Apple's iPhone 3GS is still the best smartphone you can buy

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Apple's iPhone 3GS is still the best smartphone you can buy

The iPhone took a big step forward this year when the 3GS was released. By introducing a few subtle changes, Apple turned it from a very good phone into a brilliant one, and in this month's test it keeps its top-dog status.

The first big change was the introduction of proper voice-guided satnav programs to the App Store. Previously, iPhone owners were limited to simple Google Maps directions; now they can buy quality satnav software for very little - on both the 3G and 3GS.

A digital compass was introduced, making Google Maps more useful when on foot. Apple also added voice control and dialling, plus the ability to record and edit 30fps VGA video.

But the most important update of all was a massive performance boost. Where an iPhone 3G will load the SMH homepage over Wi-Fi in a relatively sluggish 28 seconds, the 3GS completes it in an astonishingly quick average time of eight seconds.

It's the fastest phone on test, and one of only two phones here to score a perfect 100 in the Acid3 standards test.

It isn't just web browsing this phone is good at, though. Applications start up more quickly too, and the 3GS boasts all the strengths that have made the iPhone so successful since its launch.

It's still the easiest phone to use of any on the market, its on-screen keyboard is better than most - even besting the Motorola DEXT's physical keyboard for ease of use - and its multitouch gestures work beautifully, allowing you to zoom in and out of web pages and images with a pinch of your fingers.

The Apple App Store is the best right now too, despite a strong challenge from the Android Market, with more than 100,000 games and utilities to choose from.

It isn't perfect, however, and top of our list of moans is that iTunes lock-in, which lumbers you with Apple's media manager, and ties you to a single PC. Battery life is merely average - it had just 50% remaining after our 24-hour test - and it isn't the cheapest option, either.

Despite these complaints, there's no getting around the fact that the iPhone 3GS is the quickest, smartest, easiest to use and most flexible phone around. If you want the best of the best, and don't mind the iTunes lock-in, it's the clear choice this month.

Apple iPhone 3GS
5 6
Verdict
Super fast, brilliantly flexible and easy to use – the iPhone 3GS is still the best smartphone around
Performance
Battery Life
Features & Design
Value for money
Overall
Labs Winner
Specs
• www.apple.com/au: www.optus.com.au
This review appeared in the May, 2010 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
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