Saturday, December 29, 2012


Hey guys, check out this beauty. Only problem is the price which is $399 and Dual core processor and non-IPS screen.
The specs cut and pasted from fastcardtech:
You can view this on the fastcardtech site HERE

Model: ViVO X1
Carrier: Unlocked Android smartphone
Phone Style: Bar, touchscreen, 
4.7 inch multi-touch capacitive screen
Operating System: Android 4.1 OS
Processor: MTK MT6577, 1GHz dual-core

Screen Size: 4.7" touchscreen
Display reulotion: 960*540 pixel
Color Support: 16 million colors
Screen Technology: Multi-touch screen, capacitive

Camera Resulotion: 8.0 megapixel CMOS, 720P video record, auto focus, digital zoom, LED flashlight

Connectivity Technology: GSM + WCDMA 3G network
Network Band: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz & WCDMA 2100 MHz
Data Technology: GPRS / EDGE / HSPA+
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.1
WLan: Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
USB: USB 2.0

Video Player: AVI、MP4、3GP、MOV、MKV、FLV
Ringing Tones: Downloadable
Message: SMS, MMS, Email
Phone Book: More than 10000 contacts
Brower: HTML
Game: Downloadable, Google Market
Radio: FM Radio
G-sensor: Yes
Interface/Port: 3.5mm earphone jack / mini USB

Battery: Li-on battery, 2000mAh
Standby Time: 100-150 hours

Impressive thin Phone. Comments please?


Recently a slew of Android Jelly Bean phones have been released. Although Jelly Bean is a minor update to Ice Cream Sandwich there are some improvements I wondered how I got along without them. Go Jelly Bean and you will never go back. Three things I enjoy about Jelly Bean are project butter which makes the phone smooth and responsive, Google now & voice search and the new notification pull down panel. Here are some links to Real Jelly Bean phones I found on Fastcardtech.

1) HDC Galaxy Note 2 S7100
2) HDC Galaxy Note 2 S7100 Lite (512mb ram)
3) ViVO X1-6.55mm Thickness body Android OS Mobile Phone
4) Star B94M
5) UMI X1 (ICS with JB firmware upgrade android 4.1.2)
6) HDC Galaxy S3 G9300
7) HDC Galaxy S3 G9300 Lite (512mb ram)
8) Jiayu G2S
9) Haipai Galaxy Note 2 N7200 (512mb ram, real 8mp camera interpolated to 12mp IPS HD screen).
10 HDC Galaxy Note 2 H7100 (512mb or 1gb version available)

Update: 11) HDC Galaxy Note 2 Ultra

I confirm all these phones to be Jelly Bean Phones. Fake Android 4.1.1 phones were detected and not included in this list. Now is time of the arrival of 1gb Jelly bean phones. 512mb ICS phones will be left to the lower end market segment.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


With a plethora of Chinese dual core phones on Fastcardtech and numerous online retailers, how do you choose a phone and be sure that you have made the correct choice? This article will show you if the phones are properly advertised and are not just lies. Let's begin with an example on Fastcardtech. Fastcardtech usually does screen grabs of system info from the Antutu benchmarking program so it is good for us. I don't know why they are using an old version of this program. Perhaps the old version omits certain information or show dual core processors at 2ghz. Those who are not tech savvy might just fall into this trap and buy due to high specs. The first example I will be using the phone from this LINK


HDC Galaxy Note 2 GT-N7100 S7100- MTK6577 Dual Core 1.2Ghz 5.4 inch HD Screen Android 4.1.1 Phone

Super slim body 8.1mm only
Real 5.4 inch HD screen
Dual core CPU over 5500 scores tested by benchmark
Android 4.1.1 newest version OS

Firstly, the Note 2 stylus included with this phone is not the same as the Samsung styles as the built in one has a giant rubber/plastic knob for writing and the Samsung one is using a Wacom pen with a sharp tip. Those who have used a Wacom tablet on their Macs or PCs will know this. This built in one is a really cheap regular one which you can buy for a buck and it is difficult to use due to the fat rubber tip. If you have been watching my other reviews, all these screens are 5.3 inches.

Please download the screen grab above. It is in PNG format. Most likely this is an unmodified screen grab. I have not modified it as well and you can download it and measure it in Photoshop. It will show 540x960 pixels which is QHD and not 720p HD as advertised. The 3D GRAPHICS score is 1156.
I have benchmarked many MTK6577 phones and 720x1280 resolution in 3D GRAPHICS will show only 800-900 due to the CPU and GPU having to move more pixels. Conclusion, this phone is QHD 540x960

CPU frequency shows 1600MHz. The MTK 6577 processor is 1GHz and never at 1.2GHz. There are no China phones with a MTK6577 running at 1.2GHz. Moving on to Android version.

Antutu shows Android 4.1.1 above. Android Jelly Bean is running on a 3.4.0 kernel and the date should be in December. Kernel version 3.0.13 is Ice Cream Sandwich kernel. Conclusion, this phone is running ICS
Moving on to the camera...

Look at picture size. It says 4.9 MP.  This means this phone has a 4.9mp hardware cmos sensor. 8 MP is in the supported picture size section. 8 megapixel is software scaling. Supported sizes=software/hardware scaling. Conclusion, 5.0 megapixel camera. If I need it to be 8mp I'd scale it in Photoshop.

As you can see above, picture size is 1600x1200 1.9 mp and supported size is maximum 1.9 mp as well.  Conculsion, front camera is correct at 2.0 mp 


Super slim body 8.1mm only
I doubt this phone is 8.1mm. The Original Samsung Galaxy S3 is only 8.6mm and the UMI X1 is 8.5mm and also there is a lack of photos on the website, so the specs are all wrong. It may have been shipped in a box for a different phone. I wouldn't take the risk and buy this phone. I have some readers who bought this phone so we'll see what they receive.

Next, Here is an example of a phone that I am confident of buying.  LINK HERE.

As usual, Fastcardtech has the Antutu score benchmark screen showing at full resolution and un- modified. I also measured this with Photoshop and it is QHD.

The Antutu used is a new version so it shows the resolution at 540x960. CPU is showing correctly at 1000MHz  x2. Next is the Android version shown below.

Check out the board version: e1920_v77_zlh_9p017_asx
This motherboard model is now used for all jellybean phones. The N7100+ that I have now also has this board number. The kernel version is 3.4.0 and Dec 3 date are all Jelly Bean properties so this is real Jelly Bean. Moving on to the camera.

Front camera is 0.3 mp or VGA and back camera is 5.0 mp so the advertising info 1.3mp front and 8mp back camera and is wrong but now you guys know what to look out for. 

I now know exactly what I am getting with this info, not to mention the many pictures of the phone on the webpage, so I will be ordering this phone to do a review. As I have written before, The MTK6577 chipset struggles a little with a 720p HD screen so a QHD screen with Jelly Bean makes things really fly without comprising on resolution too much. QHD screen on a 5.3 inch screen looks fine so it should look even better on a 4.7 inch screen. You can buy this phone HERE. The price is great at just $170. Lookout of the Jelly Bean Phones in my next post.

Friday, December 21, 2012

HDC S7100 Note 2 is now renamed HDC N7100+ running JELLY BEAN

UPDATE: This phone has been renamed back to S7100

If you go to the Fastcardtech site and do a search for HDC S7100, you will no longer be able to find it. It has been re-named HDC N7100+ which shares the same name as the UPAI N7100+ or the STAR S7100 / N7100+. The price has also been dropped to $195 with free shipping.
You will never find a company that switches names like that in the western world or even in Singapore. Perhaps the brand HDC is just a name created by Fastcardtech.
Anyway, these phones are all identical and I ordered one for testing and my findings are in my previous post. This is the first MTK6577 phone running Jelly Bean and I want to see for myself how good Jelly Bean is. I found the phone to be unstable but still useable when all the functions are working. It gets frustrating when you turn off a switch only to find that you are unable to turn it back on and have to try several things to try to get it to work like hold your breath while turning on the phone or standing on your head while you activate the switch.
I managed to find a rom from a Spanish forum and flashed it and everything runs correctly except that the compass is not working. The compass was already not working in the first faulty ROM.
So here is the youtube video that I just finished. Sorry if I left out testing some features but I had to make the video as short and as comprehensive as possible so you will know what you are getting when you buy this phone.

There is another version of this phone with a HD 720p screen (link here) but I will not be testing that as I already know now that the MTK6577 SOC is being pushed to its limits when driving a 720p HD screen and therefore will introduce some jerkiness.  I am very skeptical of this HD version because the main advertising in the listing do not coincide with the pictures and details. I am sure the screen is QHD and not HD. I measured the size of the screen grab and it is QHD unmodified. If fastcardtech resized the picture it will be in JPG format and not PNG which is the screen grab format. That phone is the HDC N7100 (without the +). If you want to buy the phone then go ahead, don't let me stop you.

So please watch the video to find out if this phone is for you. Rooted stable ROM and CWM recovery Links Below the video.

Buy this phone HERE

Essential software list:
MTK6577 and MTK6575 DRIVERS
Dec 29 2012 update: Engineer mode

UPDATE: A reader received the phone without the instability problems so it appears that the phone has been fixed. If anyone has the phone with the old unstable rom, the rom here will fix those problems.
If you get the phone without any problems, you just need to add CWM recovery and use the rooting method by bin4ry.

Get this excellent Jelly Bean phone here:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Star S7180 or HDC S7100 or UPAI N7100+ Galaxy Note 2 Clones Review

So I received the HDC Note 2 S7100 from Fastcardtech few days ago and have been using this for the past 2 days. This phone is also known as the Star N7100+ because of there is a label N7100+ under the battery. Star has 2 versions of this phone. A cheaper 512mb ram version and a 1gb version.

I experienced some deficiencies with this product. The rom is really Jelly Bean which makes the phone buttery smooth even when viewing a heavy flash loaded page but the rom should be called Beta at most. In notification panel, auto rotation will get disabled after a while and will not be active even after you restart. UPDATE: In the notifications panel switches on top, some switches do not work properly. Here are the problems I faced in the past 4 days:

Auto Rotation switch: it works once then it gets stuck in that mode till battery is pulled. (the switch gets highlighted or un-highlighted so you think it is in effect)

Flight Mode: After switching to flight mode it gets stuck in flight mode till battery is pulled. Touching the icon switch does nothing after that. After phone is turned on, you need to go to SIM Management in the Settings to re-enable the sim card.
(the switch gets highlighted or un-highlighted so you think it is in effect)

Data Connection Switch: After I disabled connection, I cannot re-enable it. After battery is pulled I still cannot re-enable it. After several battery pulls and reboots, it comes back. (the switch is highlighted all the time even thought data connection is not activated). I dare not disable it now since I don't know when I get it back when I want to enable it.

Proximity sensor flickers on and off all the time so you get a flickering flashing screen when you make or answer a call. Fixed. In Settings>Display, there is a proximity sensor calibration feature.
Wifi signal is good. I was at a place with unstable wifi signal before, so it did not give me a good signal. GPS is good with the phone discovering 12 satellites in less than a minute and locked on several seconds after that. These issues puts it into the DO NOT BUY category until they fix the rom. All the bugs seem to be in the connectivity switches. The rest of the phone is very very good, fast and responsive, and I mean iPhone smoothness, which is a real pity. I have just found a rom and hopefully it will fix these issues. I will release a youtube video of this phone in a day or 2 after I have tested the new rom.
The newer batch may have already been fixed but I will not hold my breath.

So still in number one spot of my recommend Note 2 clones is the HDC Note 2 Ex.

This post has been updated on the 19 Dec 2012

New Update 19 Dec 2012 6pm:
Stable ROM found and tested. Everything is fixed and is great. Go ahead and buy it. Another reader reported good rom on a more recent order.
Youtube review up.

Will post ROM and recovery (english) links tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

HDC Galaxy S3 EX / Star B92m Evaluation / Conclusions

After reviewing then using the HDC Galaxy S3 EX for 2 weeks, here are the pros and cons in my opinion.

Pros :
Decent quality construction
Very good quality home button
Very sharp real IPS HD screen
Very wide viewing angles
Good quality Speakers
Good Call Quality
Good Wifi Signal
Good phone signal and 3G / HSPDA
The Slimmest Galaxy S3 Dual Core clone available
Responsive Games Performance
Stable Android Firmware
Bright Flash
Cheap with full hd and 1gb ram

No notification LED
Only 512mb program install space (Can be increased to 2.5gb by rooting and flashing)
Average battery Life due to point below
Higher Wifi / Data power consumption especially when low signal.(can be fixed with software I think)
Less saturated screen colors
Camera 8mp upscaled to 12mp with over tuned noise reduction algorithm.
Slight graphics jerks when scrolling around or when using browsing internet on certain websites. ( not very obvious and Jelly Bean OS could fix this.)
Slower GPS fix.
In consistent Bluetooth uploading when paired with certain phones but not all (e.g. broken uploads with UMI X1 but good uploads to Neo N02-m). Downloading (receiving data works fine)
Stiff power button (may be a positive thing for some people)
Deep recessed USB port
Bad direct sunlight readability

See my earlier review here:

Now you can still get this nice phone at fastcardtech here

Friday, December 7, 2012

REVIEW, ROOT and PLAY STORE for your NEO N02-m or NO2-m China Android Smartphone.

Here are the softwares that you would need to root our Neo N02-m RIO :

1) 91 Assistant Chinese software (neo driver)
or go to the main software site to download.

2) Gapps Package by AROMA ( XDA FORUM)
or go to the XDA forum here.

3) MTK6577 USB Drivers

4) ROOT with RESTORE by Bin4ry

So this phone is actually meant for the China domestic market but it has a nice simplistic design along the lines of the HTC ONE series. This phone does not strive to be slim but to be functional and comfortable in your hand. I must say that it really does feel solid and robust in my hand and the matte finishing plastic casing has a premium feel, just like the HTC ONE X and the new 2012 Sony Xperia series. This phone is very affordable and has excellent performance and the 1GB of ram shows that the 512mb Ram phones are getting dated. However, to enjoy this phone, you will need to have access to a PC and be brave enough to perform the modification. The phone only has some Chinese apps and includes a Chinese Play store (not compatible to google play store) and ZERO google apps and NO Play Store. The video tutorial below shows how to do this. Flashing a latest update ROM will require rooting and prtforming the steps all over again so make sure to flash the latest update before you fix everything up. Flashing the latest rom is the same steps as installing the Gapps package.



Get your Neo N02-m here at fastcardtech. Now only $175 with free shipping!

Translation for the Neo N02-m built-in Chinese CWM Recovery menu.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


I can't really remember when was it when I bought my first knockoff clone phone from Fastcardtech. It was the iPhone first version that had a slightly warped screen called the Sciphone. The shipping was reasonably quick and everything was in order. After that, I did not buy any other clone phones because the specs and quality was not up to par with the branded phones at that point in time.

After having used the Motorola Milestone, the iPhone 3GS, Samsung Galaxy S, Sony Xperia S, I knew what I wanted in an Android Phone. In 2012 when Mediatek released the dual core MTK6577 and the single core MTK6575 ARM SoC, these cheap Chinese phones became an attractive option. Until now these phones only came with 512mb of ram with WVGA screens which is actually enough for everyday usage. The big breakthrough Samsung made was with the Galaxy S with 512mb ram and WVGA screen which is very much like the Chinese phones of today. So in 2012, I started to buy some of these phones. These phones no longer have warped screen, cheap plastic, irritatingly loud low quality speakers. They now rival the build quality of the branded phones. Only one thing is still lagging behind and that is the implementation of the Android firmware which can be buggy on certain devices.

Being a huge country with over a billion in population, China is seeing a huge growth in population of phone users as more and more chinese move into the cities and becoming part of the middle income group. New phones are being churned out every week to fuel this demand and one of these online distributors / retailer is Fastcardtech.

Overall, Fastcardtech is a decent online store but they have some bad practices which keep them from being a totally trusted company. After buying several phones ( 5 phones now) I can now list down my observations.

On the whole I like Fastcardtech because they have many payment options including PayPal. Any company that does not have PayPal as a payment option is dubious and could be a scam company because you will not be able to get your money back if you receive a lemon ( i.e. Chinaecarts )

Another good thing is the shipping option. They have FEDEX, TNT, DHL, EMS, and regular airmail which is often Free Shipping. Now the bad thing is (not necessarily that bad ) they try to keep the shipping cost down so even using EMS or Fedex or DHL will still take a longer time between 7-14 days. Fastcardtech is located in a place that is far from a major city like Beijing so they use a shipping agent to pick up their packages and I am quite sure that the shipping agent do NOT come round everyday to pick up the packages. So when you place your order and you receive your tracking number by email, do not get the idea that your package has shipped. It is packed and assigned the airwaybill number and sitting in the store waiting for the agent to pick it up and that can take up to several days.

Another bad practice is they claim to ship out your order in 3 business days but that is just bullshit. They usually take about a full week to prepare your order ( they actually do check the phone which is a good thing ) after which you get your tracking number.
So, from making payment to actually receiving your package will take about 2-3 weeks using FEDEX or EMS or DHL. Free shipping will take 3-4 weeks using registered airmail.

Since I monitor the Fastcardtech site often I know what are the new arrivals. When I spot a brand new phone and it says "IN STOCK" I suggest you wait for 2 weeks before ordering because what they have is a sample phone and they have placed the order with the factory and still waiting for the stocks to arrive. The good thing is, if they have the physical stock, the shipping will go smoothly and quickly. Also, after a week or 2, the price will usually be adjusted downward.

 I recently ordered the NEWSMY Newman N1 and it is listed as "IN STOCK" but guess what? After waiting for almost 2 weeks and I checked my account. It was still not shipped and they told me that I have to wait because it is difficult to get that model, so this means it is not in stock. I changed it to a Neo NO2-m and it came within 2 weeks even though I selected free shipping.

I get emails saying that Fastcardtech does not answer emails but actually, they do. You log in to your account and send them an email and then log out, expecting an email back from them but you receive an auto respond email with no details. They need to fix this system. They actually do respond but you need to log in to the fastcardtech site and check the response.

The last thing I would like to point out is when you make your order and order additional accessories and select your phone color, make sure you get it right the first time because when they pack your phone and whatever else you've ordered, they check your original order and may miss out any other email you sent to them later about color change or accessories. They will miss out your additional email 50% of the time.

I would advise anyone buying from fastcardtech to read all their info right on top of the page.

Keeping all the points I wrote about in mind, you can go ahead and enjoy shopping at Fastcardtech as I would still recommend them.

One last last thing: Their English sucks!