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Apple iPhone 3G (16GB, Black, Refurbished)

>> Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Apple iPhone 3G (16GB, Black, Refurbished) appears to have fixed some call quality performance issues we had with the previous model in our initial tests, the volume is louder with less background buzz than before. The 3G reception could be improved, however. Music and video quality were largely unchanged, but we didn't have many complaints in that department to begin with. Price may well remain our largest concern.

New AT&T customers and most current AT&T customers can buy the iPhone 3G for $199 for the 8GB model and $299 for the 16GB model. If you don't qualify for that price check your AT&T account to find out you'll pay $399 and $499 respectively. Either way, you'll pay $15 more per month ($74.99 total) for a plan comparable with the original iPhone ($59 per month). So, while you'll pay less outright to buy the handset, you'll make it up over the course of a standard two year AT&T contract. So should you buy an iPhone 3G?

If you haven't bought an iPhone yet, and have been holding out for a new model, now is the time. If you're a current iPhone owner and you're yearning for a faster cellular network, then you should take the plunge. But if you're an iPhone owner who won't use 3G (or can't check your coverage at AT&T), then you should stick with your current model. The iPhone 2.0 software update provides Exchange server support, third party apps support, and many new features without the added cost.

You'd be hard pressed to notice any design differences on the front of the iPhone 3G. The minor changes the silver rim is thinner and the silver mesh behind the speaker are so minimal we didn't notice them for a few hours after picking up the device. Turn the phone on its side, however, and you'll see more changes. Apple has replaced the aluminum silver back with a plastic face in either white or black.

The black version (our review model) is attractive, but we admit that we miss the original silver, which shows fewer fingerprints and smudges than the shiny black version. The white model is not our cup of tea. The iPhone 3G's edges are slightly tapered to accommodate the curved back, making the device thinner around its perimeter than its predecessor, but a hair thicker (0.48 inch versus 0.46 inch) in the gut.

Unfortunately, the curved back makes the iPhone 3G wobble slightly if you use it while resting on a table which quickly becomes annoying. The phone's height and width measurements (5.5 inches by 2.4 inches) remain the same, though it weighs just a tiny bit less (4.7 ounces versus 4.8 ounces).


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