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Topic # 123458 8-Jul-2013 18:15
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Hi

 

Had a wee play with a sibling’s smartphone on the weekend as well as helping her fix an old iPhone 3g for our nephew and am now suffering handset envy.

I used to use the iPhone’s 2g/3g/3gs/and 4g and while I enjoyed them they were never as wonderful an item until they were jailbroken and customized. Her smartphone – while still stock, was a lot more fun to play with rekindled the inner smartphone geek in me - a combination of a new Operating system as well as not so much of an imposed ecosystem that I associate with Apple products.

I cannot justify buying an expensive smartphone outright and as I have a (text and phone only) workphone, I have no need of a second contract which snuffs out the idea of getting onto a plan and paying less upfront to get the handset.

I began wondering what cheaper options might be available to me via trademe and the second hand route and quickly squashed those due to the anxiety of inheriting and or purchasing a poorly cared for device… And I don’t want to entertain a lower specced device - So I headed off to dhgate to have a squizz.

Initially looking directly at clones I looked at the various branded and unbranded solutions. It all began to feel tawdry.

When I compared the specs of what I saw against specs on what I would like to buy, if I had the money to burn – I saw that directly looking to a clone was indeed a poor solution as I would never have exactly what I wanted by taking this approach.

 

Then I figured – What would my experience be if I stopped looking for a clone and just looked for a phone that had approximately the specifications I liked in my siblings?

So in I plugged the specs based on my wish list and found what is obviously a clone but seems to conform to what I want – Which is a handset that I can flash ROMS onto – That will only ever be used on WIFI (No data plan for me) That I can faff around with when I get bored and that I could most likely put my work SIM into to use at some stage in the future - that has the specifications that I am looking at (+/- 5%) and this seems to check all things off in one hit.

 

So, below are the specs. It is pretty obvious what this handset is meaning to be, But I figured that I would try and keep the description as agnostic as possible and not mention what it is pretending to be to try to remove too much attention on the distasteful parts of this process.

I figure that for ~$250 it will be worth a play and actually may be good value. I am sure that the build quality will not be exactly the highest – But I am sure it will be at least tolerable.

There are screen shots of the Antutu benchmarked results with the antutu overall score being 28222 and there are also screenshots that describe the CPU as being a Quad core ARMv7(VFPv3, Neon)

I am aware that there is a high possibility of the antutu results being fabricated. But the overall impression is that the scores plus the assertion that the device is already rooted means that I can accomplish the ROM flashing.

 

From what I can see it looks to be a reasonably good purchase relative to the price and having purchased from dhgate before I know if the goods arrive completely different to what is advertised I can send them back and cancel the payment as is their model. So at that stage I would only be out whatever the return postage is.

 

I suspect that I have already made my mind up to purchase this. But before I do – Are there any reasons (showstopper level) that  I haven't thought of that will prevent me from getting what I want as described in this post?

Basic need – Makes a phone call

Secondary need – Can mod it – Surf that internet thing from WIFI spots – DLNA the TV etc.

Your help/Opinions/Rants are welcomed.


 

 

 

 

 

General:           2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

                        3G Network HSDPA 850  / 2100

SIM Support:  micro sim card

Display Type:   HD Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors

Size: 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5 inches

Memory Card:     slot microSD, up to 32 GB

Internal:2G RAM+4G ROM

Data:      GPRS: Class 12 (4+1/3+2/2+3/1+4 slots), 32 - 48 kbps

               EDGE: Class 12

               Speed: HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps

WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n,

DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot

Bluetooth: v4.0 with A2DP, EDR

USB: microUSB v2.0 , USB On-the-go

Camera: Primary: 12.5 MP

Video: 1080p@30fps,

Secondary: 2 MP

OS: Android OS, v4.2.2

CPU: Quad-core 1.7 GHz CPU, 4 cores                 

Accelerometer

Battery:         Standard battery, Li-Ion 2600 mAh

 

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BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 851108 8-Jul-2013 18:27
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This model is more suitable to use with Telecom mobile network due to 3G 850/2100MHz.

While it *MAY* work on Vodafone and 2degrees it will have reduced coverage over time as those operators move to 900 MHz 3G in some areas.






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Geek
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  Reply # 851251 8-Jul-2013 21:53
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freitasm: This model is more suitable to use with Telecom mobile network due to 3G 850/2100MHz.

While it *MAY* work on Vodafone and 2degrees it will have reduced coverage over time as those operators move to 900 MHz 3G in some areas.


Thanks MF

I admit to confusion now.

The VFNZ wiki page says


Vodafone operates a nationwide GSM service in the 900 MHz band, but in certain areas with high demand there are additional GSM services operating in the 1800 MHz band, usually from existing 900 MHz cell sites, to provide more capacity. Areas with dual-band (i.e. both 900 MHz and 1800 MHz service) include most major business districts and large shopping malls. In recent years Vodafone has also established some cell sites that only provide 1800 MHz service where it is difficult to release spectrum for more 900 MHz cell sites. Most phones sold since the mid-1990s support both bands.



The scope of the usage of this device will be urban areas for phone calls for pone calls only.
So I assumed that the below was true.

GSM900 = 900MHz
GSM1800 = 1800MHz

And these are covered albeit under 2g is my understanding.
But again phone calls are needed only.so does this still matter or will I be drowned in a sea of static and dropped calls?


If not, where do I go to better understand what frequency support to look for on a device.
I am a Vodafone user.

Appreciate your reply










BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 851255 8-Jul-2013 22:05
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Yes, this is 2G only. Vodafone is deploying 3G to increase their coverage and update the network. This means 2G coverage will decrease with time. If you are interested in saving money then you have to think about how long this handset will be useful for you.






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  Reply # 851273 8-Jul-2013 22:37
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freitasm: Yes, this is 2G only. Vodafone is deploying 3G to increase their coverage and update the network. This means 2G coverage will decrease with time. If you are interested in saving money then you have to think about how long this handset will be useful for you.


Hi MF

If the device lives for two years then it will have lived twice as long as I expected.
I appreciate your time in answering. I am not sure if the 2G factor is a showstopper but will certainly see if I can find another device that provides me a little more flexibility around telephony needs



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Geek
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  Reply # 851326 9-Jul-2013 08:25
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Further



vfnz S4 page specs show these values GSM Band850/900/1800/1900

These look to be similar to the option given above in my example GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

Am I missing something or is your advice referring to the future state of the device MF?

Either way I appreciate the help you have given.

BDFL - Memuneh
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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 851481 9-Jul-2013 12:26
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If you're planning on getting it with the intention of modding it, flashing different ROMs etc, check out its developer support first. There's no point in getting a device with the intent of modding it if there are no mods for it. This is always something to consider when buying a non mainstream device.



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Geek
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  Reply # 851553 9-Jul-2013 13:37
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freitasm: "GSM bands" (2G) *is not the same* as "WCDMA bands" (3G).



MF : Thank you. My apologies for not knowing this in advance - Now I have something useful to add to my criteria.
I will look up the WCDMA specifications to better understand them for future.

I enjoy the knowledge resources that are exhibited on this site and while I am reminded of my ignorance regularly, the positive side is I get to learn about tech that I previously did not consider.



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Geek
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  Reply # 851556 9-Jul-2013 13:41
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uglyb0b: If you're planning on getting it with the intention of modding it, flashing different ROMs etc, check out its developer support first. There's no point in getting a device with the intent of modding it if there are no mods for it. This is always something to consider when buying a non mainstream device.


Hi UB : Yes - I have spent a wee while going through the XDA forums and this is a common theme there.
The device in question makes specific mention that it has been rooted and different ROMs can be flashed onto it - But I am still aware that this advice is to be heeded.

TBH If it all proves to be looking too much like a fruitless avenue I will wait until a cheapish one day deal pops up. I am as mentioned, still in the grip of wanting something shiny.



Thank you for your response.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 851762 9-Jul-2013 17:33
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Something to also watch out for is build quality and also the quality of the parts used inside the phone. The specs look very nice on paper, but can greatly differ in reality. I have seen many cases of faulty batteries, extremely weak/low range WiFi chips and lag, despite the powerful looking CPU (GHz and cores aren't everything, does it say what type of processor it uses? Snapdragon S4? Exynos? MTK? Boxchip?).

Just be very careful with clone phones. You get what you pay for.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 851916 9-Jul-2013 20:12
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Be weary of the cheap Chinese Android phones, they have next to no quality control.

That said, there are however a few good Chinese manufacturers like Zopo, ZTE, ThL and Huawei who are standouts.




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Geek
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  Reply # 851954 9-Jul-2013 20:56
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Hi Guys

Many thanks.

I have assumed that build quality will be mediocre - I hadn't considered that the WIFI might also be
The Chip is the MTK6589 which may have issues with  a 1920*1080 display and 2Gb internal ram value from what I have read - Although it is not clear if it is one or the other or the combination. Investigation is needed still
It also seems most likely that a brand is more likely to have dev community support so I may tread that path
TBH - It is fun learning about this - most of my life is spent looking at windows desktop stuff so this is a nice reprise.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 852109 9-Jul-2013 23:32
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A brand name indeed has a larger modding community. If you are going for cost effectiveness and great developer support, might I suggest the Nexus 4 8GB model which you can grab for ~$400.

Being a Nexus device, it receives updates on their day of release. Also, the developer community is huge (one of the biggest) as the phone is currently Google's flagship device and all the drivers are pretty much open source. It is basically designed for modding seeing as it is being primarily targeted at developers and all.




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Geek
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  Reply # 853593 10-Jul-2013 21:22
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Last night I realized how poor performance wise the MTK chip would likely be compared to what I am expecting - And by the time I go to a Snapdragon or higher I am back above my price point again.

I also began looking at the process of creating a ROM - Given as I was looking at an unsupported device.
I was surprised at how simple it looks - Sure there would be a learning curve, but from what I read at XDA the process looks much simpler than I expected.


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 853623 10-Jul-2013 22:24
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Yeah, the MTK is pretty slow since it's using A7 cores. In this case, the whole quad-core aspect is just pretty much only used for marketing. 4 slow cores = still a slow phone in most cases because a good fraction of apps are not written for threaded performance as they are targeted at low-mid range smartphones with a faster single core processor.

Not entirely sure how easy it would be to port an existing popular ROM to your specified device but that would require you to obtain drivers for the hardware to insert into the ROM. If you are planning to just mod and repackage the stock ROM that the device comes with, should be easy enough but a lot of the cooler mods out there would require code changes to the kernel and OS itself.

Overall, sounds like a bit of a hassle in the case of modding but that is up to you if your budget is of a hard limit.

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