Categories
Gadgets

Samsung Galaxy S3 And The Case Of Failed SanDisk Memory Cards

SandiskMicroSD1copy-thumb-640xauto-1471I have used 2 (Two) 32GB Sandisk Memory cards with my Samsung Galaxy S3 in the space of 5 months, both dying out on me suddenly, taking away with them valuable data. The last happened just last week.

I was very worried and even considered the possibility that the cards were fakes. However, common sense told me the cards were most likely the real deal because they were bought from BestBuy. Idid a quick search on the internet, on the off chance that some whiz kid with some oracle may have found a solution i could benefit from. What i found was very revealing.

They were tales of woes of how Samsung flagship phones and tablets, including the Samsung Galaxy S3 (perhaps the S4 too?) and Galaxy note, have ruined their microSD cards. If you were lucky, you would get some warning signs – your card acting up for a while, starting and stopping intermittently before failing permanently. It will stop being recognized by any computer or phone.

However, most do not get this warning.

Rumour even has it that the issue is not limited to Sandisk MicroSD brands alone. Apparently, something in the phone is destroying these cards. CNET even published an article on this issue in March 2013.

Unfortunately, no solution has been proffered by Sandisk or any other microSD manufacturer. For now, we can only hope and wait.

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S3 Accessories: The C Pen Review

Samsung C PenThe C Pen is a capacitive stylus made to work specifically for the Samsung Galaxy S3. Unlike most capacitive stylus that have a big soft rubber on the tip  that tend to be much softer to the point where they squish in considerably, the Samsung C Pen gives you a more precise input option due to its soft, yet firm, 3.5mm pointed tip.

The C Pen has a solid build with confident weight to it and looks just like an actual pen. Its pointed tip makes for far more accurate handwriting and drawing on your S3 than your finger.

On the flip side, I find that the C Pen is not always very responsive.  Sometimes, you have to press firmly on the screen to get your task done. Also, the C Pen is made specifically for the Samsung Galaxy 3, just like the S-Pen was made for Galaxy Note, and they do not work on any other smartphones, including each other.

The Samsung C-Pen offers, to some extent, similar experience as Galaxy Note’s  S Pen. The C Pen, however, falls short with the experience you get. Tagged the poor man’s S Pen, the C Pen is based on an entirely different technology and lacks the wacom digitizer technology that gives the S-Pen 1,024 levels of pressure, which lets you draw weighted lines as you would with a real pencil. You get palm or finger rejection, which means you’ll rarely draw an accidental line with your hand. Basically, it’s akin to upgrading from using a chalk to an art pencil

Even though C-Pen cannot measure pressure like S-Pen, it still gives much better task handling than your fingers or other styluses.

Categories
Hack

Should I Say Yes … Should I Say No?

s3I have held back from rooting my Samsung S3 phone for this long because of the new feature samsung has introduced into its devices called Flash Count.

The flash count feature is available on the Samsung Galaxy “S” and “Note” series and basically records the number of times your device has been rooted or flashed with custom or cooked ROMs (Non Official builds of Android OS).

The flash count is definitely not a good thing as only the device manufacturer stands to benefit from it. Reason is, the manufacturers want to have a way to keep tab on  compulsive “flashers” who stand a good chance of bricking their devices in the process and passing it off as manufacturer defect. Flashing your device in any way voids your warranty, but “hacking” enthusiasts have always found a way of going round this without Samsung being any wiser – until now.

And worst still, Samsung keeps making improvements against reseting flash counter so much that there is no guarantee that apps like Triangle Away will successfully reset the counter back to zero on your device.

Not that the flash count affects the performance of your device in any way, neither is the notification displayed visibly anywhere, however there may be users who wish to return to stock in order to either to sell or exchange. This definitely would impact negatively on the resale value if selling to someone that has a knowledge of this.

Also, any claim on warranty from the manufacturer would be disregarded. With the rising popularity of modifying Android phones, service center technicians have learned to check for an extra something that may result in their returning your device to you unfixed or sending you an invoice for the repairs.

Knowing this, do i still go ahead and root my device?

For me, the need to root my S3 is borne out of the following:

– To be able to uninstall all the bloatware (promotional, mostly unnecessary softwares) T-Mobile included in their Samsung S3 variant, the T999.
– To have elevated access to use root access softwares. Backup apps like Titanium Backup used to restore apps/data easily comes to mind.
– Browsing the filesystems of my Device.
– Flashing of modified ROMs to enhance device performance.

I have never been the one to shy away from such undertakings like this, so why start now. Ummh, but there is always this nagging fear when you know a task you are about to undertake has the possibility of making your device the most expensive paper weight, ever.

“My mind tells me one thing
Should I listen to my heart
Should I say yes, should I say no”

Sigh.

Categories
Articles

4G Speeds In Nigeria – The Hype vs The Reality

GLO-LOGOOut of curiosity, I enabled the 4G radio on my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone for the first time since i got it and was taken aback when i noticed the 4G icon. Expecting it to be a ruse, i decided to give my download speed a test and was pleasantly surprised at what i saw. Download speeds hovered mostly around the 2mbps mark with burst speed breasting the 4mbps mark. Wow! 30 minutes later, i got an even bigger surprise – nothing pleasant here –  i discovered that over 200mb from the 260mb data available on my phone had been zapped!. A data allocation that usually last for a month got used up in 30 minutes?! What?! Within the short period, i had downloaded a 74MB file from Youtube, did multiple speed tests, downloaded softwares and files, enjoying the newly discovered download speeds but forgetting that my data allocation was not unlimited. A text message from Globacom brought me to reality: “Dear Glo subscriber, 47.0Mb of the volume allocated to you is still remaining. Rule your world!”. What?!

This indeed was a new experience for me. I am not a light data user, not by a long shot, but the usual slow 2G and 2.75G speeds (Edge) that has more widespread coverage in Nigeria is, at best, epileptic and unreliably. You can use a 100MB data allocation for months, not because you do not want to use it but because you do not get to use it. Most times, i do not even get to use my data allocation at all, usually relying on WIFI, using the mobile data allocation only while i am on the road.

I enjoyed the 4G experience i had at my workplace, it was very new to me. The last time i experienced speeds like that was in the UK. However, the funny thing is that my home, barely 15 minutes away, could not boast of a reliable 2G connection. That is the fad in Nigeria. The networks  introduce cutting edge technology and make it available only in a sprinkle of locations and spend more money creating a hype out of it, boasting about been the first to do this or that. Recently, Airtel – another Nigerian mobile network, claimed to have completed its 4G trials in Lagos.

I honestly look forward to the day when 4G speeds would be common place in Nigeria. I only hope Jesus wouldn’t come before then. Sigh.