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Vodafone's 3GS Apple iPhone may be the best smartphone offer on the market

  • Vodafone offers iPhone 3Gs for $29
  • Does the iPhone 3GS stand up to the 4S?
  • Perfect for seniors and light users
Written by Mikaella Clements

With the new iPad producing record sales and rumours of a new iPhone to come out around September, many of us are starting to feel somewhat precious about our mobile upgrades. Others are starting to feel pressured – we've barely had this $800 phone for five months and there is already talk of upgrading. What's a canny customer in the market for smartphones to do?

For this week at least, here's our suggestion: downgrade.

Remember the 3GS iPhone? Nearly two years old now and quietly dropped from plans by most providers? It's also currently the subject of Vodafone's (1300 106 571) best offer.

Vodafone is offering the Apple iPhone 3GS 8GB with no added hardware cost on its great value $29 Cap Plan.

Apple iPhone 3GSVodafone

That means that $29 a month on only a twelve month contract will get you a brand new iPhone. The plan itself also includes $180 credit and 200MBs of data.

It is, ultimately, the plan we have been waiting for: an iPhone for light users. Most iPhone plans tend to only start at the higher tiers of a provider's offers, and sometimes you have to pay as much as an additional $40 per month for the hardware. Now, light users can enjoy the comfort and style of an iPhone without having to pay a huge monthly bill with more credit and data than they can even begin to use. (Other money saving options for the light user: buy a phone outright.)

Let's examine the plan some more. Is it too good to be true?

Obviously, the biggest concern customers will have is the phone itself. Is there any point in buying an old iPhone? Put simply – yes.

The iPhone 3GS made waves in the market when it came out, and for good reason. It's a great phone – all of Apple's instinctive simplicity and ease of use, well-made, and coming with access to all of Apple's great add-ons, like free iMessaging to other iPhones and iPads and the massive app store. It has similar specs to the latest models from HTC and LG.

Compared side by side with the iPhone 4S, there are of course differences. Notably, the screen resolution is much better on the iPhone 4S, and it shows. The iPhone 4S also has a better camera, with flash and a front-facing camera perfect for Skype, unlike the iPhone 3GS.

In terms of software, though, you can download the latest software and Apple OS and put it straight on your iPhone 3GS. It runs smoothly and doesn't lag or clog up the system, and you'll find it works just as well as the software does on the 4S.

Apple is also great at trying to build an iPhone community – meaning that if not for yourself, it's still a great phone to set children or older members of the family up with. iMessaging is a feature built in where you can send free messages to other iPhones or iPads, meaning that if everyone in your family has an iPhone, you might be spending literally $0 to communicate with them. iMessaging does use a minimal amount of your data, but if you're able to access a Wi-Fi network, it won't even do that. Additionally, the range of fun apps you can use to play with other iPhone users – such as Words With Friends and Draw Something – means that sharing really is caring when it comes to iPhone usage in your household.

When it comes to the plan, there are of course things to be wary of. 200MB isn't a lot, and you'll want to make sure you don't go over your data limit for fear of Vodafone's heavy excess usage charges, as is standard with all providers. However, Vodafone provides access to unmetered sites such as Facebook, Ebay, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and there is always the option to access a Wi-Fi network when you can. For the canny user, managing 200MBs of data isn't that hard, and for the light user, it's not even something you'll need to worry about. Make sure to keep an eye on your data usage with some of Vodafone's great apps.

If you're looking for iPhone plans for the heavy user, try looking at some of Optus's great cap plans, or call them on 1300 137 897.

Additionally, in response to bad feedback from customers around their network, Vodafone have provided a new Vodafone Network Guarantee. This allows customers to opt out of their contract within 30 days of signing up if they find that the coverage in their area is unsatisfactory. Vodafone are also investing serious money and energy into improving their network and turning around their customer image – and now we can take advantage of that with these great deals.

So – should you sign up?

Yes! If you're a light user looking for a great smartphone, don't be swayed by snobbish remarks about only having the very latest technology. The iPhone 3GS has been a crowd-pleaser since it was first released, and if you don't care very much about how high-tech your camera is, we're confident in saying that you'll be very happy with the iPhone 3GS. The screen resolution isn't as good as an iPhone 4S, true – but if you don't already have the 4S, we doubt you'll even notice!

It's also a great plan to be able to recommend to your older relatives. Smartphones are more suitable for seniors than one might initially think – the instinctive nature by which we use the touch screen and the easy accessibility to the web means that pensioners will find it really useful for day to day tasks. There are also helpful apps that can help seniors monitor their bank accounts, check public transport timetables, and have a wealth of day to day information at their fingertips at any time they want. They're also unlikely to use the full 200MB while using mobile internet, making this a great plan for them.

The Vodafone plan is the best iPhone plan we've seen on the market, never mind that the iPhone in question isn't the latest model. Call us today to find out more or sign up on 1300 106 571.


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