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 Zarak's guide to Chinese Android

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BlackZarak
The Architect
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PostSubject: Zarak's guide to Chinese Android    Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:13 pm

Anyone who follows the industry has noticed the emergence of Chinese-branded Android smartphones/tablets. Budget-priced and sometimes with killer specs, they provide a tempting alternative to known brands like Nokia, Samsung, LG.

If you are thinking about getting one of those, here is a guide I made from first-hand experience with Chinese Android.

BRANDS: There is no shortage of Chinese Android manufacturers. My personal experience was with DOOGEE and Xiaomi. Doogee make all kinds of smartphones, ranging from entry-level to high-end. Xiaomi have been a very serious threat to major manufacturers, offering killer phones with beastly specs for a fraction of the price. Star, Jiake are amongst the many brands available. My advice is do a LOT of research. Shanzhai phones have flooded the market, and I a sea of phones it can be hard to find something good.

Secondly, both the Doogee and Xiaomi were infected with Trojans. So before using your need Chinese Android, you'll need to take some time to clean it. This can be done by using the ROOM MASTER application. It will root the phone, giving superuser access needed to delete the embedded Trojans.

Then download NoBloat. This is the application we will use to remove the Trojans.

Once this is done, download TrustGo. It's an antivirus and anti-malware application. I strongly recommend installing it even if you do not own a Chinese Android, mobile security has become CRUCIAL.
Scan with TrustGo. It will find the infected files and/or services. Make note of this..

Open NoBloat, and hunt down the infected files. Long press, and you will be able to delete them. You can back them up, but why backup Trojan? Both my Doogee and Xiaomi worked just fine without the services/files.
You're done! The Trojans not be a problem anymore.

Bottom line, Chinese Android can be a very good, cheaper alternative. It's up to you to decide if you want to invest the extra time to sanitize the phone.

Feel free to ask if anyone has question. I'll help as best as I can.


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BlackZarak
The Architect
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PostSubject: Re: Zarak's guide to Chinese Android    Thu Aug 11, 2016 7:47 am

Update...

It's been almost two years since I bought my first ChinaDroids, and I've owned several of them ever since, so I feel it's time I give a revised opinion of what I think.

I mentioned that both of my Doogee phones (DG685 Phablet and Dagger DG550) had malware embedded in them. The DG685 was a pretty easy fix, I just had to root and then delete the infected "services". The Dagger had stubborn malware that always came back when I thought I nuked it, and seeing as Root Master failed to work I pretty much gave up on the DG550.

However, I found KingRoot. The tool is in Chinese, but it has been VERY good at rooting tougher phones. The DG550 was rooted on the first attempt, and while my Oukitel K10000 had to be downgraded to an earlier Android Lollipop 5.1 build, it was also successfull.

So now having full control over my Dagger DG550, I installed a custom version of ClockWorkMod, one of the two most common custom recoveries/flash tools, and I flashed a custom Lollipop 5.1 ROM, which basically was a port of the well-known CyanogenMod. This was a new lease on life for the Dagger, it improved performance quite noticably. I also tried a Marshmallow 6.0 port of Android Open Kang Projet -- another well-known custom ROM which offers the most options in terms of customizing pretty much every aspect of your phone, be it the LED, drag-down menu, softkeys, gestures, and much more. However, because of a bug, the DG550 would not connect to 3G and stay on 2G GSM/EDGE. It is a perfectly serviceable network, but EDGE data speeds are roughly 220K in optimal conditions so when you are used to 3G HSPA+ speeds up to 42.2MB, EDGE is just painfull to use.

I also got the No.1 M2 (which has the guts of a Gionee phone in a rugged shell, I assume since Android identifies it as Gionee M2), which is basically China's answer to rugged phones with IP68 water/dust resistance. This one can survive up to 1.5 meter under water and/or 30 minutes. It is very much reminescent of my MiKE iDEN phones which would probably survive a nuclear war. It is big, thick, and both SIM cards and microSD are under a sealed hatch which must be unscrewed.

Then the Oukitel K10000, as the name says is the one with the 10000mAh battery. The lack of 3G in Canada is a problem which I am trying to fix via the baseband, but no luck so far. Otherwise, as expected with such a huge battery, the K10000 is an absolute BEAST and the reviews were not fucking around when they said that phone can last up to a WEEK on a charge. It is absolutely true -- I get at the very least 5 days on one charge and already made it to eight-ish days. The phone is thick and heavy, but it feels very solid and were I to drop it I would fear for the ground more than I would for the phone. It has been updated to Marshmallow 6.0 and Doze standby has drastically improved performance.

Last but not least, I got a Cubot Note S. As the name would imply it is inspired by Swinesung's series of the same name, but the Note S is drastically thinner and lighter and I really like the design. The battery is pretty nice at 4250mAh and I can get very good battery life out of it. There is an official Marshmallow 6.0 update in Beta form, but it is far too buggy to be used as my daily driver. Doze standby will make a tremendous difference and I'll be able to squeeze even more performance out of the Note S.

One of the many advantages of ChinaDroids is that they use Mediatek/MTK system on chip solutions. MediaTek are usually tardy with releasing the source code for their processors which is the key to developping custom ROM. But, on the flip side of things, almost exclusively using MediaTek, the SPFlashTool application is nearly universal for ChinaDroids this makes them very easy to work with once you know what you're doing.

The tool can be used to restore a phone to factory settings, flash official updates when over-the-air updates do not work for some reason, or if you want to downgrade to an earlier build should you need to, I had to when I rooted the Oukitel K10000. I had this problem with my Xiaomi Redmi Note which was stuck with JellyBean 4.2 despite having an official KitKat 4.4 ROM. I also updated the No.1 M2 to Lollipop 5.1 with this tool.

The KingRoot tool is also VERY good, and has worked with all my ChinaDroids so far. Rooting is a purely optional procedure but it does have some interesting advantages. Also, I am pleased to say the DG685, DG550 and Redmi Note are the only three phones that contained malware, and all of the ChinaDroids I have gotten since have been clean out of the box.

Frankly,the phones that mobile carriers offer are ridiculously overpriced -- e.g the Note 7 is a whopping 850$ and the S7 was I believe 650$.

A ChinaDroid of similar performance and specs costs a fraction of that. So please, stop taking those overinflated phones from your mobile carrier, and give ChinaDroids a serious look.

It's never been a secret I was never really a fan of Android, and it stands true to this day, I still prefer Windows Phone and BlackBerry, but The K10000 has pretty much been the longest I have spent using an Android phone, which says a lot.

If you are in Europe, ChinaDroids will 99.9% of the time have excellent band support, meaning excellent signal. In North America, though, not all are supported but GSM has full band support and WCDMA 850 OR 1900 are supported so while the might not perform as well as a phone from a mobile carrier, they are perfectly serviceable. The Dagger DG550 and No.1 M2 have WCDMA 850MHz so coverage is more than satisfying and both usually stick to 3G and only fallback to 2G GSM in rare occasions.

The Cubot Note S, however, supports WCDMA 1900MHz, which has lesser range because of the higher wavelength. The closest base cell is about a kilometer away from my flat, so while the phone has been set to prefer 3G networks, it will often fall back to 2G GSM because of the stronger signal thanks to 850MHz. Reception is better outside and otherwise the Note S sticks to 3G networks.

So, after this humongeous wall of text, the bottom line: If you are an Android user and are tired of paying up the arse for overinflated brand phones, I would absolutely give ChinaDroids a look. Xiaomi, Doogee, Cubot, Oukitel all make phones that are more than worth their price. The Cubot Note S was discounted at 75$, and it is a quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage with the added bonus of also taking microSD cards. It is also light, thin and well-built, had very good battery life.

Which is another point in favor of ChinaDroids, two features that were pretty much abandoned by brand phones -- removable batteries and expandable storage. I despise having a sealed battery and no ability to expand storage. I use Spotify and I download my music at Extreme quality and this fills up the memory REALLY fast.

So to reiterate, do give ChinaDroids a look, at the very least. Again, feel free to ask if anyone has any questions.

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