Everyone has seen the iPhone – the iconic product of Apple that is basically the slickest, most application-filled phone on the market….next to probably the Blackberry of course – but the iPhone has the app store, where you can download applications for a fee, and can customize your screens using the iTunes interface on your computer, and let’s face it…that touch-flow screen is just dead sexy. Apple is counting on that wow factor to keep you hooked.
So what do you do when you don’t have the $300+ to plunk down for one, and AT&T is not in your area to provide coverage? You’re pretty much TSOL, right? Well, not so, says SciPhone, a company that makes a clone of the iPhone, called the SciPhone i68+++ (I have NO idea what all the pluses are for, aside from stroking its own ego), which is supposed to have the same experience as an iPhone, but for a fraction of the cost!
You may see these all over eBay, ranging in price, but one thing to be VERY aware of, is that there are imitators of the imitator out there! I happened to be one of those unwary souls who spotted what looked like a genuine SciPhone i68+++ for about $85 – not bad, considering that the iPhone remember is over $300 – and it’s unlocked, meaning you don’t have to subscribe to the big bad Death Star provider!
Sounds pretty spiffy for the price, right? Well, you know what PT Barnum said, don’t you? OK, now read on. Let’s go over what this phone does (and does NOT do).
Some of the dead giveaways that you are NOT getting a real SciPhone include:
No “SciPhone” logo when powering up.
The phone just says “Phone” on the back
The batteries are GOLD and not WHITE, as with the real SciPhone.
Now for the nitpicky stuff……
Interface: The real iPhone is, as I said, dead sexy. You glide your finger over the screen, and it moves effortlessly, showing you page after page of apps that you paid some amount of blood money for. With this phone, it hesitates, stalling between flipping pages (if it flips at all), and if you happen to touch the top of the field, you’re treated to a white-noise screech while the icon screen rotates! Did I WANT this feature? If you have the misfortune of moving your finger down the face, then you’re treated to an ear-splitting bell chorus while the icons float down the screen, and then pop back into place. Did I want that treat either? I think not.
Applications: Well, as this is a clone, you are banned from downloading from iTunes – it just ain’t gonna happen, kids. You’re left searching about for i68 phone apps, which may or may not work, depending on what level of firmware you have. Oh, the games that are “pre-installed”? Nope – they don’t work, as they prompt you to download the java game! Ummm…WHAT java game, and where do I get it? You CAN’T remove the icons either – they are forever emblazoned onto your interface, mocking you for all eternity. I did manage to install SnapTu onto it, but then the application would never get a connection, even though the internet works on it!
This is a good time to point out that one auction site that has this phone DID mention that a lot of the applications that are on there WILL NOT WORK WITHOUT A CHINESE SIM CARD INSTALLED. You would think someone would mention this when selling it on other auctions, but I guess that would just make way too much sense.
Texting: Yes, this phone does do texting, but not in any consumer-friendly way. You have to find where the icon is, and then the menu WITHIN the icon to get to it. It’s just not easy in any stretch of the imagination – same goes for MMS.
E-mail: There is NO application for this! I looked through ALL of the menus, and could not find ANYTHING that shows how to send e-mail or set up e-mail accounts! You would think this would be basic on any phone, right? Wow….let’s ride the FAILboat on that one.
Movies/MP3’s/images: These are easy to get to, as long as you remember to put them in the right folder that the application is looking for, otherwise it’s a bit of a plod to ever find them. Once you do find your images, the screen does scroll through them nicely with the touch-flow. The music plays well, even though the speaker sounds a bit tinny – and you can shake it to go to the next song. You can also watch videos in either upright or on its side by rotating it 90 degrees (it pauses momentarily to realign the video). For this part, and this part alone, it does a pretty decent job – but is thiS REALLY what you were hoping for when you bought this phone?
I didn’t think so either.
So if you are looking for a nice media player that doesn’t have a huge storage capacity limit, then you might consider this – but if you want a phone that does a lot of really cool things, and has a nice interface, run away from this phone as fast as you can! If anyone tells you it’s a wonderful phone to get, have them seek deep psychicatric counseling.