Category Archives: iPhone 3GS

Product Review – XMI X-mini II Mini Speaker

Let’s start with some background which led to the purchase of this speaker. Back in February when I bought a Nokia 5800 I used to listen to podcasts in the car with the phone’s speaker. However, when I changed to an iPhone 3GS I didn’t want to subject it to 3 hours of ‘almost maximum’ loud speaker usage a day – that and the loud speaker is not loud enough to be heard over motorway traffic. So, I decided to look at other options.

My car is 7 years old and doesn’t play MP3 CDs, nor does it have an AUX input to enable me to plug my iPhone to it. I went to Halfords this weekend just gone as they had a new fascia for my car which would allow me to get a new stereo fitted with both an AUX input and MP3 CD playing ability. All sounds good right? Wrong! The fascia was too small and after being contacted by Halfords yesterday I am told the manufacturer says that is the only fascia available for my car – FAIL!

So, this brought about another option – that of attaching a speaker to my phone. Only problem I found with most is that they would take their power from the iPhone and the sound was pretty poor, if reviews are to be believed.

Then I came across the XMI X-mini II Mini Speaker which is charged via USB, has 360 degree sound and reviews were very good. I ordered this from Amazon yesterday and it arrived this morning, courtesy of my 1 month free trial with Amazon Prime!

The XMI X-mini II Mini Speaker

The XMI X-mini II Mini Speaker

Don’t be fooled by the size – while it appears small in comparison to my iPod Touch the performance is very impressive. Apart from being very cute, the sound quality is superb, and the volume was more than enough to cope with motorway traffic when I used it for the first time this morning. With a simple twist the speaker expands to play mode and after being turned on a little blue LED glows from the underside.

A full charge took 2 hours and this should give me 11 hours of usage – I’ll report back to say whether that is the case. It comes with a dual lead that is USB at one end and then splits to mini USB and 3.5mm jack so that you can charge it, whilst having it connected to your audio input and playing simultaneously. All this can be housed in a little velvet pouch so it stays clean and safe.

At just £16.96, my first impressions are very favourable and it has met and exceeded my expectations and fulfills my requirements which is enabling me to get back on track with my podcast listening and fill those 3 hours in the car every day with something of interest.

As an aside, you can actually daisy chain these little speakers for enhanced sound – maybe one day I’ll try that, but for now just the one will suffice.


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Filed under Electronics, iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch, Mobile Phones, Podcasts

iPhone GPS helped us battle aganst Swine Flu!

I got home from work last night to find that our 14 month old boy, who just a few hours ago had seemed to be on the mend, had had a relapse and was exhibiting a few flu-like symptoms. My wife called the NHS helpline who put her through to the brand new pandemic helpline, who after asking her a series of questions came to the conclusion that our little boy could have swine flu. We were given a uniquie code and told to go to West Campus at a specified postcode…in Welwyn, 20 miles away and back down the dual carriageway I had just driven home on!

I walked in the door, picked up the necessary pieces of ID and set off. The route I took was determined by my Satelite Navigation unit which I bought a few years ago and only accepts the first 4 digits of a postcode. As I didn’t have a road to aim for I had to choose the ‘centre of area’ option.

After 25 minutes I arrived at the centre of said area, only to find myself in a residential estate. There was nobody around and just as I was about to go knocking on doors I remembered my new phone – the iPhone 3GS! It was time to put Google Maps to more use than just looking around Disneyland Paris!

I chose the directions option, tapped in the postcode and within seconds was shown an aerial shot of where I was and the route I needed to take to get to West Campus, a mile away from where I was currently parked. What impressed me most was the ‘currnet location’ indicator moving along the route with no lag at all, and this is with 3G turned off. Within minutes I had reached West Campus and got the anti-virul drugs I had come for – thank you iPhone, you will now replace my well out of date SatNav as my means of finding new places and have more than justified your purchase.


Filed under iPhone 3GS

Phantom Manor Inspiration for Willian Fair?

On the way home from work I drive through a small village called Willian in North Hertfordshire and in the past week I have noticed bunting put up and some scarecrow type characters appearing in gardens and in front of houses. I little bit of digging told me that this is all to do with the upcoming Willian Fair, which takes place this weekend; 11th and 12th July.

One of these characters in particular caught my eye and after a few days of trying I was able to stop my car and take a picture with my iPhone 3GS – here is what I saw:

Straw Bride

Straw Bride

I immediately thought of Melanie Ravenswood, the bride who is the main character of the Phantom Manor attraction at Disneyland Paris. Below is a picture I took of Melanie which can be seen as you exit Phantom Manor. The blue face is as such because when you are there a hologram is projected onto the face which isn’t picked up by the camera.

Melanie Ravenswood

Melanie Ravenswood

A tenuous link? Maybe, but anything that reminds me of Disneyland Paris is a good thing – just under 10 months until we go back.

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Filed under Disneyland Paris, iPhone 3GS

So, I bought an iPhone 3GS

It’s been 2 week since I took possession of my 16GB iPhone 3GS so I thought I’d document my thoughts so far.

I’ve owned a 1st generation iPod Touch for the last 16 months so I was already familiar with the interface and functionality that the iPhone shares. The whole time I’ve had my iPod Touch I’ve thought how great it would be to have all this on my phone.

The one thing that stopped me getting the previous version was the lack of video recording and MMS, and no, I don’t want to jailbreak my iPhone. With a 14 month old son both these features are deal breakers and as soon as the 3GS was announced with both I knew it would only be a matter of time.

The phone feels gorgeous, and the first thing I noticed was just how fast it responded, the S certainly does stand for speed and is not just hot air marketing. I have 3G turned off too save the battery and this far I have found the roaming Internet speeds to be absolutely fine, of course at home I’m connecting via Wi-Fi.

The camera is far better than I expected, as is the video recording. Sending a photo out via email or MMS is just a click away, as is adding a photo to twitpic thanks to a great free app. I’m a Twitter addict ( so being able to twitpic is important functionality for my phone, something the Nokia 5800 could do, but a lot more clunkily than the iPhone. Below is a photo I took last Saturday with my iPhone and sent to twitpic – the photo doesn’t do the size of the moth justice, it was 2 inches long, a beast!

King of Moths

King of Moths

The actual phone call quality, yes I do use it to call people too, is crystal clear – this is another area it beats my old 5800 in. SMS /texting is a treat, and something I’ve heard a few other people complain about – why?

Funny story time – last Thursday I was listening to a podcast in a traffic jam in my car and I picked up the iPhone, covering the left speaker. In doing so the sound all but disappeared, which I found strange as I thought it had a second speaker on the right. Thinking the right speaker wasn’t working I was all set to take it back. Thankfully I decided to Google the problem first, only to find out the ‘speaker’ on the right is actually the microphone – doh!

Anyway, at the time I thought I was going to be away from iPhone for a week or two while it get sent off to be repaired – that was a chilling thought and though I’d only had the phone for 7 days I couldn’t bare the thought of being without it!

The only thing I have to sort out now is a case. Most of the cases I seeing being talked about the moment; Incipio Feather and Griffin Reveal, seem to be great for scratch resistance but not if the iPhone is dropped. With a 14 month old running around I need that total protection solution – recommendations gratefully received.

In conclusion, the iPhone 3GS is everything I wanted and so much more. At this point I can’t see myself ever owning another phone again, just upgraded models of iPhone!

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Filed under iPhone 3GS, Twitter