iPhone Life magazine

Accessories

Review: MusicSkins Vinyl Skins

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 Are you a person who prefers to use your device with no case? Do you want to add a little style, protection, maybe some fun to it? If so, I have a possible solution for you. I tried out some Vinyl skins from MusicSkins.com on my iPod Touch. This is just only one of the many devices they offer products for. I was initially worried about the install process because I had unfairly compared it in my mind to my past screen protector application challenges. MusicSkins Vinyl Skins are not screen protectors, but they both involve air bubbles and applying something that sticks to your device. Plus, I have never installed a skin before so I did not know what to expect.



Want Some Free StuffBak Labels? Hurry and Read this First.

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Are you a StuffBak user? Are you already registered on their site? Well, if so, make sure your registered information is up to date and head over to their new facebook page. They are offering 6 free StuffBak labels, which have two years of free service attached to them, if you are one of the first 500 people to become a fan. I became a fan a few days ago and my labels came in the mail today. I was very surprised and excited. I am going to give some of them to my friends and family.

Their page says " Thanks StuffBak fans for all your kind words and sharing of your success stories ... we are humbled by the quick show of support! We're going to extend our charter fan offer to the first 500 fans, so spread the word! Labels will be sent to the registered StuffBak address, so please login to your account and make sure your contact info is up-to-date."

At the time of this post, they had 352 fans so if you are interested, you better hurry.

 

 



Review: CreTouch Vintage Special Edition Folder Pouch

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Recently, I had an opportunity to test drive and check out Cretouch’s Vintage Special Edition Folder Pouch for the iPod Touch 2G/3G. This was designed by SGP in California. For all you iPhone users out there, they have the same pouch for you as well, so read on. I want to thank CreTouch very much for mailing me this review sample for the opportunity to take a look at this design.
 
What you get with the purchase in the clear plastic package is pretty straightforward. You get the handmade brown leather flip case as well as a sticker accessory with an application instruction insert (more on that later).
 
 
 
Here are some pictures of the case I took out of the package from different angles and sides.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
You will notice that there is no stitching on this case. The outside of the case is made from vintage full grain leather. According to their description, the leather allows for fingerprints and scratch marks which gives the case more of a vintage look as time and usage goes by. The inside appears to be some sort of soft microfiber. From their website I could not find what the actual material was (if it is not microfiber), but it is real soft and red in color. On the flip cover is an inscription of the “Emerald Tablet of Hermes.” One of the photos below of the inside flip cover is from their website. I could not get a good picture of the writing with my camera.
 
 
 
  
Putting your device into the case is real easy. Just pop it in. The device stays in place by the sides and corners of the case. From looking at the device, the sides of the case are almost at level with the screen and bezel area. It looks to me that the screen is slightly higher up. If there was no cover on the case, I think this could be a concern for some people as they flip their device over screen down for privacy, for example in meetings. But since this has a flip cover, it should not be any issue as the cover can be used for this. The iPod also comes out of the case very easily.
 
 
 
With the cover shut, you can see some of the chrome from the device on the different sides. I think that is kind of cool look.
 
 
 
 
The cover stays shut with a leather overhang by clipping into the 30 pin connector area. It does not touch the connector itself and only grasps onto the edge between the bottom of the device and space at the connector area. This is where the sticker is supposed to go. According to the little insert, the sticker should be placed there so the case does not get damaged by the sharp edge of the connector area. I did put the sticker on which I had a hard time installing. It would not stay stuck all the way. Every time the case cover was opened and closed, the sticker would get moved, damaged and bent. I removed the sticker from the device. The little clip part of this case seems pretty solid to me, but I guess it’s possible that this area of the Touch could be sharp enough for it to damage over the course of its life of opening and closing the flip cover. If anyone has been using this case and has resulted in case damage (or no damage) at this area, I would welcome your feedback in the comments section. During my operational review, this did not appear that it would be an issue. While it was tight enough to hold the lid down, it was not like you had to pry it apart with force to open it. I guess only time will tell and I would imagine this would be different by user depending on how they use their device.
 
  
This case reminds me of my old pocket pc days when I used flip covers from Sena and Covertec. The devices at that time were much thicker than the Touch and so resulted in more bulk. This is not the case (no pun intended) here as the slim design of this product really does not add bulk. I used this case during a recent shopping trip this past weekend with my wife. We were out for several hours that day.  It stayed in my front pants pocket when I was not using it. It was not a problem using it at all with the case on it. I flipped the cover back when I needed to. When the flip was closed, I felt like my device was truly secured. It’s a very solid feel.
  
I plugged the standard apple headphones in to make sure there was no case interference. It plugged in fine. I even plugged in my SwitchEasy ThumbTack microphone. I have some cases where it makes plugging this microphone impossible, without having to remove the iPod. Not the case here either. I plugged it in and it worked fine with the pouch on.
 
Now, in regards to protection of the device, I feel that my iPod is very safe in there. I have no idea though about what would happen if you drop the iPod to the ground, to the road etc. I am not going to even test that as this is the only Ipod Touch I have. In my opinion as I compare them to the Speck Candyshell and Incase Slider I have, I think I would get better protection with the Cretouch, as it has the extra benefit of the flip cover (as long as the flip cover was closed). The Otterbox I have may offer better drop protection because it was built for protection and totally encloses the Touch.
 
I compared the size of this Cretouch pouch to some other cases I have. The leather thickness is only 1/2.5mm. Please refer to my notes and picture below for a general comparison (from top to bottom):
 
 
1- The Incase slider at the top is smaller than the pouch.
2- The Speck Candyshell was pretty close in size to the pouch, in every way. I could not tell any size differences apart when I compared them together.
3- The Cretouch Vintage Pouch is next.
4- The Otterbox defender case was definitely bigger than the Cretouch.
 
 
The price of this vintage case is $45.99. I would have waited until the end of the review to include that information but I did some comparative shopping on this with other iPod Touch cases. The prices are from the respective manufacturers websites.
 
Cretouch Vintage Pouch: $45.99
Incase Slider: $34.95
Speck Candyshell: $34.95
Otterbox Defender: (discontinued).
Sena Milano Flip: $52
Vaja cases (few different flips): $45-$85.00
 
So based on this comparison, the price at first may seem like a bit steep, when you put it perspective, it’s not that bad. For instance, the incase slider is just a thin piece of plastic for $35.00. The CreTouch case is handcrafted leather. I think you can see the value there.
  
Pro’s:
-very slim
-elegant
-solid feel to it
  
Cons:
-The Sticker does not work. Potential damage to leather clip area after time.
  
In conclusion, I like this case a lot. It even adds a little class to the look of my Touch. Is this my favorite case? I do not have a favorite case yet. I am still in pursuit of that. It definitely ranks up there though. Would you like it? You are the only one that can say for sure, but I think you would enjoy it. You can check out additional pictures of the case on their product page at:
 
 
If you already own this case, the one for the iPhone or one of Cretouch’s other cases, I look forward to your comments below or on our Facebook page. Just tell me what device you have, what Cretouch case you are using and let us know your thoughts on it (both good and bad).


Dear AT&T, I'd really like to use my iPhone abroad, without exorbitant charges

When GSM first came out I was intrigued by its promise of having a phone that would work all over the world, wherever there was GSM coverage. I thought it'd be a little bit like those old global dial-up systems where all you had to do was put in your AOL account name, and the modem calls made in Osaka or Taipei or wherever became all local calls, included in my fixed monthly AOL fee. And as someone who frequently checked out all sorts of phone-enabled hardware, I liked the idea of a little SIM card that I could pop into any phone or communicator to make it work and act like my phone.



Did You Get Candy For Valentines Day?

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 Well, you already know from a previous post that I love my cases. So it will not be any surprise to you then when I say that I bought a new one. I had an Apple gift card burning a hole in my pocket so I took a trip to the store. I purchased a Speck CandyShell case for my touch. I have been using it for a week now and love it. I am not going to review it in detail because there are so many of them published already. I did my fair amount of research though before making the purchase. The only thing I will say is that I am concerned with the little strip on the edge between the connectors and the front. I say that because I think it is very flimsy and may be the weakest part of the design. Will it break, who knows?



At Macworld: iTouch Gloves Keeps Your Hands Warm and Lets You Use Your iPhone

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How many times have you been out in the cold and had to remove a glove to use your iPhone or iPod touch? There have been several vendors at Macworld that are showing winter gloves that allow you to use your iPhone or iPod touch without having to take off your gloves and risk frostbite.  iTouch Gloves has taken the concept to a whole new level.

itouch Gloves has produced a line of high fashion gloves for men and women that are of the highest quality. Just one look and you know these are not ordinary gloves.  They are elegant and make a fashion statement. While not inexpensive (they range from about $100 to $200 a pair), if quality and style are important to you, these fit the bill.

I was able to speak with Jerry Leto, the man who developed the material that allows these gloves to work on touch screens.  He saw a need and decided to create a fabric that was both functional and elegant. He showed his fabric to one of the early developers of touch screens and was told that it wouldn't work. He proved him wrong.

Now you can keep your hands warm, be fashionable and still use your iPhone. www.iTouchGloves.com



At Macworld: SkyGazer iPhone App

I got a chance to look at and talk to the developer of the StarGazer and StarVoyager iPhone apps at Macworld today.  These are amazing apps for those who are interested in the nighttime sky.  The company took the essentials of their desktop astronomy applications and adapted them for the iPhone. 



Joby Unveils New Products at MacWorld!!

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 I knew someone had reviewed the Joby Gorillapod line either in print or blog, and dug it up here on Heather Dale's site. I also have a fabulous Gpod camera holder/stand for my camera (kids bought it from ThinkGeek) and it doubles as a holder/stand thing for my iPod, and PDAs. It is often handy for taking steady, clear gadget close-ups. Joby just announced an expanded product line at MacWorld, so maybe our folks there can go check em out at booth#1659 – South Hall! I'm too busy back east shoveling snow...sigh!



hf2 - High Fidelity - BEST earphones I have found!

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I have searched "High and Low" to find the best earphones out there.  I think I found them!!!  The hf2 by Etymotic is by far the most comfortable earphone I have tried.  They stay comfortably in my ears, block out extra noise, equalize my ear pressure and sound AWESOME.



The Stylus Wars

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In Corner #1, we have my reigning champ – The Pogo Stylus by Ten One Design. He’s short and well packed, which makes him easy to hold and use.



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