In January this year, I decided that my old pink phone would no longer cut the mustard. I’d had it for over 15 months, since I’d stupidly smashed my o2 XDA device 1 month into an 18 month contract. Here’s to the stupidity of not buying insurance.
Well, I decided to go with the Xperia as it seemed to have the best hardware. I fancied an Android phone, as I quite liked the possibility of developing an app on it, and as I did not have any apple hardware (my iTouch was unfortunately stolen whilst abroad) – getting an environment setup where I could develop for iOS would have been prohibitively expensive.
After purchasing the phone, I was massively impressed. It looked great, had a very clear screen, and integrated very well with my Google account. Perfect for backing up contacts and calendar appointments. I was massively impressed with the syncronisation between the google servers and the phone – even when in low bandwidth areas. All I have to do is add a contact to my phone, and it appears in my Google contacts online. Yes, this is how tech should work.
However, there was one major bugbear – battery life. Whilst I’d been used to 3+ days between charging using my older SE phone and the iTouch, this Xperia X10 was lucky to get 10 hours. My flatmate told me I should have left it on a 36 hour charge when I bought it, and therefore the blame was left at my door. Thinking him right, I decided not to pursue the issue with SE, but just let it annoy me quietly.
Whilst cycling across the peak district in September, a disaster befell me. After taking a nice pub lunch as a break from a 36 mile cycle, I dropped my phone onto the concrete car park whilst unlocking my bike. It landed right on the corner and left the screen smashed, but usable. It took me about ten minutes to remember that this time I had bought insurance, so spent the day quite pleased with myself; also pleased that the new phone would get the 36 hour trickle charge it deserved.
When the new phone arrived I decided to do it properly. I read through the manuals, had it delivered to work, and left it on charge for the 36 hours required, as to avoid the poor battery life from the previous phone. Suffice to say, that only three days later the battery life seemed to reflect that of the old device. Ok, maybe it was a little bit better, but that may have been down to me not installing so many applications onto the phone – an attempt to improve battery life in anyway possible.
When the announcement that the Xperia was going to receive an upgrade from 1.6 to 2.1 I was pretty pleased, as one of the core ‘improvements’ was meant to be to battery life. Despite the delays, when I finally got my hands on 2.1, battery life was about 10-15% better.. but 10-15% of 10 hours was not significant enough to be usable. If I went to work, and headed out straight from work, I could consider myself ‘phoneless’ from about 7pm.
On Sunday night this week, I lay in bed playing ‘Angry Birds’ – what every ‘cool’ 24 year old bloke does these days I believe. When I got stuck on level 3-7. It really wound me up, so I quit the game and had a look on the android market for alternatives. Not being one to look in the right place, I found myself browsing the ‘top free apps’ rather than top free games, when I noticed z4root. It claimed to be a way to root your phone using a single click. Tired, and fed up, I decided to do it.
The phone went black.
5 minutes later the phone came back up, and it appeared as it was before. I was thankful nothing had broken, and with an early start the next morning, I set my alarm and went to sleep.
At work on the Monday, I decided to take a browse on the net at lunch to find out what the benefits of a rooted phone were. I still didn’t quite believe that I had actually got it rooted, but was interested all the same. I found the following article which claimed to speed up the phone by removing timescape. So I did.
Thinking nothing of it after the 20 minutes or so it took me, I didn’t believe I’d seen a massive speedboost on the phone. The second thread talked about it just being a placebo, so I was quite sceptical of whether or not it had actually helped the speed. Needless to say I installed a couple more apps (QuickBoot), attempting installing OpenVPN and failed, and also failed with Barnacle WiFi tethering.
The next day I came into work, had a pretty hectic day, and didn’t manage to look at my phone until about 3pm. I’d left the house at 7am, unplugging the phone at 6.50am at the latest, and at 3pm, with 8 hours I had only used 8% of my battery. I was so chuffed that I posted the following to twitpic:
So there you have it, I didn’t want to root my phone, and ended up doing it by accident. But if what you get is a phone with a battery life that far exceeds expectation – then it’s worth it surely. Hopefully SonyEricsson will see the light and remove their apps to make the phone work better. Either than or I’m going to have to switch back to a phone with fewer ‘features’ and a better battery life. Simples.