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[Q] Need assistance with Android, moved away from iOS.

OP Happy_todd

13th June 2014, 04:50 AM   |  #1  
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Hello everyone,

I have done quite a bit of research over the past few days but I am quite overwhelmed and confused, I thought I will post my questions here as I am now a proud owner of a Sony Xperia Z1 Compact.

I ended up winning a Sony Xperia Z1 Compact from a work competition just the other day, before then I was using my iPhone 4 ever since it came out. I have never owned an Android device, I wish to root it mostly to theme the device. I have tried the Themer application in the Playstore which is fantastic in it's own right, but it doesn't let me create my own. I'm a huge Apple person and I ended up Jailbreaking all my iDevices so I wish to get some of that power out of my Android phone.

1. How harmful is it to root, unlock bootloader etc?.. I would imagine it is no different than Jailbreaking.
2. Am I able to store absolutely everything on the SD card when it comes to applications and tweaks?
3. Is it possible to remap the physical buttons to do other things?
4. I have came across Cyanogen quite a lot, is it stable and will I notice any speed issues compared to stock OS?
5. Is there a "Tweak store" of sorts to download all the extra stuff after rooting the device, similar to "Cydia" for iDevices?

I would really appreciate some assistance, I do apologize once again for being extremely new. It's just a little complicated when you hear there are so many versions of Android and rooting tools for individual devices!
13th June 2014, 05:49 AM   |  #2  
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Hi, I do not own the device but I've been in Sony and Android ecosystem for quiet long. So I can probably answer most of your questions.

1. Its not harmful at all! In fact since Sony devices don't get hard bricked you can't go wrong with it!
2. You can, once rooted! Ofc, you'll need mod of some kind.
3. Yup!
4. Speed issues? Probably not! But you might lose several functionalities, major one being the Camera quality. As Sony camera works as great as it is on stock only.
5. This forum is your tweak store.
13th June 2014, 07:27 AM   |  #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyleSforza

Hi, I do not own the device but I've been in Sony and Android ecosystem for quiet long. So I can probably answer most of your questions.

1. Its not harmful at all! In fact since Sony devices don't get hard bricked you can't go wrong with it!
2. You can, once rooted! Ofc, you'll need mod of some kind.
3. Yup!
4. Speed issues? Probably not! But you might lose several functionalities, major one being the Camera quality. As Sony camera works as great as it is on stock only.
5. This forum is your tweak store.

Thanks for getting back to me very quickly. I did not know Sony devices cannot get hard bricked. So you're saying whatever I do to it software wise, I cannot not physically render the phone useless?
How bad is the camera quality once you root? is it very noticeable, are people trying to improve the quality?
I will definitely have browse this forum more, is there a particular place you would suggest or should I just stay in the Z1 Compact thread?
13th June 2014, 07:50 AM   |  #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy_todd

Thanks for getting back to me very quickly. I did not know Sony devices cannot get hard bricked. So you're saying whatever I do to it software wise, I cannot not physically render the phone useless?
How bad is the camera quality once you root? is it very noticeable, are people trying to improve the quality?
I will definitely have browse this forum more, is there a particular place you would suggest or should I just stay in the Z1 Compact thread?

I've been using Sony (ericsson) devices since forever and I can tell you you'll love it. About the brick - feel safe. Whatever goes wrong with the phone just flash the original stock FTF firmware via Flashtool and your phone is like new. It's not necessary to switch to CyanogenMod as Sony's firmware is very smooth and fast on our devices thanks to the hardware and the lower resolution. You can just root and install one of the stock based roms in the development section. No need to unlock and you can get 4K video and 120fps slow motion video without losing picture quality

Edit: You don't lose quality when you root. Sony uses bionz image processor which requires the bootloader to be locked to work. If you unlock your BL you will have pictures with colder colors (from my observations) and more noise since Bionz is not processing the shots.
Last edited by omegastarr; 13th June 2014 at 07:56 AM.
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13th June 2014, 07:54 AM   |  #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omegastarr

I've been using Sony (ericsson) devices since forever and I can tell you you'll love it. About the brick - feel safe. Whatever goes wrong with the phone just flash the original stock FTF firmware via Flashtool and your phone is like new. It's not necessary to switch to CyanogenMod as Sony's firmware is very smooth and fast on our devices thanks to the hardware and the lower resolution. You can just root and install one of the stock based roms in the development section. No need to unlock and you can get 4K video and 120fps slow motion video without losing picture quality

No loss of picture quality, that's contradicting with what KyleSforza said. If something did go wrong with the device, and I flashed back to the original stock FTF firmware, will it leave traces of the root on my phone in case I had to send the handset back for warranty repair or anything?.. Also how does one obtain the original stock firmware, would that be in the development section or on Sonys website somewhere? Thanks so much!
13th June 2014, 08:01 AM   |  #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy_todd

No loss of picture quality, that's contradicting with what KyleSforza said. If something did go wrong with the device, and I flashed back to the original stock FTF firmware, will it leave traces of the root on my phone in case I had to send the handset back for warranty repair or anything?.. Also how does one obtain the original stock firmware, would that be in the development section or on Sonys website somewhere? Thanks so much!

Look my edited post, I have explained why picture quality gets bad. As long as you use stock based firmware on locked bootloader (BL) you will not lose quality. About the warranty - I think rooting does not drop it but unlocking the BL does. You need to read some of the threads in this section before doing anything. When you flash the FTF everything goes back to stock and you will lose the root. As long as you BL is locked and you are on stock firmware your warranty is not voided.

Edit: You can find FTFs in the development section as well
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13th June 2014, 12:09 PM   |  #7  
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I am using CyanogenMod and it is obviously better than Sony stock ROM.. Just two issues I have faced on CyanogenMod.. Sound volume is very low and camera quality is also bad.. Except these two, everything is more stable than stock ROM..

Sent from my Xperia Z1 Compact
13th June 2014, 01:42 PM   |  #8  
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1. How harmful is it to root, unlock bootloader etc?.. I would imagine it is no different than Jailbreaking.
Rooting is a bit more work than jailbreaking, because no simple one-click-method esists anymore/yet/at the moment. A rooted device allows you to modify EVERYTHING there is on your device (software wise). This naturally brings some dangers, such as losing all your data, or bricking it. As the posters above already stated, it is quite hard to do lasting damage to your phone. Overclocking and removing overheat protection might, but other than software-induced hardware damage, it is nearly imposible. Keep in mid that playing with partitions might require you to open the device to repair the software.

Additionally, rooting via Bootloader unlocking* removes Sony's DRM-Keys. This mainly stops Xreality and the Bionz image processor from working. it is possible to back up those keys, and i would recomend doing that. It complicates rooting a lot, but makes it possible to go back to a 100% stock phone if you ever want to. they are located in their own partition (TA). flashing another TA partition than your own will also cause your phone to be permanently broken.

2. Am I able to store absolutely everything on the SD card when it comes to applications and tweaks?
You should be able to, yes. I am however not sure how you mean that. Some tweaks like init.d scripts need to be in the system folder, as have some of the apps. It is certainly possible to have them elsewhere, but it will require some effort. Why do you want to have everything on the external memory?

3. Is it possible to remap the physical buttons to do other things?
Yes.

4. I have came across Cyanogen quite a lot, is it stable and will I notice any speed issues compared to stock OS?
CM is stable, yes. they have "Snapshot" builds, which are lightly quality tested (boots, features work as they should in most usecases, etc) and nightlies. Nightlies are builds that are generated automatically every night by a bot (3 actually) and are also quite stable. But it can happen that there are mayor bugs (not booting, stuff crashing left, right and center...), specially at the beginning of merging a nes Android release. rolling back to the last working FW will normally fix that.
Speed is normally faster because it has less bloatware.

5. Is there a "Tweak store" of sorts to download all the extra stuff after rooting the device, similar to "Cydia" for iDevices?
No. You have t find it yourself and sideloas the *.apk. Be careful with what you install. Stuff on the forum should be fine, because other able coders quite quickly raise awareness if something's not right. For Xposed there is a dedicated repo which you can access from the module itself.

there are so many versions of Android and rooting tools for individual devices!
This is the reason why there are device specific forums. Stay here for everything device-related. There are special forums for non-device-specific stuff as apps and certain tweaks.


I hope this celaned up some questions, if you still have some: read, read, read! learn, and do not be hasty in the beginning. Or just ask me...

oh, and:
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolkoushik07

I am using CyanogenMod and it is obviously better than Sony stock ROM.. Just two issues I have faced on CyanogenMod.. Sound volume is very low and camera quality is also bad.. Except these two, everything is more stable than stock ROM..

This can in no way be generalized like that. tastes are different, and everyone should decide by themselves.
Last edited by Coirpre; 13th June 2014 at 01:45 PM.
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13th June 2014, 04:25 PM   |  #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolkoushik07

I am using CyanogenMod and it is obviously better than Sony stock ROM.. Just two issues I have faced on CyanogenMod.. Sound volume is very low and camera quality is also bad.. Except these two, everything is more stable than stock ROM..

Sent from my Xperia Z1 Compact

I don't see where CM is "obviously" better, stock ROMs lack functions but a rooted stock with Xposed is pretty close to some third party ROMs. As Coirpre already said, that's a matter of personal preferences. And CM is far from being more stable than any stock ROM. E.g., last time I tried CM and all ROMs based on it completely prevented using encryption because the sensors didn't work. Tethering's also still broken iirc, among several other things judging by the corresponding thread.
Last edited by Iruwen; 13th June 2014 at 04:28 PM.
13th June 2014, 06:00 PM   |  #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iruwen

I don't see where CM is "obviously" better, stock ROMs lack functions but a rooted stock with Xposed is pretty close to some third party ROMs. As Coirpre already said, that's a matter of personal preferences. And CM is far from being more stable than any stock ROM. E.g., last time I tried CM and all ROMs based on it completely prevented using encryption because the sensors didn't work. Tethering's also still broken iirc, among several other things judging by the corresponding thread.

tethering is working in cm latest nightly.. in stock rom there is over heating prob, notification sound stuttering prob, 'while playing hd games cant charge phone' bug, is that u call a stable rom? lol.. also i am getting better battery backup on cm... u must be a light user and u can only realize these issues on heavy usage..

Sent from my Xperia Z1 Compact

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