Category Archives: Android

Samsung Galaxy Note II – Water Damage

On Saturday afternoon I went for a walk around Singapore’s MacRitchie Reservoir to do some exercise and get a bit closer to nature. The whole circuit is about 13 km if you include the HSBC TreeTop Walk. While there are some small huts dotted around the track, there is one part, near the golf course, that has no cover and no huts. This is, of course, where the heavens opened and I ended up jogging in a torrential downpour, giving myself and my Samsung Galaxy Note II a shower.

I quite enjoyed the whole experience, with the rain drowning out any sound of civilization and I could feel my primal instincts activating to dodge the torrents of water pouring down the track which had transformed into a stream in some places.

Unfortunately, my Samsung Galaxy Note II did not like the experience at all. When I finally arrived at some cover I took my phone out of my pocket and hit the button on the side to turn it off. The phone had already turned itself off though, so I unwittingly turned it on. I didn’t want to open the phone and take the battery out, as everything was just too wet. I just had to wait for the phone to turn on so I could shut it down. Alas the red led started to act strangely with different intensities before the phone died.

After wringing my clothes in the change room at the main entrance area I headed home on public transport. I don’t think any taxi driver would have taken me!

When I arrived home I put my Samsung Galaxy Note II in my dry cabinet with the cover off and battery out. The following day the phone did turn on, but the touch screen became non-responsive and the screen flickered like there was some interference. It didn’t look good, so I decided to take everything to pieces again and put it back in the dry cabinet.

Upon searching online for water damage information for a Samsung Galaxy Note II I found out where the water damage indicator is. Apparently the small white square at the top left of the battery compartment, near the battery contacts, is supposed to have a number of small red crosses on it. When water touches the area the crosses bleed into the white area turning the white square into a red one. Well mine was ALL white. I couldn’t believe that had happened from the phone being in my pocket while exposed to rain from a tropical storm.

I took the phone into Samsung today and have to wait for the quote to fix it. Since it’s water damage the warranty does not cover the problem. I hope it’s not going to be too expensive, but the phone will not even turn on now, so it’s not looking good.

If it is expensive to fix it a friend suggested I should get the new Sony Experia Z instead because it’s water proof and would withstand this type of punishment!

Lesson learned – do not take expensive electronic toys into the rain forest without a plastic, rain-proof bag or water damage will ensue!



Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE – Software Update

When I turned on my Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE this morning I received a notification of an over the air software update on Starhub’s network. I thought that was a bit strange since I only received the phone a few days ago. Anyway, after the download was complete a message appeared offering me the chance to upgrade now or later. I chose “later” so that I could grab a screen shot of the current version information before upgrading.

Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE - About Information for Original Firmware

About Information for Original Firmware

You can see the update icon at the top left corner of the Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE’s screen. This has a small clock as part of the icon, as I selected the option to remind me about the update in 30 minutes.

Once I had uploaded the above screen shot to Dropbox I then proceeded to update the phone, which was a very simple and fast process. The update process even includes a cute animation of a little green Android robot having his internals messed with. After the update I took another screen shot showing the new firmware details.

Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE - About Information for New Firmware

About Information for New Firmware

From the two screen shots you can see that the Baseband version, Kernel version and Build number changed. Here are the details:

Updated Component Original Firmware New Firmware
Baseband version N7105DXALIB N7105DXALJ1
Kernel version 3.0.31-240505 Sep 26, 2012 3.0.31-310959 Oct 10, 2012
Build number JRO03C.N7105XXALIJ JRO03C.N7105XXALJ3

The stated reason for the update, according to the message that appeared during the update process, was “stability improvements.” Which is all well and good, but it would still be nice to find a change log or some information on the specific problems addressed.

This update has been out for a while in other countries and apparently allowed some people to use the Multi-view feature. I honestly didn’t use Multi-view until I was writing this post, so I can’t verify that the Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE phones in Singapore can do Multi-view from the default firmware or need this update. In any case there seems to be no harm in updating!

I have barely had the phone for 5 days, so I can’t really make an informed judgement on whether this firmware is better than the last. There seems to be no problems with the update process and my Samsung Galaxy Note II is still working well. Therefore, I’d recommend everyone else to apply the update if they haven’t already.



Starhub LTE Network Performance – Quick Test

Update: Oct 25 – Added some more tests. One for the CBD and one for Tanah Merah.

After receiving my Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE at Starhub’s poorly planned and executed pre-launch event with ridiculous queues and processing times I wondered what the LTE performance would be like on Starhub’s network. As it happened I was in Chinatown on Sunday for most of the day, so I did two tests with the Speedtest.net application. Both of the tests were at the People’s Park Centre at the intersection of Upper Cross Street and Eu Tong Sen Street.

The first test was reasonably impressive, but not amazing, with 22439 kbps down and 21126 kpbs up. Ping time was 33 ms.

Starhub LTE Network Performance - Speed Test 1

Starhub LTE Network – Speed Test 1

The second test was even faster on the down speed, with 33808 kbps, but the up speed dropped significantly to 6757 kbps.

Starhub LTE Network - Speed Test 2

Starhub LTE Network – Speed Test 2

One thing that I found frustrating is that when I received a call the phone dropped back to the 3G network and I had no way of getting it back to the LTE network later on. There is no “LTE Only” option in the settings. I haven’t read the phone manual to work out if there is a preference for LTE over 3G by default, but it certainly didn’t want to get back on the LTE network in a hurry!

I have to go into town tomorrow, so I will do some more tests to get a better picture of the Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE’s performance on Starhub’s LTE network.

Update: Oct 25

I went into the Microsoft Office for a Drupal User Group meeting last night. Since I was in the CBD I thought I should get an LTE signal, but on the underground walk from Raffles Place MRT to One Marina Boulevard (NTUC and Microsoft building) I was stuck mostly on 2G and didn’t get an LTE signal at all. Even in the Microsoft office I didn’t get an LTE signal when I was at the window facing the river. It wasn’t until I left the meeting and went outside the building at ground level that I finally got an LTE signal and did this test:

Starhub LTE Network - Speed Test in CBD

Starhub LTE Network – Speed Test in CBD

On the MRT back to Tanah Merah station I could not load a single web page, with my phone jumping between G, 3G, H, H+ and even E, but the page just failed to load. When I was waiting at the bus stop at Tanah Merah I picked up an LTE signal, presumably part of the Expo area coverage, so it was only a couple of bars strong, but I ran a test anyway:

Stahub LTE Network - Speed Test at Tanah Merah MRT Bust Stop

Stahub LTE Network – Speed Test at Tanah Merah MRT Bust Stop

That is quite a stunning difference in download versus upload speed at Tanah Merah when compared with all the other tests so far.