Friday, August 1, 2014

Xiaomi MI3 Data Saver Function, Is It Worth It? [Opinion]

In the latest ROM updates from Xiaomi, they added a feature that they say can save data bandwidth.
Quite a nifty feature especially for those with a limited internet quota.

But is that all to it? no catch? Well, first we have to understand how it works.
In theory, Xiaomi takes the data from User 1 & instead of it going straight to the other User 2,the data goes the Xioami's Servers & compressed. (ie: Raw data = 10MB being compressed to 5MB)

Then, these compressed data are then sent to User 2.
Though privacy may be a concern, but that's a different topic altogether, which should be discussed separately.

So far it looks good right?
Well, this aren't really new as the same methodology has been used by many companies like Google's Chrome browser before.

As Google limits it to their browser only, Xiaomi is a bit ambitious in applying it to all internet related activities. Well, there's a good reason for Google to be cautious.

Imagine it like trying to save on highway tolls, you go through trunk or non-toll roads. It'll be cheaper of course, but it'll be a longer route & tend be riskier (road conditions, traffic lights, congested traffic, etc).

Same thing is happening here, by redirecting the data to their own servers, in general you are incurring more cost to cope with the increased traffic.

If you are not spending enough money on CAPEX to accommodate these traffic, well..

 Below is the test that I did today to ascertain whether is it actually worth it to try the Data Saver function.
Quite substantial amount of bandwidth saved to be honest.

Notice the ping, it is horrendous! Like it is in USA.
But in reality, it's in KL only, & I'm in KL too.
Just to be sure, checked again. Same issue, very high ping.

Then I turned it off to check.
Tadaa!!! Very different performance.
Tried again with different server, still fast enough.
From the simple test, you can see that speed is very, very poor when Data Saver function is turned on.

No denying that it saved a lot of data bandwidth, but is it really worth it?

My opinion, use the Data Saver function when it is very crucial for you to be connected to the internet AND your quota is almost finished.

If not, just keep it off as until they improved the server speed, it'll just be nice to see type of function.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Facebook Beta for Android (Update)

I'm not really the type to install an app and be done with it.
Can't remember when but a friend posted in FB that it's now open for public to join FB App Beta Group.

The reasons to use a beta app (or not) are as below though it can be more as these are just my opinions.

1. All the bugs
2. Constant updates (sometimes 2-3 times a day)

1. Latest updates
2. Can comment and possibly be heard by the FB Dev Team
3. Higher compatibility with custom ROMs as most issues are fixed consatntly

Here's how to get the FB Beta App:

1) Join the Facebook for Android Beta Testers Google group
2) Allow beta downloads by clicking Become a Tester in the Play Store (you need to join the Google Group before becoming a tester)
3) Download Facebook from the Play Store to update your app
4) Join the Facebook for Android Beta Testers group on Facebook to tell us what you think


Do you notice anything different about the interface? :)
Current version before update. Weird numbering no?
Quite a size for just an update
The latest version

It seems that just one of those days where FB updates itself more than once a day

The latest, latest version today. Quite a bump up I see

Friday, July 25, 2014

Android App from Xiaomi to check Mi3 Authenticity (with translation)

Apparently, even the great Xiaomi is not spared from being counterfeited.

There are a lot of fake Xiaomi phones in the market as it is fueled by the humongous demand paired with very few supply (Xiaomi only sell through flash sales).

Besides from raiding stores with authorities, Xiaomi has developed an application (still in beta phase) to help customers identify whether the phone is original or fake.

It is in Chinese language though but I've ran through Google Translate app, it's not perfect but you'll get the gist of it :)


Pic 1: The front page of the app website. 

Pic 2: It has Mi logo, so should be trustworthy?
Pic 3: After installing the app, I ran it & this is the result screen.

Pic 4: Translated as "Details"

Pic 5: Translated as "Model"

Pic 6: Unicorn Version? LoL!~
Pic 7: "Buy Channels" = "How you buy" perhaps?

Pic 8: "Online sales" means via the Xiaomi Flash Sales
Pic 9: "Sales Time" = Date it was bought (20/5/2014)

Pic 10: "Warranty Time" = Warranty Expiry Date (1 year)

Pic 11: "Share Results" = Share to other apps

Pic 12: "Detailed Configuration" = Hardware & Software Details

Pic13: I think they mean Original Mi3? :)

Pic 14: I guess the hardware has been verified :)

All in all,I'd give it a 85% score, very useful but would be better if it's in English too as Mi3 phones are sold to other countries besides China too.

Then again, I can't really determine the validity of the app as I do not have a fake Xiaomi to verify.

Until then, it's better to have something than nothing.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Disk Usage for Xiaomi MI3

One thing about having a phone with limited memory is that the effort needed to maintain such resource. 

Of course when I bought Xiaomi MI3 I've already considered this & bought a few OTG USB drives but some days, I just forget to bring this drives, so it's crucial to have some space available in case you needed it. 

So here comes DiskUsage App where you can download here

It has a very simple interface & a user friendly system. 
After installation, just select which memory to scan. 

After it finished scanning, you can instantly recognize which folder consumed the most memory & space. 

You can use pinch gesture to zoom in or out. 

Click a folder, then click show tab, it will use the default file explorer app to open that folder, then you can do whatever you want with those files, move it, delete it, etc. 

I highly recommend this app for android users. 

Failed to update Xiaomi MI3 [solved]

For my Xiaomi Mi3, I already downloaded & flashed to Dev ROM Kitkat 4.4.3, stock ROM is Jellybean 4.3
I am currently on build 4.7.11 & as always, MIUI will give a weekly update, so the latest revision is build 4.7.18

As usual, just open the Updater App to check whether if you have any available updates.

MIUI Updater showing if there are any updates

Friday, July 18, 2014

Xiaomi MI3 Glass SP Stress Test

Recently I bought a cheap non-branded glass screen protector from a seller in ebay but due to some defects, I was refunded.

*defect here means for example, that at top corner it just won't stick.

Since I already bought a replacement, I decided to try it out.
I wondered how many bends or how many stabs can this cheap glass SP withstand.

From the video, you can see I really stabbed the SP with a scissor, even tried to scratch it but nothing. Screen still intact without any damages.

Only after about 4-5 minutes later (video skipped because hands troublesome), then only the glass SP gave up and cracked when bent.

Then any stabs, can see marks on the screen already.

Conclusion, a cheap glass SP (RM13 with delivery to be exact) does its job very well.
Though the oleophobic layer doesn't hold long, in terms of protection, it's freaking good investment.

Bending it like Beckham

Thursday, July 17, 2014

MIUI V5 for Xiaomi MI3 updated ROM

After some tinkering with the phone, just found out that the ROM is updated to kitkat 4.4.3

The stable ROM is kitkat 4.4.3

I wonder when will we have the latest 4.4.4 update.

Android 4.4.3

The Best Al-Quran App with Xiaomi MI3

Alhamdulillah and syukran to whoever forwarded the info to download this app.

Friends have explained that someone has paid for the app to be shared for free for others to download for a certain period of time.

The introductory is very good, easy to read

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Use Internet Connection from Laptop/PC to Xiaomi MI3

Here's a nifty feature I just noticed with my Mi3.

Usually it's always been the phone being set as the modem, and all internet connection are tethered to that phone.

But as we all know, most data bandwidth are limited so whenever you have a internet connection to your laptop/PC, you can just connect your phone and it can use the internet from your laptop/PC instead.

I think it's easier to connect the phone to the free Wifi but there are some circumstances where wifi is not available but only LAN connections are provided.

Lots of major hotels have been doing this actually, maybe it's cost factor, who knows.

The toggle automatically appears, no setup required

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Google Search from Any Screen for Xiaomi Mi3

After Google updated their Google Search, MIUI V5 had some issues where there a black icon.

It was simply solved by changing the default language to something else then reverting back.


But that's not the story, the main story is the latest update and it's impact.
According to the changelogs, now Google Search or rather, Google Now can be activated from any screens in the phone.

Weird thing is, it's not by default.

So below is how you enable such feature.

Step 1: Open Google Now & go to Settings

Step 2: Go to Voice

Step 3: Go to "Ok Google" Detection


Final Step: Retrain Voice Model so Google can have a benchmark of your voice
And there you go.

But I noticed that devices with dual mic & noise suppression have better voice recognition and response.
Try It..

Starbucks Android App with Xiaomi Mi3

I'm a coffee addict but never really was a Starbucks fan due to their price.
But somehow I still have a membership card.

So as I was scouring the app store, I found about their app and had a go at it.

The app page in Google Play

Apparently I still have some credits.. Woohoo..

They allow you to add nicknames in events you have multiple cards

Ok, 2 more drinks to go before I can claim any free drinks

Nice feature where you can pay just by letting the Barista scan your "card"

Sunday, July 6, 2014

FTP File Transfer with Xiaomi Mi3 MIUI

One of the advantages of using a smartphone is that it can be used as an extra drive.
So it is crucial to have a simple but useful way of transferring files.

The most commonly used method is by connecting the phone to PC/laptop with a USB cable.
But then, how would you go about it if there's no USB cable around?

The first solution is to use the native FTP server.
You can find it the Explorer icon.

Then just click atthe FTP icon to open the FTP window.

Over here, you can setup everything for your conveniences.
If you're just transferring files once in a blue moon type of person, then you can just use anonymous login.
But for me, I use a lot of FTP especially for websites, so i setup the username & accounts for convenience.

After it's all done, just press start server and the app will start the server.
Just type the FTP data into your FTP client or in the Windows Explorer tabs.

For me, I used Filezilla FTP as I'm more accustomed to the FTP interface.

All this talk about FTP may sound a bit boring or too technical for basic users.For that, I would recommend users to use AirDroid app.
Airdroid gives an option whether to login with IP address or web interface

Basically it's similar to FTP transfer but with way better and user friendly interface.Since it's all based on icons, it's hard to not learn how to do.

AirDroid is requesting permission if you're trying to connect with IP address

The web interface is recommended instead of using IP address as it can login with your FB or G+ accounts to make it more secure.

And it has lots of functions too. My favourite is that it can "install" an app from your PC.Airdroid uploads the file to your phone, then your phone installs it. You just have to press "install" when prompted to.

This is useful for me because usually, I'd have to copy the APK to my phone drive first, open File Explorer, find the APK, then install.By installing apps through AirDroid, it's all reduced to 2 steps only, plus there's no APK file in the phone itself (so memory space is saved)