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Friday, February 21, 2014

How to Root the Cherry Mobile Flare HD

If you're not familiar with rooting then you probably have a few questions such as:

What is rooting


and

Why should I root my Android Device? 


Instead of answering these questions myself, I'm going to leave it to the pros:

9 Reasons to Root Your Android Device - Gizmodo
HOW TO ROOT YOUR ANDROID PHONE OR TABLET - Digital Trends
Top 10 Reasons to Root Your Android Phone - Lifehacker
6 benefits of rooting your Android phone or tablet -Android Authority

That's about as noob-friendly as this post would get. Apologies for that! For those who aren't confused yet... here we go:

Rooting History

I'm no stranger to rooting. I've rooted my first Android Phone, the Cherry Mobile Nova, and another Android tablet before their warranties even expired. The CM Nova came with Android 2.2 Froyo but through rooting I was able to install Cyanogen MOD, a custom kernel, and upgrade my phone to Android 2.3 Gingerbread!


My CM Nova's About Phone 
ROM Manager Installed
Superuser and Termina Emulator Installed
I've tried 2 methods of rooting my phone. One is with SUTLR, a computer program, and Z4Root which was a one click root app. Both worked as intended but Z4Root was definitely easier to use. Back then Boston Mania, was my main resource for Commtiva Z71 (CM NOVA) ROMs.

Flare HD Rooting

Thanks to this thread at the Symbianize forums. I was able to join a Facebook group: Cherry Mobile Flare HD UNITED. It's a Closed Group so you would have to send a request first. And thanks to them, I discovered Framaroot, an up-to-date one click rooting app. (Z4Root's last update was back in 2010!)



!! Important !!
Please be informed that rooting voids your warranty. If you did not install custom ROMs or custom Kernels, and did not uninstall stock apps, unrooting your device can possibly unvoid your warranty. Also, Catnippy will not be responsible if your device gets bricked. To avoid this, please read and follow the instructions carefully.





Please continue at your own risk! Catnippy will not be responsible for any damage caused directly or indirectly by rooting your device.

Framaroot is easy to use! According to the thread:


Installation
  1. Download it on your device (links are available at the end of this post)
  1. Install it with a file explorer or directly from your internet browser, if android warn you about security risk, say OK and check Unknown sources to allow install of applications outside of Play Store.

Usage
Open Framaroot and select one of the following action: Install SuperSU, Unroot or Execute script (for advanced users)




I chose 'Boromir' to root my CM Flare HD.
You can also Unroot your device using Framaroot
Option to execute script for advanced users

The rooting process didn't even take a min! You choose 'Install SuperSU' and then choose an exploit from the list (Why do they call it exploit? Does anyone know? It makes it sound so dangerous to use!). I chose Boromir as suggested by the users from the Cherry Mobile Flare HD UNITED group and it worked as intended. Within seconds, I saw a dialog box instructing me to reboot the device to finish the installation. Apologies for not having a screenshot of that. My bad because I pressed OK by instinct and totally forgot to take a screenie!


Before and After Rooting

For the next screenshots, I used Simple Root Checker (self-explanatory that one).

Simple Root Checker
Before Root
After Rooting
Please take note that only SuperSU will be automatically installed by Framaroot. After rooting, I installed ROM Toolbox PRO and used that app to install Busybox

TIP: Make it a habit to backup your ROM! Do it after rooting. Do it after you before/after you install root apps. Do it before/after you apply changes. Do it often, and make sure to have backups of your backups!

When I tried to backup my ROM, I had trouble with the stock recovery. When you boot into Recovery Mode, you use the volume rocker to navigate up/down, the menu button to select an option, and the power button to display/hide the menu. Since the Flare HD does not have a Menu Button, I found it impossible to backup. (If you know how using the stock recovery, please comment below!) TWRP's Recovery Mode has a touchscreen interface! That solves the problem for Android phones that have no Menu Button. I installed TWRP using Mobile Uncle. An .img file of TWRP compiled for the Flare HD is available in the Files section of the Cherry Mobile Flare HD UNITED group.

Flare HD rooted! What now?

Now you can install root only apps! There are non-root apps that are able to customize your Android. However, root apps provide greater customization. Below is a screencap of root apps I've installed so far (save Play Store and Settings).




BusyBox combines tiny versions of many common UNIX utilities into a single small executable. It provides replacements for most of the utilities you usually find in GNU fileutils, shellutils, etc.
A one-click application to install Superuser and su binary on phone.
Control device with MULTITOUCH and MULTITASK gestures similar to iPad. Works in all applications. You can even hide status bar and enjoy full screen in your favorite games or while browsing.
A complex Xposed module targeted for devices running Android 4.1/4.2/4.3, which turns vanilla ROM into feature-packed "non-flashing" custom ROM.
Greenify help you identify and put the misbehaving apps into hibernation when you are not using them, to stop them from lagging your device and leeching the battery, in an unique way! They can do nothing without explicit launch by you or other apps, while still preserving full functionality when running in foreground, similar to iOS apps!
Also, Greenify has a non-root version available now!
ROM Toolbox combines apps like Titanium Backup, ROM Manager, Root Explorer, SetCPU, Ad Blocker, MetaMorph, Autorun Manager, Terminal Emulator, Script Manager, SD Booster, BuildProp Editor, Font Installer, Boot Animation Installer & many more apps into an all-in-one app! 
Record great quality screencasts directly from your phone or tablet!
Screencast captures your phone screen at high frame rates into a high quality MPEG4 video with audio. It can also take snapshots of your screen by holding the search key on your phone.
  • SuperSU
SuperSU allows for advanced management of Superuser access rights for all the apps on your device that need root.
Xposed is a framework for modules that can change the behavior of the system and apps without touching any APKs.
Screenshots of Gravity Box tweaks:
Customized my QuickSettings using GravityBox
Customized my Battery Indicator using GravityBox
Remember Technoclast's video review of the Flare HD that I linked last time? Rooting fixed the Home Button! If you're using the default Launcher, pressing the Home Button will now send you back to your Home Screen. Whereas before rooting, if an app was open pressing the Home Button only sends you back to the Launcher. Not necessarily your Home Screen.

There you have it! A rooted Flare HD. I'm still tinkering with it. I don't think I'll be installing a custom ROM or custom kernel anytime soon. If a Cyanogen MOD comes along, I might consider it for sure!

Is your device rooted? What method did you use? What root apps do you have installed? Tell me about it! Comment below!

P.S.


Do you like my theme? Watch out for the app review!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Having Something Sweet (and Japanese) this Valentine's Day: Pocky

Did you make honmei choco?
Since it's Valentine's Day*, here's a short and sweet unboxing of a Pocky Gift Pack I picked up at the grocery a few weeks ago:

Actual Picture
I bought this at the SM City Masinag Supermarket.

Front
As you can see, the box is Christmas Themed so I might not be in stock for long.
Back
There are 4 flavors: Chocolate, Strawberry, Choco Banana and Milk.
What's Inside
Samples from each box
Inside my snack jar
Yummy Pocky
Anime introduced me to Pocky and I've loved it ever since! Now excuse me while I try not to eat all of them in one sitting...

What did you get for Heart's Day? Are you a fan of Pocky too? Comment Below!

*This is me trying to post something relevant for Chocolate Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Where to buy cheap Ninja Tabi boots in the Philippines?

Are you looking for cheap Ninja Tabi boots? 

I found some for sale today at Doki Doki Sulit Shop*

There are different brands but I found not much difference in quality. The Ninja Tabi boots only come in 2 colors: black and blue. I was there until around 4pm today and they still have 8 pairs on display. I didn't check their sizes though.

Size 8 Ninja Tabi boots in Black
I wasn't able to take a picture of the sole and the clasps. Google Image Searched similar pictures for you. (These are only for reference!):


Not actual picture
Not actual picture
How much is it?

It's only P200. It's a surplus shop so please don't forget to haggle!

*How do I commute to Doki Doki Sulit Shop?

They are located along New York, Cubao (E. Rodriguez side). From Gateway Mall you can ride a Quiapo bound jeepney (Fare is P12) and it'll be on the right side of the road. I had pictures of the frontage of the shop, but I lost those when my Samsung Galaxy S2 went kaput. I'll update this post when I get their exact address.

I bought more items from them, but maybe I'll blog about those another day.

Update 04/25/2014:

I don't have the shop's exact address yet, but I was backing up my phone's MicroSD when I found these:


Doki Doki Sulit Shop (outside)

Doki Doki Sulit Shop (outside)
So are you going the way of the ninja and buying those Ninja Tabi boots? I'd like to see pics! Comment and link pictures below!




P.S.

There are sellers on auction sites that sell these for around P850 and up. Please don't resell it! (I just gave you that idea didn't I? *facepalm*) Instead, spread the word and help our Cosplay friends and ninja fans get their Ninja Tabi boots for cheap!

Update 01/28/2015:

Doki Doki Sulit Shop
439 E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave. Pinagkaisahan
Quezon City, Philippines
Store Hours: 10 AM - 9 PM
Mobile: (+63) 915 986 9980 / (+63) 915 354 4620
Landline: (632) 412 6145
Facebook

Update 02/08/2015:

I have some unfortunate news! My mom said the store has been closed for a few days now, and recently she saw a "For Rent" sign where Doki Doki Sulit Shop used to be. I suggest calling their numbers or messaging them on Facebook to check if they're just relocating or closing shop.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Cherry Mobile Flare HD Unboxing and Review

This weekend I was supposed to publish my review of MomentCam, however, because of recent events I'm going to post an Unboxing instead. My Samsung Galaxy S2 is now an expensive paperweight! My backup phone is also acting up on me. (Maybe I'll post about that in the future.) So I needed a new one, but because it's on such short notice I had to get something affordable and within my budget.

On buying new gadgets

Before I go ahead with the unboxing. I'm going to ask you this: do you find yourself buying a gadget and then feeling buyer's remose when a new model comes out months (or even worse - weeks) after your purchase That's technology for you! Years ago you can future proof your gadget for at least 2 years. Now that's not the case because upgrades seem to get released every quarter! What you need is to learn contentment. One way to be content is to buy the gadget you need and not just the 'latest' one. Here's a tip: do your research, figure out which features are important to you, then go draft a 'minimum' requirements list.

I was looking for mid-range phone that at least had a dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, dual SIM capabilities, and a front camera, all on JB. Seems like a tall order? Not really. Especially if you're not afraid of buying from local phone manufacturers. Want to know what made it easier for me? GB SB Techblog. The blog has price-list even for local phone manufacturers! They recently released a 2014 Pricelist that you should check out.

Cherry Mobile Flare HD

After all the research I've done and cross-checking with my wallet (lol) I set off to get a Cherry Mobile Flare HD yesterday. There are a few phones that meet my MIN REQ but I chose the Flare HD because of the IPS display, both SIM slots are 3G capable, and the front camera is 5MP, which is definitely better than my Samsung Galaxy S2's but also better than most of the other phones within its price range.

Here's a video review by Technoclast that I found helpful:



Unboxing

Let's get on with the unboxing shall we? I bought the unit at a Cherry Mobile stall on the 3rd floor of Victory Park and Shop in Antipolo for P5,500. 

Box, jelly case, unit and battery
Cherry Mobile Flare HD
Pictures above were taken with a potato my Cherry Mobile NOVA. Apologies for the pic quality. Now, these next pictures are taken using the Cherry Mobile Flare HD's stock camera app. This right here is the box:
Front
Right
Left
Back
The Cherry Mobile Flare HD comes with:

In-ear headphones
Charger and USB cable
I got a violet jelly case! So far all the reviews I've read and watched online got pink colored jelly cases with their Cherry Mobile Flare HD.

Front (Taken using Camera Zoom FX app)
Back (Taken using Camera Zoom FX app)
If you watched the video review I linked above, the reviewer mentioned the jelly case fitting snugly that when you take out the phone it would sometimes leave the back cover behind. That's exactly what I experienced too:

Back

Front
However, unlike the reviewer's unit mine isn't creaky at all. The back cover that came with the box fits my unit well. I would have taken more pictures if I had a better camera, but then again, you're probably better off checking out pics from tech review sites (they're the professionals!).

I wasn't able to take a picture of the manual, but here's a picture of everything you're getting for P5,499 (SRP) except the unit:



What I liked:

- Jelly case

I'm tickled pink that my jelly case is violet! (teehee~ Sorry had to do it!)

- Front Camera

I don't know much about the about picture quality but I can tell that the front camera is better than my previous phone, the Samsung Galaxy S2.

- Display
The IPS display is gorgeous. 

TIP: While at the store, download Blacklight Bleed Test this app helps check for dead pixels. Doing it in the store should guarantee you can get a replacement unit on the spot. Saves you the trouble of going back to have it replaced. I brought my SmartBRO sim so I could logon to Play Store to DL the app.

- Sim slots

This is my first dual-sim phone and I'm glad that both sim slots are 3G capable. I work from home so I have a SmartBRO postpaid sim, a Globe Tatoo prepaid sim and a Sun Bro Wireless prepaid sim. The SmartBRO I usually have plugged in on a Power Plug-It while I now have the Globe and the Sun plugged in the Flare HD. Toggling between the two sims is fairly easy and you can do it via the notification bar.

What I didn't like:

- No Screen Protector included in the box

I asked the salespeople and they said the bigger stores sell them, but that the box doesn't come packaged with one. I had to go another cellphone shop to buy a temporary one until I can get my hands on an official Flare HD screen protector. The one I got was a clear screen protector that's not anti-fingerproof made for the Flare 2X. It's a little short and does not cover the soft touch buttons but it does have holes up top that fits the front camera and speaker grill. I bought that for P100 and gave the salesperson a tip because she installed it for me for no charge! The other stalls charged P150 for a matte screen protector that they also needed to cut. If you know where to get a Flare HD Anti-Fingerproof Screen Protector purrlease comment below!

Soft Touch Button placement

Both my Samsung Galaxy S2 and my Cherry Mobile NOVA had the back button on the right while the Flare HD has it's back button located on the left. It's nothing anyone couldn't get used to though. A few more uses and I'll probably get the hang of it soon enough.

- Proximity Sensor placement

Again both my previous phones had their proximity sensors on the right of the speaker grill. The Flare HD has it's on the - you guessed it - leftI don't like this because usually I hold my phone using my right hand, and I use my right thumb pull down the notification bar. Having the proximity sensor on the right of the speaker grill means it's easy to activate it, which means it turns the screen off instead of showing the notifications. My way around this is to pull down on the top left side of the notification bar and not on the right side where I'm used to. I don't see this as a design issue but more about me and how I use my phone. It would definitely take more time to get used to than the soft touch button placement though.

- Bloatware

I don't care much for Start lockscreen app. It's a good enough launcher with built-in Cherry Mobile themes, but since I almost always have lockscreen security on, it's a hassle to have to unlock the phone twice instead of just once. Unfortunately, you cannot uninstall Start and all the other CM bundled apps (except KakaoTalk that you can Disable from Settings > Apps > All Apps > Kakao Talk > Disable). The only way you'll be able to do that is if you Root your Android. WARNING: Rooting your device voids your warranty!

Overall, I feel that Cherry Mobile Flare HD is definitely worth my money. For now it'll be my primary phone until I gather funds for a replacement phone for my dearly departed Samsung Galaxy S2.

That's it for now! I'll update this post or make a new entry if there's anything I find bloggable about the Flare HD. Before I go, Here's the specs sheet:

Cherry Mobile Flare HD Specifications:
  • 1.2Ghz Quad-Core MT6589 Processor
  • 4.3” 1280×720 IPS Display
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • 12MP Camera + Flash, 5MP Front
  • 1GB RAM, 4GB ROM, MicroSD
  • 1,800mAh Battery
  • Dual Regular SIM With 3G
  • Comes with free Jelly Case
[Source: LINK]

Do you own a Flare HD? How are you liking it so far? Comment below!
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