Don't know if anyone has mentioned this because I didn't read the whole thread, but rooting the phone and putting a custom rom on the phone can drastically change your experience. You can do a lot of cool things once your phone is unlocked. An example is I made my own custom splash screen and boot animation for my phone ([BOOT ANIMATION] Legend of Zelda - xda-developers
if you're interested in seeing)
If you have bad battery life, you can also underclock your phone after rooting which will lower performance a little, but increase battery life. Lots of other things can be accomplished with root, but I'll let you look those things up.
Check out the XDA forums or the CyanogenMod Wiki for any help you need with rooting and installing these ROMs. I loved this phone when I got it, but I love it a lot more now.