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.

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Mic W i266 for iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch

December 16, 2011

Mic W i266 for iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch

Being a musician, Im always looking for a way for a portable way to record live music, take notes, or capture some unique sound I may want to add into a song at a later time. I’m a stickler for quality, and even when I use my iPhone camera to video record, in many instances the internal microphone just isn’t good enough. Apple has made vast improvements on the iPhone 4S, and what used to be acceptable alternatives to the iPhone 3GS are now inferior to the internal Mic. I’m sure you’ve seen external Mics before. Most are quite small, some are thumb tack shaped, some look like a fat pill. The one thing they all have in common, is they lack in quality to the internal iPhone 4S.

No one has come out with a better, portable headphone port mic… Until now.

After searching for years, and with Blue Mic’s seeming to be dropping the ball on the Mikey for the iPhone 4 series, I found a company called Mic W, and reached out them, explaining my needs, and that I would love to review a Mic. The good people at Mic W sent me out the i266.

The i266 is a cardioid broadcasting microphone, designed specifically for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. This cardioid mic has high sensitivity, and Mic W recommends using it for high quality sound recording, specifically for broadcasting, live radio interviews, and other live applications.

It comes in a clear plastic box with with foam and informational print surrounding the mic. My exact initial impression was “Wow. That’s bigger then I expected.” That’s what she said.

Since every external mic I’ve used is fairly small, I expected more of the same, but with the i266, there is no comparison. This mic is beautifully designed. You can tell the design team wanted something sleek, and industrial, to match the iPhone 4, and they achieved this. It’s made from metal, not plastic, and has real weight to it. Not making it too heavy to carry, but just enough to know you have something solid in your hand. This Mic is PURE class.

I started testing the mic. First I recorded normal speaking into the iPhone, using it’s internal mic, then repeated the test using the i266. Right away, you notice a difference. Where the internal iPhone mic may be slightly better with canceling out room and background noise, the i266 records a richer, more professional sound.

You do get a better sound speaking into the top of the i266, as apposed to the side of the mic (which has holes in it) but this mic is highly sensitive, so getting too close causes distortion. I found keeping the mic about 8 to 12 inches from my face, speaking at a normal level worked best.

Knowing this was a broadcast mic with such high sensitivity, I already knew the answer to this next test, but for the sake of science, and being as thorough as I could be, I tested the mic recording a live band in very high volume. This is not the mic for that, as it distorts horribly, but I knew that, and they don’t advertise the mic for use in that way. I had to try it though. I was that kid when mom said “Don’t touch that pot, it’s hot” the first thing I would do, was touch the pot.

This is only my initial impression, and testing. This is something I need to use much more, field test this, and do another review later down the line.

I have 3 minor complaints…

1) You need to put the iPhone into airplane mode to achieve the best sounding recordings. As with every other mic I’ve tried, you get a periodic static on your recordings if you don’t do this. Audio, or video, if using this mic, use Airplane mode for sure. I was hoping Apple had fixed this, but not yet.

2) I always keep my phone in a case, but to use this microphone, I need to remove the case as the mic’s circumference is large at the base, and will not fit into the headphone jack. This could have been resolved if they had added a small spacer as many companies are doing now, for this very reason. BUT, I did find that an adapter does work, and Mic W sells a kit with an external wire.

3) The mic can’t be bent and repositioned. There is no hinge on this mic, so once it’s plugged in, it points straight up, and that’s it. Now, for interviewing or speaking, this is fine, but if I wanted to use this mic for video recording, I have to keep in mind, the mic’s best position is now facing to the side, and not facing the subject I’m recording. Again, this is solved with an adapter wire, but then I need to clip or mount the mic facing front.

All minor complaints, as the recording quality on this is suburb, and the recording quality outshines the negatives. I would highly recommend this Mic to anyone who needs or wishes to capture broadcast quality audio on their iPhone. Right now, I’d be hard pressed to find a headphone port mic that offers better quality, although, Mic W does have a couple other, higher end models. I can only imaging how great those sound.

Keep an eye on Mic W, they are a major player in the portable audio, with some of the very best design, build quality, and sound quality I’ve come across so far. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

I will be adding a Youtube video on this Mic, and comparison audio in the future.

 

You can check out and purchase the i266 from Mic W by following this link… http://www.mic-w.com/


ZooGue iPhone 4S / 4 Case

November 11, 2011

Today in the mail I received my iPhone 4S case from ZooGue. A couple months back, they had a promotion, pay only the S/H and the case was free for the first 50,000 people. I paid for this, and it wasn’t sent for review.

It’s a TPU style case, but much softer, and more playable then your typical TPU case. My comparison is to the Switcheasy Vulcan. This case has a matte finish to it, and I’d almost say it feels between a silicon case and a TPU. It’s feels soft, but not tacky like silicon.

This case is very thin. The thinest TPU style I have seen yet. It has a nice lay on the table design, and a unique feature is the ridged sides for grip. Not only does this look good, but actually serves a purpose, and works well. The TPU is hard enough where it grips very well in your hand.

All the cut outs on this are perfect, for both my 4S and 4. The images here are the case on my 4, photos taken with the 4S. There is also a screen shield on the front glass. This has enough room, where I can’t see any issue with a back shield on as well, I still think it would be a good fit.

My only criticism would be, I wish the TPU material was a bit harder around the lay on the table design. It pulls away from the edges easier then my Switcheasy Vulcan, but no where near as much as a silicon case, and not a deal breaker by any means.

For only paying S/H, this case is beyond fantastic. Even at the posted price on the ZooGue website at $14.99, this is a great value for the money.

ZooGue’s first offering into the iPhone case market is a home run, and like all the other ZooGue cases, this screams QUALITY.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. It comes in Black, Grey or Black.

http://www.zoogue.com/free-iphone-4s-social-shell-case/


iSLIM WALLET CASE FOR IPHONE

November 4, 2011

I have been searching for a wallet style case for my iPhone for awhile now. I’ve wanted the BookBook, but I have a few features that are a must for me, and the BookBook falls short. I’m my many hours of searching, I came across the islim, and decided to give this a try.

For my needs, I wanted a wallet case to carry the many cards I have, and the full use of my phone, with the ability to plug it into my automobile charging cradle. Since I would handle the phone so much out of the wallet, I wanted to be able to keep it in my Switcheasy Vulcan TPU case for added protection.

That’s when I found the islim wallet case. I paid for this case, and it was not sent as a review piece.

I ordered this directly from islimphonewallet.com for $44.99 plus shipping. It arrived in only a few days, so their shipping is very fast. It arrived in a manilla envelope, with a hand written return address and mailing address. Inside the envelope, was a plain black box, just large enough for the wallet to fit inside. The box was crushed, but since this is only a leather wallet, it didn’t harm the product at all.

The wallet itself was wrapped in a white onion skin style paper to protect the surface further. The case smells of real quality leather. To the touch, the leather is very soft, and again, quality. You can feel there is a slight padding on the outside to help protect the phone and the wallets contents.

When open, the left side of the wallet has 4 credit card slots, and 2 pockets for currency, paper, or more cards. On the right side, there are 2 more slots for credit cards, or a drivers license as the front window is a window. Behind those slots is where the iPhone slides in. The phone pocket opens with a slight accordion fold, to accommodate difference sizes, or different phones.

I am able to fit the iPhone 4S into the pocket, while wearing the TPU case, and it just fits, pretty well. The accordion fold is completely open, and it’s about as wide as the wallet can go. In the card slots I have (on the rights side with the phone) A drivers license, State ID, FOID card, Starbucks card, Auto insurance, Medical insurance, Auto warrantee card and an HID gate key, about the thickness of 2 credit cards.

On the left side I have 2 debit cards, one credit card, and a PayPal card. The 2 pockets below have some folded currency, about 5 to 8 bills in each pocket.

All together, this makes for a bulky wallet, but I think for me, the trade off, not having to cary a wallet and a phone is worth it. To be fair, I never carry my wallet or phone in my pants pocket. It’s always in an inside pocket on a leather vest, so the bulk is less cumbersome for me. I don’t think I would be comfortable with this in a pants pocket, it’s just too much. For those of you, who don’t need to carry so many cards, this will be slimmer.

The leather is very soft. It’s so soft, I worry about how well this will hold up to the daily wear and tear. With the extra case on the iPhone, the leather inside the accordion fold is much thinner, and I can see it wearing out quickly. I may be completely wrong, so I’ll update this over time.

For now, I’m going to try this solution for awhile. I’m quite impressed with the material quality, and stitching. This Wallet seems very well made. I love the real leather smell and feel, and I was able to put every card I needed inside the wallet. The only cons, the leather may be too soft, and rip or wear out easily (time will tell) and this is very bulky when fully loaded.

With all that said, I recommend the islim Wallet Case if your looking for this style, with your iPhone easily removable while using a second case.


ZooGue Smart Case for the iPad

June 30, 2010

I have followed the journey of Tim Angel for months, ever since his story was posted on a Mac forum I frequent. His goals are that of many inventors, and start up business owners out there, only this man has taken it beyond a dream, he actually put all his time and savings into an idea. What makes this story unique, is that he has archived his entire story on youtube, from beginning through now. He moved to China for months to oversee the production of his product. He’s posted his visits to a Chinese hospital… It’s been quite fascinating to watch his struggle, and I found myself cheering him on, wanting to see the underdog win, and admiring his drive, dedication to his dream, and the enormous set of balls to actually put everything on the line for his company.

So, reaching out to Tim, he was kind enough to send me out a Smart Case to review, and I have to tell you, this has no impact what so ever on my thoughts, and opinion of this case. So, without any other boring text from me, here’s what I think…

I will start with the very basic, the packaging. Right off the bat, you realize from the box the case sits in, this is going to be quality. The box is thick, with a magnetic clasp in the front holding the lid closed, and the images are printed in full color on the box. Hell, the box alone is so nice, I may try to find another use for this.

Once you open the box, your nose get’s slammed with the scent of leather. Quality leather. Being a metal head, I own several leather motor cycle jackets and vests, and I love quality leather. This surprised me. Most cases other then a company like Vaja, uses second grade materials. Not ZooGue. This is top notch, and you’ll know from the small.

The build quality of this case is superb. Every stitch is dead straight, with no loose strings hanging anywhere. The leather is soft, and clean without blemish. The inside of the case is very soft, and will not hurt your ipad in any way, quite the opposite. It feels like a very solid, well made, quality piece. I can only attribute this to Tim living in China, and overseeing the detail. This feels like a labor of love, and we get to reap the benefit of that.

Putting the ipad in the case, the first thing you notice is how nicely the ipad fits into the case. Unlike the Apple case, which makes it almost impossible to easily put your ipad in and out of the case, the ZooGue Smart Case is made to easily slide the ipad in and out. (That’s what she said.) There is a small leather strap and snap on the top, to lock in the ipad to the case. All of the openings are perfectly cut, giving access to all the ports, speaker, and volume controls. No issues there at all.

This is a folio style case, and when closed, the lid that covers the screen is solid, and protects the screen well. It closes flat, and when you open the lid, it folds all the around, also flat, so holding this case in your hand, open or closed, is quite comfortable. the outside of the case has two strips of soft velcro. This is used for the Smart Case’s most unique feature, and what in my opinion, makes this case “smart.” There is a flap on the back of the case, which is also secured closed by velcro, and when opened, this flap can be positioned so the case doubles as a stand for the ipad, allowing the iPad to be set at almost any angle, for watching a movie, to typing. It’s a fantastic feature and at first, I wasn’t sure how much I would use it, and it turns out, I use it a lot. I use it so much, my wife is now jealous, and keeps demanding me to give her this case when i’m done with this review… I don’t think I want to take this off, so Mr. Angel will be getting business from me after all. I need to buy one for my wife!

You’ll love the fine details, like the elastic strap which serves several purposes. Holding the case closed, securing the case to a head rest in a car for the kids in the back seat, holding the lid back while the iPad is opened and in use, and a strap to put your hand through while holding the iPad. Don’t overlook the small detail, like the indent in the leather, where the strap rests so the case sill lay flat on a table… It’s all been thought of here. Sitting on countless airplanes, vans, and tour buses, this is something I will use all the time.

Are there cons? Sure. I have a couple things I personally would change on future editions. The dock connector port needs to be opened up wider, so the camera kit will sit flush. As it is, the camera kit will work, but doesn’t lock in. I would also like to see the lip around the screen a bit smaller. Right now, it comes to the edge of the viewing area. This makes it difficult to do anything that you need to tap or scroll near the edge. I’m also concerned on how well the elastic strap will hold up over time. Elastic looses it’s elasticity over time, so this could happen if you use the strap a lot. Time will tell.

I know from reading the forums, Mr. Angel has taken some grief from forum regulars about the size and placement of the companies logos on the case. I have to be honest, seeing photos, it bothered me. Once I got this in my hand, I don’t notice it as much, mostly because I’m so taken by the quality and workmanship of this case. Could they be smaller? Sure they could. Will it stop people from buying this case? Yeah, I’m sure for some people will be bothered by this. I myself, like plain looking cases, but I have to tell you, if I made something of this quality, I’d want my name all over it too. Those who will overlook this case due to this… It’s your loss, trust me.

I HIGHLY recommend this case, in every way. I was happy with my Belkin Grip Vue, and didn’t think I’d ever need another case… Until ZooGue. I’m sold.

You can pick this up from http://www.ZooGue.com for $49.95


The “Thin Lizzy” iPhone Debate: Jailbreak

January 9, 2010

This isn’t a product or app review this time, this is more of an opinion piece I suppose. What ever it is, it’s about the choice to Jailbreak your iPhone, or not. For the longest time, I was one of those people who didn’t want to chance the possibility of hurting the phone in some way where I would brick the unit, or void the warranty. I stayed away from it, and left the iPhone as Apple intended it to be. When I upgraded to the 3GS last July, I decided to Jailbreak the 3G and try it out for myself.

I found some invaluable tools with Jailbreaking. The ability to run apps in the background is a huge reason to do it. Also, customization of the spring board, or a blacklist feature for texts and calls… I can go on and on. There’s a million reasons to do it. I decided to take the plunge an open up my 3GS and enjoy it’s full potential.

I was at an ugly impasse. On one hand, opening up the phone to so many new features is hard to argue against, but Jailbreaking had one major flaw for me… My phones performance suffered greatly. It was less responsive, the battery life would drain much faster, and I had frequent crashes and buggy happenings. I had no choice but to restore back to factory settings.

I thought, perhaps it was something I did, and tried the process again, on both my 3G as well as the two 3GS units I own… They all act the same way for me. So again, a restore on all the units, back to factory default.

Now, I’m not one to preach one way or another. People like to argue back and forth about what you should do, and in the end, it’s 100% your own decision. For me, I LOVED the capabilities of a jailbroken iPhone, but I could not let the performance of the phone suffer for it. I use the iPhone daily, almost as a lifeline. It’s always at my side, taking care of most things I needed my computer for. I need it to work as it’s intended to work, and be reliable, especially when it’s already crippled on the AT&T network. I have enough frustration with dropping calls in my area, the last thing I need is frustration while the phone lags in general use.

Hopefully with future updates, the performance issues I have experienced will be a thing of the past, and I can once again go the way of Thin Lizzy. But until then, I’m more then happy with the solid performance of the UI.


Sony Ericsson HBH-DS205 Stereo Bluetooth Headset

November 19, 2009

The Apple iPhone has had Bluetooth capabilities from day one, but for some reason those all knowing, all powerful forces within the friendly confines at 1 Infinite Loop Cupertino, CA, decided that you and I didn’t need A2DP enabled… Yet.

Software version 3.0 changed that, and opened up the wonderful world of Stereo Bluetooth. Convenient? Absolutely! What you gain in the loss of the tether, you lose some sound quality, but depending on what you’re doing, A2DP is pretty damn cool.

After lots of searching for a good headphone solution, I bought a pair of Sony headphones, and I loved them. I only had them for about a week, until my lovely wife decided that she loved them more. I’ve never seen those headphones again. $89.00… Poof.

The stereo in my car is stock Nissan, but it has a AUX in port on the front of the unit. I use this all the time with my iPhone (among other chargers and such) so I was jealous of people with A2DP built in. And then after some research, I found what I was looking for.

Enter the Sony Ericsson HBH-DS205 Stereo Bluetooth Headset.

HBH-DS205

The bluetooth unit is small. About the size of my little finger, maybe a bit smaller. It has a volume rocker (actually a slider) , on / off button, A microphone, an Action key, and an 1/8″ headphone port. On the bottom, the proprietary Sony Ericsson charging port. Let’s not forget the fancy clip for your shirt!

The unit comes with a pair of headphones, and usually a charger. I say usually, because I purchased this used on eBay, and it came sans charger. I knew this, and picked up an iGo plug and USB iGo cord to charge the unit. Since I purchased this used, no way am I sticking the ear buds in my ears. Hell, it looks like the Geetus had them in…

The Geetus

The unit paired with the iPhone almost instantly. Setting to phone to discover, and holding the power in on the unit for 5 seconds when off, and then entering the code. Simple, and done. I then hooked a 1/8″ to 1/8″ cable from the headphone port of the AUX port on the car stereo, and played a song. It works beautifully. Even putting the iPhone back into my pocket once the song was playing, and the stream never broke once.

Sound quality however suffers. I don’t mean suffering like having to listen to The Geetus fumble on his Bass for hours at a time, but bad enough where I can hear a difference. When I go direct from either the headphone port on the iPhone, or when using a car charger with a line out from the dock, the sound is very crisp, and clean. When using the A2DP, you begins to hear a degrade in quality, similar to a lower bit rate MP3. For somethings, this is more then acceptable. For audiophiles, for just people who enjoy higher quality, this may not do for you.

It says it has telephone answering capabilities as well, and to be honest, I didn’t pick this up for that reason, so I have yet to fully try this feature, and when I do, I’ll add a follow up here.

Bottom line, this unit is great, as it will work with any set of headphones with a standard 1/8″ jack. Also, if you have a AUX port on the car, you can rig it us as I have to use there. Maybe even a stereo in the house… You get the idea. For the price of around $89.00 I can’t really say if this is worth it. You’re still tethered to a degree using headphones. I would suggest doing what I did, and looking on eBay. You can pick it up for less, and even get to a level of affordability that even The Geetus could scrape together.