Categories : Announcements Gratitude Product Reviews

 

Earlier this month, my good friend Vito Grandolfo, said that he was going to upgrade his iPhone 3G to an iPhone 3GS phone and wanted to know if I would be interested in his iPhone 3G. I was definitely interested and I asked Vito if he was interested in my older Blu-Ray player, a Samsung BD-P1600. And he was interested so we decided to do a swap. A older Blu-Ray player for an older iPhone.

Vito got his new phone on Christmas Eve and we arranged a time to the technology exchange on the day after Christmas as Vito was flying out to another assignment for his job the very next morning. I helped Vito set up the Blu-Ray player on his TV and gave him a couple of the freebie Blu-Ray discs I had gotten by mail order rebate with the purchase of the player and we made sure it all worked.

Because I’m a T-Mobile customer and not an AT&T customer it was going to take a little bit of time to get the new iPhone ready for use. I already knew I wasn’t going to be able to use the 3G network as AT&T’s 3G network operates on a different frequency than T-Mobile’s 3G network and they’re not compatible. But what I was looking forward to was the integrated GPS as the older original generation iPhone I was using was only ever able to approximate my location using triangulation between cell phone towers and was not always the most accurate, especially when trying to use Google Maps for directions or having the phone identify the direction I was traveling on highways for one of the traffic monitoring applications. Additionally the iPhone Vito gave me was double the capacity of the small 4 GB iPhone I was currently using at the time. So plenty of room to expand.

I wasn’t sure how successful I was going to be jailbreaking and unlocking the phone as Vito has kept the phone up to date on all the updates Apple has pushed down the line, which is not something non-AT&T users want because they sometimes change the base band of the phone which then makes the phone resistant to unlocking again. Fortunately, the Blackra1n download off the Internet made the jailbreaking a breeze, and the unlocking wasn’t too hard after that, but in the process of applying a number of the hacked downloads, I froze the phone and ultimately had to restore it again to a locked and non-jailbroken state to get it working again, then start fresh just this time avoiding the mistake I made the first time.

In total it took about 3 days to play with all the settings and the phone doing all the neat and nifty tricks I’m not supposed to be able to do with it, like Video recording, Internet Tethering, working MMS, and the like. And another great feature that I’m so happy about with the phone is that the actual phone ear piece works. One of the problems with my first iPhone and the reason why my roommates had given it to me in the first place is that the ear piece went dead and it could no longer make calls when holding the phone up to your head. You would have to either use a headset or the speaker phone option to be able to hear the other caller. I make so few calls this wasn’t much of a big deal for me, but it was a minor inconvenience. It’s amazing to use the phone as a phone now without any funky tools.

Another thing I am very happy about is that the speaker and microphone on this generation of iPhone is so much better than the original one. It records better and I can hear better too when using the speakerphone option or even just playing a song or two in the iPod portion of the phone. The camera takes slightly better pictures too. I was already pleased with the handy ease of use as a camera of the first iPhone and have been using the iPhone as my primary camera for months now, finding it much more convenient to just snap a picture on the go and upload it to my computer, and most of those photos end up being used here on my blog. It’s just a quick upload, crop and resizing and it’s as good as posted. I couldn’t ask for easier.

And I also made sure to order a brand new Invisible Shield by Zagg for my new phone, because I want it to stay in as close to pristine shape as possible. Unlike my first generation iPhone which was really beat up already when my roommate gave it to me, Vito’s old iPhone was in pretty good shape barring a couple minor little cracks on the back casing a few scratches. So this time I elected to get the full body Invisible Shield to maintain the relatively great condition the new phone was in. I never bothered to do a back side protector on the first iPhone as it was so beat up already it wasn’t going to be noticeable at all if got a few more, so I just did the screen on that one.

What I love about the Invisible Shield is that I get them for all my electronics, they will stand up to just about anything you could throw at them, but of course the biggest culprets are scratches from putting the phone in the same pocket as a set of keys. This just insures the screen and now the backside of the iPhone are going to be protected. I went to Best Buy to see about getting one there, but they wanted $29.99 plus tax for the Invisible Shield. I checked the price on Amazon, and if I could wait 2 days for it, I could get it for $17.52 and no tax or shipping fee (as an Amazon Prime member). So I calculated the sales tax and then decided the $15.09 difference in price was just too much for the privilege of walking out of Best Buy with the Invisible Shield right then and there as opposed to waiting 2 days. If I really wanted to rush it from Amazon, I could have gotten overnight shipping for it for an additional $3.99 but I wasn’t in that big a hurry.

When the Invisible Shield arrived from Amazon, I went through the application process, and I have to admit I really hate installing the Invisible Shields as it never seems to go on just right the first time. The rounded corners always seem to pose a problem for me, and the way the iPhone Invisible Shield is set up it has these “wings” that go up the sides that you’re supposed to hold into shape and stick to it, but they never seem to stick right for me. I had issues with them when I put on the Invisible Shield for my iPod Touch and as a result all of the corners are sticking up and have gotten kind of nasty from the dust that’s found its way onto the adhesive there. Since it looks like the iPhone Invisible Shield was going to give me the same problems as the iPod Touch one, this time, I just took some scissors and cut the little wings off completely so the corners aren’t quite as protected, but the rest of the iPhone is and there’s no part sticking up to get nasty like on my iPod Touch. So I’m happy with the results of the application now that it’s done.

I do love Invisible Shields though, I have them on nearly all of my portable electronic devices. The offer great protection so they stay scratch free and it helps they also provide a little bit of grip on most surfaces so that the devices don’t slide around so much. If you’re looking for one or two Invisible shields for your devices, then I would recommend getting them from Amazon (click here), but if you’re looking for three or more, then you’re better off getting them directly from Zagg (click here) as they offer better discounts for the more you buy, plus all your Invisible Shields will automatically be register in case you ever need to replace one. They’ll replace them for free plus a small shipping cost if you need to replace them. I may do that for my iPod Touch one and see how that goes since the corners are a bit nasty, but the rest of it is perfect. When they replace them, though they do require you to send the old one back in, so do be aware of that.

In any case, many thanks to my good friend Vito for the trade, I love the new phone and I hope he’s getting lots of great use out of the Blu-Ray player.

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