Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Droid RAZR HD first impressions and rooting JB 4.1



Good news! Just received my Droid RAZRD HD (XT926) by Motorola.
After being a year on RAZR (XT910) I decided to write a small review where I will
try to analyze pluses and minuses of this new successor.

Fist of all design ! New Droid made IMHO have less interesting and original design. New look is closer to iPhone rather then something original. When you take both razrs in hands you notice how thin was previous  RAZR (not MAXX). Yes, Motorola did a hard work to release first wave of Droid RAZRs merging to successful trade marks. But new one is more heavy and less thinner only because of battery. Engineers in Motorola staked on longer battery life without compromising with power.
 Yes, design is an important thing but nice looking devices with drained battery is useless. I think it wise decision to rely on reliability. Because in fact nice looking XT910 too often shows red color in battery indicator so you have to take at least USB charger or battery tank to supply phone with power when you leave your home for long period of time.
   Next thing USB and HDMI plugs are moved from top to right side and this made your Dock
incompatible to use with new RAZR HD. I was ready for this because since first Droid, Motorola all the time force users to update their Docks for new phones.  Only Droid and Droid 2 had compatible Docks with just one USB plug. Then was Atrix with additional HDMI plug. Then RAZR when plugs where moved on top to keep main body thinner, now they moved back on the same side, but compare to Atrix dock plugs turned upside down so you need to buy new Dock HD !.
 Honestly, Motorola keep experimenting with every new device they creating ! It is good even though not all people agree with me. Because keeping compatibility seriously limits implementing something new.
   Motocast is gone from preinstalled applications
and even if you will try to get it from Google Play - it will not work saying your device is incompatible. If you miss it- Polkast is the best replacement.
   Next thing -we say Good bye to WebTop !

Also you will not find Motoprint utility that worked pretty fine. But apparently Google implementing its own way to deal with print jobs via network.  Next thing that is gone with 4.1 update is  Sleep mode. I used it few times but I agree it was a useless feature. Yes, phone power up faster from this mode but it does not saves power well enough. Sometimes application may keep working in this mode and when you turn device on you may be unpleasantly surprised that you phone drained  battery and you can only charge it or power off !
    Interesting new way to manage screens - now it calling "Pages".  When first Droid released there was Option to change number of screens from 3 to 7. Some people likes to put all their apps widgets and shortcuts on desktop. Then  Motorola limit this feature to 5 screens without any options. So it was till now. As you know UI and HomeScreens are different and customizing by phone manufacturer while android kernel and system is about the same for all devices and developers. In latest HomeScreen version Motorola start dealing with screens like WebPages - so you can add as more as you like even 2 or 4 screens not necessary odd number and configure it using template or by yourself as it was before. Its important step, because I know people who not understanding this sliding left-right screens. Trying to put all shortcuts on one of them,keeping other empty and when by mistake slides screen to empty was frustrating - where are my icons and shortcuts ? Now they can have only one main screen without sliding to empty spaces and without stretching wallpaper to all screens. Now, sliding left will always brings you to QuickPrefs panel - where you can switch on and off WiFi, BlueTooth, Mobile Data or Ringer.  
  You will enjoy new notification led-bar.  On previous models led was just a dot  - now its a huge bar under "Motorola" label. Not sure if it will be well noticeable on sun. The other side of the story - is customizing device using root and unlocking boot loader. There is an utility called BootStrap that on rooted devices  makes possible to use ClockWork recovery. But first step is root ! So if you search on the web you will easily find utility to root  RazrHD /RAZR HD MAXX with 4.0.4 stock system. But. if you already roll out 4.1 update you will have problems rooting it. So there are many articles regarding this problem but there is a trick that make solution work.  Lets begin:

I presume you have Motorola Droid RAZR HD XT926 with stock 4.0.4 upgraded to Jeally Bean 4.1 OTA trying to get root privileges.
1. Get RAZR HD utility version 1.10
2.  Boot your phone into Fastboot mode (Vol buttons  & Power button together)
3.  In Utility perform  fast boot recovery to return to 4.0.4
4.  When phone rebooted got to System Settings>About Phone>System Updates and Update to 0.7.2 Update.
5. Turn on USB Debugging mode in Prefs and connect phone back to Razr HD Utility and select second part - Rooting - installing SU (SuperUser). After it installing,start SU. Tap to check for binary update (you need to have WiFi or mobile network connected). 
6.  Then installing Voodoo OTA Rootkeeper with the DROID RAZR UTILITY. (!! Only installing !! Do not start it yet!!)
7. Download the OTA (9.1.41) by going to Settings>About Phone>System Updates BUT  DO NOT INSTALL IT. YOU CAN NOT INSTALL THE UPDATE IF YOU ARE ROOTED. (Thanks to swboland from XDA-Developers  forum to point this moment)
8. Protect root and temporarily unroot with Voodoo OTA Rootkeeper.
9. Now you can Install downloaded update - it will take time before system will reboot after finish updating.
10. Then I went back to Voodoo OTA Rootkeeper and restored root.
If you do step by step as written you will get JB 4.1 rooted devices. It took 2 attempts for me to find correct technology to get root back on 4.1.  At first attempts after update VooDoo OTA was unable to return su binary in place even though it reports that all is fine!
  Do not install BootStrap before 4.1 update because it will block this update and you will get error when will try to install the update.