Nexa Vega N4 – Rooting

Topic - Android

Not so long ago I got a demo Nexa Vega N4 that I did a review of  (Unboxing, Using a Dual Sim Phone, Benchmarks, Overall Impression).  After returning the review phone I knew I would one day purchase one for myself – it was only a matter of time.

Well the time came about a week ago and I ordered from my supplier two of them – one for myself and the other for a client. They unfortunately only had white in stock, I would have loved a black one, so I settled for white as I REALLY wanted the phone. After first getting the wrong items – they shipped me a Nexa Vega N2  the first time, I finally got the correct phones.

Now knowing that there was a WiFi MAC Address issue – every reboot of the phone the MAC Address changes – I logged a call with the supplier.  Seems that they wanted the phone back to load the software patch 🙁 , not exactly what I wanted to hear after getting a new phone!  So I decided I would investigate a bit myself…surely it was only a software  issue.

Gaining Root…

Now for those of you who don’t know what “rooting” an Android phone is – it is basically breaking the protection on the phone that prevents one from editing and changing files at the operating system level.  Doing so basically “voids your warranty” (depending on the manufacturer) and can allow you to “brick” (prevent it from booting up) so be VERY careful with what you do once you have root access. Remember with great power, comes great responsibility 🙂

Before I continue I need to do the Standard Disclaimer – if you decide to follow my steps you do so at your own risk…that’s final!  I will not be held liable if you bugger it up yourself.

OK with that out the way, I headed over to XDA Developers to have a look at what root method would be recommended, and after reading a few post on MediaTek devices I decided to give Framaroot a shot.  I downloaded version 1.9.1 (as it was the latest version at the time).

Next I went into Settings then Security and then I checked “Unknown Sources”  (this will allow you to install non-Google Play Store apps on the device).

I opened the Framaroot APK file and installed it. I then opened it from the app drawer, this is what the icon looks like.

framaroot

A screen opened up where I could select either Install SuperSU, Unroot, Execute script /sdcard/custom.  I selected the Install SuperSU option and selected the first exploit to root the device – Boromir,

10 seconds later it said that it was rooted and suggested I reboot the phone. I rebooted and then headed over the Google Play Store to install Root Checker to see if I actually did have root.

This is what I saw:

Nexa N4 Root

ROOT ACCESS! Whooo Hoooo!  One step closer to fixing the WiFi MAC Address issue myself…

Coming up soon…  “Backup Before You Bugger Up” and “Lets Fix the WiFi MAC Address Issue – Ourselves” 

Will all the REAL MEN Please Stand Up!

From the Eish! DepartmentThis post is a bit of rant post but I really feel that I need to say it… Real Men Stand Up!

Recently I went on training  in the JHB office of my firm, so I decided to catch the Gautrain and a shuttle into the office. Now for those non-ZA visitors the Gautrain is a high speed rail link between Pretoria and Johannesburg / OR Tambo Airport (read more here if you want). This was also so that I could skip the EToll gantries (but that is a different topic for another day).

Anyway on the first day traveling back, the first 4 car  train arrived at Marlboro station and was so packed that no-one could get in or out…so I had to wait another 15 minutes.

Next 4 car train arrived – AGAIN packed so full one could not even try and squeeze a small child in even!  So I had to wait another 15 minutes!

The next train was an 8 car one, it was full but at least one could climb in as people made space.  I squeezed in and looked around. There were men of different ages and races sitting it the chairs – WHILE THE WOMEN stood!  For the rest of the trip I remained standing.

The next day the same thing…I squeezed into an 8 car train and again I noticed that the men sat while the woman stood… When we arrived at the Centurion station a few seats opened up and there was a mad rush by the passengers to sit down.  One young gentleman pushed his way past a lady and plonked himself into a seat, while the lady just had to stay standing!  I approached this young man and asked him to please stand up and give his seat to the lady – he just stared blankly at me and stayed seated!  I asked the Gautrain Security Guard who was riding along, and was witness to all this, to please ask the youngster to get up, he said unfortunately he would not be able to as he was there to preserve the peace only…

When the young man climbed off at the Pretoria station I said to him…”I hope your parents are proud of you”…and I then told the lady to take the seat.

This got me thinking, what ever happened to “Ladies First”, or “Elderly or Disabled People First”?  Have this new generation lost its manners?

RealMenStandUp

Gautrain management, if you happen to be reading this, please instruct your security guards to remind passengers that elderly, disabled, pregnant, woman and children (in that order) have the rights to the seats.

And to the men I want to remind you – Real Men Stand Up!

BSOD: PROCESS1_INITIALIZATION_FAILED

Topic-Windows

When your day starts off with a client coming in with a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) on their PC you can pretty much be assured at what type of day both you and the client are going to have…

This particular BSOD was a PROCESS1_INITIALIZATION_FAILEDSTOP: 0x0000006B

BSOD_18032014

After powering on the machine, it would past the POST (Power On Self Test) and then the starting Windows splash screen would show and then it would crash with the BSOD. Tried Safe Mode and Last Known Good without success…. things were not looking good.

Did a search and found on the Microsoft website the exact error – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/981833 .

It seems the issue occurs because the Bootcat.cache file is corrupted or because the size of the Bootcat.cache file is changed since the last successful start. The Bootcat.cache file is located in the %SystemRoot%\system32\codeintegrity   folder.  Microsoft suggests to work around this issue, start the computer from the disc drive or from the USB drive by using the Windows installation media. Delete the Bootcat.cache file, and then restart the computer.

I managed to boot into the System Repair console and delete the file however rebooting did not resolve the issue. 🙁

Now this machine was a Lenovo T440 machine, so I popped out the hard drive, inserted it into a USB HDD bay and then copied the Bootcat.cache file over from a newly imaged machine… Issue still not resolved…

As this was a first year clerk, and we setup the machines in batches 3 months prior, I found another clerk whose machine was setup at the same time as his and copied their Bootcat.cache file across to his machine (using the USB HDD bay route); and for the first time it actually booted into Windows!  There was cheering and happiness as the next 3 reboots worked without any issues. The clerk then disappeared off into the morning sun to the client, and I felt good that another client had been helped.

Fast Forward 2 Days…

When I arrived at my office the same clerk was waiting for me at the door…same issue…BSOD error every startup

After asking all the usual questions about what software have you recently loaded, what external media have you plugged in, etc. he said the expected “nothing” but then he stated that the USB ports were not working at all after the last “fix”.  Hmmmm…. definately a more serious issue than just replacing 1 file.

I removed his HDD from the machine and placed it into my USB HDD bay once again and took a peak at the Bootcat.cache file – it had changed the previous day (round about when the Antivirus scan was scheduled to start) and had shrunk from 6879kb to 21kb in size… I then decided to search for “bootcat.cache corrupting” and then stumbled across the following URL: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-system/bootcatcache-becomes-corruptedchanged-every-time-i/cdcc2141-cc0f-44f2-81c6-78b067a86f86

In it there was a post by Derek McNelly that said the following:

BSOD-bootcat_cache

I looked in his C:\Windows\System32\catroot\{F750E6C3-38EE-11D1-85E5-00C04FC295EE} folder and found that it only had 81 files (of about 5Mb) in it and the other folder in C:\Windows\System32\catroot\ was actually empty!  I then compared it to another clerks machine and the whole C:\Windows\System32\catroot\ folder was 112Mb on that machine!  I promptly copied the files across as well as the Bootcat.cache file to my clients drive, and then put the drive back into his PC.

Windows started successfully and the USB ports WORKED!

So it MUST have been McAfee that removed these files – seems it is a “known” issue – URL

I force updated the McAfee Agent on the machine to version 4.8  and now I wait for a week to see if the machine behaves or not…  but I am sure it will this time! Damn McAfee!

(Edit: 1 week later and client has confirmed all is still well!)

Review: Nexa Vega N4 Smartphone (Part 4 – Overall Impression)

Topic - Android So far in my review I have covered the unboxing of the Nexa Vega N4 Android Smartphone, Benchmarks as well as the dual SIM capability.

In this post I will be covering the overall impression of the phone.

If you want to check out the manufacturers website have a peek here. The flyer of the phone can be found here.

The overall impression I will be breaking down into the following sections and scoring accordingly. Price, Size, Battery, Camera, Other.

Price:  5 /5

The recommended retail on the phone is +/- R2600,00.  (Including VAT – Exchange Rate Dependent)

Now sure you can argue that you can import a similar spec phone from a Chinese website or from Ebay for about R2000,00; however you still need to calculate into the total cost the shipping, as well as import duty.

But the most important thing you need to consider is what happens if your import packs up? You will have to box it up and ship it back to the Chinese firm and wait until they ship it back (potentially at your cost again), and also how long is that warranty?

By buying this phone locally you not only are supporting local businesses, but the phone is covered with a 2 Year SWOP OUT warranty. Obviously there are terms and conditions but at least you are dealing with someone local so turn around time will be a lot quicker!

Size:  4.5 / 5

I love the big screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note 1 (my old phone) and 3 (my wife’s new one).

However I must say that the Nexa Vega N4 has really grown on me.

It has a big enough screen (5.0 inch) and although the screen resolution is 960 x 540 it really is not that “low resolution” if you are comparing it to the Note 1 (1280×800). Visually text looks normal and comfortable to read on the screen.

It did not disappoint when playing games like Temple Run or  Riptide GP, and even Flappy Bird ran fine 🙂 – each game proving to be clear, smooth and responsive.  Never once did I detect any lag of any kind.

Coming back to the size as it is very similar in size to the Samsung S4, although smaller than a Note, it is still very comfortable to hold and even use with one hand (the same cannot always be said the same for the Note).  It fits fine in a shirt pocket and comfortably in a pants pocket – and it is NOT heavy at all!

Why did I take half a point off?  I really debated long and hard with myself regarding this score.  The only reason why I did not give a 5/5 was that it was not the same screen resolution as the Samsungs, but having said that the only time you will notice it is if you put them next to one another.

Battery:  5 / 5

If I am going to put the Nexa Vega N4 against the Samsung S4 / Note then I must also score the Samsungs battery life.

I would rate my Note 1 and my wifes Note 3 both as a 3/5 compared to the Nexa 5/5.  I am lucky if I get 16-20 hours out of the Samsungs and tweaking settings like Turn WiFi and Mobile Data off when screen off and manually killing all background tasks did not improve the situation.  In fact my wife unplugs her Note 3 at 07h00 in the morning and some evenings is plugging it in again at 20h00… I have long forgotten what it feels like NOT to charge a phone every day – that was until the Nexa Vega N4 came along.

Now taking into consideration that it is a dual SIM phone (and I had 2 SIM’s in it), and WiFi was on for 50% of the time, and that I was on standby by the week that I tested it getting 2 days and then some out of charge is VERY IMPRESSIVE in my book! Check it out:

62% - 2 Days 1 Hour

62% – 2 Days 1 Hour

46% - 2 Days 1 Hours (Usage)

62% – 2 Days 1 Hours (Usage)

46% - 2 Days 12 Hours

46% – 2 Days 12 Hours

46% - 2 Days 12 Hours (Usage)

46% – 2 Days 12 Hours (Usage)

I am going to try and squeeze it for 3 days, but seriously our Samsungs have NEVER come close!

(Edit: Check this out – last day of testing…)

Nexa N4 - Final Battery Test 1

Nexa N4 – Final Battery Test 1

Nexa N4 - Final Battery Test 2

Nexa N4 – Final Battery Test 2

Camera:  3.5 / 5

The Nexa Vega N4 has a 5MP  (2560 x 1920) camera and flash at the back and a 2MP (1200 x 1600) in the front.

You are going to have to take my word that the front facing camera is acceptable (not posting any selfies) and I did use it to make a video call.

As far as the rear camera it is acceptable, if a little grainy (maybe a little “out of focus”).  I am sure using another app and playing with the settings would yield better results. My wife kept reminding me that if I wanted to take proper high res photos I should be using a proper camera. So as far as I am concerned it is ample fine for Facebook posts and Whatapps sharing.

Below are samples that I took. Clicking on the link will open the full photo so be warned – approximately 800kb each.

Nexa N4 - Camera - Indoors 1

Nexa N4 – Camera – Indoors 1

Nexa N4 - Camera - Indoors 2

Nexa N4 – Camera – Indoors 2

Nexa N4 - Camera - Outdoors 1

Nexa N4 – Camera – Outdoors 1

Nexa N4 - Camera - Outdoors 2

Nexa N4 – Camera – Outdoors 2

Nexa N4 - Camera - Outdoors 3

Nexa N4 – Camera – Outdoors 3

Nexa N4 - Camera - Outdoors 4

Nexa N4 – Camera – Outdoors 4

Nexa N4 - Camera - Outdoors 5

Nexa N4 – Camera – Outdoors 5

Nexa N4 - Camera - Outdoors 6

Nexa N4 – Camera – Outdoors 6

Nexa N4 - Camera - Overcast

Nexa N4 – Camera – Overcast

Nexa N4 - Camera - Sunset

Nexa N4 – Camera – Sunset

So as you can see they are acceptable.

Other:  4 / 5

I used the GPS and found that it was able to lock onto satellites easily (and quickly thanks to EPO and A-GPS enabled) and using Google Maps I was able to navigate with it accurately.

Nexa N4 - GPS - 1 of 3

Nexa N4 – GPS – 1 of 3

Nexa N4 - GPS - 2 of 3

Nexa N4 – GPS – 2 of 3

Nexa N4 - GPS - 3 of 3

Nexa N4 – GPS – 3 of 3

A small “bug” if you want to call it that was that with each reboot of the phone the WiFi MAC Address would change. Now as an added level of WiFi protection I use MAC filtering at home and this was the only way I discovered this small issue. Check it out how the WiFi MAC address changes on reboot…

Nexa N4 - WiFi MAC Address Bug 1 of 2

Nexa N4 – WiFi MAC Address Bug 1 of 2

Nexa N4 - WiFi MAC Address Bug 2 of 2

Nexa N4 – WiFi MAC Address Bug 2 of 2

The fact that it comes with JellyBean 4.2.2 out the box is a HUGE plus point for me.  All I need now is a way to root it and I will be 100% happy 🙂 .  There is an OTA (Over The Air) update option on the phone to update firmware (the support chap said it should be live mid 2014). There is no word yet on if they will be releasing KitKat.

Accessories – As the button locations and rear speaker grill are not on the same side as the Samsung S4, one will have to get extra screen covers and case (if available) and extra batteries (not that one needs one) from the supplier of the phone. I am hoping to get some photos and prices and will post as soon as I have it.

So in conclusion: 

Price 5 / 5
Size 4.5 / 5
Battery 5 / 5
Camera 3.5 / 5
Other 4 / 5
TOTAL 22 /25

88% Score !

I have really been amazed by its battery life and speed for such an unknown phone, and overall for my purposes it fits the bill perfectly!

It is with a very sad heart that I am boxing this phone up and sending it back to the supplier. The good news however is that as soon as I have some extra cash (in the next month or two) I will be purchasing one for myself!  A black one!

If any of you are interested in getting one of your own, feel free to drop me a line and I will hook you up.

Review: Nexa Vega N4 Smartphone (Part 3 – Benchmarks)

Topic - Android In my previous posts regarding the Nexa Vega N4 Smartphone I discussed its unboxing and dual sim capabilities.  This is the post where I discuss how it performs.

The Nexa Vega N4 is stated as having a MediaTek MT6582 Processor. According to Wikipedia this is a 1.3Ghz Quad Core CPU with 32 KB L1 and 512 KB L2 cache.

I decided to run a few benchmarking apps to see how it performs:

1. AnTuTu BenchmarkPlay Store

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Antutu 0

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Antutu 0

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Antutu 1

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Antutu 1

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Antutu 2

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Antutu 2

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Antutu 3

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Antutu 3

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Antutu 4

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Antutu 4

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Antutu 5

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Antutu 5

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Antutu 6

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Antutu 6

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Antutu 7

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Antutu 7

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Antutu 8

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Antutu 8

 

2. Quadrant Standard Edition – Play Store

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Quadrant 1

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Quadrant 1

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Quadrant 2

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Quadrant 2

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Quadrant 3

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Quadrant 3

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Quadrant 4

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Quadrant 4

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Quadrant 5

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Quadrant 5

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - Quadrant 6

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – Quadrant 6

3. 3DMark – Play Store

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - 3DMark 1

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – 3DMark 1

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - 3DMark 2

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – 3DMark 2

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - 3DMark 3

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – 3DMark 3

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - 3DMark 4

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – 3DMark 4

Nexa N4 - Benchmark - 3DMark 5

Nexa N4 – Benchmark – 3DMark 5

What really impressed…

As you can see the phone performed well for its price range and I did not experience any lag at all when running apps. However the one thing that REALLY impressed me even more was the battery life even after running these tests.

Have a look at these screen shots, you can see clearly where I ran the benchmarks by the sharp drop in battery, however look how long it carried on going after that!

Nexa N4 - Battery - Post Benchmarks 1

Nexa N4 – Battery – Post Benchmarks 1

Nexa N4 - Battery - Post Benchmarks 2

Nexa N4 – Battery – Post Benchmarks 2

I am definitely going to do more tests on the battery lifespan and see if this is just a once off thing!

Next Up… Overall Impression…

Review: Nexa Vega N4 Smartphone (Part 2 – Using a Dual SIM Phone)

Topic - Android

In my previous post I did the unboxing of the Nexa Vega N4 phone that I was able to demo to a few people at my office. This post is about the real reason why I wanted a phone like this…dual SIM functionality!

If you are one of those people who have two phones, one for work and one for personal you will know how frustrating it can be having to carry two phones around.  If you are one of those people who use one SIM card for data and another for making calls you will also know how frustrating it can be SIM swopping all the time. Well stress no more!

The Nexa Vega N4 allows you to choose which SIM to use to make calls, video calls, SMS (or Messaging) or Data Connection.

Please note that I have edited these screen shots (just blanked out the phone numbers) otherwise it is as you would see on the screen.

The Home Screen:

Home Screen of Nexa Vega N4

Home Screen of Nexa Vega N4

Note the SIM 1 and 2

Note the SIM 1 and 2

The SIM Management Options

SIM Management Main Page

SIM Management Main Page

SIM Display Digits

SIM Display Digits options

SIM Background Colour

SIM Background Colour

 

SIM 1 Information

SIM 1 Information

SIM 2 Information

SIM 2 Information

Editing SIM Name

Editing SIM Name

Editing SIM Display Number

Editing SIM Display Number

As you can see there management of naming the SIM’s and colour coding them is very easy and helps when identifying which SIM you want to use.

How to Make a Phone Call

Making a phone call is extremely easy. Type the number in and press the dial button, you can then select which SIM card to use. (PS: See that dial button on the bottom right, the one with the screen next to the handset…well believe it or not that is for video calling).

Making Call: Type in the Number you want to dial

Making Call: Type in the Number you want to dial

Making a Call: Select which SIM card to use...EASY!

Making a Call: Select which SIM card to use…EASY!

 How to send a SMS (Text Message)

As with making a call, it is extremely easy to send a text message. Type up the message and then click the Send button. A SIM selection window pops up and you select which one to use!

N4_Dual_16-SMS Select SIM

What you think so far? I am pretty impressed!

That concludes this part of the review, stay tuned for the next one on how it performed on battery and what the camera was like.

Up Next… Benchmarks