Reviewing Skyroam GMate – adding a 2nd SIM to my iDevice

gmate

After using the Skyroam GMate for 2 weeks, it’s been both a boon AND a bane. I ended up using a Nokia 101 instead.
The first impression was good. I was up and running in under a minute! The sync has been stable and fast! I could go out of range (10m for BT) and my iphone would beep a warning that it’s disconnected. Once I’m back in range, it would automatically and quickly reconnect.
I was able to receive calls on both lines, but when one is active, the other is deactivated, which makes sense. I only have 1 mouth and a brain. I could call out using either lines.
The experience quickly deteriorated from then on. The app would freeze up at times. If I was on the line, the call would be “suspended” until the app unfreezes. It happened quite often on my iPhone.
I decided to JB my iPad 1 to give it a spin with GMate. The experience was so much better! There were lesser freezes, although it still occurred now and then. My immediate thought was to find the difference between the 2 devices. The obvious answer is the 3G antenna/activity. I put my iPhone in Airplane mode and voila! No more freezes! The same thing happened on the iPad, so I concluded that any Internet activity (through 3G or wifi) freezes the app.
My tech instinct kicked in and tried to use GMate as my modem instead. I switched off wifi and 3G, and also cellular data on my iPhone and turned on the Internet on GMate. The letter ‘E’ appeared on the top right. I immediately groaned! It can only run on Edge (ie, 2.5G)! The speeds of less than 10kbps confirmed my fears.  Another brick wall.
So I ended up using my iPad in office as a souped up office phone, and slipped the Nokia 101 into my pocket.
The battery life of GMate is excellent, though. I could use it for almost 5 days before an alert pops up at 20% batt life to get me to charge it. This could be attributed to it running on Edge instead of 3G. I could also switch off the modem function. Recharging back to 100% took less than 2 hours. The battery is removable, sort of. It took me a good 10 minutes to pry open the back cover, breaking off a couple of the catches in the process. If it was meant to be removable, the design of the back cover could definitely be improved.
The iPhone and iPad battery was not affected. In fact, when I used GMate more often than my main line, my iPhone batt life lasted longer, hitting 20% only after 1 and a half days. Maybe the use of BT rather than 3G reduced the power drain significantly.
Final verdict : it’s a good device to convert a non-3G iDevice to a full-fledged phone, but it definitely doesn’t work well as a 2nd SIM in terms of usability. If this was sorted out, using it will stretch the batt juice of an iPhone and of course reduce my handphone bills (my 2nd SIM is on an Unlimited plan) without having to carry a 2nd phone.
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4 Comments

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  1. Kevin April 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Hi, nice review of the gmate. May i know if u r selling this device?

  2. BrownBoi September 14, 2012 at 12:50 am #

    Thanks for this blog. Absolutely correct per my own hands-on experience on all accounts. If not for the major freezing problem, I could just suck up the other issues. It’s still a very interesting tech innovation though. đŸ™‚

  3. K S somashekhar November 1, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    hello
    I recently bought skyroam , can you tell me how load skyroam/cyndia into my ipod touch it is ios 6 without JB

  4. Megan November 27, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Hi,

    I’m comparing this product to another one on the market called SocBlue. Do you happen to know anything about SocBlue and whether it works better than GMate+?

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