iMainGo2 Portable Speakers for iPhone [Video Review]

I have really enjoyed the quality, portability and protection offered by the iMainGo 2 iPhone speakers. Watch this video for my complete review:

iMainGo2 for iPhone

The iMainGo2 case is ultra protective, including a plastic screen that does not hinder use of the iPhone’s touchscreen. The plastic screen suffers from air bubbles, but the protection is invaluable. I love using the iMainGo2 while I cook or garden outdoors, since I can control the music without getting my iPhone dirty.

The speakers offer loud, high fidelity audio, although they sometimes “crunch” a little bit at the highest volume levels. They are definitely loud enough, though.

Overall, I have been happy with the iMainGo2, but I would love to see some controls on the case to allow me to use the iPhone’s volume buttons and the on/off switch. I would also like to be able to receive phone calls while the iPhone is in the case, since the iMainGo2 does not allow access to the microphone.

Update: I’ve realized that I sometimes forget to turn the unit off, and that’s because the on/off button for the iMainGo2 is inside the case. I would really appreciate an LED light on the outside of the case so that I know when it is turned on.


Buy on Amazon: iMainGo 2 Handheld Speaker Case for iPhone (Black)
Shop: Buy iMainGo 2
Manufacturer: Portable Sound Laboratories

Xtand Go Windshield and Dashboard Car Mount for iPhone [Review]

Xtand Go for iPhone

Just Mobile’s Xtand Go, mounted on my windshield

Just Mobile’s Xtand Go is a windshield and dashboard car mount for iPhone 3G and 3GS. I will say right off the bat that I am really pleased with this iPhone car mount (and I don’t say that about everything I review).

Here are my complete thoughts on the Xtand Go Windshield and Dashboard Car Mount for iPhone, including detailed instructions on how to use it.

Xtand Go Review

Disclosure: This Xtand Go was donated to me in exchange for an honest review. Sometimes I review donated products that interest me. Despite receiving the items for free, I do my best to be fair and objective. The FTC requires that I disclose my relationship with companies, and I agree that it is important to mention.

Instruction Manual

The Xtand Go’s main weakness, in my opinion, is its instruction manual. It seems they chose to use images to convey the directions in order to accommodate people with different languages, which is admirable, but it makes understanding the directions a challenge.

Xtand Go Instructions

I was somewhat confused by the imagery and had to figure out how to use the Xtand Go with little help from the manual. Just Mobile, please make the instructions for the Xtand Go more clear by adding text to the images. Looking at the instructions was the first thing I did, and it was not a good experience.

The Good

Despite the weak instructions, this mount is excellent, mostly because of its ability to adapt to many situations. The Xtand Go is versatile enough to be placed on virtually any area in your car, including glass surfaces and your dashboard.

What makes the Xtand Go so flexible is that you can adjust it to suit whatever area you are mounting your iPhone to. To mount to a windshield or window, attach the suction cup mount to the folding arm. To mount to the dashboard or console, use one of three available sticky buttons, which Just Mobile calls “Go Buttons.”

Xtand Go Contents & Directions

Xtand Go parts:

Xtand Go Contents

Xtand Go contents, from left to right: 2 of 3 sticky mounts/Go Buttons, suction cup mount, iPhone holster, and folding arm.

The folding arm: The folding arm is the flexible part of this iPhone car mount. The arm can be mounted to the suction cup or to Go Buttons that you stick to your dashboard. The folding arm is composed of two rotating disks on a circular base.

Xtand Go Folding Arm

The concept is smart. By letting you turn two discs on different planes, the Xtand Go lets you orient your iPhone practically any way you want. The only caveat: because each disk can only rotate along one plane at a time, it can sometimes be tricky to orient the iPhone the way you want it.

To be honest, at first it felt like I was playing with a Rubiks Cube, but once I got the positioning of the discs right by folding the discs in the proper positions, then it was easy to orient the iPhone vertically and horizontally.

The suction cup: The Xtand Go’s suction cup mount is one of my favorite features of this accessory. Think about it, to mount an iPhone to your windshield you need some pretty strong suction cups. Just Mobile’s implementation on the Xtand Go is smart and effective.

Xtand Go Suction Cup

To suction the mount to your windshield:

  1. Attach the suction cup to the folding arm by sliding it on and clicking it into place.
  2. Then, press the suction cup to the surface you want to mount to, and turn the base of the suction cup in a clockwise motion. The mount will now be securely fastened to the glass.

The Go Buttons: These little sticky mounts can be placed on different locations on your dashboard so that you can attach the folding arm to those locations. The sticker is strong and has remained attached in the two weeks I have been using the Xtand Go. It seems I could easily remove it if I wanted to, though.

Xtand Go Button

The Xtand Go comes with three of these “Go Buttons,” which let you mount (and unmount) your iPhone to several places on your dashboard

The coolest thing about the Go Buttons is that you can even stick one to your iPhone case and then mount your iPhone, case and all.

The holster:

Xtand Go

The detachable holster lets you clip your iPhone into place in a very non-intrusive way, as you can still access all of the iPhone’s controls and inputs when it is mounted, unlike Pro-Fit’s miCradle and UltiMount, which I reviewed in the past. If you have a case, it won’t fit in the Xtand Go’s holster, but instead you can stick a Go Button to the case to mount it to the folding arm, as I noted above.

Purchase the Xtand Go

Product Page: European shoppers can purchase the Xtand Go directly from Just Mobile. Listing: Just Mobile does not seem to ship directly to the United States, but US shoppers can find the Xtand Go on (affiliate link).

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on Just Mobile’s Xtand Go? I would love to know if you agree with my opinion of this iPhone car mount.


Buy on Amazon: Just Mobile Xtand Go iPhone Car Mount
Manufacturer: Just Mobile

Griffin Clarifi iPhone Case [Review]

Clarifi iPhone Case

The defining feature of the Griffin Clarifi iPhone case is a retractable lens for taking closer, clearer photos with your iPhone’s camera. Clarifi functions both as a magnifying glass for more detailed mobile snapshots and as a case for protecting your iPhone.

Griffin Clarifi Case Review

Disclosure: This Clarifi Case was donated to me in exchange for an honest review. Sometimes I review donated products that interest me. Despite receiving the items for free, I do my best to be fair and objective. The FTC requires that I disclose my relationship with companies, and I agree that it is important to mention.

Griffin’s Clarifi case struck my interest primarily because of its built-in lens for sharper snapshots. Unlike other telescopic lenses for iPhone (none of which I have tried yet), this lens is small, easily enabled/disabled, and a permanent part of an iPhone case.

Company Claims

From the Griffin Clarifi Product Page:


  • Close-up lens focuses close for incredible detail; perfect for capturing small details & text
  • Lens slides into place for close-ups, then back for normal photography
  • EasyDock lets you charge & sync without removing your iPhone from the case
  • No adapters or small pieces to lose; the lens is built in and slides in and out of place with the touch of a fingertip

The Lens

Clarifi iPhone Case Lens

Although Griffin calls their product a protective case with a “built-in close-up lens,” I would say it’s more of a magnifying glass than a lens. The Clarifi lens does not zoom per se, but it slightly magnifies things and makes close-ups considerably clearer.

Check out these test photos, which were taken from a distance of about 3 inches, with and without the lens enabled:

Before/After Photos

Click to enlarge:

Clarifi iPhone Photos

Clarifi iPhone Photos

As you can see, the Clarifi lens actually does clarify close-up shots. What Clarifi essentially does is increase the resolution of your photos so that you can get closer to your subjects.

Keep in mind that the above photos would have been clear without the need for a lens if I would have backed my camera up an inch or so. Most of the time, the iPhone’s camera will photograph close-ups just fine, but where detailed precision is required, the Clarifi lens makes macro photography a little bit easier.

The Case

The Clarifi case (pictured in white/gray but also available in black) is a two-piece polycarbonate shell that you slide on and snap shut. The case protects the chrome edges and back of the iPhone, but does not cover the screen. It is two-toned and stylish, and allows easy access to all of the buttons and inputs on your iPhone.

Clarifi iPhone Case

The case is durable enough to protect your iPhone in a fall (yes, I dropped my iPhone a couple times while using it), and will prevent scratches from coins or keys in your pocket.

One problem, though, is that dust and dirt can accumulate around the case openings, potentially causing scratches. This happened to me twice. One time when I removed the Clarifi case from my iPhone, and another time when I slid the lens into place, dirt that had gathered around the lens caused light but permanent scratches on the back of my iPhone.

Clarifi iPhone Case Scratch

Dirt accumulation is a problem with most cases, and you will likely get more scratches by not using a case at all, but if dust and debris accumulate around the Clarifi lens, it could cause some blemishes like the one pictured above.

Have you used Griffin’s Clarifi case or a similar product? Let me know your opinion in the comments.


Buy on Amazon: Griffin Clarifi Case for iPhone 3G/3GS
Manufacturer: Griffin

Bicio’s GoRide iPhone Bike Mount [Review]

Bicio GoRide iPhone Bike Mount

Riding with headphones on can be dangerous, and it is a ticketable offense in Florida. So when I got the chance to test out
Bicio’s GoRide iPhone bike mount, I was excited about using my iPhone as a personal bike radio.

I’ve always wanted speakers on my bike, but such setups are impractical and vulnerable to theft. Now with the GoRide, I can use my iPhone to rock while I ride. iPhone’s tiny speakers pack a punch, so you can listen comfortably to music while you ride — though the wind does impede the volume, depending on how fast you are going.

Speaking of fast, I hauled a** with the iPhone and GoRide mounted to my bike, and — thank god! — the iPhone and mount stayed securely in place. I have ridden on streets and on rougher terrain (with my road bike and on my dad’s mountain bike), and still I have not had to return to the Apple Store to fix a cracked iPhone screen.

With your iPhone mounted to your bike, you can listen to music, use Maps, or keep track of your progress with some fitness apps in the App Store. Of course, you should always follow safety precautions and abide by the laws in your state/country.

The case

GoRide iPhone Bike Mount by Bicio

The case on the GoRide grips your iPhone tight. It’s easy to put your phone in, but you have to apply some pressure to pull the plastic edge back and remove your iPhone. Though a bit frustrating, the difficulty of removal assured me my iPhone was securely in place.

Nevertheless, though I appreciate the simplicity and lack of bulk of the GoRide, I would feel more comfortable if the plastic case wrapped around the iPhone bezel a little bit more just so that my iPhone cannot snap out.

Fastening the GoRide

GoRide iPhone bike mount contents

You can mount your iPhone vertically or horizontally, but you cannot switch the orientation after you have secured the mount. The GoRide is fastened with plastic zip ties that are extremely secure and impossible to undo. You have to cut them to remove the bike mount. This could be an advantage because it might deter opportunist thieves, but it is an inconvenience for you if you are going to change the orientation or use the GoRide on another bike. You’ll have to get new zip ties.

I would appreciate if the GoRide let me change the orientation of the iPhone without having to remove the mount. One confusing thing about the GoRide is that if you turn the iPhone clockwise or counterclockwise while it is mounted, it will unfasten from the mount and allow you to remove the iPhone. If you don’t know this and you think you are simply changing the orientation, the case will fall out of the mount. Be careful.

The verdict

Overall, I like the simplicity of Bicio’s GoRide iPhone Bike Mount. Although I would prefer not to test the case continually on bumpy terrain, I trust it for day-to-day bicycle commuting and for riding on the local Hawthorne Trail.

The mount itself can be secured to the bike anywhere on the handlebars, and I can (optionally) remove the whole case when I park my bike. Although a more portable mount (or more zip ties) would be nice, the permanence of the mount keeps me less concerned about theft.

The GoRide is $30 from Bicio.

Disclosure: This item was donated in exchange for a review. I only accept donations of products I am interested in. This gives me a chance to share cool things with you without breaking the bank. No payment is ever accepted for any review, and I do my best to be fair, honest, and objective.


Buy on Amazon: GoRide iPhone Bike Mount
Manufacturer: Bicio

Otterbox Defender iPhone Case [Review]

iPhone Defender case

This review covers the Otterbox Defender for iPhone 3G and 3GS. iPhone 4 owners, see the product listing for the Otterbox Defender iPhone 4.

Otterbox recently sent me their iPhone Defender case for review, and let me say right off the bat that this case is solid. The iPhone Defender case protects your iPhone with two layers: a strong plastic case and a rubber enclosure that holds it together.

The Defender also features:

  1. a plastic screen that shields your iPhone’s glass
  2. rubber flaps that cover iPhone’s buttons, openings and switches
  3. iPhone Defender case rubber

  4. foam rings that cushion the iPhone’s speaker and microphone without muffling them.

If you want to insure your investment, the Otterbox Defender case is the ultimate protection for your iPhone.

If, on the other hand, you just want to prevent keys and coins from damaging the delicate plastic on the back of your iPhone, and you’re confident that you won’t ever crack the glass and ruin your phone, a mistake that could cost you up to $250, then just buy a protective skin.

Yes, the Defender case is great for peace of mind. But it does have some downsides.

This is what I’ve noticed after nearly a month of using the iPhone Defender case.

The downsides

  1. The Defender is not the most sleek or glamorous case on the block. A couple of people have even told me I “look like a construction worker” with it. Actually, the Defender is the perfect case for construction workers, because it protects your iPhone from both shock and debris. But I don’t see the Otterbox Defender being featured on Gray’s Anatomy or The Hills any time soon, if you catch my drift.
  2. The bulk makes it impossible to use the Defender case with my iPhone Xtand or the factory iPhone dock.
  3. The screen protector is prone to air bubbles when you press on it.

    iPhone Defender case bubbles

    I contacted the friendly folks at Otterbox and they suggested a couple of fixes:

    1. “We have found that applying the adhesive screen from the Impact Series helps eliminate the air bubbles.” – Otterbox

      I didn’t get an Impact Series adhesive screen because I think this case should work on its own, without having to buy an additional product, but I did have another plastic film screen that I tested with the Defender, and it did not ameliorate the air bubbles.

    2. “We also suggest using the natural oils from your skin. Take the phone out of the case. You’ll want your hands to be clean, but not just washed. You want to take the palm of your hand (or you can also use your cheek) and press it lightly on the front panel of the OtterBox (the part that would touch the phone screen). It might seem like there will be finger prints that would show on the screen of the phone, but they do not. The natural oils of your skin should help with the oil/bubble look on your screen.” – Otterbox

      Surprisingly, the oils from my palm prevented bubbles to a large extent. The solution isn’t perfect, since it still produces some air pockets, but the bubbles were reduced by 95 percent.

  4. The inner plastic case is tough to open without long nails. But hey, at least you know your case isn’t going to pop open if you drop it, considering the strength of the plastic clips and the rubber that keeps the plastic intact. Hint: Try using a dime or other small coin to pry the case open.
  5. The exposed plastic on the back of the case causes the iPhone to vibrate louder. This is a downside for me, since it can be a nuisance in class or during meetings, but it could be an upside for you if you think the iPhone’s vibration is too weak.

The verdict

If damaging your iPhone is a concern for you, and you’re not too worried about glamour, then the Otterbox Defender case for iPhone is a great investment. Maybe you work, play or exercise outdoors. The Defender lets you go wild without worrying about your iPhone.

The truth is, though, that sometimes I just want to set my iPhone free and use it as Apple intended. The bulk is not always practical or pleasing to the eye.

Nevertheless, whenever a friend would comment on my bulky iPhone case, I would drop my iPhone on the ground. “They call it the Defender for a reason.”

Have you used the Otterbox Defender?

Do you use the iPhone Defender or some other iPhone case? Or is a bare naked iPhone worth the risk to you? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.


Buy on Amazon: Otterbox Defender iPhone Case
Shop: Buy Otterbox Defender for iPhone 4
Manufacturer: Otterbox