funds to buy the latest version!
    I currently have a Blackberry Curve 9300, but I am really starting to hate it as it is incompetent at web browsing etc.
    Is an iPhone 3GS, running iOS 5 still a good purchase to make. I can find a good 2nd hand model for £175 here in the UK.
    I understand it won't recieve the update for iOS 6. The reason I would really like an iPhone over a potentially much more powerful Android phone is the incredible syncing abilities with my Mac. I like syncing to be a painless, easy process!
    Thanks for your help.
  2. Mister Ecks macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2012
    Houston, TX
    Well it's better than a blackberry IMO. What about in between? Not the 4s but the 4?
  3. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    I would love an iPhone 4, but I am struggling to find a good refurbsuihed or 2nd hand one, and the price Apple and phone networks charge is a bit steep at the moment.
    I was thinking that I might wait till the iPhone 5, then buy a cheaper 4S as I would have enough money by then. When is the 5 due out? My BB contract runs out in October, so that is the longest I could wait.
    Thanks for you help.
  4. bandofbrothers macrumors 601


    Oct 14, 2007
    There are iPhone 4 second hand out there for not much more than you state for the 3GS. I use a highstreet store in the uk and can pm you the name if your interested. Posting it on the open forum would be a breach of the rules !

    As for your main question although that model is showing its years it's still an awesome idevice. You will need to get some user advice from an owner of this iPhone using ios5 as I've read it can be a tad laggy but some say its fine.

    I'd say take the plunge and buy it and look around a bit harder for a 4 too.

    Oh and hopefully ,...... Welcome to the Dark Side.
  5. iphone3DG3 macrumors member

    Apr 23, 2009
    I'd suggest against the 3GS, as iPhone 4 prices are marginally more expensive. Don't get me wrong, the 3GS is still better than a lot of phones out there. If 8GB is sufficient for you, I've seen them go for as low as $310 new on eBay, but that was 3 weeks ago (no box, though).
  6. unlimitedx macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2010
    What's your budget? iPhone 4 is a huge upgrade to the 3GS, so I'd get the 4 if you can afford it to take advantage of the better camera and retina display.

    3GS goes for about $200 on craigslist in my area, and $380 for the 4.
  7. AppleBlogAt macrumors newbie


    Feb 17, 2012
    Yes it is!

    My girlfriend has 3GS and I like it's design more than my 4. It's rounded back plate and the glossy black is very good looking. As for the hardware, the iOS 5 is running smoothly but the battery is a little short on life.

    I have a more pleasant feeling when I am holding the 3GS than the 4.
  8. Stanjara macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2011
    Big YES

    Yes it is! I have one still and use it. iOS5 is the best. I had ios4 on it and it was some what laggy...especially in opening multitask bar...and sliding pages of apps, but ios5 is really smooth on a 3gs. You will get lag...or some waiting if you have 10 apps recently opened in the multitask...but after a while...memory clears on that by itself if they are on pause on a longer period. I clear my multitask on the end of a day. Don't use those refresh memory apps, because they drain your battery..i don't know why but still...

    Battery is 5-6 hours of usage and one-two days of gaming...for gaming i use xbox360 so...those infinity blade games don't interest me.

    I use it for music with amplitube and is great, and for photos i use hdr app...snapseed and camera+..sometimes plastic bullet for randomness...all of those apps run very smooth...and the results are pretty impressive...people with real camera are asking how?

    For what i use the phone i don't see android phones as better..because of my music with irig...

    iPhone 4 has a better screen and camera witch would interest me...but i stayed with my 3gs because apple still has a great support for it by software.

    I will upgrade to iphone 5 hopefully :)
  9. yellowbunny macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2010
    Got my wife and mother a 3GS each and they both love it. Theyre non-geeks and think its the best thng ever. Deals on the 3GS in the uk on certain networks are crazy cheap at the moment (free handset then $15ish per month).
  10. andyx3x macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2011
    $380 is way too much to pay for an iPhone 4. You should be able to get one for $250-$275 easily on Craigslist.

    Just find someone offering it for $300-$325 and make a lower offer. Someone will bite.
  11. MonkeySee.... macrumors 68040


    Sep 24, 2010
    You will only find the 3GS slow if you use a 4 or 4S. I was fine with my 3GS but was at the end of my 2 year contract so got the 4S.

    Its still a great device and operates wonderfully under iOS5. Don't be fooled by all the specs that are out theses days. Apple made a great device and didn't underestimate its capability when making iOS5.
  12. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2005
    As a developer I always have to get the latest phone, but also keep old ones around for testing so I get to compare them. I had a 3GS + 4 combination for ages, currently I have a 4S + 3GS. I'd say hold out for the 4, or perhaps even wait for october (which is roughly when the 5 is likely to be released) and see what you can manage then.

    Putting the 3GS / 4 differences into perspective:

    - The screen is *massively* better on the 4. Not just resolution, it also has much better contrast and viewing angles. It's amazing when you compare them, and going back to the 3GS after getting used to the 4 is painful.
    - Battery. The 3GS I'd say was "passable", while the 4 is great.
    - Performance. Not a huge difference but the 4 is noticeably quicker.

    You can pretty much ignore performance (because the 3GS is ok, I wouldn't bother upgrading for it). But the other two points are huge - I'd say both are worth an extra $50 with ease, so I'd say it's certainly worth paying $100 more for a 4. You'll probably get one for much less than that too. It's worth saving a bit. :)
  13. BiggAW macrumors 68020

    Jun 19, 2010
  14. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    Cool, thanks for your help everyone!

    I think I will pass on the 3GS.

    May question now is should I try and find a cheap 2nd hand iPhone 4 now, or wait till the iPhone 5 and pick up a cheaper iPhone 4S?

  15. xAnthony macrumors 65816


    Mar 2, 2010
    That's really up to you. The difference between the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S isn't anything drastic. The iPhone 4s is definitely faster, but if you don't care about siri or the couple second difference in loading a web page, the iPhone 4 is a great pick up right now.

    Plus, the iPhone 5 may not be out until September/October and I'm not sure if you can wait that long with your current phone. 6/7 months is a long time for such a little change between the iPhone 4 & iPhone 4s.
  16. greganpace macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2011
    I just upgraded to the 4s and am selling my mint 3GS for $150 through the local classifieds (got a hit within 12 hours). I had a $50 dollar gift card to best buy, so hopefully this upgrade will basically be free. And if it wasn't free, I would seriously be regretting my purchase right about now. In my average day to day use, I really can't tell that much of a difference. Enough, don't get me wrong, I love the 4s, but it still amazes me how great of a phone the 3gs is.
  17. sk1wbw Suspended


    May 28, 2011
    Williamsburg, Virginia
    The 3GS is a fine phone, but I wouldn't get one if I had to sign a contract, even if for a year. Signing a contract for a phone that is over two years old is just foolish.
  18. bandofbrothers macrumors 601


    Oct 14, 2007

    I tend to find that idevices drop slowly in cost !!
  19. unlimitedx macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2010
    You're right. Mine was the iPhone 4 with the rare baseband that was unlockable.

    The locked and gevey sim ones will be cheaper.
  20. gadgetmonster macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2011
    If I could have gotten a 3GS on verizon i would have, i am not a huge fan of the iphone4 design but I loved the 3GS. Its still a fine phone and a great choice for younger folks. I also agree about the contract, i wouldn't want to sign a 2yr contract unless the phone was totally free and then it would have to not be my phone since I tend to like to buy off-contract phones so I don't have to sign the contracts............there are exceptions though, i probably will sign a new 2yr contract with verizon for the new iphone this year if it meets my expectations.
  21. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    3GS could be fine for someone mothers, grandmothers, totally tech illiterate to get them started.

    But if you've figured out how to get on this forum and familiar with Blackberry's... get a 4 at minimum, hands down.

    It's worth every penny for the 'retina' resolution display alone. But it's also a pretty big jump with the A4 soc, memory, and camera also. 3GS is on the eve of support ending, the 4 should get 1 more major iOS6 feature overhaul.
  22. sulpfiction macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2011
    Philadelphia Area
    When I sold my 4 in leiu of the 4S, I went back to my 3GS until the 4S launched. When I first picked it up out of the box, I immediatley loved the feel of it in my hand. I hadn't noticed how good it really felt until I had the 4. It felt perfect. But the screen....I thought something was wrong with my eyes for a couple seconds. It looked like I couldn't focus. It was a DRASTIC difference from the retina on my 4. But after a few days of using it, it didn't bother me one bit. Battery was still good, and it wasn't noticibly slower. If I were u though, I'd buy a 4 off contract and get a 5 in Sept/Oct.

    I am in the process of selling my 16gig iPad2/iPhone 3gs as a combo for $500. Figured about $125 for the 3gs.
  23. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2005
    4 or 4S: if you're into photography or play games a lot wait for the 4S, otherwise get a 4 when you're ready. The camera is much better, and the extra speed makes some games a lot better. Siri is good, but not essential I reckon.
  24. Jordan921 macrumors 68040


    Jul 7, 2010
    Bay Area
    Could you not save up enough for a brand new iPhone 5 or whatever they are calling it?
  25. kre62 macrumors 68000

    Jul 12, 2010
    I shake my head at this attitude. It makes me wonder if people know anything about technology.

    The 4S and the 4 don't share any DNA. They are completely different phones. The 4S has a completely different chip architechture, GPU, SPU, etc.

    The 4 and 3GS share the same chip architechture, have the exact same GPU, SPU, etc.

    Let me put it this way: If you have two laptops, and both have Intel Pentium 4 chips in them, but one has a different case design, are they different laptops? If the insides are the same, then no.

    But if you have two laptops with the same case, one has a P4 and the other cas an intel Core i7, are they the same? The case is the same, so they must be the same right?

    They arent the same. Even a little bit.

    The 4S is a MASSIVE uprade. 3-4X bigger then the 3GS to 4 upgrade. At least.

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