Screen protectors – they are one accessory everyone should have for their phone but that many don’t. Although they seem like a great idea, many people don’t invest in one and I think one of the big reasons is that most of them last anywhere from a day to a few weeks, or even maybe a few months if you are lucky.

The problem is that the screen protectors that you pick up off ebay or on those high street phone accessory stands is that they are designed to be cheap and disposable. But with that design, you end up having to get a whole bunch of them just so you can keep some handy and replace them as soon as the previous one starts peeling. By the time you have kept your protected for a whole year you have had to purchase so many that you have spent twice as much as you would on a decent screen protector – not to mentioned wasted hours, positioning and pushing out those bubbles.

About 5 years ago I discovered that spending a little more on the screen protector meant that you got a screen protector that could last well over a year. Not only that, however, there are a few companies offering “Lifetime Guarantee”. My first of these higher quality screen protectors was from a company called Clear Protector (who seem to have since rebranded as zNitro). With these companies what you get is a high quality screen protector that should last the lifetime of your phone in less harsh conditions but also a guarantee that if it bubbles, scratches or peels away over time that you can get a replacement. I should say that it is important to check the fine print when it comes to this as different companies could have different things they cover and even different definitions of the word “lifetime”.

"Bubbles? Send it back - Scratches? Send it Back - Trouble with fitting? Send it back." — ExpertShield

“Bubbles? Send it back – Scratches? Send it Back – Trouble with fitting? Send it back.” — Expert Shield

My recent experiences have been with the company known as Expert Shield and this is who I would recommend if you’re looking for a screen protector in the UK or US. To start with Expert Shield aren’t one of these companies who have a great guaranty service, but don’t advertise it: there are a few companies that offer such lifetime guarantees, but this information is buried in the fine prints of their site and although this can be found when you do a google search and is essentially only offered for those looking for this feature. Expert Shield not only makes the fact they have a lifetime guarantee, but what the details of it are clear on the homepage. Not only are they willing to offer a replacement for bubbles and scratches, but it even covers difficulty when fitting. This shows the companies confidence that the product will last and that installation is simple.

Beyond the product and the guarantee provided, the Expert Shield support team have been of great help on numerous occasions with product queries and the such. The company was set up through the frustration with screen protectors similar to what I had experienced in the past and provide the solution with a personal experience. I have always been answered with a human response and not any of those pre-canned messages and even had the nice touch of having a hand written thank you from the team on a compliments slip and two large microfibre cloths thrown in on my first order of 4 screen protectors (for all the family). And you’ll even find (throughout their website and on their packaging) that they really do have a sense of humor which always making using a product or service more enjoyable.

Front side of the Expert Shield packaging

Front side of the Expert Shield packaging

The products are well packaged in a simple, yet premium looking, cardboard sleeve advertising the main product points and re-emphasising their lifetime guarantee. On the reverse you have all the instructions you will need to install the protector and inside the packet you have included a small microfibre cloth (with their company logo embossed in the corner) as well as (of course) the screen protector itself. The screen protector is a rigid sheet of plastic that stops bubbles and creases in transit and that peels back for easy application.

Application of the screen protector is similar to that of the cheaper screen protectors I have purchased where it is a two step process of peeling the backing film as you apply, then peeling the front film once aligned and all bubbles removed. This is probably the simplest form of application and although on my first purchase I was a little worried about how easy it would be to apply without bubbles, with a clean screen and a low dust environment this is a breeze. The Clear Protector I had previously had a slightly more complex installation process involving soaking the protector in a bowl of soapy water which allowed the protector to slide into place over the screen. Although I would say that the latter was a better method for getting in the right spot and removing bubbles it did have the major disadvantage of require you leave your phone for 24 hours for the liquid between the protector and your device to evaporate and of course the anxious feeling you get as you place a soapy screen protector on top of your not-so-waterproof phone. Each method has their pros and cons but method employed by Expert Shield is simple, quick and gets the job done. In order to get the bubbles out you can use a ruler or debit card to push these to and off the edge.

The biggest issue you will have is if dust gets caught underneath: hence why you should make sure the screen is perfectly clean before you start and try to do this in an environment with little dust floating in the air. Expert Shield say that one of the best environments is a slightly steamy bathroom works great (I can only assume something to do with the hotter steamy air making the dust particles rise rather than fall straight onto your screen).

Now the big question is, “They give me this lifetime guarantee but when I need to claim on it, how much hard work and bureaucracy am I going to have to go through to get this?”. Well if my experience is any answer to the question at hand, then I can assure you that when I recently contacted them about getting a replacement (after a year one corner had flicked up while putting the phone in a snug case and a small bit of dirt then flew under causing a little bubble and for the peeling corner to not adhere back down again so well) and the process was as simple as letting them know which screen protector I had the issue with then confirming the postal address for the new shield to be sent out to.

For me Expert Shield is the only choice when I get a new device and have recently been disappointed by the fact they don’t have a screen protector for my Moto 360 watch, but I am happy to vouch for the quality of their products, the standard of their services and the pleasant experiences I have had with them. Although

Disclaimer: This post is based off my own opinions and experiences with the company Expert Shield, this is not a paid for or sponsored post and although I recommend Expert Shield, there are other alternatives available many of which offer similar services for a similar price point.

What is the one thing all techies can’t life without but can’t get abroad without taking out a loan? Fast, reliable access to the internet where ever you are. There is however a company that claims to offer this. Tep Wireless is a company from the UK that can offer mobile broadband and smartphones within Europe for just a slight premium above a local buying internet locally.

The service is offered in several European countries including the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany offering different packages for the different countries which you can go to. There are fixed prices for each country depending how long you plan to stay in that country with the cheapest for 30 days being Italy, which is just £2.50 per day.

How it Works?

The way it works is that Tep Wireless have deals in the countries they allow travel to with the network providers where they pay the local rates. They can then rent the devices to their customers for the length of time they require without the needs for them to take out lengthy contracts or having the hassle of trying to communicate what they want in a foreign mobile shop.

What you get?

Pocket WiFi

With the pocket Wifi you get a Tep branded pack that contains:

  • Your pocket wifi
  • A USB Cable
  • A UK universal USB Charger
  • An adapter to use the charger in the country you are travelling to
  • A 12V Car Charger (optional)
  • An additional battery and charger (optional)


Data (Pocket WiFi and Smartphone)

In the countries where unlimited data is offered (just Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK at the moment) you are provided with PAYG sim that is topped up by

In all other countries you are provided with

Ordering from Tep

You may be wondering how to get your hands on this deal so let me explain the whole process with the advantage of personal experience. The first step is to order the device you want. For both Pocket WiFi and Smartphones you will first need to pick the country you are travelling to. From the next page you can then set your dates of travel, choose whether to have both a Pocket WiFi and a Smartphone, and then have the cost of your rental calculated. When I ordered mine it stopped calculating the price at 30 days so essentially you could have ordered these products for many years for the cost of one month but this glitch was soon resolved, which is unfortunate for everyone looking for a real bargain.

Once all this is calculated

Tep Wireless Website

Tep has a contemporary looking website with great images of people using their products and bright colours however, although the site looks great, it can be hard to navigate and find the information that you are looking for.

It is also glitchy in a few areas. One particular area is the savings calculator. I cannot for the life of me get this to work. It appears to have everything it should but doesn’t allow for a user to enter numbers and see how much would be saved!

Fair usage

What fair usage? One thing you should always expect from any company that offers an “unlimited” service of anything is a fair usage policy, however with Tep Wireless there is no fair usage policy to be seen meaning that on their unlimited services you can actually get unlimited internet!

The Future of Tep

I have been reliably informed of some upcoming changes to the Tep service to improve it further. With the non-unlimited plans they have promised to be upgrading this service to 150MB per day as apposed to the 50MB per day for the same price which is a much more reasonable amount of data for the standard user.

I accidentally found this out but it is really handy. All you have to do is flip around the HTC scribe pen and it works as a fantastic capacitive stylus:

This is the hardware review of the HTC Flyer where I will take a look at the hardware features and specs of the device. See full specs bellow the video.

HTC Flyer Specifications

  • 600 x 1024 pixels, 7.0 inches LCD capacitive touchscreen (with digitizer input)
  • 1.5 GHz Single Core
  • 32 GB storage, 1 GB RAM
  • Android OS, v2.3.3
  • 5 MP rear facing camera with 720p video support
  • 1.3MP front facing camera
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP
  • Quad-band GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • 3G HSDPA 900 / 1700 / 2100
  • HSDPA 14.4 Mbps (Download), HSUPA 5.76 Mbps (Upload)
  • Li-Ion 4000 mAh battery

Due to a lack of time at the moment, I have decided that in future I will separate my videos of devices from the reviews and then create a separate review when I have the time.

So here is the unboxing video for the HTC Flyer:

What’s included

Included in the box for the HTC Flyer, you get:

  • The HTC Flyer
  • A white leather case
  • The HTC Scribe Pen (included in the UK, but not in the US) – with AAAA battery
  • A wall charger for your locale
  • A USB cable for PC data sync
  • A pair of HTC headphones (with ear buds and clips)
  • Documentation

On Sunday I made my way to west London to go in search of the HTC Roadshow that was in town at Westfield Shopping Centre. It took me a little while to hunt down the road show but I did eventually find it! While there I took a look at all their latest products but the devices I was most interested in were the HTC Flyer and the HTC Sensation. After having a quick play arround with the Incredible S, Desire S and HD7 I got chatting to a friendly HTC worker. Started talking about all the old HTC phones (in particular the ones I had owned) and was just reminiscing with someone who could actually remember the HTC Universal!

After about half an hour just chatting we got down to business and he showed me around the HTC flyer (apologies in advance for the “Yep”ing):

As you can see the HTC Flyer is just an amazing device…

The other device I looked at was the HTC Sensation. After seeing the Flyer this was a rather disappointing experience. Of course it was very snappy and very fast and would make for an amazing phone to own, but there was no real innovation like in the Flyer. It was just another android phone and that’s exactly what it felt like.

I am not saying that as a phone it is a let down, or that the performance did not meet up to the specs that it had (because it most certainly did and if I was to buy a new phone, this would be the one I would get) but in terms of a new product on the market, the Sensation was just HTC’s version of a dual core phone whereas with the Flyer and its pen input, it was a real change.

After seeing the HTC Flyer over the weekend I am now dying to get my hands on one. After a recent search to see what other tablets were available at this price range or for even less I stumbled upon this:

HTC Flyer (32GB 3G and WiFi) for £479.99

HTC Flyer (32GB 3G and WiFi) for £479.99

Yes… You have read it right. The 3G/WiFi version of the HTC Flyer for the price of the WiFi HTC Flyer. To me this looks like a mistake for the very reason just mentioned (they have got it mixed up with the price of the WiFi Flyer). However it is not just that. They clearly State that it has a 32GB capacity which is ONLY available for the 3G version and my other theory that this was the US version (without a pen) was proved wrong by the description.

Obviously I had no choice but to buy one of these at that bargain price and you can do the same, providing they don’t change anything! I will keep you updated with the status of my order and obviously when it arrives I will do a FULL unboxing and review!

UPDATE: The description on the best buy page has now been modified for the WiFi, 16GB version. However, the tablet I ordered has arrived and it is indeed the 32GB, 3G version. Hope you all took my advice and ordered when you could in order to save £120 on the HTC Flyer. I suppose I owe a big thank-you to Best Buy for sending what the desription said and honouring their part of the transaction.

HTC Flyer on Best Buy (16GB WiFi) for £479.99

HTC Flyer on Best Buy after it had been corrected

iPhone Clock App Icon

iPhone Clock App Icon

The clock that fails!

Over this weekend there were two problems at this New Year that stopped iPhone users from being able to successfully wake themselves up! The first of the two issues is with the actual clock on the iPhone. Any non-recurring alarms set to go off on the 1st or 2nd of January  on an iPhone will not have done so! The exact cause of the bug is not known but Apple’s failure to be able to write an App as simple as a clock/alarm has been noted in the past when a similar problem was experienced due to the DST change! The worst part about the whole scenario is Apples response to the bug:

We’re aware of an issue related to non repeating alarms set for January 1 or 2. Customers can set recurring alarms for those dates and all alarms will work properly beginning January 3.

Apple’s way of responding to a bug that can in cases where the alarm is used for critical purposes, have a major impact on the life of the user is for users to just put up with the bug until it fixes itself on the 3rd of January (we’ll have to wait and see if that’s true) and use a ‘workaround’ in the meantime! Maybe one day Apple will be able to sort themselves out; but probably not!

The second problem that poor iPhone users who expect to be woken up in the morning come to the risk of their house burning down if they try to! This is because of a defective charger provided with the WakeMate. Admittedly this affects all phone platforms that can run WakeMate as this is a hardware issue with the charger that makes the actual WakeMate device set on fire, however this is another blow to using an iPhone in order to wake you up in the morning!

I suppose until Apple sort themselves out their users will just have to endure an extended sleep!

Read the full story on the iPhone Alarm Bug on engadget

Read the full story on the WakeMate problems on engadet

UPDATE: It may be a shock to some of you but on January 3rd, the iPhone clock still was not working! Read more on Mobile Crunch.

Last weekend, I decided to tempirarily change phone to a BlackBerry (since my HTC Touch Pro’s space bar was broken) which I had mannaged to get for free as it was supposedly broken. Apparently it would not charge and it was also missing a trackball. Well the charging issue was easy enough to fix as it was not a problem for me and the trackball I was able to fix by spending £1.99 on eBay – admitedly, I bought a purple trackball over a white one, as it was cheaper and not only was the phone missing a trackball but a plastic ring that goes round it.
Once I had the BlackBerry all up and running, I wacked my SIM card in and started using it – to my releif the web browser worked and – thought I wouldn’t have to give in to giving RIM £5 per month to get BIS.
Obviously a person like me who is an avid tweeter would need to download twitter as their first app. After doing this, I then realised using BlackBerry App World to download all my other stuff would be easier so I downloaded that.
After downloading an array of other apps I then tried to set them up. I started with twitter and facebook. Neither of which worked – both stating connection errors. I then tried some other and most gave connection error with the odd exception!
I spent absolutly hours baffled by the anomily that resulted in some apps (including Blackberry App World).
It was only later when I tried to set-up my gmail that I realised. To add an email account on a blackberry you must integrate it and it was when I tried to do this that I realised how RIM have made it almost imposible to use your BlackBerry to the most of its capability without paying £5 per month.
To use email on a BlackBerry, you must first purchase £5 to get BIS enabled. This is fair enough in the corperate scenario where they are trying to access email through a BES as it is like purchasing a user CAL for your server, but when you just want to add your free webmail account you should be able to do this through standardised and open protocols like on most other phones. For someone who has been using Microsoft Push Email for years, this was an outrage!
I personally need access to my emails on the go and if I was going to use this blackberry as my temporary phone, I would need to get BIS! After 3 phone calls and eventually getting through to the T-Mobile retentions deppartment and mannaged to haggle 350 minutes in return for BIS – which was much better than the origional offer of downgrading from 600 to 350 minutes, Unlimited to 300 texts and the loss of my standard ‘always-connected’ internet.
It didn’t take long for the BIS to become active and after it was, what do you know? Oh…. All the apps that I downloaded that could not access the internet and were all ‘coincidentially’ made by Research in Motion started to work! Convinient how you pay them £5 per month and suddenly all standard services that you’d be able to use on any other phone using normal ‘always-connected’ internet start to work!
In my opinion, this is totally outrageous. You are basically paying £5 per month for the privilage of owning a BlackBerry and do you know what the worst bit is? The majority of BlackBerry owners don’t even realise they are paying this premium.
The amount of people who own a BlackBerry because of the BBM feature, really are very naïve. They all say how with a BlackBerry they get BBM which allows unlimted chat to their friends but it only works if your friends have BlackBerries. For the £5 they are paying for that privilige they could be getting more minutes and unlimites text which they could use to anyone on any network; not just BlackBerry owners!
For those who then have the argument that BBM gives more funtionaily than text messaging, then unlimited internet would allow you to use social networking, instant messaging and push email. All of which would provide an experience that surpasses the features of BlackBerry Messenger.
In my opinion BIS only makes sense for companies that have BES!

This is one of the first problems I discovered with my T-Mobile (UK) MDA Vario IV (the UK version of the HTC Touch Pro for sale on T-Mobile) and I cannot see that this is the only device that is affected by this. The issue was a problem where the caller ID would not be found for either SMS messages or Phone calls. This was because when I was receiving a phone call on T-Mobile the number would be displayed without the country code (e.g. 07123456789) and when I received a text from the same person their number would be displayed with the country code (e.g. +447123456789). The problem was that if the contact was saved without the country code their name would only be displayed only for their phone calls and if their number was saved with the country code then their name would only be displayed with their texts. If you also have this problem then this is how you can fix it:

  1. Download and install the latest version of mdSoft CeRegEditor which can be found on the mdSoft CeRegEditor Download page
  2. After installing you will need to connect your device via ActiveSync then start mdSoft CeRegEditor. (Please not that if you are using Windows 7 or Windows Vista then you may need to “Run as Administrator” for the connection to be successfully established by right clicking and clicking “Run as Administrator”)
  3. To connect click F1 or click connect in the top left of mdSoft CeRegEditor.

    Make connection with device (Yes I have noticed the typo that mdSoft have made)

    Make connection with device (Yes I have noticed the typo that mdSoft have made)

  4. Either search for CallIDMatch or navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ControlPanel\Phone and find CallIDMatch


  5. Double click CallIDMatch and then change the value to 10 (as far as I know this is the number of digits which must match for the caller ID to be assosiated – both +447123456789 and 07123456789 from our earlier example share 10 digits in  common so this is value that should be set)

    Set the Value data to 10

    Set the Value data to 10

  6. Click OK then close mdSoft CeRegEditor.
  7. Safely remove your phone from the computer then reset your device.

After following those steps, it should be fixed! Simplest way to test is to get someone to phone you and then text you.

[cb]T-Mobile[/cb] [cb]HTC[/cb] [cb type=”product”]CeRegEditor[/cb]