1. Slantize's Avatar
    Hey all,

    I just ordered an Idol 3 (5.5") from Amazon with free one day shipping, just figured I'd drop a thread off here. This will be my fourth Android device; in the past I've had an HTC One X (AT&T), 2013 Moto X (AT&T), and a Note 4 (AT&T). I've been having a lot of glitches with my Note 4 ever since I got it last December, and it also has the absolute worst cellular reception of any device I've ever used.

    I debated for awhile between this, the new Moto G, and a Oneplus One and decided on this as I think it offers the best experience and fewest compromises between the devices.

    I'll be posting my thoughts in this thread sometime later in the week after I've used it for awhile. If anyone has any tips for stretching battery life or making the phone more fun to use, please let me know - the One X was the only Android device that I was able to root, so I don't know a whole lot about what all is available with root these days.

    Looking forward to being a part of this small community!
    09-14-2015 10:43 AM
  2. SactoKingsFan's Avatar
    Here's what I did to my 5.5" Idol 3 to improve UI, battery life, sound quality, etc.

    (1) unlocked boot loader and rooted using the method in xda thread (includes detailed instructions).
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/idol...catel-t3161878

    You'll also need TWRP custom recovery
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/idol...-6045-t3162608

    (2) installed Xposed framework for various UI and performance mods.
    http://forums.androidcentral.com/sho...d.php?t=568302

    My favorite modules are Blurred System UI, DS Battery Saver*, Fix LP Memory Leak*, GravityBox LP, lollistat, LP themer, Mobile Active Radio Fix*, True Silent Mode, YouTube Background Playback

    *noticeable improvement in battery life, especially standby, when used together

    (3) installed Viper4Android for improved audio quality.
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=2191223

    http://www.naldotech.com/install-vip...-5-0-lollipop/

    I disabled the JBL audio effects option since I don't really like how music sounds when it's enabled.

    I also installed Dolby Atmos for improved audio for movies when using front facing speakers.
    http://android.wonderhowto.com/how-t...droid-0162010/

    (4) The screen is very bright and great in direct sunlight, but it's too bright at night or in dark situations like movie theaters. I've been using the screen filter app to tone down the brightness. Works well and is easy to use.

    (5) I usually change the launcher on all my devices. I suggest Nova Launcher for the gestures and home screen and app drawer customization.

    Sent from my 6045I using Tapatalk
    09-14-2015 09:21 PM
  3. Slantize's Avatar
    Awesome info there, thank you sir! I got the phone this morning and haven't had much time to play with it yet, which is what I'm doing now. Just starting to get things set up. So far, I'm realllllly impressed with the device. More than I expected to be, for sure.

    The display is awesome, but a pretty big difference from the Note 4 in terms of color temperature. I was actually really impressed with how dark the blacks on the Idol 3 are, though. It's pretty incredible. Brightness is great as well. I noticed that the first ~40% of the brightness slider is pretty useless though, as it doesn't seem to change at all. Speakers are very nice, the device feels really solid, and the buttons IMO are pretty nice quality - clicky and require a decent amount of force, not enough to be irritating but enough to help keep accidental presses at bay. Double tap to wake/sleep is awesome and I can't believe I've gone this long without it. Performance is pretty good and generally reasonably comparable to the Note 4 for what I've done so far - some things are a bit slower but other things feel more snappy, but with that being said, I don't play games on phones really so I won't be comparing gaming performance. Camera really isn't bad, but OIS would certainly help - I can tell that it's capable of getting some excellent shots, but will struggle in some situations. I'm not too big on taking pictures so I just needed something passable, and this exceeds my expectations.

    I think I'll miss the fast charging, I noticed that it definitely does take significantly longer to charge than the Note 4. Still, it's not too bad and as long as it'll last the whole day for me (which I suspect that it will) it's a non-issue. I found that it's much easier to use one handed than the Note 4 for some reason already, despite them being nearly the same size physically. The screen is of course a little bit smaller, but I think the Idol 3 just has a better design honestly. And of course, I love how close to stock android it is, and was happily surprised when I was able to simply uninstall rather than just disable some of the included apps (Evernote, various others).

    I'll be rooting later today probably and toy with some of the Xposed stuff, but for now, this thing will be perfect for me even in stock form I think. It's absolutely insane to me that this thing is able to be sold for so cheap. If I'd been able to snag it while it was $200, I would've grabbed at least two!
    09-15-2015 01:42 PM
  4. SactoKingsFan's Avatar
    Awesome info there, thank you sir!
    No problem

    Brightness is great as well. I noticed that the first ~40% of the brightness slider is pretty useless though, as it doesn't seem to change at all.
    You probably have adaptive brightness enabled.



    Sent from my 6045I using Tapatalk
    09-15-2015 04:05 PM
  5. Slantize's Avatar
    No problem



    You probably have adaptive brightness enabled.



    Sent from my 6045I using Tapatalk
    Oops! Interesting, didn't realize that. Samsung didn't have the adjustable auto brightness on the Note 4, I forgot that was a Lollipop feature!
    09-15-2015 06:48 PM
  6. skipatrol's Avatar
    The adaptive brightness got me as well when I just got it. Any who I'm 2 months in and not looking back... Love this phone.

    Posted via the Android Central App
    09-16-2015 06:02 AM
  7. Slantize's Avatar
    The adaptive brightness got me as well when I just got it. Any who I'm 2 months in and not looking back... Love this phone.

    Posted via the Android Central App
    I don't blame you. Having used it for a couple of days now, I'm really impressed! It would have been cool to see a version of it released with something like a Snapdragon 808, OIS and 3 or 4GB RAM to compete with the traditional flagships, I think it would hold up really strongly against them with just those changes. Really impressive for the price, and a great phone regardless of the low price! Should tide me over for awhile
    09-17-2015 07:54 PM
  8. MobileNick's Avatar
    I don't blame you. Having used it for a couple of days now, I'm really impressed! It would have been cool to see a version of it released with something like a Snapdragon 808, OIS and 3 or 4GB RAM to compete with the traditional flagships, I think it would hold up really strongly against them with just those changes. Really impressive for the price, and a great phone regardless of the low price! Should tide me over for awhile
    Agreed - they could easily charge $100 more for those increased specs and it would still be an excellent deal! One thought I had about the lack of fast charging - because of the reversible UI, you could use it upside down while charging I always found my original Galaxy S with the charger port at the head to be so easy to use while charging because the cable doesn't get in your way.

    Couple of questions:

    - What's the call quality like? Both for you and the other person? I've heard mixed reviews
    - Have you tried the tethering / hotspots feature? I'm on AT&T mobile share value plan with includes hotspots so hoping that would work.

    I'm so torn between this one and the Moto X Pure but leaning towards to Idol 3
    09-21-2015 08:30 AM
  9. Slantize's Avatar
    Agreed - they could easily charge $100 more for those increased specs and it would still be an excellent deal! One thought I had about the lack of fast charging - because of the reversible UI, you could use it upside down while charging I always found my original Galaxy S with the charger port at the head to be so easy to use while charging because the cable doesn't get in your way.

    Couple of questions:

    - What's the call quality like? Both for you and the other person? I've heard mixed reviews
    - Have you tried the tethering / hotspots feature? I'm on AT&T mobile share value plan with includes hotspots so hoping that would work.

    I'm so torn between this one and the Moto X Pure but leaning towards to Idol 3
    Absolutely it would! I seriously love this phone. I recently started a new job that's an hour away with the fastest way through google maps being much better than using my car's GPS, so I've been using the GPS on the phone like crazy this last week. Today I noticed that with the screen off most of the time but google maps navigation running and Spotify playing over Bluetooth, I made it to work with 97% battery - really impressive for running the GPS!

    Call quality has been good for me but I don't often call these days. Haven't had trouble hearing people the few times I've used it though and no one has said anything about me sounding bad. Reception is also significantly better than the Note 4 was for me.

    I'm on a Mobile Share plan also and have used the hotspot once, just to see if it would work. It does turn on and is visible to devices but I didn't go beyond that, I can test it out later today after work though.

    Also its funny that you mention that about the charging cord being reversible to the top of the phone because that's what I have been doing.

    I seriously love this phone. I just hope they continue to put out updates for it to keep it semi up to date

    Posted via the Android Central App
    MobileNick likes this.
    09-22-2015 09:27 AM
  10. seanpr's Avatar
    Agreed - they could easily charge $100 more for those increased specs and it would still be an excellent deal! One thought I had about the lack of fast charging - because of the reversible UI, you could use it upside down while charging I always found my original Galaxy S with the charger port at the head to be so easy to use while charging because the cable doesn't get in your way.

    Couple of questions:

    - What's the call quality like? Both for you and the other person? I've heard mixed reviews
    - Have you tried the tethering / hotspots feature? I'm on AT&T mobile share value plan with includes hotspots so hoping that would work.

    I'm so torn between this one and the Moto X Pure but leaning towards to Idol 3
    The hotspot works great. My FIOS went out for a couple hours one night and I used it to connect my desktop and Nexus 7. I was on H+ so it wasn't blazing fast. I also used it at a hospital to connect my Nexus 7 on LTE and was faster than the hospital WiFi.

    Sean
    MobileNick likes this.
    09-22-2015 12:49 PM
  11. MobileNick's Avatar
    Have you had any issues with the LED notification? I heard it was just single color. As a fan of LightFlow and customizing LED colors for notifications, that's one area I might have to get used to. OTOH, I'm always picking up and playing with my phone so does it really matter?

    I don't make many calls anymore either, but when I do they're important so I'd want to make sure the quality was good both way.
    09-22-2015 02:16 PM
  12. seanpr's Avatar
    Have you had any issues with the LED notification? I heard it was just single color. As a fan of LightFlow and customizing LED colors for notifications, that's one area I might have to get used to. OTOH, I'm always picking up and playing with my phone so does it really matter?

    I don't make many calls anymore either, but when I do they're important so I'd want to make sure the quality was good both way.
    I don't make many calls either, but I've had no problems so far, people seem to hear me just fine. I have not tried the reversible phone thingy yet.

    I believe the notification light is only white.

    Sean
    MobileNick likes this.
    09-22-2015 05:08 PM
  13. Slantize's Avatar
    I haven't had any issues with the notification LED but it doesn't have any built in customization or anything. I've only ever seen it light up white. I don't really care for them, but this one is noticeable but non intrusive. The one on the Note 4 was too bright, this one isn't too bad it fades in and out slowly for notifications, looks pretty good.

    Also tested out the WiFi hotspot capabilities and it seems to work well, solid speeds from what I got to see in my bit of testing tonight.

    Posted via the Android Central App
    MobileNick likes this.
    09-22-2015 07:03 PM
  14. MobileNick's Avatar
    Thanks both of you for the info on the WiFi hotspots! The only thing about the notifications I wasn't sure about was single color but more I think about it - it's not gonna be a big deal.
    09-22-2015 09:54 PM
  15. Slantize's Avatar
    Just thought I'd update here!

    I still really enjoy the phone. It's an excellent device and would serve anyone very well at this point in time. I did some comparisons with my Note 4 just to see what the premium of the higher end device gets you, and it's honestly not much. I did find a few "flaws" in the build of the Idol 3 - if I squeeze on it slightly on some of the edges (mind you, not with a lot of pressure) it creaks a bit. Minor things, really, but not something I get on the Note 4 and small things like that get to me for some reason. But, a case would hide this and it really doesn't bother me.

    With all of this in mind, I am returning the device. Again, it's a great device and I really love it. The stock experience is wonderful, performance is pretty great, build is decent for the most part and I love the physical design of the phone. Form factor for me works much better than the Note 4, the speakers are pretty great and the display is quite good. I've found the battery to be strange in that it doesn't drain much when in use, but idle drain is quite bad in comparison. I did manage four hours of screen on time yesterday with 38% battery left and it had been off the charger for 12 hours - a good result, to be sure. This included having adaptive brightness turned on with the slider set to about half. I did a little bit of Netflix, a lot of surfing, Snapchat & camera use, and a bit of light gaming, mostly Hearthstone.

    With all of this in mind, the Note 4 is still a faster device, with better cameras, better build, fast charging (missed it more than I expected), more built in storage, and also with the downside that I'm still paying for it monthly via AT&T Next for awhile and I also have insurance on it. Simply put, I don't really have a need for the Idol 3, it's not a necessity in my life and doesn't gain me anything. Also, I'm somewhat disheartened by the lack of software upgrades (it seems that updates are coming fairly often to fix bugs, but no Android OS upgrades) and that's across the board for me with Android - and I'm still feeling pretty jealous about the new iPhones, so I may be going back that route after the Note 4 runs its course.

    Anyway, I hope this phone continues to bring joy to you guys. I'll be looking for an updated version (Idol 4?) next year if I don't go with an iPhone, for sure! It's certainly a great device.
    10-04-2015 07:17 PM
  16. skipatrol's Avatar
    Slantize appreciate the post. Sorry to hear that you've decided to return the idol 3. You certainly need to go with what works for you. For me a good screen, stereo speakers (that sound good), decent battery and a good camera are a must (SD is important also). The idol checks those boxes for me. Truly there isn't much out there pulling me away from the idol. The nexus 6p looks nice as does the moto X pure (also want to see what HTC has in store later this month.) but nothing is making want to ditch my idol yet.

    Software updates have been great thus far and rumor has it (someone posted on xda) that we'll be getting marshmallow before the end of the year. So we'll see.

    Posted via the Android Central App
    10-04-2015 09:47 PM
  17. SactoKingsFan's Avatar
    I've found the battery to be strange in that it doesn't drain much when in use, but idle drain is quite bad in comparison.
    The idle drain problem was probably due to wakelock issues. I've had minimal idle drain (2-3% overnight) since using Wakelock detector with Greenify.

    Anyway, I hope this phone continues to bring joy to you guys. I'll be looking for an updated version (Idol 4?) next year if I don't go with an iPhone, for sure! It's certainly a great device.
    I'll definitely be interested in the Idol 4 if they don't make it much bigger, keep the dual front facing speakers and micro SD, improve out of the box performance and add quick charge and RGB LED notification light.



    Sent from my 6045I using Tapatalk
    10-04-2015 10:14 PM
  18. SactoKingsFan's Avatar
    Agree with skipatrol on the software updates. Marshmallow would be great, but at least we already got stagefright patch and overall performance software updates. There's also a decent chance we get CyanogenMod.

    Sent from my 6045I using Tapatalk
    10-04-2015 10:27 PM
  19. Slantize's Avatar
    The idle drain problem was probably due to wakelock issues. I've had minimal idle drain (2-3% overnight) since using Wakelock detector with Greenify.


    I'll definitely be interested in the Idol 4 if they don't make it much bigger, keep the dual front facing speakers and micro SD, improve out of the box performance and add quick charge and RGB LED notification light.



    Sent from my 6045I using Tapatalk
    I believe you're right on the wakelocks - actually, when I first got the phone, I couldn't find any spot in the graphs where it ever wasn't awake. It did settle down with those, but the battery didn't improve much. I seemed to get some improvement using Xposed with a few of the modules you listed, but didn't get around to DS Battery Saver yet. Also never tried Greenify or Wakelock detector, but it's going on the phone now, because...

    ...the Note 4 fell out of my pocket this morning when I bent down to pick up some trash and shattered the screen. I refuse to pay $150 for the deductible when it goes down to $100 in December while I have a fully functioning device to use in the meantime. So, the Idol 3 will be staying, and I've ordered a tempered glass screen protector so this doesn't happen to the Idol 3

    Am hoping we get CyanogenMod, would be fun to at least play around with. I'd definitely be interested to see how the performance on that compares to the stock ROM. I think a new kernel would be more interesting to me, though. I think a new kernel might be the ticket to getting this phone completely rid of stutters in the OS.

    And like I said, I agree on the updates - they seem to have been pretty decent by all accounts (I haven't had the phone long enough to say first-hand) but I'd definitely like to see 5.1.1 at the least, if not Marshmallow! Hoping you guys are right
    10-05-2015 12:29 PM
  20. SactoKingsFan's Avatar
    Am hoping we get CyanogenMod, would be fun to at least play around with. I'd definitely be interested to see how the performance on that compares to the stock ROM. I think a new kernel would be more interesting to me, though. I think a new kernel might be the ticket to getting this phone completely rid of stutters in the OS.
    Looks like we'll eventually get a stable build of CM 12.1. A preliminary build is currently being tested.

    Sent from my 6045I using Tapatalk
    10-16-2015 07:12 PM

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