Posts Tagged 'review'

Review Sciphone i9++ (more)

Lots of people are still buying these things long after my original post. I still get tons of comments about this phone. Some good some bad. Hopefully this follow up post will help you in your decision to buy or pass on this iphone clone. Personally I would pass. Technically it works as a basic phone but don’t expect all the bells and whistles. Remember it’s a cheap knockoff from China.

I’ve noticed some new issues when connecting to my computer. Sometimes it detects as a USB drive and other times it will only charge. Kind of hit and miss. Probably a sign the phone is starting to go. Also just a reminder, these phones are not durable. One drop and the screen will probably crack, invest in a $10 silicon case if you’re a clumsy bastard like me.

3G – no. Despite it’s branding it is not 3G capable. Your 3G sim might work but you won’t get 3G service.

Memory – again, despite what the back cover says it cannot accept a 16GB microSD card. The largest card I’ve been able to get mine to accept is a 4GB formatted with two 2GB partitions. I found my phone to be quite picky with what brand of memory it will work with. To access the memory card remove the back cover of the phone. The microSD card should be located on the lower right hand side. It’s fairly difficult to access. You need to pull the metal latch upwards, 2 hooks on each side. If you’re not careful you will probably break a bit of plastic or even bend the latch but the memory should still be held in on it’s own.

OS/Java – it’s not Windows mobile, it’s not an Apple OS variant. I don’t know what it is but Java should already be installed. If you want to install java apps you need to copy the .JAR file to your microSD memory card, then use the java application installer (one of the default phone apps). It’s hit or miss. Not all java apps will work and even if you do manage to get it to run it will be really slow. I’m guessing the clone uses a very old generation cpu.

Vibration – go to phone setup, scroll down, then press pen down vibration. That should turn it off. If you did that and it still doesn’t run off, the you bought yourself a really cheap knockoff.

How to turn off vibration for i9++ i68

SMS/MMS/Internet – this needs to be configured based on your service provider. SMS may work as soon as your plug in your sim but MMS and the Internet definitely won’t. The type of information you need to get is: gateway, username, password, port. Just do a web search for the Internet/MMS settings for your cell network.

Video files – slow or laggy? Audio out of sync? You need to convert the video down to a lower quality. MP4 or 3GP works best with a resolution of 176×144, choose the lowest audio quality you can to optimize performance. Like I said before the cpu is really old and slow.

What’s the difference between the i9++ and i68? The i9++ IMO is of better quality (relatively). The i68 feels solid and heavy like a real iphone but call quality was terrible. Also the i9 came out more recently so I’m going to assume the quality of materials have been slightly upgraded.

Headset – is crap. Don’t bother. Invest in a cheap bluetooth and you will already be ahead.

Bluetooth – not consistent performance. I’d often have sync issues.

(original post)

Review: SciPhone i9++ (iPhone clone)

Wow, I can’t believe people still hit up this old post. Anyways it would appear that nobody searches the comments for answers so here’s a quick rundown of the most commonly posted questions/problems.

Review Sciphone i9++ (more)

Dual sims – yes, you can have both active at the same time. Not sure how it works if you receive 2 calls at the same time though. 3G sims will work but you won’t get 3G speed.

Memory – the max is 2GB, however newer versions/firmware may support larger sizes. Mine only takes 2GB and it’s a Kingston brand so I can confirm that is compatible.

Transferring files to your phone – plug in the phone to your pc, when the dialogue box pops up on your phone select “mass storage”, it should pop up on your computer as 2 new drives. Select the larger of the 2 and copy your data over. It might take you a few tries to get the right folder for the appropriate media files. I’m not going to tell you where what files go where, you should be able to figure it out on your own. The other option is bluetooth adapter. I’ve tried it, it works, stuff gets dumped into the bluetooth folder (received files or something like that).

Vibration – settings> user profiles> customize> alert type. If you don’t want your phone to vibrate or ring at all (ie. silent mode) set the alert type to ring, then change the volume down the lowest setting.

Pricing – I’ve seen them as low as $40 US lately.

Apps – you cannot download apps. A handful of java games will work but not many. Plus the ones that you do get to work will run very slowly. It is not compatible with iTunes.

SMS/MMS/Internet – it doesn’t work out of the box. You will need to configure your SMS/MMS/Internet settings yourself based on your service provider.

Video files – need to be down sampled to 176×144 in mp4 or 3gp format. A 1 hour show should be about 60MB.

Quality issues – there are many unofficial manufacturers of the SciPhone i9++ so don’t be surprised if you get a dud. There are already quality issues with the phone to begin with. Let’s face it, you are the owner of a fake Chinese clone of an iPhone. Do not expect it have the same build quality, features, performance of a name brand product. Many of the people that post here are mistaken in believing they are getting a true iPhone clone when in fact they simply buying a phone that LOOKS like an iPhone. Remember, there’s a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. This phone does neither well. I bought the phone out of interest, this is in no way my main phone, nor did I rely on this phone for extended use. (I currently use a Nokia E71). While it does provide some usability, it really is a novelty product. In the end, you get what you pay for.

I will continue to approve comments but I have not been responding to inquiries.

How to turn off vibration for i9++ i68

*The Original Post*

I know what you’re thinking. WHY? Just get the real thing! Well for one the data plan is a big barrier for the average user. Up here in Canada the minimum iPhone plan will run you $60/month on top of the 3 year contract and the purchase of the phone itself ($199). So if you could buy a fake at a fraction of the cost ($99USD from eBay) and avoid the whole data plan wouldn’t you at least investigate it?

So here it is: the SciPhone i9++ unlocked GSM quadband (850/900/1800/1900 Mhz) 3.2″ touch screen mp3 video java bluetooth gprs fm radio 1.3mp camera video recording.

sciphone002Marketed as i9+ or i68+ or 3G i9++ (no 3G functionality). There are many sellers on eBay. Judging by the box, you think you’re buying a real iPhone (but of course you’d be wrong). Probably not a good idea to buy one of these if you’re vacationing in China. Don’t get fooled by those shady street vendors. Even the box shows “AT&T” in the picture and Safari as the browser, just looks good to me.

sciphone003Open up the box and still looks good so far. The packaging is nicely sealed and indeed it does look like an actual phone and not a brick inside. Looks like everything is here. 2 batteries (3.7v, 1000mAH, lithium ion), charger, USB cable, micro SD adapter, and wired headset. Each neatly wrapped up in their individual plastic bags.

sciphone004Hey look! It’s actually charging! This is a good sign. Perhaps the phone may even actually make calls. (photo is washed out due to the crappy flash, hey, it’s an old Fujitsu camera, that’s what was available at the office).

sciphone005The manual was essentially useless. Here’s an exaggerated sampling “SMS: to SMS type an SMS” or perhaps “To make phone call, press phone icon, and type in number”. Forget putting in important details such as setting up your SMS or MMS settings or video file resolution playback, or which folders to put what files in. Instead you’re left to figure that out all on your own.

I’m just going to put a bunch of pictures here. Yes, that does say “Phone” and “16GB” (no it isn’t actually 16GB, supposedly the limit is 8GB).


Inside it has the badging “SciPhone i9++”, quadband, standard serial number and IMEI number. Spot for the micro SD card on the right and 2 SIM slots on the left. Stylus, yes, a stylus. It comes in handy sometimes, but it’s a bit too small for my liking. The tip tends to dig into the “webbing” between my thumb and finger when I hold it. The back plastic piece takes a bit of patience to get off the first time. Because it is so flimsy you don’t want to risk breaking it by being too forceful. It’s not a big deal after you’ve done it a few times (THATS WHAT SHE SAID! *budda-boom!)


The touch functionality is good. The interface is not as quick as the real iPhone. Flow page navigation is easy with the thumb (up to 5 pages I believe, we’ll see after I install all of my java games). Compared to the CECT P168 and the previous SciPhone i9 the screen is better and the camera is better. The P168 is still king when it comes to reception. You will find reception to occassionally jump around with the SciPhone i9++. Call quality is above average. Hey, it’s even got speaker phone.

Bluetooth didn’t seem to work initially. I tried connecting my headset and it didn’t work on the first try. Powered it off and tried again and it detected instantly.

The volume is loud. Make sure you have your thumb on the volume tab when you get that first call. And for God’s sake change the default ringtone! Load that thing up with your mp3s stat!

You can’t change the default screen saver (at least I haven’t figured out how to) but you can switch between the basic ones. When you’ve got the lock screen up, give the phone a shake to the left or right (yes, it supports the shake feature, also during mp3 playback) to switch pictures. I like the stones one myself, something peaceful about those smooth rocks.

Overall it seems like a bargain for $99 USD. Anything more and it’s probably not worth it. I’ve only had it for less than a week but I’m pretty happy with it so far. I’m still trying to set up the GPRS to do some web surfing but that’s not a big deal for me since I’m not spending my time doing Twitter or Facebook updates. The stylus is really handy for texting since my fat fingers often press the wrong letter. Down convertering video files to 3GP is annoying but certainly helps pass the time when you’re sitting at the doctor’s office waiting. Also the video does auto rotate to both sides depending on which way you turn the phone.

Bottom line is: you could do worse. It’s a very good fake iPhone. Even fooled some of my friends after they picked it up and played with it. They found it to be a bit lighter but couldn’t quite figure out why this iPhone was different. Also you need to remember what you’re buying. It’s a iPhone clone, a fake, made in China, most likely from some shady dropshipper. I wouldn’t be surprised if it stopped working after 6 months. Make sure you get the right one. There are many models and believe it or not. There are actually clones of these clones. People making cheaper copies of these phones from left over parts! Probably why you hear horror stories from some people who bought this phone and how it sucks. They probably got a fake SciPhone or fake P168.

*Also don’t buy this phone if you’re big into texting. A touch screen phone is not meant for a great texting experience!

Update: July 27, 2009


Update: May 7, 2009

Review: Plantronics 370 Gaming Headset

plantronics01Product specs: 40mm speaker size, 20Hz – 20kHz response frequency, 100Hz – 8kHz microphone frequency response, 9.5′ cable, 3.5″ gold plated plugs.

Other stuff: in-line volume control and mute for mic, “open ear”, “full ranged stereo”
Price: $20 CDN

topFirst thoughts: these are really nice looking and feeling headset. Plastic packaging is huge and is real waste, plus I hate getting my hands cut/scratched up with the sharp edges.

bandIt has a wired frame that goes over your head and then a second cushion foam band which sits on your head. The foam band is spring loaded to adjust to your head to ensure that the earpiece sits comfortably on your ears. This might become an issue if you have big hair or have a small head. For me the fit was fine.

I found that the earpieces to completely surround my ears giving me the feeling like I was right in the game. Almost like my ears were soundproofed from my surroundings. The size of the earpieces might be an issue for some. The bottom of the earpieces sat right on the side of my jawline. It might cause a real comfort issue for some. I got used to it and it did not interfere with in game chatting. After a 3 hour gaming session my ears were not sweaty, which can happen with some earphones that completely cover your ears.earphone

leftThe microphone swivels down smoothly and firmly stays in place. I found the distance between my mouth and the microphone just right. Not too close, not too far. I didn’t get a chance to hear myself to judge the mic audio quality but others said that it was “ok” and I sounded “fine”.

Also the cable is really long so it’s nice for gamers who do not have a speaker/headset switch adapter and plug directly into their sound card. The in-line volume and mute controls are pretty much mandatory if you plan on using it for gaming. I have the volume turned down pretty low but I get the impression that the headset is capable of producing booming sound. The volume/mute piece has a little clip on the back for easy placement on your shirt. I would have preferred a “clothes pin” style clip.volume

muteWhat I like: earphone/build quality, controls, mic location, price.
What I didn’t like: funky spring loaded headband, the clip, weight.


When buying these keep in mind that they are a good size and may not be the best fit for gamers with small heads or big hair. The earpieces may end up sitting on your jaw line depending on your features. If possible, try them on before buying. This is a very good headset and is recommended. Absolute bargain at $20.

Review: Gigabyte GM-M6880 gaming mouse

giga01a1If you’re as click happy as I am you’ve probably gone through a few mice. Going through a cheap $10 mouse within a couple of months convinced me to go with a relatively expensive one. For the longest time I was a Microsoft mouse user. I liked the large white intellimouse, it was comfortable for people with big hands. Then I went through a few in a short period and swore them off. Switched to Logitech. I’ve gone through a few over the last 3 years and recently on the weekend I spotted a replacement which seemed promising.

side01Enter the Gigabyte GM-M6880 laser gaming mouse. “100 grams of weight perfect for gamers”. Among other things on the cover: DPI on-the-fly adjustable (800/1600), Vista certified, USB, ergonomic, did I mention it has a frickin ‘laser’? Some of the things not mentioned: 5 buttons, rubber side grips, grooves on the left and right buttons for your fingers, cable is 4.5 feet long, and a $30 price tag. I had no idea GigaByte made mice/mouses (what the heck is the proper term?!) so I decided to give it a shot. At first glance it looks very similar to the Logitech MX-400. Let’s hope if performs just as well.

side02If you’re a gamer you know that in stressful situations your hands get a little sweaty. The rubber grips on the side help keep you in control. The scroll wheel is textured to again getting a good grip is less of a problem. My old mouse had a slick smooth scroll wheel which sometimes was hard to get a grip on. The DPI switch comes in handy when you tend to get a little lazier in long games and mouse sensitivity adjustments are required. It let’s you toggle between 800 and 1600 settings. It’s a good sized mouse so that when I palm the mouse I don’t feel like my fingers drag against the mouse pad. I have no idea how people use those tiny notebook sized mice.

logi02I only have a few issues to nitpick. The length of the cable is a problem. I like long cables because I tend to place my pc relatively far from my monitor and mouse surface. So length of cable comes into play all the time and I just plain don’t like wireless devices. I used a 1.5 USB cable extension to solve the problem. My old Logitech MX-400 was a comfortable 6 feet in length with was enough for my uses. The weight takes a bit of getting used to. I don’t know if it’s really a 100 grams but it does feel a bit heavier than my old mouse. Once you get comfortable with a certain mouse sensitivity, change is never a welcome thing.

giga02The 4th and 5th buttons are up by the knuckle of my thumb. It’s kind of awkward to reach back with my thumb to click the buttons. Thankfully I don’t need to click them that often. Pricing is minor issue. To me, the brand names in keyboard and mice is Microsoft and Logitech, which I’m content to pay more for given their reputation. Without a reputation for building a quality mouse, I felt that GigaByte should have priced this a little less. I could have bought my old Logitech mouse for the same price.

What I liked: the the DPI button to switch sensitivity is a nice feature, the rubber grips on the sides, the scroll wheel has ‘tire – like’ indentations, size, no software required, familiar Logitech feel.

What I didn’t like: the short cable, weight, location of 4th and 5th buttons, price.

giga01Overall it’s a good mouse. It’s definitely a more than adequate replacement for my Logitech mouse. A very familiar feeling quality and some nice features to boot. If your mouse has recently broken and you’re looking for a replacement brand named other than “Microsoft” or “Logitech” you should give it a try. Now if I could just find a bigger mouse pad to match it.

Review: Samsung SyncMaster 2253BW 22″ LCD

Key specs:
Size 22″ widescreen
Resolution 1680 x 1050
Response 5ms (2ms gray to gray)
Contrast ratio 8000:1
Connection VGA/DVI
Price $209 CDN

Found this on sale and could not resist. Fresh out of the box everything is nicely packaged. The base was wrapped up in pieces of protective plastic to ensure the glossy finish remained as such. Putting everything together was a piece of cake. Snapped everything in place and put the screws on to secure the base to the bezel. Propped it up and it looked fantastic. Finally I had a monitor which matched my Antec Sonata III case and was just as luxurious looking. The glossy frame looks out of place in my crappy basement. Looks great, now let’s give it a test run.

Movies: I’m too cheap to subscribe to HD cable however I’m considering switching. Playing movies and HD tv shows looked amazing. To be honest it looked better than my old Sony WEGA tv. Motion was seamless and smooth. The colors and quality truly impressed me. Compared to my BenQ lcd the colors seem more vibrant. No adjustments required. It was a little bright for my tastes (I prefer below average brightness levels) but easily adjusted.

Dual display is a snap. However finding the desk space was a little difficult given the short friggin cables. I was forced to prop up my tower from floor to give me some cable slack (again old college textbooks proved their worth). I have a BenQ 20″ widescreen lcd and now a Samsung 2253bw 22″ widescreen lcd. As you can imagine there’s not much viewing area left. I never tried out multiple displays before but I think I really like it. Even though it’s not practical (how much multitasking can you really do?) it sure looks sweet. On my quad core I encoding a movie, burning a CD, watching Heroes (on the 22″ Samsung) and surfing the net on the old monitor. Awesome! Just remember to crank up the fan on your video card to keep it cool.

Buttons: the buttons are on the bottom side of the monitor. A small clear plastic lip extends down to prevent any accidental button pushes. Finding the button involves a bit of feeling around and gentle prodding (kinds like when your in bed with your girlfriend, hahaha … really). But you shouldn’t have to do any adjustments anyways. I don’t know if I’m sold on the buttons but it’s the least of my worries and I’m just a picky person.

The base seems a bit small for a 22″ display but it seems to be holding up just fine. Despite listing ’tilt’ and ‘swivel’ as one of it’s features I had a tough time with them. Either it’s super stiff or doesn’t actually ’tilt’ and ‘swivel’. Rather than testing the latter theory I just decided to leave it. No tilt means having to prop the monitor up higher. Easily done with an old college textbook (I knew that old chemistry book would come in handy).

Conclusion: great buy. I’m very happy with both what I paid (since I’m a cheap guy) and what I got. Not only does it look fantastic but it also has the performance to match. Buy one on sale and you’ve got the trifecta. It might be a little big for the college dorm but it can replace a lot of tvs when space is at a premium. This little LCD has got me sold on Samsung tv displays and subscribing to HD tv.

separate cables for VGA and DVI
glossy bezel (oooh, looks so expensive!), the display is matte
soft cloth shammy (for cleaning)

what’s with the short cables?
buttons, meh

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