iPhone 3GS vs. iPhone 4S

What's the Difference?

The iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S are both smartphones developed by Apple, but they differ in several aspects. The iPhone 3GS, released in 2009, was the third generation of the iPhone series. It featured a 3.5-inch display, a 3-megapixel camera, and a single-core processor. On the other hand, the iPhone 4S, released in 2011, was the fifth generation and introduced significant improvements. It had a larger 3.5-inch Retina display, an 8-megapixel camera with improved optics, and a dual-core A5 chip for faster performance. Additionally, the iPhone 4S introduced Siri, a voice-controlled virtual assistant, which was not available on the iPhone 3GS. Overall, the iPhone 4S offered a more advanced and enhanced user experience compared to its predecessor.


iPhone 3GS
Photo by Samuel Angor on Unsplash
AttributeiPhone 3GSiPhone 4S
Release Year20092011
Processor600 MHz Cortex-A81 GHz dual-core Apple A5
RAM256 MB512 MB
Storage Options8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB
Display Size3.5 inches3.5 inches
Resolution320 x 480 pixels640 x 960 pixels
Camera3.15 MP8 MP
Front CameraNo0.3 MP VGA
Operating SystemiOS 3 (upgradable to iOS 6.1.6)iOS 5 (upgradable to iOS 9.3.5)
Battery Capacity1219 mAh1432 mAh
iPhone 4S
Photo by Almas Salakhov on Unsplash

Further Detail

Design and Display

The iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S both feature sleek and stylish designs, but there are notable differences between the two. The iPhone 3GS has a plastic back panel, while the iPhone 4S boasts a more premium glass back. The iPhone 4S also introduced the iconic "retina display," which offers a higher resolution and pixel density compared to the iPhone 3GS. This results in sharper and more vibrant visuals on the iPhone 4S, making it a clear winner in terms of display quality.

Performance and Processing Power

When it comes to performance, the iPhone 4S takes a significant leap forward compared to its predecessor. The iPhone 3GS is powered by a single-core processor, while the iPhone 4S features a dual-core A5 chip. This upgrade translates into faster app loading times, smoother multitasking, and improved overall performance on the iPhone 4S. Additionally, the iPhone 4S offers double the RAM compared to the iPhone 3GS, allowing for better handling of resource-intensive tasks and improved user experience.

Camera Capabilities

The camera capabilities of the iPhone 4S are a major improvement over the iPhone 3GS. While the iPhone 3GS features a 3-megapixel rear camera, the iPhone 4S boasts an 8-megapixel camera with advanced optics. This upgrade allows for crisper and more detailed photos, even in low-light conditions. The iPhone 4S also introduces the ability to record 1080p HD videos, while the iPhone 3GS is limited to standard definition video recording. With its superior camera capabilities, the iPhone 4S is the clear choice for photography enthusiasts.

Software and Operating System

Both the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S run on Apple's iOS operating system, but there are differences in terms of software compatibility. The iPhone 3GS is limited to iOS 6, while the iPhone 4S can support up to iOS 9. This means that the iPhone 4S has access to a wider range of apps and features compared to the iPhone 3GS. Additionally, the iPhone 4S benefits from software updates and security patches, ensuring a more secure and up-to-date user experience.

Connectivity and Network

When it comes to connectivity, both the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S offer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. However, the iPhone 4S introduces a significant improvement with the inclusion of a dual-band Wi-Fi antenna, allowing for faster and more stable wireless connections. The iPhone 4S also supports HSDPA, enabling faster download and upload speeds compared to the iPhone 3GS. These enhancements make the iPhone 4S a better choice for those who rely heavily on internet connectivity and data transfer.

Battery Life

In terms of battery life, the iPhone 4S offers a slight improvement over the iPhone 3GS. The iPhone 3GS provides up to 5 hours of talk time on 3G, while the iPhone 4S extends this to 8 hours. Both devices offer similar standby times, but the iPhone 4S benefits from improved power management, resulting in longer usage times for various tasks such as web browsing, video playback, and gaming. While the difference may not be significant, the iPhone 4S does have a slight edge in terms of battery performance.

Storage Options

Both the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S offer different storage options to cater to various user needs. The iPhone 3GS is available in 8GB and 16GB variants, while the iPhone 4S offers 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB options. This means that the iPhone 4S provides more storage capacity for users who require ample space for apps, photos, videos, and other files. The expanded storage options of the iPhone 4S make it a better choice for those with larger media libraries or who frequently use resource-intensive applications.


Overall, the iPhone 4S offers significant improvements over the iPhone 3GS in various aspects. From design and display quality to performance, camera capabilities, software compatibility, connectivity, and storage options, the iPhone 4S outshines its predecessor. While the iPhone 3GS may still be a viable option for those on a budget or with minimal usage requirements, the iPhone 4S provides a more future-proof and feature-rich experience. With its superior hardware and software advancements, the iPhone 4S remains a popular choice for users seeking a reliable and powerful smartphone.

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