I received my i717 from CanadaGSM late yesterday afternoon. I am seeing mostly 3 out of 5 bars with occasionally 4 on T-Mobile at my home in Dallas, TX. In the several tests I ran with Speedtest, I've see 1500 kps down / 90 up with 3 bars and 2500 kps down / 250 up with 4 bars. I have also seen as high as 5000 kps down /600 kps up, but that has been rare. I've had no dropped calls (one call today was about an hour) and I was able to get on with my phone right away. I've tweaked no settings at this time. I haven't checked battery life as of yet but I can say it is much better than my Nokia N900.
I did find that their GMail e-mail address has been entered everywhere to download BusyBox from the Market, so I've needed to change all of that. I wished they would have noted that in a short set of instructions included in the package. All the included accessories were included and the plastic protector packaging on the phone was all in place.
So far, I'm quite happy with the phone. Paying a premium for a phone with the modem flashing already done was a huge time saver for me.