Steinheil GLAS.t

January 28, 2012

Steinheil advertised a brand new iPhone screen protector called the GLAS.t, and after reading about it, I decided to purchase one to try out. It’s a premium tempered glass screen protector, with oleophobic coating which helps repel oil and fingerprints. It’s total thickness is about 4mm, and that twice as thick as your normal 2mm plastic screen shield.

For the install, I ran the hot shower and installed it in the bathroom, as the humidity will keep the dust down. I was able to get a perfect install, without a speck of dust anywhere on the phone. That made me VERY happy, as I’m a bit OCD when it comes to dust under the screen protector.

You get ONE shot at installing this. You can’t remove it without ruining it. Once it’s on, it’s awesome. It feels like a naked iPhone screen, and CRYSTAL clear. Really nice at repelling oils from your fingers too. There is absolutely zero drag or friction, and it does feel like a brand new screen.

Since it’s 4mm thick, they give you some button covers, that are like a softer material and bubble like, with the same square design on it, so it looks like nothing is there. It helps raise the button so you don’t feel the 4mm gap when using the home button. This is a fantastic feature, and really does help the overall usage.

I’m using the ZooGoo iPhone case, which is a TPU style (only softer) material, and it seems to be OK with it. I tired the Switcheasy Vulcan TPU case, and it started to raise the shield in the corners and sides.

Tolerance is TIGHT on this. You need to line it up exactly perfectly, in one shot. That’s my biggest issue. If you blow this, you’re out $28. I almost had a panic attack making sure I lined it up perfectly. Sweating bullets in a steaming hot bathroom, and holding my breath applying it, like I’m a sniper with a 3 quarter mile head shot… This was nerve-racking. For $28, they should give you 2, or build an installer into the box for a perfect fit.

All in all, if you line it up right, install it in a clean environment, have a steady hand, nerves of steel, and $28 bucks to drop, I say it’s an awesome screen shield worth every penny.

BEWARE, this is going to give a whole of cases trouble. Make sure if you’re using a case with a lay on the table design, it goes over onto the glass enough, so it doesn’t interfere with the edges. It will raise the shield easily since there’s a 4mm edge to snag.

After the install, there IS some slight bubbling along the VERY edges. The instructions say they will go away in a couple of days, I’ll come back and let you know if they do.


Tascam iM2 Stereo Condensor Microphones

January 4, 2012

Tascam iM2 Stereo Condensor Microphones

If you’re read through other posts in my blog, you know I’ve been on the eternal hunt for a high quality microphone, that would fit all of my needs. I want high quality sound, high product build quality, something that is positional so it works with both the camera back, or front, and most importantly, a mic that allows the user to set the input gain.

The closest think to this in the past was the Blue Mikey. For some reason, they never released a version that would work with the iPhone 4/4S or the iPad. The mic was great, and had a ton of potential, but also had it’s flaws. I needed to mod the inside, so the mics faced the back camera, and even on the lowest setting, it would still distort when recording loud noise, like a live band.

When Tascam announced the iM2, I was excited to try this out. From the images, and specs, this looked like it could be just the mic I’ve been searching for. And guess what, it is… Sort of. I have my complaints with this Mic as well as being blown away. I’m REALLY torn on this one, allow me to explain.

First, the pros. The Tascam iM2 is a 30 pin dock connector microphone, which allows use of the headphone port on the iPhone and iPad, but NOT the iPod Touch, since the unit itself will cover the headphone port. You plug it in, and a blue LED shows you it’s active. Tascam has it’s own recording app in the iOS app store which the recommend using, called PCMRecorder, and it’s a good place to start.

The iM2 has two microphones, which record in stereo, and has a few very nice features. First, a mini USB port allows you to charge your iOS device while using the Mic. The two mics on the unit can be turned180 degrees, so when plugged in you can face the microphones towards the front, back, top, and anywhere in-between you need it to be. This is a HUGE plus. There is a level potentiometer which sets the microphones input levels, and also a lintier switch for really loud noise recording.

In my testing, with the limiter off, and the input level all the way up, speaking in a normal volume, with the mic about 12 inches from my face gave me a rich, professional sounding recording, that is much superior to the internal iPhone microphone.

Cranking my car stereo as loud as it plays, I than started to test the level input, with the limiter on and off, and did achieve desirable results, with little to no distortion. The PCMRecorder app, although has a very clumsy interface, has a great input level meter, so setting the volume input is easy to set up by visual, but of course, all instances require different settings.

I used this mic to record a live band from a balcony with the iPhone 4S’s video camera. I had the limiter on, and the level pot set about half way. I didn’t use the recording app to see my input levels, and it recorded the audio a bit to quietly. I used an app on the Mac to boost the volume, and it did sounds acceptable, especially for a live recording.

As far as sound quality goes, and this mic being versatile, covering any recording need I have, this is it. It’s clear, unidirectional, level input settings, and able to charge the phone while in use? For this, I love this mic.

And now, my complaints…

First thing, and I fail to realize why companies don’t take this into consideration, but most people use a case on their phone, especially if you plan to take it to a crowded show or concert, where it could potentially be bummed from your hand, you want to case the phone. The 30 pin dock connector is flush with a naked iPhone, so you can’t use this with a case. This is a HUGE design flaw. Even with Blue came out with the second version of the Mikey, they added a slight spacer to accommodate for cases. There IS however a solution. Radtech makes a small dock extender or a dock extender cable, and both of those do work with the iM2, so if you have a case, you can expect to spend another $15 over at Radtech to use it with the iM2.

And my biggest complaint… The one I’m having such a hard time getting over… The build quality is poor. In your hand, the iM2 feels flimsy, cheap, and made like a kids toy. Even the silver microphones on the top have too much give, and they are plastic, coated in that shiny chrome coating, to give the appearance of metal. it’s very lightweight, and I can see this getting broken easily in a bag or your pocket. If you sat on this, it would likely be a goner. For something that gives such a high quality recording, I can’t believe how cheaply made this feels. When you compare this to the original Blue Mikey, it’s a world of difference. The Mikey feels like you have a professional recording mic in your hands. I do hope, if Tascam puts out a revised unit, they redesign, and make the unit solid, use better materials, and give me something that immediately out of the box, feels like an $89 microphone. For example, the Mic W i266 is what QUALITY is all about.

Build quality aside, the iM2 has it all. This is now my go to mic for recording, simply for the sound quality, the stereo recording, and being able to set the input levels. I do recommend this Mic, but I can only give this a 7.5/10. Fix the build quality, and this would be the perfect microphone for your iOS device.

You can read more about it, and finds links to purchase the iM2 by clicking the link below.