Q: What is the difference between the iPhone 3G and 3GS? Can’t I upgrade a 3G phone to get the features of the new 3GS? Which phone should I get?

Tech Q & A– Submitted by Misty Farmer
A: The iPhone 3G and 3GS are very similar devices. There are just a handful of substantial differences, one being that the older 3G phone is $100 less. Additionally, Apple released the 3.0 iPhone software upgrade at the same time as releasing the 3GS. This means a number of new features are available to the current iPhone owners who upgrade, which makes it somewhat confusing to distinguish which new features are available to both phones or just the 3GS. Luckily, I can quickly explain the differences and help you make a decision of which phone to purchase or to upgrade from your 3G phone.

First, feel free to visit http://www.apple.com/iphone/compare-iphones/, as this site has a nice chart showing the differences. While you are at it, this page http://www.apple.com/iphone/softwareupdate/ also shows the new features of the 3.1 and 3.0 iPhone updates.

To quickly sum up, these are the features that the iPhone 3GS has over the 3G phone:
1) The ability to record and edit video
2) A 3 megapixel camera with auto-focus (the 3G only has 2 megapixels and no auto-focus)
3) The 3GS is a lot faster – I’ve asked users who’ve owned both the 3G and 3GS and they say it is a significant difference
4) A compass feature
5) The 3GS has 16 and 32 GB models, where the 3G now only has an 8 GB model
6) The Voice Control feature

My opinion is that if you’re going to purchase a new phone today, purchase the 3GS. For only $100 more you get 8 GB of additional storage and all the features I listed above, including the improved performance. Remember, the prices advertised for the iPhones are for new or renewing contracts. If you want to buy a 3GS before you qualify for upgrade pricing you’ll spend at a minimum $399. If you purchase the 3GS, for the extra $100 you’ll never wish you had bought the 3GS when you had the chance.

If you already have a 3G iPhone, is it worth the $199 or $299 to upgrade to a 3GS if you are eligible to do so? This question is a lot harder to answer, as it completely depends on the user. For example, someone who needs a 32GB iPhone would find it worthwhile, as the 3G iPhone only offered an 8 and 16 GB model. But for someone who is happy with their 3G iPhone and isn’t really in need of the features of the 3GS, then it probably isn’t worth upgrading at this time. Use the info I’ve presented along with what Apple provides and make the best decision for your situation.

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