By Jek Suen Lee on Tue, 01/24/2012
Many business travelers often need to be contactable on two mobile numbers: one local number for their business clients and another personal number for family and friends. Until now, this means having two mobile phones and the inconvenience of having to make sure that contacts are transferred from one phone to another, or having to forward messages from one phone to another.
Therefore a very neat solution is to have a dual simcard iPhone case that is now offered by 2Phone, an OEM accessory manufacturer linked to the well-known Chinese iPhone battery pack maker, QYG. The 2Phone case not only protects the iPhone, but also has its own full size simcard slot that allows the iPhone to operate a second mobile line SIMULTANEOUSLY. And i mean complete voice and text messaging functionality for the second simcard.
Above: The iPhone 4 is able to run two mobile lines simultaneously with the 2Phone case.
Above: The 2Phone app is where voice calls and messaging can be made using the 2nd simcard. The settings for the second mobile line is also accessed from this menu. The menu interface has been thoughtfully designed to have the same outlook as the iPhone's call app.
The 2Phone case has its own separate 800mAh battery that can serve as an emergency battery charger for the iPhone. The catch is that this accessory requires the phone to be jailbroken because the 2Phone cydia app is required in order to install the 2Phone voice call and text app.
Above: The 2Phone case comes with an internal replaceable battery (samsung E398 battery) and an extra simcard slot (occupied by the light blue simcard) for a second line. It also has a free simcard tray pin and mini simcard adaptor that neatly sits within the case.
During testing with my iPhone 4 running iOS 5.0.1 (and jailbroken with redsnow), I found that the voice and text messaging capability works smoothly as advertised. The ringtone for the second line can be set differently from the main line so that you can immediately identify whether an incoming call or sms is coming through the main or second line.
Above: The 2phone settings menu allows the user to set a different ring/text tone for the second simcard.
During testing, I found that there is a significant added battery drain on my iPhone 4 due to having two mobile lines operating at the same time. With my usage profile (with about 50-100mb of data usage per day, checking email throughout the day, making about 5-10 calls and 5-10 sms per day), I found that I could be low on battery by the evening. The added battery capacity of 800mAh also proved to be insufficient at times as it will only charge the iPhone if it has more than 50% of charge remaining. In practice, this means that it will only charge about 10-20% of the iPhone 4.
Battery issues aside, I found that the added convenience (and in my case, necessity whenever I am overseas) of having 2 lines on my iPhone to be a game-changer. I can now easily buy a local simcard while overseas for making calls to my clients while retaining the use of my own simcard for any calls from home. I am able to use both simcards at the same time without worrying about missing calls or sms from either line. Since the 2Phone app is able to access the iPhone contact book, there is also no need to maintain two separate contact lists on separate two phones. The build quality of the case is fairly decent and does not add much weight or bulkiness to the iPhone 4. It is similar in size to the Mophie Juice Pack Air but slightly lighter at 59 grams.
Above: 2Phone case with iPhone 4. The case build quality is fairly good and snaps onto the iPhone fairly easily.
Above: The 2phone is available in Singapore for about US$80 and can be expected to price differently in other markets inclusive of freight. The international model is FM-01A (as opposed to the FM-01 for the Chinese market). The instruction manuals are available with the packaging in both English and Chinese, and can also be downloaded from the 2Phone website.
Above: The rear of the box shows the key specifications such as the battery capacity (800mAh) and weight (59g).
For further information, the manufacturer website is listed as www.2phone.com.