Sony Xperia Z3 – Does it live up to its promises?

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Sony’s Xperia Z3 (along with its Xperia Z3v) is their latest attempt at breaking into the mainstream US smartphone market. They make a lot of promises with the device, but does it really live up to its 2-Day battery, 20.7 MP camera, immersive front-facing speakers, and fun gaming sessions with Playstation 4 Remote Play? Let’s find out.

Battery

Quite possibly the biggest claim of their Z3 flagship is the 2-Day battery life. Unfortunately for the time had with this device, it quite simply is not the case. Being quite blunt, this battery does not even last 1-Day for a power user. Besides Display killing battery as per norm on most devices, on the Z3 there is something that has to be wrong with Bluetooth. More explained later about that; Android Wear is heavily draining the battery on the Z3 and eating up CPU cycles for seemingly no reason at all. In this case a Moto 360 is connected and is also being used for trusted Bluetooth device unlock, a feature that hopefully isn’t causing this issue for how convenient it is to not have to enter a passcode or PIN lock when you’re Bluetooth device is nearby. For example, just this morning by 11AM the Z3 had 28% of its battery life taken from Android Wear. Resetting the Moto 360 and re-installing the Android Wear app seems to not do anything to alleviate the problem. It’s evident from other users on XDA-Developers.com that not everyone is having the same problems with their Z3, so to each their own.

Camera

Megapixels aren’t everything when it comes to a smartphone camera. Although, with the Xperia Z3 that is definitely the case! Sony has decided to go with an Auto camera mode that takes a few 20.7 MP images and down-samples them into a 8 MP image. In theory this is a good thing, it makes better wide-screen ratio’d images and saves memory on the device, but what if you have a large microSD slot and want to take full advantage of the 20.7 MP shooter? This camera doesn’t disappoint and it probably the strongest feature of the Z3 (when you use Manual mode to set the higher resolution!). Pictures are worth a thousand words of course, so below are some samples of some festive scenes and the San Diego Zoo Safari park that were taken with the Manual setting. As well, you will find a 4K Tiger and a 720p Time-Shift video of a waterfall.

Audio Quality

Normally, headphones are included with modern day smartphones, but not in the T-Mobile variant of the Sony Xperia Z3. So for better or for worse, the dual-front facing speakers were used for this review. Music videos that take advantage of stereo in quiet environment sound great. However, the speaker settings are not calibrated at all. 0-80% is near silent, 90% is OK in quiet places… and 100% is extremely loud. Not just extremely loud though, but it sounds horribly blown out and distorted at 100%. The same goes for in-call quality! A choice must be made between loud and tingy or too low of a volume for normal humans to hear. Most of the phone calls were over HD Voice, but as soon as it went to standard voice quality it makes the user strain to understand anyone on the phone call. Its a darn shame that some smartphone manufacturers ignore the phone part and just focus on the smart.

Remote Play

Disappointment is an understatement, Remote Play can be described by one word unplayable. Sony’s Hero feature for this device was its compatibility with PS4 Remote Play. For their credit, they did turn it on before their original November date it was slated to be released, but its downhill from there. A bit about the test environment: A Playstation 4 hard-wired by ethernet connection to an AC router, a Z3 connected via said AC router, a DualShock 4 controller connected video Bluetooth, and a frustrated Destiny gamer. When using the Remote Play app’s on-screen control buttons there is little to no noticeable input lag… that is NOT the case when using the DualShock 4 gamepad from Sony. 1 second of input lag with a gamepad makes Destiny a horrible experience and anyone playing in such an environment would be quickly overrun by enemy Fallen, Hive, Vex, and Guardians in the Crucible alike. On top of the terrible input lag, the Z3’s WiFi range is also just plain terrible. Even 10 feet from the AC router there were disconnects from the Playstation 4. In comparison, this same environment and router was used for an Nvidia SHIELD streaming which is also 720p@60FPS and there was no input lag or disconnect issues. Sony needs to step up their game when it comes to Remote Play and its unacceptable to advertise it as the Xperia Z3’s saving grace.

Software

Every OEM like to put their own skin on Android, Motorola absent, and Sony is no different. However, their skin is mostly just a UI change and everything runs silky smooth. There is one major thing that Sony should really advertise some more and that is Xperia Themes. Any user can go into the Play Store and download themes that can change a ton of the look and feel of the device, no root and sometimes no cost needed! A great example is the Android L theme that can be purchased for the pro version here or given a test run with the free version here. It changes the soft-keys along the bottom to look just like Android Lollipop’s shapes and when combined with the Google Now Launcher, 8SMS, and the Google Keyboard give a very smooth and stock Android-like experience without having to root or unlock any bootloaders. Speaking of rooting and bootloaders, you won’t be doing anything on the T-Mobile version of the Z3 or the Z3v as of the time of this review. The current version of Android on both is 4.4.4 Kitkat, and Sony claims to be updating the Z3 to Lollipop in late first quarter 2015. Compare this to Samsung’s claim of December and you’ll see that’s a very slow update turnaround if even the masters of UI overhauls and bloat can get it done by the new year!

Screen

Sony, like Motorola with the Moto X 2014, thankfully did not fall for the trap of 1440p smartphone displays. The Z3 has a 5.2″ @ 1080p screen that brings a dpi of 423 (keep in mind, Apple considers Retina on a smartphone 300 dpi and above, and they aren’t wrong!). Anything past 400 dpi is honestly not worth the horsepower required to keep up with it. For example, the DROID Turbo with the Snapdragon 805 @ 1440p could last even longer and run even faster with 1080p. Instead of going with the same 423 dpi if they had a 1080p display like the Z3, they went for a dpi of 564. Its quite wasteful and I hope this doesn’t become the norm from now on. As for the quality of the screen, coming from the Samsung Galaxy S 5’s Super AMOLED display, the Xperia Z3’s IPS LCD screen is bland and the white’s appear quite grey.

Body & Buttons

With a 5.2″ screen and large bezels on the top and bottom, the Z3 is almost impossible to use one handed. Thankfully, Sony decided to put the power, volume, and dedicated camera key on the middle of the right-side of the phone so its not difficult to reach them. Also, a fun feature they don’t really advertise is Double-Tap to turn on the display, a feature borrowed from LG and stock Android L, but definitely a welcome one! User beware! The back of the Xperia Z3 is made of a glass material and is quite slippery. Get a case for this one or be at risk of it slipping out of the hands when trying to snap a pic or when taking out of a pocket. The material looks nice, but its definitely not worth the risk of cracking one of the two pieces of glass the phone is made out of. Water resistance is a requirement these days, and its no surprise that the Xperia Z3 is advertised heavily as such. There was no water resistance test done for this review, but that’s mainly since this is a personal pre-order device and not a review unit.

Bottom Line

Should a consumer looking for a smartphone in November 2014 purchase a Sony Xperia Z3? I’ll leave that choice up to the user. The review experience turned from positive initially into a fairly negative one, and this phone will be turned ASAP and be replaced soon by a Nexus 6.

 

Picture and Video Samples

 

Evening Macro shot of a rose.
Pumpkin Test Image
Low lighting macro’s with flash works quite well.
Taken in direct sunlight.
Evening scene with a spooky Hello Kitty!
Entrance to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Check out the 4K Video Test by clicking the Tiger.
Don’t zoom in! The Xperia Z3’s kryptonite. Zoomed 1/2
Paw-In-Mouth. Embarrassing photo. Zoomed 2/2

 

New Writer

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Hello fellow Android enthusiasts! I am excited to announce that I will be joining Rootjunky.com as a writer. While things are still being worked out, I hope that I will be able to teach you some new stuff about your Android devices and keep your curiosity high and the questions flowing! Hopefully I can expand your knowledge and learn some stuff along the way.

My name is Cooper, and I am joining you all in your daily Rootjunky. I am a highschool student from Texas. You can find some of my digital work or other writings on different sites on my Google+ page. I play with graphics designs, programming, and writing. Most of my work revolves around Android. I currently plan on majoring in Computer Science when I go off to college.

That is it on me for now. If you want to learn more about me, feel free to stalk my Google+! If you really don’t care about me, and you just care about the articles I will write, then have fun with my articles and I hope that I can teach something to you. Also, don’t hesitate to send me messages or comment below with questions about anything Android!

Android 5.0 Lollipop

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Android 5.0 Lollipop

lollipop

 

As Many of you may or may not know Android 5.0 Lollipop was announced today by Google, bring us many new features and improvements. Among my favorites are the: Tap & go: instant set up of your new Android phone or tablet by simply tapping it to your old one (requires NFC) This will make it really easy to change devices and i am loving this idea.  Next is the new handy controls like flashlight, hotspot, screen rotation and cast screen controls in quick settings. This features is something that almost every custom rom has in it. Again this is the beauty of open source, the ideas come from everyone not just Google. Last on my list is the battery saver feature which extends device use by up to 90 mins. Battery is Key on Android devices and is something that i am seeing OEM’s focus more and more on. If you would like to see a full list of features on Android 5.0 Lollipop then check out the official site HERE

Also if you already have a Nexus Device you may want to keep your eyes on Google’s Firmware Site HERE

Android 5.0 Lollipop new Figure at the Google campus

Statue

 

If you want to see More about the New Nexus Device Line up of the Nexus 6 and 9 along with the Nexus Android TV CLICK HERE

FramaRoot one click app

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FramaRoot One Click App

Framaroot-2

FramaRoot is a very awesome one-click application that install Superuser and su binary on your phone.  Superuser app and su binary are include in this application and it works on many android devices ranging from android version 2.0 to 4.0 or from Eclair to Ice Cream Sandwich here you can find a list of known device that Framaroot one click app works on.

WARNING Successful Root with this application will void your warranty on the device. DOWNLOAD FRAMAROOT APP

Installation

  1. Download Framaroot on to your device
  2. Install it with a file explorer or directly from your internet browser, if android warn you about security risk, say OK  ( most android rooting apps with be flagged as a security risk since they are a exploit of some kind ) and check Unknown sources to allow install of applications.

Usage

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

Possible case once application is launched

  • A popup saying “Your device seems not vulnerable to exploit included in Framaroot”, in this case you can uninstall app
  • You seeing one or more exploit name, also click on one after you have selected an action and you will see one of the above messages

Possible case once exploit is selected

  • “Success … Superuser and su binary installed. You have to reboot your device”
  • “Failed … Exploit work but installation of Superuser and su binary have failed”
  • “Half-Success :-/ … system partition is read-only, use local.prop trick. Reboot your device and use adb to see if it run as root”, happen when the filesystem in use on system partition is a read only filesystem (ex: squashfs)
  • “Failed … Try another exploit if available”
  • Framaroot crash or freeze, in this case relaunch Framaroot a second time and select the same action and exploit

Here you will find the official thread on XDA Developers site

FramaRoot One Click App

Here is the list of known compatible devices but if yours isnt listed try it anyway and it may work

Device Compatibility

If you are really into this app and want to learn more about advanced settings check out this link

Advanced settings

Here is a Video of me rooting my Droid X and Droid 2

CF Auto Root

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CF Auto Root

CF Auto Root is a really easy to use Root method created by Chainfire hence the CF and he is also the creator of SuperSU app along with many other awesome Android Apps. This root method is compatible with most Samsung and Google Nexus Devices it works with either the Odin Program or Fastboot commands for the Nexus devices check here to see if your device is compatible with this amazing CF AUTO ROOT TOOL 

NOTE- When selecting the Right CF auto root files to download it will be helpful to go into your device setting and then about phone or tablet and look at the info there then match it up with the info on the site downloads.

How to use Odin and Fastboot

ODIN flashable devices

odin

 

BASIC INSTRUCTIONS

All downloads contain .tar.md5 files flashable in ODIN as PDA.

Make sure your device is in ODIN download mode (usually you can get there by holding VolDown+Home+Power when the device is turned off), then start the included Odin3-v1.85.exe file, press the PDA button, select the .tar.md5 file, and click Start. You can find more detailed instructions and assistance at XDA.

A modified recovery and cache partition will be flashed, which will install (only) SuperSU, then clean-up the cache partition and re-flash the stock recovery.

For the root to work, the device must reboot into recovery. Most devices will do this automatically after flashing these files, but in case that does not happen, please boot into recovery manually.

UNLOCK BOOTLOADERS

If you have locked bootloaders, flashing one of these will probably brick your device – with the exception of Nexus devices, which will usually automatically “OEM unlock” and wipe your data !

 

Download the Odin Program you will need HERE

Download the samsung usb drivers for your computer if you dont already have them HERE

 

Fastboot flashable devices

fastboot

BASIC INSTRUCTIONS

All downloads contain .img files bootable through Fastboot.

Make sure your device is in Fastboot mode (usually you can get there by holding VolUp+VolDown+Power when the device is turned off), then run the included script for your OS. On Linux and Mac, you may have to chmod +x root-linux/mac.sh before the script does anything.

A special boot image will load, which will install (only) SuperSU, then reboot into Android.

UNLOCK BOOTLOADERS

The included scripts perform an “OEM unlock”. If this fails, the root will not work. If it succeeds, and you were not previously unlocked (first time rooting ?), it will probably wipe your data !

For some device (Sony, Verizon, etc) you may need an OEM-specific tool to unlock the bootloader. Please do not forget to check and use this tool, if provided by the OEM.

Download the fastboot files you will need for WIndows HERE

 

Check out the main thread for CF Auto Root on XDA developers site HERE

Motorola Moto 360 Super Tool

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Motorola Moto 360 Super Tool

Moto360 screen 1moto360 screen 2

 Download the Super Tool HERE at RootJunkysdl.com

Motorola Moto 360 Super Tool Options

1. Install adb and fastboot drivers from motorola and test them

2. unlock the bootloader of the watch

3. relock the bootloader of the watch

4. flash stock wear recovery image

5. flash stock wear boot image

6. restore your Moto 360 to stock KGW42N official

7. Root the Moto 360

8. flash TWRP recovery coming soon i hope

9. boot to stock recovery from bootloader mode

Requirements to use this Motorola Moto 360 Super tool

USB interface cable. if you need one watch this video on how to make it

Download the Super Tool HERE at RootJunkysdl.com 

Know how to remove the watch band. check this VIDEO

May have a Video coming on how to use this tool soon 🙂

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Towel Root

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Towel Root

Towel Root is a app that exploits your kernel which they allows the app to inject SU file it to your android device file system. This gives you root access but you will still need to install SuperSU App from Google Play Store after using the Towel Root app.  geohot is the developer behind this awesome and easy to use exploit. always remember to support your dev’s 🙂 This Root exploit works great with lots a different devices please try it on yours and comment below if it works for you. I know it works on lots of android 4.4 Kitkat device

 

 Screenshot_2014-09-29-15-59-31

Its simple Just go to Towelroot.com and click on the upside down Y and the app will download to your device. Next you need to enable unknown source so that you can install the Towel Root app. Once install just click the Make it ra1n button shown aboove and you will have root access. Make sure you install Supersu & root checker apps to make sure root is working correctly.

Here is a video of me rooting my Galaxy S5 with the app

 

NOTE If the SU binary isnt updating correctly just reboot the device and check again.

Towel Root Exploit is known to works on these devices

AT&T GS5, Verizon GS5, GS4 Active, Nexus 5
May have some troubles at the door but invited: AT&T/Verizon Note 3
Possibly invited: Every Android phone with a kernel build date < Jun 3

Also many other devices work. i have used it on many Motorola devices as well. Try it on your android device

Moto 360 adapter usb cable

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Motorola Moto 360 adapter usb cable

20140926_220555

How to make your own USB cable to connect to the 5 Pogo pins on the back of the Motorola Moto 360 under the bottom watch band under the FCC sticker. With this cable you will be able to give the Moto 360 adb and fastboot commands. To unlock the bootloader or maybe even restore a bricked device its up to you. Here are the instructions with some pictures to hopefully help you along.

20140926_165415

Tools and parts you will need

1. a long usb cable

2. a female cat5 connector from any of these links Home Depot  Amazon

3. par of wire strippers

4. small side cutters

5. little standard screw driver

6. drill and 1/16 drill bit

7. ohm meter

8. needle nose pliers

Useful info on usb cables

usb cableusbpinout

 Basically what you are doing is cutting the micro usb end off of the usb cable and attaching a Cat5 female connector to the end with 4 of the prongs pulled out to connect to the pins on the back of the Moto 360. best advise is to watch the video i have on this process here.

Please comment below if you have any questions or ideas on improving this cable thanks

RootJunky Out

 

Wifi Phone

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How to turn your old or new android device into a WiFi phone

Requirements

1.  Phone with Android version 4.3 or higher

2.  Gmail account

3.  Google hangouts app installed

4.  Google Voice app installed

5.  Hangouts dialer app installed

6.  A phone number you can use to setup your Google voice account with but not use. It can be a land line or a cell

7. a WiFi network to have your device connected to. maybe at your home or at McDonalds 🙂

Steps for setup

1. Go to Google.com/voice and login

2. get a new number for your google voice account

3. activate new number be verifying with another number cell phone or lane line.

4. setup voice mail and any other settings you like on the site

5. check forward calls to Google chat this is really import also make sure you verification number isnt checked

voice

6. Now that you have your google voice number setup you can setup the apps on your phone

7. setup google voice app first then open and setup hangouts next hangouts dialer

Screenshot_2014-09-18-21-12-39

8. go to settings on hangouts app and select sms and enable it

Screenshot_2014-09-18-21-12-27

Screenshot_2014-09-18-21-12-02

8. again in settings click on your email address. Then under google voice check both incoming phone calls and messages

Screenshot_2014-09-18-21-11-39

thats it your done

if you did everything right you now have a android phone that when it is on wifi can make and receive phone calls with the google voice number you setup. It can send and receive text also from that google voice number and even get voice mail that can be played in the hangouts app, in fact all the features listed here are done from the hangouts app.

This is a great way to use a old phone or even a phone with a bad esn

No sim card required device can be unactivated

Enjoy my little trick and also what i use for a home phone

RootJunky Out

Sync this phone with a android wear device and you will be really running smooth 🙂

 if you are still having a hard time with this check out this video it the same process just with different apps

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