Qin F21 Pro – Daily Driver diary thread “Almost great” but….

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Feb 11, 2009
Hi all, starting a thread to share my experience with ‘downgrading’ to a dumbphone, it was almost so good (would have been perfect!!), but just falling sadly short in some important areas. I’m sharing the tricks and workarounds I used to in a bid to get the phone working in a satisfactory manner, if that is a help to anyone out there, would be great to hear other peoples experiences and some more opinions on resolutions.

Quick summary of topics covered in this post:

Aggressive power management.
No screen wake for notifications.
T9 keypad support lacking.
Assisted dialing
Notification sound.

Using an ‘unlocked’ version from AliExpress (thread here) and trying to avoid rooting, flashing etc, just trying to work with it as-is:


I’ve been using this phone for about 1.5 weeks as a daily driver, have very happily and comfortably slipped back into T9 texting and I must admit that I’m quite enamored by this little cutie of a device. Its so adorable! Hardware wise, really happy with it – I like the screen, the feel of the keys, the battery life is good enough. Sadly a few things are detracting from the overall experience which I’d also like to share for those having a think about it… I’m still going to push on using it for now

1) Aggressive power management.

The OS is ignoring settings to ‘not optimise’ battery for certain processes, resulting in them still getting killed. This renders any regular 3rd party apps and daily updating home screen widgets unusable for ongoing use.


2) No screen wake for notifications.

I worked around this by using a cool app called ‘Glimpse Notifications’, which was perfect, however the aforementioned power management issue kills the process a few hours later, despite the app itself having a ‘persistent’ mode. There is a persistent mode also present in DAVx5 (which I use for contact and calendar sync) and it does work for that particular app.

Once the process is killed, the functionality stops:


3) T9 keypad support lacking.

English T9 support is not usable out of the box, however this can be quickly worked around with a fork of Traditional T9, with a custom keymap (credit to this post which I took from). Taking us straight back to the good old Nokia days. Archived apk build is found at this Wayback Machine link. Props to the author of T9 and the thread author.

(EDIT: See next post for an update to this section) However we quickly run into a usability problem here: If the text entry field in the app or website you are using does not have a “search” / “done” button then you will get stuck without being able to send the text off to perform the search or whatever it is you wanted to to do - as Traditional T9 does not have the functionality to do that (like regular soft keyboards do, with that magnifying glass/tick button to ‘hit enter’ as such). From some searching I think the technical term for the ‘done’ operation is IME_ACTION_DONE. Mapping a key in Traditional T9 for key codes 84 (search) and 66 (enter) does not work to do the required work that this button does on regular soft keyboards:


4) Assisted dialing

This is a common complaint, numbers that are stored in the contact list with +61 prefix will not get matched up to the contact name – when calls are received in local format ie: starting with 0 instead of +61. I worked around this by using an app called PrefixEditor, and it went through my contact list, replacing any +61 prefixes with 0.

Be aware that the same issue comes up when you the proceed to SMS someone using your newly edited ‘0’ prefix number, when they reply it will come from the +61 prefix, so then your very first text message will be orphaned, and the rest of the messages will be under their own thread from then onward.

5) Occasionally no sounds for notifications

(I have custom sounds, I’ve only noticed this issue in the last 24 hours, so am still fleshing that one out)
EDIT: Suspect it had something to do with misbehaving Glimpse Notifications.

While I’ve already spent quite some time trying to resolve these issues, I’ve tried to make peace with some of them in order to keep using it, as I do really like the phone. I’m going to push on for the moment and see if I don’t get too sick of putting up with them. Will post any updates as I go, and would welcome any advice… Thanks everyone.
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Feb 11, 2009
After having a brief play with another T9 keyboard (https://github.com/AshiVered/QinBoard-T9 - which is unable to go into 'ab' mode, which I need at times) I stumbled into the realization that Traditional T9 in its default state (with no custom keymap) DOES perform the 'done' function when hash (#) is long pressed. Once a custom keymap is in place, long presses no longer work. I have attached my modified version of the keymap, which basically does the following:

These are in their default states:
* = change between En/en/EN
* (long press) = insert smiley
# (or 0) = space
# (long press) = done/enter
dpad up/down = cycle through word suggestions

1 = punctuation
Q (left button) = change between en/ab/12
Back (right button) = delete
Call = add new word (when prediction does not recognize the key combination)


  • keymap.txt
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Feb 11, 2009
An update about widgets, it seems that some widgets are happily updating and some aren't. So it must come down to how they are coded I guess. I moved from an Android 7 device to this (Android 11), so I guess the world has changed a bit since then, from what I hear apparently widgets are getting to be an increasingly difficult task for Android. I really like using widgets, so its a bit frustrating that I can't get them all to tick over happily.
Feb 11, 2009
An update after a few months of use (and still in use) as my daily driver....

The quality/durability of the keypad is not great, having issues with missing keypresses, which is really hurting the experience. This is the number 1 problem. Biggest culprit is the 7 key and the dial key.

The assisted dialing issue (as mentioned in the 1st post - the double SMS thread symptom) is a bit annoying, the built in SMS app does not allow searching, which means that if you 'create new' message, using the number in your phone book, your message will go to the 'orphaned' thread and the replies will come through in the +61 prefix number thread. So you have to scroll (sometimes for a while) to find the right thread and then reply in there. I tried to download another SMS program (for search capability), however this resulted in missing SMS messages, due to the phone's power management.

I've made peace with the other niggles - however if the two above issues were not present - this would be the perfect phone!!

The thing is, the phone is so cute, that I haven't been able to let it go yet. I might consider upgrading to the F22, and see if the keypad build quality is better. The phone is not as compact though, so some of the cute factor will be lost.


Mar 10, 2023
About keyboards: in some Qin F21 Pro modifications, there is the Kika12 app (KIKA 12-key keyboard).
And this keyboard can type just like, for example, the old push-button Nokia.

Unfortunately, I can't find this application anywhere separately for download... :(