Soon after being relieved of my second Tecno smartphone I stuck to my policy of buying electronics. Its pretty simple buy more expensive in the event that I am careless and loose or are relieved of said gadget. I decided to always replace any gadget I loose with a better and more expensive one as soon as I can.
In order to adhere to the Mwangi policy, I proceeded to call up one Gideon Sigei, my go to guy for all things Tecno. Since buying the N7 there have been several launches of droids sporting Android 4.2 most in the mid-range on price and feature sets. I wasn’t that interested in getting something I had previously owned. I thus went for the Tecno F7 (They call it the Tecno Phantom A+ but ain’t that such a mouthful?)
I gotta say I expected way less for the 20,000/- that was asked for the unit. I get a quad core processor, a gig of ram, a GB of internal storage and an 8GB men card. Comes with a 5 inch screen in a better form factor than the Tecno N7 which was/is quite bulky in the hand, pocket and even on the desk. Its also lighter and easier on the eyes.
I tend not to store much on the phone apart from say a couple of pics and using the storage like portable storage. Tecno however need to try and up the internal storage, its really lagging behind competitors on this front anyway.
The 971mb ram seems to be handling tasks just fine with barely any lag or jittery operations.
Holding this phone in your hand makes you wonder exactly why you would buy a Samsung phone. I know I am NOT getting a software upgrade to KitKat while some Samsung handsets will get an upgrade. I also have less internal storage but is that sufficient to warrant double the price for similar specs?
Well I will stick to my broke lanes while holding a gadget faster than my PC for half what it cost me several years ago.
Now for all the tinkerers out there here is how to root the gadget.
Windows 7 PC/laptop
ADB drivers(Just download the Android SDK and it should have all you need.)
Now simply connect your phone to the PC and run the eroot software. Its in Chinese so you won’t understand much of what is going on(unless you are chines that is.) The only button you need is labelled ‘root’ and just click on it and thats it. Your Tecno F7 is rooted.
I doubt there is a need for a custom rom at this stage unless you are some kind of modding freak. Anyhow I have not explored past here.
The Users of the Tecno N7 know what a bargain the device is and for the enthusiastic modders and those wanting maximum control of their device, having root is important.
Being a chinese device there isn’t much that happens in the mainstream developer circles (XDA) concerning it but there is an active community complete with very easy to use tools that you can use to root your ching chong thing and have just as much fun as the rest of the android crowd.
Now few of the regular tools seem to work so I dug around the interwebs till I found the simplest rooting tool ever. It goes by the name SRSRoot and all it needs is adb drivers and you are good to go. Be warned though that it needs internet access to talk to its servers. This got me worried for abit before I realised I barely know what rootkits Google has hidden in the OS for the US govt and that I barely have any sensitive info on the phone anyway. All you do is click root and it looks for the best way to do it and does it. Pretty simple and straightforward.
Installing CWM was the hardest part no small part for the reason stated before, the community is still small.
I however found a no brainer resource that shows you step by step how to generate a CWM recovery for your device.
If you want to dump your ROM or backup here is a tutorial
Its a pretty straight forward process where the software will do all the heavy lifting for you leaving you with a custom made recovery for the Tecno N7 allowing you to flash whatever zip you fancy and to mod it to your hearts content with custom themes etc. I believe the procedure will work with just about any other chinese or otherwise device that is based on the Mediatek chipsets. Ie if your processor is MTKxxx then this is likely to work. Just about all Chinese made phones i.e mi-Fone, Tecno, etc have MTKxxx chipsets and should work. It creates a custom recovery based on CWM specifically for your device. It doesn’t get more custom than that.
I am informed that Tecno have not released the kernel source and thus building a custom ROM for the device will be impossible. I don’t know how true that is since there are some for the N3 so there may be hope yet.
I went through all this trouble because of a problem with installing Google play services on this device. It kept popping an error when it tried to install and it was driving me nuts. Some apps require it to run e.g Foursquare, Hangouts, Avast Mobile Security etc.
All I did was clear the dalvik cache and wipe all the phone memory (that is do a factory reset and wipe ) and flash the gapps for ICS again from CWM and I was back in business.