FAQ: I've Got a New Mesmerize
Now let me start out by saying I don't claim to be an Android expert, or to know everything about the Mesmerize. But my goal with this thread is to assist the new Mesmerize owner with figuring out their new phone. Some of the things I will post here are little tidbits I've learned on my own, and I will add others in as I see them posted in the forums.
Basically I'm trying to create the thread that I would love to have had when I got my Mesmerize. I did read through some of the sticky's, and there is some very helpful info in those. I'm just trying to pull it all together here in this thread. It's fun for me, as well as my way of giving back to the community, since I'm no expert (yet) in rooting and roms!
By no means is this intended to be exhaustive, and I will be building it and maintaining it as time permits.
If you want some general Android info, see some of these threads compiled by some great A/C users
General Tips and Tricks
Android Central's How-To Articles
Wallpapers and Ringtones
A/C Member's Favorite Apps
Post 1: Intro and Index
Post 2: Getting Started
Post 3: Accessories (or, Protecting your Precious)
Post 4: General Mesmerize FAQ's
Post 5: Help! My battery won't last!
Post 6: Task Managers
Post 7: Copying files to/from your computer to sd card
Post 8: Backing up your Precious!
Last edited by Runs with scissors; 03-01-2011 at 02:28 PM.
Post 2: Getting Started
You can always get to this screen by going to Settings/ Setup Wizard
From this screen you can set up your different email and social network accounts. Android will require you to set up a gmail account if you don't already have one. Personally, I love the Google integration. I use multiple Google Calendars, Google Contacts, and the syncing between the phone and Google is top notch, IMHO. One other thing I found extremely useful on a recent road trip, is that the syncronization extends to Google Maps as well. I had done some searching for hotels and attractions on Google maps on my laptop before we left, and at a rest stop (I wasn't driving at the time ), I pulled up google maps on my phone, started typing in the address of our first hotel, and the complete address popped up! A very pleasant surprise.
Setting up the google account is very pain free; however, I have not set up any of the other accounts. Surprising as it is, I don't have FB or twitter! I imagine those are pretty self-explanatory as well.
If you have access to wifi, I would recommend using it while you phone syncs the calendars and contacts. It will simply be much faster.
On this screen, you will probably want to leave the GPS satellites box unchecked, otherwise it will absolutely kill your battery. I do leave the "Use Wireless Networks" box checked, as this will allow apps such as weather, Google Maps, and others to get a fairly decent lock on your location by using the cell network. I have found that if you want to use Google Maps or the built-in Navigator for turn-by-turn directions, you will need to pull down the notification bar and turn on the GPS manually (see the screenshot below). I find this to be a better, battery-saving method. Also, don't use the GPS function unless you are plugged in, otherwise that giant sucking sound you will hear will be your battery.
NOTE: I'm running the Froyo leaked update; the options across the top are slightly different from 2.1 to 2.2. On the stock Mez you will not see the "silent" and "auto-rotation" options, rather an "airplane mode" option.
Once you are done with this screen, your phone has completed basic setup! Now, start finding some apps and widgets!
Last edited by Runs with scissors; 03-01-2011 at 12:15 PM.
Post 3: Accessories (or, Protecting your new Precious)
So you want to protect your brand new baby. While US Cell offers great plans, they don't seem to have an overwhelming line of accessories for the mez. Here's where verizon comes to the rescue! Accessories such as cases, screen protectors, and even the navigation dock for the Verizon Fascinate will work for the US Cell Mesmerize. They are the same phones, just different carriers.
Here are a couple of accessories I've found that I like:
I found this case in the clearance bin at the Verizon store. It was precisely what I was looking for. With the kickstand, it gives me the functionality I was looking for in a desktop dock. I don't like just laying my phone on my desk, I like to have it up to where I can see the screen. With the kickstand, this allows for desktop viewing, as well as if I just want to watch a movie. The other function I like about this case is that the phone is easily removed for use with the Navigation dock. What that means for protection if it falls out of my hand, I'm not sure! I don't plan on dropping it, but I know it is inevitable. The case is constructed of plastic, and the textured back makes for a decent grip. Because it doesn't have a front to the case, it makes for a nicer feeling in the hand. I like how the Mez feels without a case, and this case comes fairly close to that feeling.
Samsung Navigation Dock:
Detailed review and pics coming soon
Last edited by Runs with scissors; 03-01-2011 at 11:37 AM.
Post 5: Help! My battery won't last!
Hat tip to Cory Streater for the write-up!
Battery life. It’s one of the most discussed topics in the forums. Most members would agree that battery life on today's modern Smartphone's is not stellar. Is it result of defective hardware, the OS, network connectivity, bloatware, or other 3rd party apps? Instinctively (particularly if you’re new to the world of Smartphone’s) the rapid depletion in battery life - even with light to moderate usage - might lead you to believe the your phone has major problems in this area and your phone manufacturer had better do something to fix it.
I’m of the belief that there are always areas of improvements in how each of the above variables affects battery life. For example, there could be future ROM update that enhances OS efficiency, task management, or tweaks to the user interface. But truth be told the real culprit is that battery technology and capacity have not evolved as rapidly as the power and functionality in Smartphone’s.
That aside, in terms of energy usage, cars are very similar to our smartphones. For example, an Audi S4 has a powerful 352HP V8 engine. It’s a fun car to drive, and provides all the features you might be looking for in a car. However, the 352HP engine comes at a price. It sucks gas like nobody’s business), and like the powerful Mesmerize requires a source of energy to function. The S4’s source of energy is stored in a 14-gallon gas tank. If you push the car to it’s full potential – it will get approximately 10 miles per gallon. The S4's baby brother is the A4. It has a less powerful 4 cylinder engine, but averages twice the number of miles per gallon with the same size gas tank. Smartphone’s aren’t any different.
That said here are some of the most common items (based on my unscientific tests of various Smartphone’s) that are the highest consumers of battery life. Most are manageable from a user perspective, some are not. I’ve left out the most obvious one of all – extended voice call activity. Just remember there's a trade off between performance/features and the amount of power you’re willing to devote to each.
- 3G/4G connectivity/activity by streaming audio/video apps, web browsing, instant messaging apps, and apps that poll the network at regular intervals for updates (Facebook, RSS readers, Friendstream, etc).
See those little data arrows at the top of your screen? When they are light grey in color, network utilization is zero. Contrary, when they are solid white, network usage is occurring. If they are constantly white (as they would be when streaming radio for example) battery consumption is at it’s highest.
- Bright backlight settings: Regardless of backlight settings, the screen is still a major power consumer. Having said that, slight changes in backlight settings can make a dramatic difference in battery consumption. I would recommend avoiding the very brightest setting. My preferred setting is to let Android manage screen brightness, while others have manually enforced a constant low to medium brightness level. The latter will have the greatest positive affect on battery life.
- High CPU, backlight, and network usage by graphics intensive and/or poorly written applications: Graphics intensive programs often consume large amounts of CPU power and RAM, which translates into high battery consumption. Combine this with a network intensive streaming media application; the Mezmerize is sucking the life from the battery at an extremely high rate. Applications that were not designed for the Mesmerize, or are buggy by nature, might causing the phone's CPU to be working excessively hard. If your phone is warm to the touch and running particularly slow, there’s a chance that a 3rd party app is to blame.
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth sucks down power. I’ve experienced this on every phone I’ve ever used. The Mez is no exception. Turn it off when not in use.
- GPS: Like Bluetooth, it consume large amounts of energy while updating coordinates and communicating with satellites orbiting the earth. Combined with turn-by-turn directions and an always-on backlight, in order to see the maps guiding your way, you’re pushing battery consumption to the limits. I often read posts from people who are using the Mesmerize as a full time GPS device in the car. One common complaint from these users is that USB chargers are only maintaining the current battery level – or worse – when GPS is in use. Since a phone limits USB host connections to 500mAh of power input, this is a good indicator of how much GPS consumes. In other words, 500mAh of continuous power to the phone is not enough to charge and take advantage of GPS/turn by turn directions at the same time.
- Signal Strength: Whether 3G/4G, or WiFi, week signal strength can affect battery life.
- CPU/Memory: I often read posts from members who have most of the above features disabled. Yet they still report warm to the touch phones and unusually poor battery life (3-4 hours per charge). In my experience, this is usually caused by 3rd party CPU intensive applications. Many people reach for the nearest task manager. Others can’t imagine which application they’ve installed that would cause such an issue. Regardless, if you reach to other forum members for assistance, please provide the following information that varies from the out of box configuration of the phone:
o Task managers in use (I believe these cause more harm than good – but there’s a totally different sticky devoted to that).
o A list of all 3rd party applications (including battery percentage widgets & instant messaging applications)
o Update frequency settings for each application in settings > accounts & sync.
o Detailed information from settings > about phone > battery use
o GTalk auto sign in settings
o 3G/4G data arrow activity (frequent solid white arrows?)
o Email configuration (update frequency for Exchange, IMAP, Gmail, POP)
o Type of charger being used (OEM vs. 3rd party) & input/output specs.
o Widgets in use.
The best but least practical solution to battery consumption is to disable every single feature possible that this phone has to offer. My recommendation is to find a balance that works best for you and come to the terms that the attributes that make the Mesmerize one of the best converged devices available requires increased energy & negatively impacts battery life. This amount of energy available in a fully charged OEM battery is 1230mAh. This is not a design flaw. Instead, it’s the reality of battery technology competing against consumers demand for bigger, faster, and more feature rich devices.
Last edited by Runs with scissors; 03-01-2011 at 07:50 PM.
Post 6: Task Managers
Q: What is a task manager?
A: Task managers typically provide details about running programs and services on your Android device. These programs are called "Task Managers" because they also provide the ability to "Kill" and/or "Terminate" processes and services via the click of a button. In theory this sounds like a good idea, as programs running within Android typically do not include an "exit" or "close" feature. For resource management reasons, users typically turn to these applications as a way of controlling these applications manually.
Q: Why should I NOT use a task manager on Android:
A: For various reasons, task managers are known to cause a variety of problems. Critical services, processes, and applications are often unknowingly terminated, causing undesired behavior. The forums are filled with complaints of "program a" or "program b" not working properly, and half the time it's due to a task manager.
Before you post a question regarding a problem you're currently having with an application or other odd software related behavior, please ask yourself "Am I using a 3rd party task manager?" If the answer is yes, please try uninstalling first, and the try to reproduce your problem.
Last edited by Runs with scissors; 03-01-2011 at 07:52 PM.
Post 7: Copying files to/from your phone/computer
This is one thing that drove me absolutely nuts when I first got my Mez...I couldn't figure out how to make my computer recognize the SD card in the phone! Very simple, however!
Step 1: Plug the usb cable into the phone, and then into your computer. Let it do it's thing, installing drivers, etc. Once you get the little popup on your computer that says your device was installed successfully, proceed to step 2.
Tap the "USB Connected" notification. It will ask you if you want to mount your sd card, tell it yes. Now, in your computers "My Computer", you should see it as "Removable Storage". You may now begin transferring files such as pictures, music, and ringtones between your computer and phone.
Step 3: BEFORE detaching the USB cable from your phone or computer, pull down the gray notification bar and tap the "Turn Off USB Storage." It will give you a couple of prompts, and then you will be safe to disconnect.
Last edited by Runs with scissors; 03-01-2011 at 12:33 PM.
- 03-17-2011, 08:38 PM #9
- 03-18-2011, 12:06 PM #11
I haven't really researched that part, as device memory hasn't been an issue yet for me (I'm running the leaked 2.2 update which allows the moving of apps to the sd card).
- 03-18-2011, 12:34 PM #13
the Tips and Tricks, then do some reading HERE and HERE about rooting.
If you're a newbie at this (and there's nothing wrong with that , we were all newbs at one time, and I'm still a bit of one myself) I would recommend holding off on rooting. It can open up a whole new world for your phone, but at the same time if you don't know what you're doing, you can turn that nice shiny black slab, into a...well, nice shiny black slab that does nothing
For now, if the only thing that you're really worried about is those unused apps, I'd just ignore them. US Cell is supposed to be releasing the 2.2 update soon, and that should open up a whole new world for Mez 2.1 users.
- 03-18-2011, 12:58 PM #15
- 03-18-2011, 01:14 PM #17
- 05-16-2011, 10:13 AM #19