Q: What are the pros and cons of considering the $99 iPhone 3G vs the $199 3GS?
A: Other than the obvious difference in memory capacity (8GB versus 16GB), the most significant differences are that the iPhone 3GS provides an improved, 3MP camera with auto-focus and auto-exposure and the ability to record video, support for voice control, including the ability to not only dial contacts but also control iPod playback with your voice and a built-in compass to assist with GPS guidance and other direction-based applications.
In terms of subtler improvements, the iPhone 3GS is also faster in general performance and particularly in the area of gaming and graphics support. Nike+ support is included in the iPhone 3GS, higher data speeds and hardware-based encryption of data on the device itself.
As with most product purchases, the pros and cons boil down ultimately to how you intend to use the iPhone. If your interests are focused primarily on basic phone features, checking e-mail, surfing the web and listening to your iPod, then the iPhone 3G would be perfectly suitable, although you’ll have to decide whether 8GB is enough for the amount of media content you plan to carry around. On the other hand, if you’re interested in playing games on your device, particularly action-based games, plan to use the iPhone for GPS-style navigation, or want to be able to shoot video, then the iPhone 3GS may very well be worth the additional money, since it provides features and performance improvements in these areas that the 3G does not.
Note that there may be other requirements that make the 3GS a better choice as well. For instance, if you’re working in a corporate environment with a Microsoft Exchange e-mail server, the hardware encryption of the 3GS might very well be necessary for you to access your Exchange server, depending on corporate policies.
You can find more information in our One-Page Guide to iPhone 3G, 3GS, and iPod touch Differences and our Comprehensive iPhone 3GS Review.