[chbot] THL W100 phone

Volker Kuhlmann list0570 at paradise.net.nz
Mon Dec 16 11:21:25 GMT 2013

Several people asked for some more details.

The hardware details are here (manufacturer's site):

Android 4.2.1, quad core ARMv7 from Mediatek, 960*540 IPS screen (no
gorilla glass or OLED), GPS, accelerometer, magnetometer (no practical
use), light + near field sensors, bluetooth, dual SIM, microSD card
slot, charger, ear phones. The spare battery was discontinued by THL in
mid October. There are models with larger screens.

The GPS is integrated into the CPU, and proprietory. To function well it
needs EPO data (current for 1 month) and AGPS data. Both are a few
kilobytes to download. Expect 10-20min for the first fix, and clear sky
view is absolutely essential. After that it does want a periodic
Internet connection. My AGPS is 5 days old and I transported it from
Hoon Hay to the meeting with the GPS off. It took 54s to fix - that's
I got the feeling some GPS apps may "update" the AGPS data by way of 1.
delete, 2. download, 3. drats, no Internet, so watch out.

I paid $185 shipped from Aliexpress, with spare screen protector and
flip case. There are many sources to get them. THL is very large in
China, Russia, and making way in Europe.

There is no vendor rubbish or lock on the phone, but it is not totally
vanilla android 4.2.1. Apart from the necessary adaptation to the
hardware there are about a dozen Mediatek apps on it (todo, notes, ...)
- but they're never in the way, back up as APK and can probably be
uninstalled. 4 apps were installed on internal "SD card" - flash player,
skype, super compass, twidroyd pro. Someone here thought they might be
doing the user a favour. There also is a Chinese keyboard and input
method installed that I've seen somewhere as apps, so are not vanilla.

A must-have for this type of phone (useless for others) is Mediatek's
MobileUncle Tools, which is the field engineer's
what-else-can-I-fiddle-with kind of dream. It has a lot of test
functions, diagnostics incl hard- and software versions, options that
look like they will replace the ROM ("easy update tool via sd card"),
and engineering mode (very useful). Some functions outright say "please
root your phone first"...

While the phone is impressive for the price I have to say android is
disappointing. It's main justification for existence seems to be to feed
the advertising industry, including google.

The must-have app to fix some of that is AppGuard, and no, you can not
get it from play (google kicked it). Go here:
It originated in a university research project. The PDF manual is only
in German and is not really necessary. Brief help is in the app. The
EULA is German only as well - bit of a laugh, but there is nothing
of concern in there (e.g. no user data collection). The free version has
some limits, the full version doesn't and is the pittance of 4EUR. Use

This is the sort of app that should be in android, and 10 times better.
The App Ops trickery that went through the press in the last week would
be good too - if it was properly done and wasn't lacking essentials -
like net access control.

Install a virus scanner, trustgo or lookout (see consumer). Check they
don't access analytics. Both developers also have "carrier IQ
detectors", scanning for telco user tracking (not in this phone, but
watch the Samsungs and telco supplied ones!). Also make sure to run
trustgo's ad detector (then tidy your apps, or go buy AppGuard)!
Lookout's add detector has the same function but result presentation is

Run AppScanner
and you'll probably be less than impressed.

Other apps I find very good:
  Total Commander, X-plore (file managers)
  App Backup & Restore (but must deal with ads, start when installing
  with play)
  GPS Status (also has the only good compass)
  Open GPS Tracker (but doesn't load google map tiles)
  Quick Pic (photo viewer)
  RealCalc (pocket calculator)
  FB Reader
  PDF viewer

There are many good open source apps on f-droid.org.



Volker Kuhlmann
http://volker.top.geek.nz/	Please do not CC list postings to me.

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