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Talk:ZTE Blade

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Salvaged from old wiki dump, may be outdated

The ZTE Blade is sold by carriers in several countries. It is available under several names: Orange San Francisco (UK), BASE Lutea (Germany), Sapo A5 (Portugal), Tactile Internet 2 (France), Vibo 699 (Taiwan), Softbank 003Z (Japan), Dell XCD 35 (India), Globul Z3 (Bulgaria), ZTE-U V880 (China), and Smart Netphone 701 (Philippines).

Specifications

Hardware

  • 3.5 inch TFT or (older variants) AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, resolution: 480x800
    • AMOLED uses PenTile Matrix [1] technology
    • Touch hardware: Synaptics 2000 TM1541, dual touch support (not more)
  • Buttons: Power/lock (top), volume +/- (right), Home/Menu/Back (below screen)
  • Qualcomm MSM7227 SoC chipset
    • CPU core: ARM1136EJ-S, 600MHz (ARMv6 architecture, ARM11 family)
    • GPU core: Adreno 200
    • Embedded 320MHz DSP
    • 400MHz modem processor
  • Memory
    • FlashROM: 512 MB built-in NAND flash / up to 32GB MicroSD card (a 2gb card is provided with the phone)
    • RAM: 512 MB some variants only have 256 MB accessible (there is a hack that can upgrade these to 512)
  • Mobile Radio
    • GSM Tri band
    • GPRS/EGPRS Multislot Class 12
    • EDGE
    • UMTS Release 6
    • 7.2 Mbps HSDPA (3G +)
    • MBMS baseband
    • Chip: RTR6285 Platform F with SMPS GSM PA (also supports GPS)
  • Wireless
    • WiFi: 802.11b/g (Atheros AR6002 integrated in SWB-A23 chip)
    • Bluetooth: 2.0 EDR A2DP (Qualcomm BTS4025 integrated in SWB-A23 chip)
  • Other sensors
    • Accelerometer: LIS302DL
    • Proximity/Ambient Light: Taos TSL2771
    • Compass: AKM8973
  • Camera: 3.2 megapixels with auto focus, MT9T112-3.0Mp-AF (variants with 5MP exist) the camera does not have a flash.
  • FM Radio with RDS (SI4708 chip)
  • Connectors
    • Micro-B USB port (data connection and charging)
    • 3.5mm/4pin TRRS jack (headset)
      • Pinout from tip: Left/Right/Mic/Ground [2] (OMTP standard, not compatible with Apple's proprietary pinout)
      • Support for one button (button pressed = 100 Ohms between mic and ground)
      • For compatible headsets see Modaco forum thread
  • Battery: LiIon 1250mAh 3.7V
    • Battery life: about 125h (sleeping, data off)
    • 2h charging time (AC charger, 700mA), about 4h charging time via USB
  • Weight: 115g
  • Dimensions: 116 x 56.5 x 11.8
  • SAR: 1.35W/kg

More hardware details and photos: [3]

Software

  • Factory Operating System: Android
  • Version: Eclair v2.1 (Gen 1), Froyo v2.2 (Gen 2), Gingerbread v2.3.5 (Gen 2)

Frequently Asked Questions

What different Blade versions are out there?

Apart from minor firmware differences due to localization and carrier changes, some major relevant changes have been done on the Blade that also have implications, especially when installing custom ROMs.

Gen1 and Gen2 Blades

In March 2011, Blades began shipping in some countries with Android 2.2 as stock. These use a changed bootloader configuration (Gen2). Fastboot is disabled on stock Gen2 Blades, and they use a different file format for TPT - a file called image.bin rather than the multi-image format of Gen1 TPTs. Because of the different bootloader configuration, Gen1 ROMs can only be used on Gen1 phones and vice versa. To check if your phone is Gen1 or Gen2, use kalte_kaffe's Ask Mr Pigfish app. Most new ROMs are being made for Gen2. Gen1 users can upgrade to Gen2 and back with this guide. Phones sold as Gen2 can be converted to Gen1 or have multi-image TPT and fastboot restored by following this guide.

Fastboot mode

Some newer Blades (since Feb 2011, also all GEN2 Blades) do not support booting directly to fastboot mode after reset [4].

Screen types

OLED (old), TFT (since about December 2010). Some ancient ROMs and versions of ClockworkMod might not support TFT so be sure to use only up-to-date software.

Network unlock

Some firmwares (at least the Swiss one) do not support unlocking the Blade for other networks. Some firmwares do not check the hardware net lock (= all SIMs can be used with that firmware, but after flashing other firmware the lock becomes effective again).

5MP vs. 3MP camera

In some countries Blades with 5MP cameras are available. Newer ROMs should support both variants.

Does the Blade support the Flash Player?

No. The ARMv6 processor of the Blade is not supported by the Flash Player. Videos can be played using the Youtube app and there has been some success with the Skyfire browser.

What do the LED signals mean?

The back button to the lower right doubles as a status LED.

  • It shows red while charging, turning (pale) green when 90% level is reached. (manual page 37)
  • It shows red when the battery is drained down to 5% or less.
  • Flashing red means no network signal.
  • Flashing Green means A New Notification

Unfortunately, both the buttons and the LED are disabled in sleep mode. If you want notifications of missed calls, new text messages, etc., you need to install FlashNotify, Missed Call, or a similar application.

How to troubleshoot high battery drain?

High battery drain can be caused by many things.

High drain when active

When the phone is active (browsing, phone calls), the battery will last some hours at max. Very high drain in games (like 15% per 10 mins) is possible. So, high drain in active mode is pretty normal. If you think you are really seeing unusual drain, make sure no apps are hogging the CPU (look at Settings/About Phone/Battery History, but do not trust these readings completely). Reboot. If high drain persists, install CPU Spy or some similar application that lets you monitor CPU usage. If the CPU is always running with high frequencies, something is not right. If the CPU never uses low frequencies, CPU power saving does not work for some reason. Check ROM settings and make sure the ROM you are using is not broken.

High drain when sleeping

When the phone is idle (screen turned off, data/sync off, and sleeping properly, i.e., not responding to hitting for example the "Home" key), it should last several days (drain about 1% per hour). If the latter is not the case, something is not right.
Try to find out what causes the drain in a structured manner, and take your time - just fiddling with settings randomly will not help.

  1. Make sure your apps are up to date. Updates that fix apps to consume less power do happen.
  2. Disable high-power features.
    • disable Wifi. With Wifi on and active, the battery will last two hours at max.
    • disabling GPS typically is not needed - it will only be active if applications use it (GPS icon blinking/steady).
    • disabling sync improves battery slightly.
  3. Reboot.
    • This gets rid of stuck applications and removes any stale wakelocks or other nastiness that prevents the phone from sleeping.
  4. Let the phone idle for several (3+) hours immediately after reboot.
    • Do not fiddle with the phone.
    • Testing for a shorter time is useless. The battery indicator is not that accurate. See facts below.
    • If the battery drain is still high after that time, either the firmware is broken (unlikely), or some application is loaded automatically at start and already causes high battery drain. Deinstall any suspicious applications (most notably any notification apps).
    • Have a look at battery history (Settings/About Phone/Battery History). If you just woke up the phone you might need to wait a bit until that page gets updated.
      • Per-application stats are not completely accurate and sometimes misleading.
      • Note that starting with Android 2.3 there is a battery graph which you can also click on. If there is a lot of partial wake (phone active but screen off), some application causes your phone to wake a lot.
  5. Start using features one by one, let the phone idle for several hours in between, check drain.
    • 'feature' is one of: Use any one of your applications, use wifi briefly, do a quick phone call, start and exit an application that uses GPS, etc.

Some random facts:

  • measuring battery state is an imperfect science; for the Blade, just the battery voltage is measured which typically is in some relation to the battery state (charge percentage) but is also dependent on current battery load (might recover or stay stuck a bit if idle after high load), environment temperature, and so on. Statements about battery drain cannot be done on any short term basis.
  • if the screen is off but the phone wakes up when pressing the "Home" button, it did not sleep properly. The phone should sleep properly about one minute after you turned off the screen using the power button.
  • wiping battery stats via ClockworkMod or other tools is often mentioned in context with battery problems but this does not actually do anything.
  • changing random settings (such as "UI hardware acceleration") does not fix high drain when idle.
  • the Battery Monitor Widget app can keep a log with time/battery %/mA drain/voltage/temperature readings which is handy for research. Disregard drain and temperature though: Drain is guesswork, and temperature readings on the Blade are unreliable in general, especially when sleeping. Other values the app calculates (outside the history) do not help when troubleshooting.
  • battery status is unreliable immediately after reboot. Rebooting may look like consuming 5-10% battery but typically the percentage will go up again or stay stuck for a long time then.

Do I have an OLED or a TFT screen?

For unmodified Orange San Franciscos:

  1. Open the App List on your phone.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select About Phone.
  4. Scroll down to "Build Number"
    • If your Build Number is OUK_P729BV1.0.0B08 or above, you have the TFT Version.
    • If your Build Number is OUK_P729BV1.0.0B05, you have the OLED Version.

Alternatively for all Blades, Dial *983*24474636# in the dialer - if "Glass" is "Samsung" then your phone has an OLED screen. "Lead" or "Truly" means you have a TFT screen.

Note: all white Blades have a TFT screen.

Does the touchscreen support more than dual touch?

No. This is a hardware limitation. There is a problem when using two fingers, same as seen on this video: Motorola Droid vs Nexus One: Multitouch Test

To reproduce, install the Multitouch Visible Test application.

I get lockscreen freezes, what can I do?

Many froyo (Modaco Alpha 1-4) users have reported their screen stops responding when woken locked and the only solution is to remove the battery to reboot (this thread). Users on the Japanese rom (e.g. Japanese_Jellyfish_RLS7) have reported no/fewer episodes of this nature.

How to keep data and apps when changing firmwares?

Best procedure for changing firmwares:

  1. Move all apps to the phone memory (do not leave anything on the SD card - see step 4).
  2. Use Titanium Backup to backup all user-installed apps and their data.
    • Titanium is no good for backuping data managed by Android core applications: For example, when migrating from Android 2.1 to 2.2 and restoring your phone contacts via Titanium, you would give the Android 2.2 Contacts application data in the old 2.1 format which might or might not work. Especially restoring other settings such as Wifi settings will cause problems such as the Android UI crashing and reloading in a loop (which looks similar to a boot loop but happens faster).
  3. Use MyBackup to backup all contact/calendar/SMS data.
    • This backup program uses standardized API calls instead of bulk database dump/restore for backups and, thus, does not have problems with changing database versions.
  4. Boot to ClockworkMod recovery, do a full ROM backup.
    • Just in case something goes wrong and/or you want to go back to the old ROM. Restoring this will restore the phone to its old state completely (if you moved all apps to phone memory in step 1).
  5. Install the new ROM in recovery. Wipe /data and cache.
  6. Boot the new ROM.
  7. Install Titanium, then restore app data.
    • Again, do not restore any core system data or settings using Titanium.
  8. Install MyBackup, then restore contact/calendar/SMS data.
  9. Reboot.

How to fix WiFi issues?

Multiple issues have been reported regarding WiFi connections dropping and not reconnecting to hotspots, although not present on all devices according to the forum discussion.

However, this seems to be a general problem with specific WLAN chipsets, and not restricted to the San Francisco. Using a dedicated app like WiFi Fixer might help resolve the issues.

How to unlock all 512MB RAM?

Some devices (such as the Wind Greece Blade) come with 256MB of the RAM inaccessible. See the forum thread to unlock the rest of the RAM (for Gen1 only), or this thread to unlock RAM on a Gen2 phone.

The power button does not work anymore, how to fix it?

Remove the Blade's back and test the actual button - sometimes the button cover (part of the back part of the case) gets stuck. If it's really the actual button that does not work properly, remove the battery and apply some tiny amount of electronic contact maintenance spray ("CRC 05101 QD Electronic Cleaner" or "Kontakt WL") to the button. Be sure to use a spray that is not too agressive and don't spray other parts of the phone. If in doubt, apply just a drop using a toothpick. Press the button several times, remove any residue, and reassemble.

The Blade battery does not charge anymore, what is going on?

You connect the charging cable, but the charging animation does not appear or vanish quickly again, or the animation is shown, but no charging actually takes place. This occasionally happens but no definite solution is known. Some random facts:

  • Symptom: Using the Blade charger, AC charging is reported, but nothing actually happens. Dis-/reconnecting the charger several times sometimes fixes the problem. - This might be due to a broken charger.
  • Symptom: Charging via third-party USB charger, and the Blade does not report charging at all, or the charging animation disappears quickly after connecting the cable. - USB voltage too low (i.e., bad or broken USB charger).
  • Test connecting the mobile to a PC USB port if you suspect the charger is broken. USB is powered by the PC power supply which has much better power quality than typical wall warts. Be aware normal USB charging is slower though (takes about 4 hours).
  • If you have the equipment, measure the charger voltage under load (a 10 Ohms resistor does the job). If voltage is below 4.7V, the charger is broken.
  • The ROM has little control over the charging process so it is unlikely (but not impossible) the problem is ROM related.
  • A more reliable indication for whether the battery is charging or not is observing the battery voltage. If it stays constant (+-1mV, not more), it is not charging. Also, the battery gets slightly warm when charging.
  • Some part of the charging circuity seems to reside in the battery, so it might be a broken battery.
  • External battery chargers are available.
  • Wiping battery stats in ClockworkMod will not achieve anything.

Should I repartition the built-in flash?

Changing partition sizes allows the best use of the phone's built in storage, allowing more space on the data partition to install apps. It is less beneficial since android 2.2, since 2.2 supports moving apps to the SD card. To change partition sizes, you must flash your phone using either TPT or windows flashing. Both processes involve a complete wipe of your ROM and Data. For phones sold as Gen1, the TPT Gen2 upgrade thread contains stock and optimised partition layouts. Gen1 users can flash the Gen1 TPTs, while those who upgrade to Gen2 will have their phones repartitioned in the process. For phones sold as Gen2, windows flashing is the only way to repartition. Changing partition sizes can lead to problems if you try to install a ROM that the system partition is too small for, or if you attempt to install extra apps to the system partition. No error message will be given, but it will prevent ROMs from working correctly. Be aware that changing partition size is one of the few processes that can permanently brick the Blade if not done correctly or something goes wrong (e.g., battery runs out during TPT flashing).

Is there a way to fix dropouts in Bluetooth audio when using Wifi?

In stock Android 2.1, there is no fix. In most ROMs based on Android 2.2 and up, Bluetooth and Wifi/WLAN should work fine concurrently if enabling Bluetooth first (see here).

SIM Unlock

Most ZTE Blades are sold locked to a particular network. They can easily be unlocked for free.

Unlocking

You need the IMEI of your phone. FREE unlock codes available here: www.nextgenserver.com (choose "ZTE Orange San Francisco" model)

Unlocking website and app made by forum member Arrtoo: [5]

Turbo SIM

iSmart SIM, Rebel SIM and variants are partially working. Known issues are loss of 3G functionality.

Modding the operating system

Rooting the phone

"Rooting" allows running individual apps with elevated privileges (for example Titanium Backup needs this) as well as replacing parts of the operating system that are otherwise immutable (remove branded apps etc.).

Both Gen1 and Gen2 blades can be rooted using kalte-kaffe's modified z4root

Other program is SuperOneClick for rooting.

After rooting, the "Superuser" app will pop up if another application requests root rights. You can then grant elevated rights to that app.

ClockworkMod

ClockworkMod is a "service mode" recovery tool for the phone. It resides in the 'recovery' flash partition normally not used on bootup and can flash new ROMs, flash patches, allow PCs access to the SD card via USB, and perform various maintenance actions.

Clockwork can get installed in different ways (details see forum link):

  1. using a USB connection and fastboot - newer Blades seem to have the fastboot maintenance mode (power on + 'volume up') disabled though.
  2. rooting the phone, then installing Clockwork via Recovery Manager or ROM Manager

Once installed, you can start Clockwork recovery in different ways:

  1. by powering on the device with 'Volume Down' pressed
  2. by using 'adb recovery'
  3. by using 'Quick Boot' from the market
  4. by using Recovery Manager or ROM Manager

Installing Custom ROMs

As of March 2011, Blades with different bootloaders ("GEN2") are shipping. Gen1 and Gen2 ROMs and phones are not compatible. To check if your phone is Gen1 or Gen2, use kalte_kaffe's Ask Mr Pigfish app (also available on android market).

Removing the stock Orange Apps

If you don't want to change the ROM on your phone, but want to remove the stock apps that are pre-loaded onto the phone, this is quite a simple process.

Option A:

Once rooted, install Titanium backup from the Market and delete the Orange apps using it.

Option B:

  1. Download and install the Android SDK. (You'll do this anyway for the USB drivers)
  2. Go to a command prompt
  3. Navigate to the TOOLS folder in the Android SDK install folder
  4. Type ADB REMOUNT (Enables write access to the phone)
  5. Type ADB SHELL (You'll now be in a Linux shell on your phone)
  6. Type SU (to give root access)
  7. Type CD system
  8. Type CD app
  9. Type LS (this will give you a listing of all apps installed)
  10. Type RM <filename_of_app_you_want_to_remove.apk>
  11. Type REBOOT

A list of the main Orange apps which can be safely removed are as follows:

  • Orange TV: OrangeTV.apk
  • Orange Wednesdays: OrangeWednesdays.apk
  • Orange Mail: orangemail_android_721_20_7_386147_signed.apk
  • Orange Maps: OrangeMaps_4.65.60.95_Android_Production_signed.apk
  • Orange App Shop: OAS_ZTE_Blade-v4_2_1_19-20100526-1-prod.apk
  • Home Screen selector: OHSS_800x480_Blade_A1.00.01_signed.apk
  • RSS Headlines: Orange_RSS_Widget-build_2010-05-31_08-57-42-version_2.0.106-UI-REFRESH-signed.apk
  • Weather: MobileWeather.v1.0.4.apk
  • French settings: FrenchPack.apk
  • Spanish settings: SpanishPack.apk
  • Who Wants to be A Millionaire: glu_zte_blade_wwtbam5_de_en_es_fr_it_1_0_1_full-wrapped.apk
  • Guitar Hero: glu_zte_blade_ghero5_de_en_es_fr_it_1_0_1_full-wrapped.apk

If you accidentally delete an app, you can extract it from the Stock ROM download on this page.

Use the CLOCKWORKMOD RECOVERY file. From there you can extract the apk apps from the SYSTEM/APP folder in the ZIP archive.

Dialer codes

Note for 2.2 users - for these codes to work the phone must be in Engineering Mode. Dial *ZTE*OPENEM# first (*983*673636#), then the codes you want from the table below, finishing with *ZTE*CLOSEEM# (*983*2567336#). Select back at the prompt rather than the factory reset option.

Dial Mnemonic Operation
*983*0# Menu (20:Battery/OLED/Back Light/Vibrator/Ringer/LED/Key/OLED off/SD/BT address/Radio Info/Memory/TouchPaint Test/Audio Loop/FM/Camera/GPS Test/IMEI/IMSI)
*983*3640*01# IMSI
*983*25# Battery Info
*983*31# OLED Test
*983*26# Backlight Test
*983*850# Radio Test 0
*983*86# Vibrator & LED Test
*983*84# Ringer Test
*983*07*01# Headset Test
*983*07*02# Key Test
*983*3470# LCD Test
*983*81# SD Test
*983*890# -
*983*26*# Radio Test 1
*#06# IMEI
*983*27274#CRASHReboot
*#08# Test Flag [Note: requires QcNvTest.apk in /system/app]
*#09***# BT Test
*983*1275#_ASKDev Info
*983*7# Menu (4:Version/IMEI/IMSI/BT address)
*983*3640#DOH+Phone Info (inc ping test, radio on/off)
*983*636#MEM Memory Test
*983*28#BT Emode BT Test
*983*477#GPS GPS Test
*983*21# Audio Loop Test
*983*70# Automatic Inspection
*#18# LED Test
*#19# TouchPaint Test
*983*36#FM FM Test
*983*57# Factory Reset
*983*473# Camera
*#23# Video Camera
*983*10# Delete (Touchscreeen) Calibration File
*#25# FM Test
*983*2726# SIM Contacts Op 1
*983*37# SIM Contacts Op 2
*983*6726# SIM Contacts Op 3
*983*154# "test" Menu (12:Self-starting/Software Version/Hardware Version/PSN/Test Flag/[Completed]/Board Serial/Bluetooth Address/SMS security/SMS Registration Status/Flash Type/PRL Version/Serial Configuration)
*983*07# Menu (9:OLED/Ringer/Vibrator/Key Test/Audio Loop/Headset Test/FM/Camera/SD)
*983*5182# Dev Info
*983*7469#SHOWAutomatic Inspection
*#26***# Sensor Test
*983*7936#QXDMSave Qxdm in log system
*987*0# Menu (4:Produce Information[->"test" Menu]/Automatic Inspection/Factory data reset/Battery information)
*#27***# Compass Test
*983*87274#USBSIUSB Switch Test
*983*06# BT Test
*983*564738#LOGSETLOG Set (inc sys_rw)
*983*93# FCC Test [Note: requires fcctest.apk in /system/app]
*983*2377#CFQPCall Forwarding Query with PowerOn
*983*24474636#CHIPINFOChiper Test (chip info) [Note: requires ChiperTest.apk in /system/app]
*983*29873283#AXUPDATETouchscreen Updater (2.1 ROMs only)
*987*123456#DM Test (2.2 ROMs only)
*983*73564#SDLOGSD Log

PC USB Drivers

For Linux and MacOS, no additional USB drivers are necessary.

For Windows 7: Modified drivers for Windows 7

For Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista 32/64bit, and Windows 7 32/64bit: Flibblesan ZTE Blade drivers for Windows (updated 11/10/10)

For Windows XP x86 and x64: Windows XP Driver (Modified SDK files)

For Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP [6] (ADB will work)

Phone reviews

Accessories

These are not MoDaCo site recommendations, but details from other forum members, and can be found by Googling or on Ebay.

Please be aware that some are not designed for the ZTE Blade, but are an approximate fit.

Cases

  • Pouches
    • Nokia E71 Pouch CP-277 - Warning: The color inside of the case tends to transfer to the rubbery surface of ZTE Blade.
    • Krusell Horizon Hector Leather Case - Large
  • Silicon Cases
    • Nokia E71 Silicon Case (Requires an opening for the speaker but that is easily rectified with a hobby knife)
    • As of January 2011, cases manufactured specifically for the Blade are available via ebay.
    • Forum thread

Screen Protectors

Screen protectors specific to the Blade are now available.

Alternatives that fit quite well:

  • Samsung i900 / i908
  • HTC Desire (Cut about 2-3mm off each side and a bit off the top and bottom)
  • Nokia C3

USB Cables/Chargers

The ZTE Blade uses a standard and common Micro-B USB connector. Chargers must provide at least 700mA current. The Blade will charge at a reduced rate if a third-party charger or normal USB connection is used [16]. Detection of the original charger is done by the Blade checking for shorted USB data lines. The Blade will report Charging (AC) in Settings/About Phone/Status/Battery Status then. Slower charging is reported as Charging (USB).

Memory Cards

The ZTE Blade uses microSD (SDHC) cards and a 2gb card is provided with the phone. A class of 4 or higher is recommended for installing apps to the microSD card. Maximum supported card size is 32gb according to the Orange website. Some users have reported issues (cannot format, disappearing while in use, etc.) with some brands of larger cards. There has been more success with 16gb cards than 32gb cards.

Stickers

A 18mm x 21mm android sticker will neatly hide the Orange logo with the android's body.