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Review: iPhone 3G

Form Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  54  

Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

The dimensions of the iPhone are nearly identical. Looked at side by side, the first generation iPhone and the iPhone 3G are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The chrome rim around the 3G iPhone doesn't come up quite as much onto the front piece of glass as on the original, but it takes a moment of studying to even notice this.


The biggest thing you're going to notice is that the 3G iPhone has a tapered edge. Where the first iPhone was flat across the back, the new one is curved. It fits much better in your hand than the original. This slight curvature makes a big difference in the way it feels when resting in your palm. Oh, and the back plate is made of plastic, not aluminum. The aluminum made the original phone feel like it was made with more quality. Can't help it: metal feels better than plastic to my hands.

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Size comparison  

The plastic backing of the 3G iPhone is extremely glossy and slippery. I've already dropped the darned thing (thank goodness onto a couch). The entire iPhone is an absolute magnet for fingerprints. On the black model, they are just insanely obvious on the front and the back. On the white model, you see them mostly just on the glass face.

Finger smudges  

The buttons are all in the same places, but they feel different. They feel cheaper. Gone is the tough black plastic, which has been replaced by chrome covers. These chromed keys feel slippery and the travel and feedback is not as satisfying. I can't put it any plainer than that. They do, however, work just fine.


The home button at the bottom of the phone feels identical. It has nice travel and feedback.

As for some other items related to the body: there are a couple of change-ups. The charger block has been reduced in size. Not that the first one was anything to complain about, but now it doesn't seem like it could be possible for Apple to shrink the thing any more. My one complaint would be that the original charger had the swappable prongs, meaning you could put a U.S. plug or European plug onto the adapter. Now you'll have to use a separate, stand-alone travel adapter when overseas.

The plug that fits into the bottom of the iPhone has also changed. The previous plug required you to pinch the sides to unplug it from the phone. The new connector does not need to be pinched to be removed. If you were hoping for a nice dock, you can forget it. There isn't one included in the box. You can undoubtedly buy one from Apple for $30. Oh, and if you've upgraded from the original iPhone, the old dock does not fit.

SIM card slot  

Last, but not least, the 3.5mm headset jack has been set flush with the top of the phone. This means any standard pair of 3.5mm headphones will work with the iPhone. We tested several pair, and didn't have any problems.

In the box  


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