OnePlus One – An Interesting Android Device

Everyone this month has gone Apple crazy for iPhone 6 & Plus and honestly it isn’t much to be excited about, but the OnePlus One is something to be excited about. With Cyanogen this one is as unique as it gets from a first time manufacturer packing high end specifications for a reasonably priced phone to be exact the 64 GB sells for $350 which is less then half of the Samsung Galaxy S5 for $750 and the HTC One M8 for $650. The OnePlus One comes in White 16 GB& Black 64 GB, and the design of the device and build of the device rivals the best of them.

The powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with global 4G LTE is coupled with an immersive 5.5″ 1080p display for over a day’s worth of battery life packed 3100 mAh. With a 13 Megapixel camera it takes some very nice shots from all the sample pictures I have seen. And a front facing 5 Megapixel camera which shoots beautifully.

 

The best part is the extremely customizable software which most geeks know very well, Cyanogen. But the difference in this case is that OnePlus has worked closely with Cyanogen to make this a deeply customizable operating system, and you can even have it look like a Samsung Device, Google Android Vanilla, LG Device, Motorolla, and more.

This piece of hardware is customizable to the nth degree and has all the bells and whistles of most of the flagship phones and price wise it is unbeatable. Google should have made something like this instead of the low spec Nexus 5. Mine is on the way, and to order one you have to register, and thanks to K he forwarded his registration over to me, so mine is on the way. I will have a more technical review once I have the device in hand.

Link: OnePlus

 

Zain 4G / LTE Rant

It seems I wasn’t the only one noticing that as of the last few months my Zain LTE Router is no where near what it used to be.

People may say that 4G does it for them, its good for quick browsing and going through normal internet usage, but not heavy duty lifting, not major downloading or gaming what so ever.

Below is the full comment of Tenthfire that really broke down all the issues I was facing as well as details that I honestly didn’t delve into.

I am very disappointed with Zain LTE this year with their approach on their internet. If you check the highway their advertisement was “extremely fast speed and good for gaming” or some similar words.

This year Zain LTE decided to buy cheaper routers compared to last year. These new routers are extremely worse than because that their range is 2/4 compared to the one 1 year ago. The router malfunctions more and the chip is much worse than before. I have to say that 0 tests were made on the router.

I will try not to go into details, but if you play League of Legends, Dota, WOW, Diablo, etc do not get this router as it is extremely unstable.
Last year being one of the first people to have Zain LTE in the country with the modem + 80GB limit (now increased to 300G in 2014) I will tell you my experience.
Usually my ping in gaming is 180-1000. Mostly 180-400 which is extremely unplayable and you get frustrated.

I managed to figure an IP that had a more stable ping than others and managed to configure my router with minimum traffic and to get IP, getting 130-140 ping.
On 2014 they changed router and chip and also programmed their servers in an extremely poor way where it rejected people with old routers / chips. This caused a massive amount of disconnection and customer service have no way of helping you. The people on customer service have no idea how internet work or what the basics of latency are.

Anyways on 2014 I got a new contract hoping that their internet will get better. They increased the limit from 80GB–> 300GB which is amazing.
Zain LTE, however, after a few months starting in March decided to cancel 3G service , so now all cell phones are forced to get 4G LTE.
There is an increased pressure on 4G LTE and the server is extremely over used. The speed went around 3GB / slower per 4 months.
I am sad to say that now the speed of Zain LTE at 3.14.2014 with tests is 5-12 GB/ second on download and less than 10GB in upload from the normal standard which was 40GB+.
IF you buy a normal DSL your ping / internet will be more stable and faster.
I have done some tests on certain IP : 149.147.19.119 37.37.162.104 37.36.132.137 31.203.192.129 37.203.192.129 37.39.173.140 188.236.211.62 188.236.37.152
and many more.

I also made a list of the problems Zain 4G LTE service is having from 2014 (especially Feb and March):
1. Assigning two people the same “IP ” (usually when several computers connect to a router they are given different “IP”).
This is bad, because if that person with the same “IP” downloads something your speed will get slower and if you’re gaming you will lag.
2. Disables Youtube Comments and enables Safety Mode.
This is an extremely annoying problem only seem from their filter / internet problem. Youtube loads extremely slow as well and a lot of problems.
3. Unable to browser specific websites from an “error” which can be solved by turning off your router for 30 seconds – 2 minutes.
This gets annoying when I have to close my router to access sites like XXX website because the router is “stuck” and it happens a lot. Sometimes it gets me an error while going on google. This is only with their service. I have tried normal DSL and other internet services which are much better.
4. As I said before their router radius is extremely low and signal level affects ping.
Radius is usually 0.5 floorX 0.80 floor (LXW) meaning it is worse than any other types.
5. Router shutdowns if you download 3 things simultaneously.
Lets say I download 3 from Itunes 3GB each I can crush my router and their server. It will build up some level of “clog” on that IP address that it will be slow. You will need to change your IP address.

Their simple network structure is sad and if I was to rate it from 1-10 I would give it 0.
I do not recommend this internet for any person who wants a stable network or for gaming. I do not recommend 4G LTE from any company as it is extremely unstable and fails to bring minimum international standards. Calling this network 4G LTE is a simple joke.
This is only 1/5 of the server problems I see. If I was to include more problems on their server and networks it would be extremely cruel.

How they can solve most problems:
1-Fix network stability ( I believe a multi-million dollar company can figure out how to do this).
2-Do not overload yourself with people when your network is extremely weak.
3-Offer certain configuration for gamers.
4-Fix disconnection problems.
5-Find a better engineer for your routers and their components.
6-Do more testing on your routers before buying them from China.

Nokia 625 – Not What I Was Expecting

Nokia625A

I was hoping for a light phone with a great screen & Camera that has 4G, even though the camera was a little less then the 8X. Well it turned out to be more then a disappointment then anything else, this phone has a beautiful screen but every other component is cheap and horrible, cheap price doesn’t necessarily mean cheap quality but in this case it does.

Nokia625B

Cons:

  • Crappy 5MP Camera, I’m really bad
  • Speaker – You can barely hear it and there is this metal grinding sound when it goes to high volumes
  • Heavier then a better specified phone
  • No real change for the Windows 8 software
  • No real added value for Nokia
  • Battery doesn’t last as long as the HTC 8X

Nokia625C

Pros:

  • Beautiful Screen
  • 4G/LTE Speeds are good on the phone
  • Cheap Price

Nokia625D

I really want to stay on the Windows Platform, I’m enjoying more integration with my Windows 8 laptop to a degree and I want it to get better, but if you are looking for a cheap Windows phone to try out the software then this will do, don’t expect much for the camera and speaker. I will still keep the Windows phone, but I will probably trade this one in for something better at a later stage. My only problem with the option coming out from Nokia are the either bulky or too big.

Nokia625E

There are two option from Nokia as a replacement, the Nokia 1020 which has the perfect combination except for the ridiculous camera popping out of the back with 41 MP which is just overkill. Then the Nokia 1520 has a 6″ screen which is just overkill with a 20 MP which is more then enough, but at the end both of these phones are just too big. Both of these phones won’t fit in a normal cup holder in a car and even worse when I place it in my pocket.

Nokia625F

Nexus 5 – D820 & D821 – Preordered & Shipped

Nexus5

I honestly have no patience when it comes to the Nexus line, I do love the line from Google and usually its a clean slate, I just wish they had devices with the right kind of power to it and camera with in it. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is still an amazing device with a fantastic camera, honestly the best phone camera out there in my opinion, let’s see how this 8 MP camera with stabilization will be different.

Technical Specifications:

  • Screen 4.95” 1920×1080 display (445 ppi), Full HD IPS, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Camera 8MP rear facing with Optical Image Stabilization
  • Battery 2300 mAh & Wireless Charging
  • Builtin speaker, 3.5mm stereo audio connector
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800, 2.26GHz, GPU: Adreno 330, 450MHz
  • Dualband WiFi (2.4G/5G) 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC (Android Beam), Bluetooth 4.0
  • 16GB or 32GB internal storage
  • 2GB RAM
  • microUSB, SlimPort enabled, 3.5mm stereo audio jack, Dual microphones, Ceramic power and volume buttons
  • GPS, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Compass, Proximity/Ambient Light, Pressure

Networks (North America)

  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
  • WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
  • LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41

Networks (Rest of World)

  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8
  • LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20

The main issue of the phone is that there are two models that work on the LTE/4G networks the D820 & D821 and the one I am picking up is the US Version which will work fine for now just to test out KitKat which is Android 4.4. I am annoyed that they can’t fit all the frequencies onto one single chip but this has been the case with most technologies initially and the same case with 3G connectivity. As for the screen it is a 1080p 5 inch cornered Gorilla Glass which is going to be interesting to see. The D820 works in the US across all their networks, and the D821 is for the rest of the world, and it will probably be on sale in the UK soon enough. The device seems interesting at $400, and compared to other phones its on the cheaper side, I’m looking forward to tinkering with this device.

4G Coverage – GCC

KuwaitTelecoms

Kuwait is one of the first conutries to roll out full 4G coverage, and we are tough customers, I honestly was very critical and abusing it when possible and it has survived my torment and still it is doing well.

4G in the GCC & UK are the same and I’m assuming the Europe would be the same as UK in regards to 4G specifications. But the coverage across Europe is spotty at best. I was in Germany and drove a good amount outside and inside of Frankfurt to see how it works, then there was Amsterdam which we extensively used their network. The connections weren’t that great, and sometimes very disappointing, surprisingly Amsterdam was much better then Frankfurt in terms of coverage.

4G Coverage in Kuwait is fantastic in comparison to Europe, it seems that Europe has fallen back in comparison to us. Our terrestrial data speeds are a disappointment in Kuwait and improvement does’t look like it will happen any time soon, they have been talking about Fiber for the good part of a decade now. But due to this lack of development the wireless data providers have stepped in and so 4G such as Zain, Viva, and Soon to be Wataniya are providing for what the customers are asking for.

Kuwait is even better then the UAE in this aspect, Etisalat has coverage but the speeds are honestly crap and even much worse when you head out of Dubai with little to no coverage, and Du is worse then Etisalat in this regard. It seems that we are more then a step ahead of Europe and Kuwait is leading the pack in GCC. And I have yet to see someone in the GCC to match our coverage and overall speeds, we are spoiled and I honestly hope we have more developments in regards to wireless & LTE internet.

Link: Flickr

Zain Home Router (LTE/4G Speeds)

I had a chance to get my hands on the Zain router, running on the LTE/4G frequencies in Kuwait which still hasn’t been fully certified from the Ministry of Communications. So people are asking the main reason for the delay is MoC, they have everything deployed for a little while now, but as usual politics is what stops things in Kuwait, but MoC is a totally different story.

Getting my hands on it I had a bit of skepticism but I did try AT&T’s 4G services and I have seen how fast it is and its scary fast. So the first thing I wanted to do is test it where ever I can, and this case I tested it at work and friend’s places and my home. Overall I am impressed with the hardware, it is solid and gets a lot of signal, decent speed even when it is low signal, and that was the important test for me, even with low signal it was getting decent speeds around 10 MB.

It’s a Huawei modem, looks good and simple, 4 Ethernet ports on the back and right now the services are not open to the public. The worst signal I got was ranging from 8MB to 16MB, up to 32MB to 42MB. Those are some very scary speeds, and surfing the net feels lighting fast, I do love fast internet. And for 33 KD a month honestly its not too bad, but the cap should at least be 200 or 250 GB not 80 GB

Pros:

  • Gets decent speed even with bad signal
  • It doesn’t have to be next to a window like Mada so you can place it inside your house and it will work
  • It has reached 42 MBPs with me, which got about 4.1 MB down with downloads

Cons:

  • The Cap is 80GB, thats nothing compared to the speed
  • You can buy more space but its overpriced in my opinion
  • Its not consistent at times, but I think they are just ironing out a few kinks in the system

Based on what speeds can be reached you can reach which is 2.1 MB/s to 4.1 MB/s you can use up your 80 GB cap in 11 to 6 hrs depending on your speed. And previously the 21 MBps had a 60 GB limit from Zain so logically it should be at least 120 GB based on their original capping scheme. Overall I think the cap is ridiculous but they are going to do it then a person should get a good bang for their buck with a 250 GB limit.

If you reach the cap you can buy an extra 25 GB for 12 KD or 5 GB for 3 KD, overall I think the pricing is off and not proportional but at least they give you an option to buy more data. For a 15 month contract you get the first three months 50% off and the device for free with 33 KD per month after the first three months. Overall the package is pretty good.

Testing In Shuweikh

Sometimes it would hang a bit, in an odd way and torrents would slow down even when the surfing speed is still high so its a bit surprising. The main issue is consistency, nothing beats a fiber connection but if you don’t have the option then this is the next best thing for surfers. Some gamers will like it but if you care about your ping then this is a bit on the high side. So its great for surfing and certain amount of downloading, not for heavy internet use, but its the perfect back up to your home internet if something goes wrong.

Testing in Miseela/Bidaa

In my case I have crappy land lines so I depend on WIMD and I’m honestly very happy with them even though they are a bit congested still at least a solid 12 to 15 MB and hitting 20 MB in the evenings with no cap. If you can have fiber thats always better but then again this device will really do the job because 4G coverage is supposed to be all over the country by the time it rolls out.

Testing In Fintas with One Signal Bar

Overall I think its an excellent product but they are working out the kinks, it did really reach those high speeds but we have to keep in mind nobody is on the network and it isn’t commercially available so until it is then we can judge the real speed based on the number of users, I hope they have the band width to accept the number of users who will get on board. I’m not sure when it will go commercial because the issue isn’t with Zain its with a governmental entity and you can never guess when they will be done.

Speedtest with VPN on, overall not bad, surfing speed feels quick