Category Archives: Mobile

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Xiaomi Mi2 Android

Xiaomi Mi2 (S/A) camera review/test

For those of you interested in the camera of the Xiaomi Mi-2 smartphones, be it the regular version, the S or the A version, here is a quick review of the camera-app and the camera in general.

Please know that this was shot using a Xiaomi Mi@ with an 8 megapixel camera. The biggest/most expensive version of the Xiaomi Mi2S has a 13MP camera (although slightly less fast lens-wise) and thus differs. The software stays the same.

Xiaomi Mi2 Android

Xiaomi Mi2 Android smartphone videoreview

The Xiaomi Mi2 smartphone is an imported smartphone from China. It is on par with some of the highest end smartphones available now in both Europe and America. If you feel this phone is too slow, you can even go for the Xiaomi MI2s which has just been released.

I have been using the Xiaomi Mi2 (or mi-2) android smartphone for several months now and it has been wonderful. I am using the custom Rom from MIUIandroid.com. This enables an internationalized version of the standard MIUI rom from XIAOMI. Not only the languages are changed to the one you desire (I am using Dutch) but also the apps are optimized for use outside of China.

I have made a quick introduction/review video on this phone. Hope you guys like it as much as I do.

Xiaomi Mi2 videoreview

The Xiaomi Mi-2 is highly customizable. This goes a bit beyond the standard customization Android comes with.

I am running the V5 version of the MIUIandroid ROM. This is based on:
Android 4.1.1 JR003L
MIUI: MIUI-3.4.5
Quadcore @ 1.5ghz
2GB RAM
32GB internal memory

I paid 350 euros including shipping etc.

If you want to see more features of this phone, please let me know in the comments below!

Cheers!

iphone5

Apple anounced the new iPhone 5 – was it worth the wait?

the new iphone 5Bekijk in het NederlandsThe moment is there! The new iPhone 5 has officially been presented. Apple fans have been waiting for this moment ever since the minor disappointment of the iPhone 4s. The iPhone 5 promises to be a great smartphone and will probably sell amazing like any other iPhone, but what is new?

The new iPhone 5

Let’s take a look at the phone itself. It has become slightly bigger, but also less thick. The screen has become somewhat longer, resulting in a resolution of 1136×640 where older models like the iPhone 4 and 4s had a resolution of 960×640. This makes that the dots per inch stay the same, which compared with the newer Android phones is on the lower side.
The screen also features ‘integrated touch’, which means the touch layer is integrated into the LCD itself, making the screen less reflective and able to show better color.

The phone features a new connector which is usable however you plug it into your iPhone 5, up or down. This is a great feature and surely will remove a lot of hassle, but it also renders all previous gadgets, chargers and cables useless.

Can iPhone 5 keep up?

iphone 5

The processor has had a big boost and is claimed to be twice as fast as the one from the iPhone 4s. This is because of the two Cortex A15-cores. The GPU is also claimed to be twice as fast.

 

iphone 5

The phone has become almost 2mm thinner as its predecessor. Where the iPhone 4s was 9.3mm thick, the new iPhone 5 is only 7.6mm. Another welcome feature is the support of Lte, or the new version of wireless internet aka 4g.

iOS 6

The new iPhone 5 will run on iOS 6. The YouTube app is removed, Turn-by-Turn navigation is included and an upgraded version of Siri will be pre-installed. To support Siri three microphones have been installed on the iPhone 5. The microphones will also enable HD Voice, a feature which increases the audio quality of regular calls through the use of more bandwidth.

new iphone 5The iPhone 5 does not feature NFC support nor does it feature Bluetooth 4.0, which is a shame. The iPhone 5 will be available for the same price as the iPhone 4s when it was released.

It sure is an improvement from the iPhone 4s, but in my opinion it is on the minimal side of things. I was hoping to see more raw power from both the CPU and GPU, a screen with a higher resolution and more adoption of newer technologies like NFC. It is of course a decent phone, but for the final results we will have to wait a little longer. The 21st to be exact, since this is the date that the new iPhone 5 will be launched.

 

Xiaomi mi-two smartphone

First Qualcomm quadcore APQ8064 smartphone will be released in Europe

Xiaomi mi-twoLasBekijk in het Nederlandst Thursday a relatively unknown smartphone manufacturer from china, Xiaomi, announced the first smartphone featuring the new quadcore processor of Qualcomm. The new processor features an improved graphical unit, the Adreno 320-gpu.

The Xiaomi Mi-Two smartphone

At first it was thought the new smartphone announced by Xiaomi would only be released in China, but sourced over at Engadget have indicated that this phone will most likely also be released in Europe. The phone was announced to cost about 255 euros in Chinese currency. It still remains the question if this price holds when it is released in Europe.

The phone, the Mi-Two, is the first to feature the new Qualcomm soc with the new 28nm architecture. The processor features four cores and a fifth core for graphics, the new Adreno 320. This should result in much better graphical performances compared to the old Adreno 220 and 225 from earlier releases. The APQ8064 does not support any mobile networks itself, but needs a separate chip to make these connections.

Later this year it is expected that more smartphone manufacturers will be releasing phones with the new Qualcomm chip. HTC and LG are presumably working on phones feature the new chip which should outrun the Nvidia Tegra 3 which is the current standard for mobile devices.

The Mi-Two will feature a 4.3” ips-lcd panel with a resolution of 1280×720 pixels. The camera will feature an 8MP sensor and is able to record video in 1080p. 3G networks are supported and are able to reach speeds of up to 42Mbps and with this it is one of the few smartphones out there supporting this high data transfer rate.

It still remains a question when and if the phone will be released in Europe for sure, and what the price is going to be, but this ‘speculation’ sure makes me want to watch out for this newcomer on the European market.

Samsung-galaxy-S-III

Android – Samsung announces the long awaited Galaxy S III

Samsung galaxy s 3Bekijk in het NederlandsThe long awaited follow-up of Samsung‘s very successful Android flagship has been announced and will be released later this month. The Samsung Galaxy S II will be followed up by the Samsung Galaxy S III which will be a lot faster than its predecessor.

Samsung Galaxy S III

The Samsung Galaxy S III was announced during the unpacked event and will feature Samsung’s own Exynos 4 Quad core processor. The Quad-soc runs on 1.4 GHz which is the same as Nvidias Tegra 3 chip. The Samsung Galaxy S III will feature a 4.8″ Super Amoled HD screen with a 720p resolution of 1280×720. It is 8.6mm thick and weighs 133 grams which is just a bit heavier than HTC’s counterpart the One X. An optional gadget is a styles which can be used to control the phone, but that needs to be purchased separately.

Besides running Android Ice Cream Sandwich, or Android 4.0 the Samsung Galaxy S III runs Samsung’s very own touchwiz skin. The skin features several new features, like a siri-like voice control and software that tracks the user’s eyes in order to see if the screen could be turned off to preserve battery life. Popup video enables video content to pop-up even if a different app is running in the foreground.

Galaxy S III Specifications

Samsung galaxy s 3The Samsung Galaxy S III is packed with the newest technology out there. The 2100mAh battery will supply all those gadgets with juice. Amongst those tech-gadgets are Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n-wifi, NFC, DLNA and two cameras, an 8 megapixel camera on the back and a 1.9 megapixel camera on the front to allow video calls.

The NFC function allows you to pay small transactions in shops using your phone. Galaxy Beam allows you to connect two phones directly where the transfer of data is sent through wifi-direct to increase speed. DLNA allows your Samsung Galaxy S III to connect and stream to several different devices to play music or show video or pictures on a big screen wirelessly.

The Android phone will be available at the end of may. The Samsung Galaxy S III will be a direct competitor of the HTC One X which costs around 550 Euros. It is expected to be priced similarly.

 

overclocking for android

Android Supercharger – Supercharger Scripts Speed up Your Phone!

Supercharge AndroidBekijk in het NederlandsI have been using the Android platform for quite a while now, and while I love it I hate the fact that my 3-year old phone is not receiving updates anymore. I fixed this by installing custom roms, but those are sometimes a bit much for my old and slow phone. Overclocking works wonders for this, but to speed up Android even more, it is time to install a Android Supercharger Script!

What is an Android Supercharger Script

Speeding up a phone always sounds good, but running scripts? Android Supercharger? what in the world am I talking about and what are the downsides? I’ll explain it nice and simple. A supercharger script is a script that completely redo’s the way your Android phone handles it’s memory. It adjusts values for when to kill apps, and rearranges the priority and maximum load. I have to admit, I don’t know how it manages, but when running a supercharger script my Android phone become more stable and considerably snappier and faster!

The best part is that this android supercharger script will work for every Android based phone out there! And there are no downsides!

How to apply an Android supercharger script to speed up your phone

My phone becoming faster and snappier without any downsides? It must be immensely hard to install! False! It couldn’t be easier! When you have the proper files it just as simple as installing an app. Before we continue make sure you install the following apps and have root access:

busybox installer

Script manager

And you should download this android supercharger.txt file and place it on your SD-card preferably in the root folder.

Android SuperchargerAfter that you should run busybox installer and install version 1.8.2 of busybox. After it installed run script manager. Select run as root and load your supercharger.txt file. Of course you need to allow the root access. If needed reselect run as root, but NEVER select run on boot. Save the settings and select run. After that you will get a screen that reminds of the old DOS with its black background and white text. First it asks you what scroll speed you want to use. it doesn’t really matter which you choose, but I usually go for 0 because this sets everything to instant. You can enable your onscreen keyboard by tapping the screen. on the next screen you get 19 options on which kind of memory optimalization you want for your phone. It is pretty much a trial and error for which ones work best for your phone. The aggressive ones make your phone even faster but may cause slight instability. I usually choose option 9 – MegaRAM 2 which keeps your phone stable but speeds it up by quite a lot.

After selecting the option you want it is needed to reboot your phone. Keep the script running in the background and reboot the phone. After it is booted back up again redo the entire cycle from when you first used script manager and this time it should say that it is ‘bulletproof’. Basically it is saying that it is working this time around. Close the screen but select ‘run in background’. You have to run this script every time you reboot your phone. Therefore I would suggest installing the Script Manager widget to enable quick activation of the script. You can do this after you completely installed the script and have it up and running. The widget is available in the market.

Make sure you remember to give the supercharger script root access and rerun it every time you reboot your Android phone. Find the official XDA-Forum topic here!

Which option was the best for your model phone and how much faster did your phone become? Please let us know below in the comments!

 

Custom Rom HTX Zero 0.21

Android Custom Roms – Upgrade Your Phone

Android Custom RomBekijk in het NederlandsA while back we dedicated an article to overclocking android, and for that we had to use an android custom rom on my HTC Hero. The roms back then were not stable enough to be used on a daily basis, but lately my hands have been itching again. I decided to search the web for a new rom to try, and found one that should put Android 2.3.5 with HTC Sense 3.5 on my old HTC Hero. Besides Ice cream Sandwich this is the newest version of android and sense available, so I just had to give it a try!

Does the android custom rom work

I am going to start with my conclusion of this rom, the HTX Zero 0.21. You may want know if the rom is any good before you read through all the steps needed to install it. In short: it depends. As with all custom roms, it has its ups and downs. I must say, for the newest android and Sense, it runs rather smooth, plus you can properly boast about it since you are running this software on a three-year-old phone. It has never fully rebooted for me, but the Sense interface does perform a soft reboot every now and then. This can be annoying, but it is just that…minor annoyance.

The upside is that you are running the newest version of Android and Sense. This includes for example the new unlock screen, which is indeed a big improvement. Also the widgets look nicer, and when overclocked and supercharged, the phone also runs rather smooth. Keep in mind that my  HTC Hero only overclocks to just under 600mhz, where most HTC Heros are able to go to 700mhz. This should smoothen up the phone even more and should enable perfect use of this rom.

Custom roms have some downsides

HTC SenseThis all sounds great, but sadly, there are more downsides as well. This morning I was late for work because my alarm, which was properly set, did not go off. Annoying if you use the phone’s alarm as your only way to wake up in the morning, but probably not a major issue for most people.  Another thing, which I haven’t been able to verify properly, is that I have the feeling I am not receiving all my text messages. I know I didn’t  receive at least one, but I am unsure if this is due to my phone’s software, the other user or the major network usage in the area at that time.

When updating apps and using for example the internet browser at the same time, the phone is sometimes unable to handle the stress and becomes  unusable for a short period of time. This usually results in a soft reboot and that’s fine, but it also occurs whenever your just listening to music or something and this can be of a bigger annoyance.

It also has some other issues, like disabling auto-sync and 3g connection sometimes for no proper reason and connecting a Bluetooth headset sometimes just won’t work.

It’s rather random.

 

Android 2.3.5 and Sense 3.5 on your HTC Hero

In short, this rom works, and when overclocked and running a supercharger script it is pretty smooth, but still has too much flaws for me to keep using it as a daily rom. If you overclock your HTC Hero higher it may prove to be more stable, but I’m going to try another rom soon.

Check back for a review on my next rom!

Please leave any advice on which rom to try in the comments!

In the meantime, if you want to give this rom a go you will find some useful information and links below.

Getting the proper files

The most important thing to do when setting up a custom rom is to be prepared. You need the custom rom, a romloader of some sorts, backups if you want and possible an official rom to flash when all things go to hell. The hardest part was to find a proper romloader. I always used Clockworkmod for my roms, but they decided to stop supporting android 2.1 – the one which my HTC Hero was running on. Because of that, it was unfindable in the Android market. For some reason every other romloader was gone as well. Strange… I had to load Clockworkmod in a different way. Easy as pie, if you can find the proper APK file for that, but this proved to be harder than I thought. Luckily, I am going to save you the trouble of finding that file. It can be found right here!
http://www.4shared.com/file/bsSALCNd/ROM_Manager_2504.html?refurl=d1url

For the rest of the steps I’m going to redirect you to my previous post about loading custom roms and overclocking android. Everything should still work the same as back then, and if you are unable to find some apps in the market, just download their APKs manually and install them that way.

For the rom itself and more on the subject please check out XDA-Developers

http://forum.xdadevelopers.com/showthread.php?t=1283338

 

extend your smartphone battery

Mugen power extended battery for smartphones review

Extended battery smartphoneBekijk in het NederlandsSmartphones are becoming increasingly popular. People have to be connected 24/7 and the closest the phones get to shutting down is the silent mode. There is however one big drawback to all this. The battery life of your smartphone cannot keep up with your social life. You phone has be plugged in every 6 hours and you can’t go anywhere without your charger. After I pretty much destroyed my previous battery, I decided not to go back to this sad excuse for a battery, but upgraded my stock battery to a custom extended battery. Read how it holds up in this post.

Extended battery life with Mugen Power

I decided to order the Mugen Power 1550mAh Extended Replacement Battery for my HTC Hero. I somehow shipped this extended battery to a wrong address, but I ended up with this battery after about 12 days. It cost me only $30,- which is about €23,- and this includes shipping from the other side of the world. Peanuts! I received the extended battery in a bit of plastic with a very short manual. It looked rather cheap, but heck, it was cheap. I read that you should charge it first for about 5-6 hours and repeat that for about five times. When I charge my phone I usually keep it charging overnight which is plenty of time.

I plugged it in and found out it was already half charged. I decided to go with it and find out how long my phone would last on half a battery. A few hours later it was almost completely drained, which was quite a disappointment. I charged it overnight and the next day my phone stayed up for the entire day. At the end of the day however the phone warned me that it was about to shut down. No harm done, the day was done anyways, but still it was a bit disappointing yet again.

After another night of charging I let it run for another day. This time the bar was still green by the time I was home again! A big improvement! The next day went even better and now the phone is still half charged when it is time to go to bed. Even when I use it extensively listening to music while surfing the internet for longer periods of time a day the extended battery doesn’t budge.

This extended battery didn’t come with a custom cover for my phone because it was just as big as the normal stock battery, but there is even a bigger version out there which would last even longer. You will end up with a thicker phone, but if you use it a lot and travel for many hours without the possibility to charge it, this might be a solution for you.

All in all this was a very good investment. I hardly have to worry about the battery life of my phone now, where I previously had the hook it up to a socket every time I traveled for more than an hour. I tested the battery for the HTC Hero, but I would recon this would go for many other smartphones with replaceable batteries as well.

Buy extended smartphone batteries

Overclocking for android

Overclocking Android – A beginner’s guide

Overclocking AndroidBekijk in het NederlandsI am a proud owner of the HTC Hero and have been for several years. It originally came out with android 1.5 using the well-known sense skin by HTC. It got a quick update to android 1.6, and later even to android 2.1. The updates stopped coming and my phone’s speed degraded over time. I tried wiping to factory default but still my phone felt sluggish. I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and dived into the world of custom roms and overclocking android.

Overclocking Android – The basics

First I will explain the basics. A ROM is a custom made version of the android software that you can run on your phone. It can be very different from what you are used to. Custom roms can include software that isn’t meant to run on your phone, or can be copied entirely from other phones, even from other brands. It may also include custom made programs or apps that are not available in the market. All custom roms feature built-in root access, unlocking features of your phone that are locked when you use a normal android rom.

Overclocking is something else. This involves making your phone’s processing unit go faster than intended. This usually makes your phone (a lot) faster but also drains the battery more quickly and generates a lot of heat. Sometimes, this can result in your phone going to waste. I actually made one of my batteries useless. It would only charge to about 50% and would drain within an hour or two. To prevent this I am going to share my experiences on overclocking my HTC Hero, or any android device in general for that matter. To counter this I bought a new and bigger battery for my HTC Hero which increased my battery life a lot!

Step 1

To start it is probably a good idea to get root access to your phone. This enables you to install apps that aren’t meant to be installed. Root access is not always needed, but it can’t hurt to just enable it. You can simply do this by downloading androot from the market and click on enable root access.

Step 2

The second step is probably the hardest: Finding the proper rom for you. Since there is such a vast variety of roms online, it can take a lot of time to find a proper one. Most roms have their faults as well. For example, some roms disable your Bluetooth or camera, some can’t handle GPS and some run on a core of android 1.5, making it a lot harder to find up to date or new apps in the market.

Step 3

To actually install a rom you need to download clockworkmod from the Android market. This app enables you to load and backup roms. It will prompt you with a message saying you need to download another program for it to work. When it does, please do so, it is an automated process. Once all that is finished you are ready to go on flashing roms and whatnot. First, you may want to backup all the data you possibly can and download the official Rom should anything happen to your phone. I found the official HTC rom for GSM (Europe) Hero’s here. Once you are all set, select ‘load a rom from SD-card’ in clockwork mod and select the rom you want to load. Tick erase all data boxes and make a backup of your current build. Once you click ok it should reboot and start doing its magic. Note that you should have copied the rom you wanted to use to your SD card before you start this process. Do not put the rom into any folder, just on the root of the SD card.

The results?

If everything went alright you should be booted up now in your new custom rom Android environment. If it keeps booting up and shutting down, you are in a bootloop and are screwed. I had this a couple of times. One time it fixed itself by just shutting power on and off a couple of times. Other times I had to go into the bootmenu manually by holding the volume-down button while pressing the power-on button and select another rom or backup manually, and the third time I had to put my SD-card straight into my computer to load an update.zip file into that to run through the manual boot menu. Anyways, you should be running your custom rom now. Well that was easy enough.

Overclocking Android

Overclocking with SetcpuNow a bit more about overclocking android. You need to have a rom installed with a custom kernel for the HTC Hero in order to overclock it. This might be possible on other phones with stock software, but for the HTC Hero you need a custom kernel which set the limit of your CPU to a higher number than its stock speed. Almost all custom roms feature an overclockable kernel. Once this is installed, you will simply need to install either OC widget or SetCPU from the Android market and install those. When prompted to give these apps root access you say yes and you are ready to go. Fire up the app and set your max and min speed for your CPU.

Warning: When you set your CPU too high it might burn up the battery, or otherwise severely damage your phone. Overclocking android can result in an unstable system. When your system is unstable try to clock it lower. Always overclock android in little steps, starting with just a small overclock and increasing it after it turned out to be stable. The highest stable speed for a Hero recorded is 710Mhz. This does not mean every HTC Hero phone can run these speeds. Find out your speeds yourself or use the auto clock feature in SetCPU.

Warning: Setting the minimum clock speed too slow can make your phone unable to wake up from sleep mode. This means that when your screen is turned off and the phone hasn’t been used in a few minutes, it will not come back up, or it might take a very long time. To counter this you need to keep the minimum speed in the safe zone around the 250Mhz.

Once done correctly, overclocking can greatly increase the responsiveness of your phone. In order to properly do this you need to take your time, do research on the capabilities of your phone and on what custom rom to take, and have proper backup possibilities at hand.

Roms I used

My personal journey started with Kimera 1.8. This rom was lightning-fast but was based on android 1.5. Somehow I missed that information, and found out only after seeing that the market was lacking a lot of apps I used to download. I quickly erased this rom again and changed it for something newer.

This led me to the wildhero rom. This is a custom rom based on the HTC Wildfire S phone, and brings most of those features to the HTC Hero. At first I was enlightened by the amount of extra possibilities this new version of Android brought me, as it runs on Android 2.3.3 instead of the stock 2.1. It doesn’t support Bluetooth, but what the heck, I never use that anyways. Once I booted up the rom however, I found it to be too slow to run properly on the Hero. I decided to start overclocking but I ended up with a very unstable system and a fried battery. The maximum clock speed that I got stable was somewhere around 610Mhz, which is way slower than most people who run their HTC Hero at 710Mhz.

I also tried the Villainrom, but it did not feature HTC Sense, which didn’t appeal to me at all.

Overclocking for Android – The Conclusion

Basically I was stuck with the wildhero rom for quite a while and decided to roll back to HTC’s own rom. It runs at Android 2.1 now again, and is somehow faster than ever. I am not sure how that happened. The only downside is that I am unable to overclock this firmware, so I am continuing my search for a proper rom for my HTC Hero.

I hope this very basic tutorial is of any help to you. If you have any questions please ask them in the comments. Also stay tuned for my further attempts of unlocking the true potential of my HTC Hero.

Chrome on Android

Google – Chrome finally becomes Androids stock browser

chromeBekijk in het NederlandsGoogle is finally adapting its desktop browser for mobile use. Implementing Chrome into android would be a big step forwards for the mobile platform. The two different browsers that are used now already share a lot of the same code, but now they become one, synchronizing everything between pc, laptop, tablet and phone.

Chromium

Chromium, the backend for the Chrome browser and a lot of other Google products like the new Chrome operating system, will finally be implemented into android. This means that you data can be synchronized to all you devices at once now. Your bookmarks will be available on your phone and your extensions will be there when you open Chrome on your tablet. It is not yet certain if android will feature plug-ins as well like the android Firefox version does, but it would be a great asset. In addition you will probably see updates to the browser way more often.

The only downside is that it will probably only be released for newer versions of Android. I would love to see the changes first hand, but I’m afraid it will have to wait until I replaced my trusty HTC Hero.