iPhone 3G S review roundup

‘Twas two days before the iPhone 3G S hit the stores when the reviews at last began to seep through the pores.

Like file-sharers before the RIAA do fly, when they meet with a firewall change ports on the sly, more rapid than torrents the reports they came, and so we call on them now, by name after name:

“On Mossberg, on Pogue, on Baig and Ihnatko; it’s Engadget and Wired, Cnet and Gizmodo!”

To the corners of the Web, to the depths of the Twitter, we don’t have a review unit right now—but hey, we’re not bitter!

And so we bring you to these, the reviews on the net and hope you’ll return for our own in-depth set.

For you’ll hear us exclaim, when we post our review, “Come see, come see, we’re finally through!”

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Walt Mossberg, Wall Street Journal: “During my week of testing, the new model proved dramatically snappier in every way than my iPhone 3G. Its processor is 50% faster than in the prior model, and it sports a new graphics chip. Applications opened much more quickly. Web pages loaded far faster. The camera was ready to use almost instantly. And I never once saw the occasional, annoying iPhone behavior where you strike a key while typing and it sits there, seemingly stuck, before you can continue.”

David Pogue, New York Times: “The new iPhone doesn’t just catch up to its rivals — it vaults a year ahead of them. At this point, the usual list of 10 rational objections to the iPhone have been whittled down to about three: no physical keyboard, no way to swap the battery yourself and no way to avoid using AT&T as your cell company.”

Andy Ihnatko, Chicago Sun-Times: “Everything feels faster. Safari on the iPhone 3G S seems as interactive as a desktop browser. At times, pages were being rendered so quickly over WiFi that I had to double-check to make sure that the usual time-suckers (JavaScript and plugins) hadn’t been turned off, and that I wasn’t using some sort of cut-down mobile site.”

Ed Baig, USA Today: “Apple also improved the digital camera on the 3G S, though I still find shooting with it a bit awkward. The autofocus camera is up to 3-megapixels, compared to 2 megapixels on the 3G model. You can tap an object in the frame that’s not in the center to have the iPhone shift its focus there and adjust the white balance. The new camera does a pretty good job on really close-up shots. There’s still no flash for snapping low-light pictures.”

Jason Chen, Gizmodo: “The iPhone 3GS is not an insignificant step forward in the iPhone family. The Nike+ support, magnetometer (compass), video recording, voice command, better camera, better battery life and faster data network are all improvements nobody would call a step backwards. But the biggest day-to-day improvement over the 3G is undoubtedly the increased processing speed, which is why Apple called this phone the 3GS (with the S standing for super fast) in order to designate that it’s basically the 3G, but better.”

Steven Levy, Wired: “But the new phone introduces a long list of improvements, big and small. Taken together, they’re enough to re-establish Apple’s once-shrinking lead in a brutal technology competition that is making the chariot race in Ben Hur look like a stroll in the park.”

Joshua Topolsky, Engadget: “A spot where we really saw the fruits of Apple’s labors…was actually in the more graphically intense apps for the phone. Comparing a CPU-hungry 3D game like Resident Evil: Degeneration on the 3G S with the same title 3G yielded striking results. The load time was drastically reduced, and rendering and frame rates on the game were noticeably smoother than on the older device (though game speeds stay the same) — a side effect of the more powerful guts we’d hoped to see, but weren’t sure would be so stark. If you’re an avid gamer looking for the device with more power, the difference will be crystal clear: the 3G S obviously flexes in this department.”

Kent German, CNet: “In many ways, the iPhone 3G S delivers on its promises. The battery, which could sometimes deplete in less than a day on the iPhone 3G, lasted longer in our preliminary tests, and the phone’s software ran noticeably faster. Yet, we still have some concerns. A faster AT&T 3G network isn’t going to happen overnight, and some features, like tethering and multimedia messaging, aren’t scheduled until later in summer 2009. We also struggled to see any change in call quality, which, as any iPhone owner can tell you, remains far from perfect.”

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