Sunday, December 29, 2013

Updated my Note 2, now 4G on T-Mobile AWS!

My Verizon Note 2 was the best global phone until S4. I used it on 2G/3G/4G/LTE on Verizon (PagePlus), Sprint (BoostMobile) and AT&T and in China, Japan, HK, Taiwan, etc. However, it could only get 2G on T-Mobile. After updating to the latest 4.3 update, now it gets very fast T-Mobile 4G too!

On T-Mobile 4G:

On T-Mobile 3G:

On EVDO (Verizon/Sprint 3G):

It still cannot get T-Mobile LTE though, so the S4 is now officially the new king of global phones.

Beside AWS, one new thing I really like is: now you can see thumbnails when you connect Note 2 to your computer and browse photos.

The downside is some things no longer work after this update:
  • No more free hotspot or tether. Hopefully someone (or I) will post a hack like the one for S4.
  • Miracast no longer work with Netgear PTV3000.
  • Some apps no longer work, such Phone Info.
  • Many hidden codes no longer available, such as ##MSL#.
I root it with the same Saferoot method as I did with S4. To enable hidden menu, you need to edit the /efs/carrier/HiddenMenu and change "OFF" to "ON". Then you can dial ##3283# to switch EVDO modes or force T-Mobile LTE only:

"Hybrid Mode" means the phone will switch automatically between voice (1x CDMA) and EVDO (3G). If you select "EVDO Only", you won't be able to make phone calls.

To switch to HSPAP/UMTS/GSM or auto switch between CDMA/EVDO and T-Mobile LTE, use the built-in setting:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Make yourself a Christmas gift - phone stand

Very easy to make, look like crystal and all parts cost only few dollars in a DollarTree nearest you. Can be charged while standing up, hard to find for Android phones.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Verizon Galaxy S4 - the new star of global phones!

After the latest update to Mk2, wow, now it works on T-Mobile's 4G and LTE! Maybe earlier versions work on AWS too, but I did not test and at least MDK cannot. Before this, my Verizon Note 2 was the best global phone and I have used it on the 3G/4G/LTE networks of Verizon, Sprint, AT&T,  China (Unicom) and Japan, but only 2G (EDGE) on T-Mobile.

To use a T-Mobile SIM card, you don't need root S4 or unlock it. Verizon LTE phones are never locked in the first place due to an agreement between Verizon and US government. All you need is to add an APN of "" and switch it to GSM/UMTS for H+ or LTE/CDMA for LTE. For AT&T, Unicom, and  other GSM carriers, just add the corresponding APN.

For PagePlus, you'll do the same as you do with Note 2: switch it to diag mode (dial ##DMMODE#), use CDMA Workshop (passcode 2009031920090615) to set it from "UIM Only" to "UIM if available" and use DFS to write PRL, MDN and MIN. To get 3G though, more work is needed and it is out of the scope of this blog.

It is still better to root it, because, as always, that SamsungSetupWizard is too annoying. And, there is no way I know of to use MK2 as a hotspot. I used "Saferoot", but the script does not work and I did it manually according to the script. To enable WiFi hotspot and USB/BT tether, I used the instructions found here (the alternative method - manually copying and moving the hacked framework-res.apk).

Now I'm waiting for the 4.3 update for Note 2 and hopefully it'll enable AWS too. If not, then I'll buy a S4.

PS: even if you use a native T-Mobile phone, you still need to add the APN manually. The built-in one has administrative authority to enforce all kinds of stupid restrictions such as shutting down hotspot.

[update 12/25/13] Saw a good deal on craigslist, so bought a Verizon S4. Roaming automatically between EVDO and T-Mobile LTE, very cool! Very good battery life, although battery is smaller than Note 2's. Built-in Gmail2 sucks - using CPU constantly, so had to replace it with 4.1.2 like I did with Note 2 (remove /system/app/Gmail2.apk, then install Gmail_4.1.2 apk). One hand operation is much easier than Note 2. Feels faster than Note 2.

Confirmed: the latest 4.3 update enables AWS on Note 2 too!

Program S4 etc. to PagePlus

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Windows 8.1 Tablets Comparison

I made this list to easy your selection of these tablets.

ASUS T100:

10", 1366x768, 1.2 lb (w/o 1.2 lb keyboard), HDMI, USB 3.0 (on keyboard), 

HP Omni 10:

10", 1920x1200, 1.43 lb, Z3770, HDMI

Toshiba Encore:

GPS, 1 lb, 19,500 mWh, cannot be charged while using USB devices, HDMI, 

Dell Venue 8 Pro:

0.9 lb, 18,500 mWh, cannot be charged while using USB devices, dual-band Wi-Fi, too sensitive touch on some units,

Lenovo MIIX 2:

GPS, 0.8 lb, 17,500 mWh, can be charged while using USB devices, too bright at lowest brightness & poor blackness, 

All (unless specified above):

Intel Z3740 CPU, QuickSync (better than Z2760's compression quality), 2GB RAM, 32-64 GB eMMC, 8", 1280x800, 8-10 hours, Miracast, Windows 8.1, Office 2013 Home & Students, charge via USB (2.0), 

The bottom line: seriously lack of HDMI and/or USB charging while being used. Don't buy now, unless it is below $199 or 10" is not too large to you.


If you use traditional Windows applications and/or use remote desktop client, avoid 1920x1200 or higher on 8" and 10" Windows, because text will be either too small, too blurry or too messy.

This article will be updated while newer information available.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Miracast Demo

I made a video to give you some ideas about Miracast with laptop, phone and tablet:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dell Venue 8 Pro Miracast fixed

Dell released an update for Intel chipset (12/2/2013), now Miracast works fully including duplicate mode that was limited to portrait and 800x600.

It is a little tricky though, you have to use the Intel graphics utility to change the resolution and orientation after connected to the projector as showing in the following photo:

I have then used this fantastic feature to watch online TV for hours and it worked flawlessly!