Apple iPhone 4 vs Apple iPhone 3GS – Review

by Jerry D on June 7, 2010

Apple’s 4th Generation iPhone handset aims to leap ahead of its rivals with some new (and long overdue) hardware additions plus a big software upgrade. How does it compare to the previous iPhone 3GS? Quite frankly, it takes it out into a back alley and thumps it to death…

iphone 4 vs 3gs Apple iPhone 4 vs Apple iPhone 3GS   Review


The spec sheet of the iPhone 4 lists 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR as the core connectivity options. As for the older iPhone 3GS, Apple specified 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP (headset only) and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi as standard. The only real difference here is the support for 802.11n. (1-0)

Size & Weight:

True pocketability is difficult to quantify but Apple’s iPhone 4 is the slimmer of the two phones with a depth of 9.3mm. Apple claims that (at the time of writing, at least), it’s the world’s thinnest smartphone. The iPhone 3GS is wider, measuring 62.1mm to the iPhone 4′s slim 58.6mm. Weighing 137g, the iPhone 4 has gained a few grams over the iPhone 3GS, which weighs 135g. (2-0)



The design of the Apple iPhone 4 addresses one of the iPhone’s major failings up until now, namely a god-awful camera. The replacement is a 5.0 Megapixel model with tap to focus (on video or still images), an LED flash, geo-tagging, plus VGA and HD video recording (720p) up to 30fps. For video calls, there’s also a front-facing camera. The iPhone 3GS shows its age with a poorer specification, which includes a 3.15 Megapixel camera with auto-focus, geotagging and video recording. (3-0)


While the iPhone 4′s screen is still the same size as its predecessor (3.5 inches), it boosts the screen resolution to an incredible 640 x 960 pixels. The iPhone 3GS’s touch-sensitive LCD can only muster 320 x 480 pixels in comparison. That looked good until the iPhone 4 came along. (4-0)


As for overall usability and performance, The iPhone 3GS uses a 600MHz ARM A8 chip (with bolted-on PowerVR SGX535 graphics). The iPhone 4′s processor is a 1GHz Apple A4 chip. iPhone OS 4.0 (now renamed iOS4) debuts on the 4th gen iPhone and while it will also be available for the iPhone 3GS, not all of the new features will be supported. (5-0)


The iPhone 3GS matches the fourth Apple phone byte for byte – both pack 32GB of internal storage. Apple isn’t a fan of expansion slots and both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS lack any way to boost this capacity any higher. A cheaper 16GB version of the iPhone 4 is also available. (5-0)

Battery life:

As far as performance is concerned, Apple’s spec sheet lists 7.0 hours of talktime for its phone, compared to 6.5 hours for the Apple iPhone 3GS. As for standby time, the phones can last for 300 hours and 360 hours respectively. (5-1)



The iPhone 4 also includes GPS/A-GPS, digital compass and a new 3-axis gyroscope for gaming cleverness. The iPhone 3GS also features a digital compass and GPS/A-GPS. (6-1)

The Apple iPhone 4 wins!

iphone4 2up front side Apple iPhone 4 vs Apple iPhone 3GS   Review
The iPhone 4 obviously emerges as the winner of this fight (6-1). It has the most versatile OS of any phone around, a higher-spec camera with HD video recording, the best all-round camera features and a superb, high resolution display. It’s also a much thinner phone, measuring only 9.3mm. This is the phone the iPhone 3GS should have been. No AMOLED screen though. Maybe that’s on the drawing board for iPhone 5…

Do you agree with the outcome of this fight? Leave us a comment below now…

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