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Review of Pro-X for iPhone 4 (latest version)


PeterK

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Well, I've installed Pro-X (v4.00.10) for the iPhone 4 and had it running for a few days, so I thought I'd post my impressions:

First of all, the initial release had an issue where the "Hide jailbreak and icon" feature didn't work. Selecting it exited the FlexiSpy application, but did not remove the Cydia icon or the application icon. An update has since been done (v4.01) which fixed this problem.

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First, the bad things:

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SpyCalls

Spycalls appear to be using the normal mode of answering the phone as a handset, meaning the extra gain on the microphone that you would normally use as for a speakerphone is not being used. What this means is that unless a target is speaking into the phone or is speaking rather loudly pretty close to the phone, you won't be able to make anything out when on a spycall. Having used several versions of Flexispy on several different phones, including previous versions for the iPhone, this version seems to be really bad about this. It isn't the phone itself, because if you make a normal call to the target and have a speakerphone conversation, I'd almost say you can hear TOO MUCH in that situation. The microphone on the iPhone 4 is very capable...it just seems that Flexispy is not using it correctly in this release. One reason I was given for this is that if they put the phone into speakerphone mode, then the user of the target could possibly hear things through the speaker on the target phone. I understand this to some degree, but in iOS 4.x, the microphone and speaker gain are controllable separately. There isn't really a "speakerphone mode"...when you yourself use the "speakerphone" on the iPhone, what Apple's software is really doing is just setting the gain on the microphone really high (and changing it to omnidirectional) and also setting the volume on the speaker very high (and changing some audio paths). Its very possible to simply set the microphone gain high and not do anything with the speaker volume. In addition, previous versions of Pro and Pro-X for the iPhone seemed to work much better with SpyCalls in terms of actually being able to hear what was around the phone, making me think those versions did something different than this one is doing now.

I submitted a support ticket on this but was told that this likely will not change anytime soon. This is unfortunate, because right now I'd have to say I couldn't recommend this latest release for the iPhone 4 to anyone who needs to actually be able to use the SpyCall function effectively.

On the plus side, the SpyCalls seem to be very reliable in function...you just can't really hear anything well if its not very close to the phone or very loud.

Strange 3G problem

This version of Flexispy will not allow you to use the iPhone 4 in EDGE data mode. If you disable 3G in the phone settings (to save battery life, or in some cases get better reception as EDGE penetrates buildings better), Flexispy will turn 3G back on when it goes to upload events to the server, and leave it on. This drains the battery faster, and the target user is likely to think something is wrong with the phone and potentially restore it, wiping out the jailbreak and Flexispy.

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Now for the GOOD things...

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Call Intercept

The call intercept function now works MUCH MUCH better than in previous releases. Its much more reliable, and the "call waiting" beep which the network gives on an incoming call while the target is on the phone has been muted for call intercept calls. It works! The target user might hear a moment of dead air which is easily dismissed as a momentary cell coverage issue, but that's it. The call connects seamlessly and you can listen to the conversation in progress. Also, the phone will no longer disconnect the intercept call if the user takes the phone away from their face. Previous versions would always disconnect because they would hear the call waiting tone and look to see who it was...this would activate the proximity sensor and Flexispy would disconnect the call. This new version hits a home run with this feature.

All in all, there are some really good features in this release, but until the problem with the SpyCall using a "normal" phone call microphone setting is corrected, a very major reason anyone would purchase Pro-X is not really usable in real situations.

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I'd like to retract a bit of what I said about the Flexispy Pro-X spycall issues on the iPhone 4. After a lot of testing a research, I think the problem is related to several things:

The iPhone 4 can be set up, via altering audio paths in software, to operate its main microphone in several ways: normal operation, which is like it is during a standard phone call. The microphone is unidirectional in this mode and aimed towards the bottom of the phone. The gain on the microphone can be increased in this mode...and Flexispy DOES appear to be doing this as the microphone reception is better than it is during a standard phone call (where the range of the microphone is only a few inches at best). The other mode is speakerphone mode, where it gets a little bit fuzzy. Using the iPhone 4 as a speakerphone has several effects: The microphone gain is set very high, AND the iPhone 4's noise cancellation is turned off.

This is where its interesting. The iPhone 4 has TWO microphones. One at the bottom of the device, and one near the speaker at the top of the device. During normal calls, they are used together, with the upper one being used and compared with the bottom one to cancel out unwanted noise, when the device is making a standard phone call. In other modes, such as with the speakerphone, the device TURNS OFF noise cancellation...and either uses both mics or just one...and which one it uses I'm not sure.

I believe what is happening is that spycalls are being done with the mic gain turned up, but because its using the bottom mic, and because that mic is unidirectionally biased in this normal mode, AND because noise cancellation is being done, the performance of spycalls is really limited right now on the iPhone 4.

Hopefully the developers will be able to more finely control the audio paths on future releases and turn off the noise cancellation function and use the microphone more like speakerphone mode (without actually turning on the speaker). Perhaps even use the other microphone...whichever works best.

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Hi PeterK,

Thank you for your valuable feedback, and all the personal time and testing you've put into this. Feedback like yours helps us to stay on track, continually improving and delivering the best products available. You can be sure it does count, in fact it has prompted me to call a meeting with our developers. We highly value input like this, and would like to recruit you into our beta program. I'll get in touch with you privately about that.

Really, this review belongs in the Customer Review section. I know you did submit it there, although it wasn't approved sooner because I needed a little time to further investigate some of your initial findings. It seems you've already done that as well. Would you mind editing your review (which is published now), to include the updated information you've added here?

Thanks again for your input in our Community, and also for contacting our Support department to work with us on improvements!

Christian

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Hi Christian,

I'm doing some more testing as we speak, and am happy to help in any way I can. I'll rework the review you spoke of to reflect some of my latest findings...

--Peter

Hello.

All of your feedback has currently been submitted to our development team for review and hopefully will be included in a future release.

Thanks again for your feedback, it is much appreciated.

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  • 1 month later...

Have there been any improvements on the power consumption when using the software ? I know that with the old version, even with GPS tracking off the phone drained the battery much faster with the software running than without.

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Only constant GPS coverage will cause battery drain with regards to our software. Other factors that can cause battery drain related to other software installed on the TARGET phone and the TARGET phone usage itself.

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  • 10 months later...

Yes, for me, battery drain is a real problem in iPhone 4s with Flexispy OMNI. I test many things that result in a conclusion: iPhone 4s with Flexispy (with minimum settings: gps off, send as demand, etc) consume the battery of iPhone in aprox 7 hours vs 16 hours uninstalling Flexispy. The developers say to me in a support ticket that the drain problem is from iPhone itself, but i am disappointed, because without FlexiSpy the battery have a large life.

Other thing that developer say to me is that Flexispy run as a daemon, and consume power for this, but i have another programs that run as daemons and not drain the battery like FlexiSpy. i Think that the developers should review this problem with more urgency.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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