Root or Upgrade Xperia Mini Pro to ICS? The First Time I’m Not Acting Like A Geek

I’ve always been a geek with emphasis on all things tech and gadgets. I never quite talked about how much I love gadgets because I didn’t really own one until I got my first laptop and digital camera, and recently, the Xperia smartphone.

But before I get to details, who exactly is a geek? According to Wikipedia:

The word geek is a slang term for odd or non-mainstream people, with different connotations ranging from “a computer expert or enthusiast” to “a person heavily interested in a hobby”, with a general pejorative meaning of “a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, esp[ecially] one who is perceived to be overly intellectual”

Like I already said, my category of geekness falls into computer enthusiast and gadget lover. Like all other geeks, I’m literally obsessed with technology. Give me some tech stuff with Internet connection and I can spend months in a room. That’s the type of geek I am. I like to explore new apps and software, try out different things on my computer and be creative with any software that comes across my reach — ranging from Special Effect software to Photo Editing software.

But this probably is the first time I’m not acting like a geek. And it’s with my new smartphone.

The first thing geeks believe is a must is to root an Android phone to get superuser access. It’s easier to tell the benefits to a Linux user who knows what superuser or su or sudo means. By rooting your Android device, you become the master of your phone. Root access allows you to do literally anything you can imagine with your device. Well, not everything, of course; but most things such as controlling the CPU speed, deleting default apps that you don’t need, or moving all apps to the SD card and install new ones there by default.

It doesn’t end there. With the ability to install custom ROMs, your Android experience can go beyond imagination. Like something you see on HTC? Well, chances are there’s already a similar ROM out there that has this feature. Custom ROM not only comes with personalization option but it allows you to unlock the true potential of your device.

While doing all these may not make someone a geek; for a geek, it’s a must that they do it. But I’m not.

Not Rooting

battery backup on xperia mini pro

Battery backup is short but with some tricks powered by common sense, I can get more juice out of the battery.

The first disadvantage of rooting your device is that it voids your warranty. However, my Xperia Mini Pro didn’t come with a warranty as Sony Ericsson doesn’t have any dealers here in Bangladesh. So, I’m not afraid of voiding warranty. While there’s a possibility in bricking your phone while installing custom ROMs and doing advanced stuff, in most cases, rooting is easy and doesn’t have that risk.

For your information, bricking literally means turning your phone into an expensive piece of beautiful brick.

Once rooted, you don’t see any change in your phone. You are allowed superuser access to your Android. You can then install all the third-party *root* applications to get the best out of your Android. The first best thing, you can get rid of annoying apps and transfer your apps to SD by default. It gives you access to the root of your phone from where you can control your phone the way you like.

This system utility here cannot unlock all of its feature because my phone is not rooted. But it does show me that immediately after a reboot, a lot of RAM is already in use.

The reason I’m not rooting: Yes, my phone comes with bloatware. But they are not too much. Yes, lately I’m noticing extensive RAM usage by apps which can easily be controlled by rooting. But I don’t really need to root this device. I don’t feel geeky with my phone because rooting and all those stuff is very time-consuming. I don’t mind dealing with bunch of codes but it’s just that I want my phone to be usable at any given time. After rooting, I’ll definitely want to try out CPU controlling apps and there is a slim chance of making my phone give me trouble. Now it’s because I’m a geek, by the way.

So yeah, I’m not rooting my phone. I might do it someday, though. Because I’m installing loads of apps and games, I know at one point I’ll need to command the RAM so that it isn’t used more than 50% immediately after a reboot.

Will I get Custom ROM?

xperia mini pro

Default Xperia Mini Pro UI. I’ve changed the background to a live wallpaper, though.

Like I already said, I’m not rooting my phone. That should end the question of custom ROM. But hey, I said that I’ll root my phone someday. Will I get custom ROM then?

The answer is tricky. As of right now, the answer is no. I’m happy with the user interface Sony gave me on my Xperia Mini Pro. I like the way everything works on my phone. I don’t miss anything. So, there is no need of playing around with lots of custom ROMs. Also, they are reported to have some issues by default (like a popular ROM shortnamed CM7 is reported not to support most camera options on Xpera Mini Pro). I hate when I’m unable to use the functionality my device came with. So, the answer to this question is most probably not. If my phone becomes old years later, I might then try it out for fun when I will have a new device for my regular use. :D

Upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich, then?

Now that I’m not feeling the need of rooting my phone (and the question of custom ROM installation gets murdered right there), should I get the ICS upgrade that is offered by Sony Ericsson?

After rooting, anyone can get not only Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but also 4.1 Jelly Bean. Since I’m not rooting, the more preferable choice is the official upgrade. Trust me, I become overly excited when I first noticed that my handset’s serial number matched with the list of Xperia Mini Pro handsets for which ICS update has been released. I even tried multiple times to upgrade to ICS using Sony PC Companion, but due to connection issue, I couldn’t.

However, a little bit of researching on the web revealed that although many users are happy with ICS upgrade, almost all of them have reported some kind of issues. Some reported LED issue, some reported issue with HD recording, some reported issue with user interface while scrolling, some reported lagging issue when opening gallery and so on. At last I landed on Sony’s official Android 4.0 Upgrade page where they stated that Android 4.0 might cause performance issues. The worst thing? Once you upgrade, you can never go back. The only way to revert is to root and flash.

Then I started to think, is there anything that I miss in Gingerbread? My answer was No. Chrome is only available in ICS, but I’m happy with Dolphin Browser HD. Taking screenshot is a superb feature but my Xperia already have this built-in. So, I don’t really need to invite additional problems to my phone.

Wrapping Up

I’m not rooting anytime soon, chances of getting a custom ROM once rooted is slim, and I’m not upgrading to Ice Cream Sandwich. All those things give people an idea that I’m average “afraid of tech” guy. I’m not. Like I already said, I just want my phone to be usable at any given time with all the features and functions it came with. That’s the reason I’m not messing up with my phone that much.

Have you rooted your phone? Did you even know that rooting can either be beneficial or mean nothing to you? Tell me what you know and think about it.

I’m planning to start writing short reviews of the Android apps I’m using. The purpose will be to offer new and existing Android users a glimpse into what app does what and what issues/benefits it has. If you’re interested, make sure you follow this blog, follow me on Twitter, Google+, or like AIS Journal on Facebook (a like button is on the top right side below the header).

About these ads

20 thoughts on “Root or Upgrade Xperia Mini Pro to ICS? The First Time I’m Not Acting Like A Geek

  1. “I even tried multiple times to upgrade to ICS using Sony PC Companion, but due to connection issue, I couldn’t.”

    Use flashtool. Its an easy tool to flash firmware(cutsom,stock,whatever you want. you’ll just have to download the firmware file) and you wont need rooted/bootloader unlocked set if you flash stock rom. If you want to flash custom rom(like cyanogen,realICS etc)only then you’ll need a bootloader unlocked set as they work only on custom kernel.

    And if you want to revert anytime, just flash the ftf file for stock GB rom. That’s it. No rooting, No bootloader unlocking stuff.

    Even though stock ICS rom is still having some issues(like huge ram usage, bad gaming performance, some apps not working anymore. Even sony said GB is better for this device than ICS), there are some customizations that only works in ICS. I customized my(xperia mini, ICS stock rom, rooted) notification panel like this> http://i50.tinypic.com/n6wbo.jpg ,which in my opinion,is really usefull(I dont need to set 15 different butttons on the homescreen now). You wont get that on GB.

    In the end, its upto you that if you want to upgrade or not. GB ensures performance. ICS gives you lots of opportunity to customize(I’m not saying that you cant customize on GB, but developers are paying more attention to ICS as it is new).

    Btw, chrome for android sucks!

    • Thanks for your input. Dealing with ROMs feel too complicated and time-consuming for me. You’ll be amazed to know that even after writing a really long post full of theories why I won’t root, I actually rooted my device. I didn’t know it was possible to flash stock ROM without rooting. Also, stock ROMs will install gingerbread, not the customized gingerbread Sony gave with my handset (not sure about it, though). Even if the stock ROM for Mini Pro is available, it may cause issues as the build number and other things may not match.

      I rooted just to remove some bloatware and move apps to SD card. Also, I wanted to disable apps from showing ads so rooting was the only way to do that. Honestly speaking, I kinda feel unsafe now, as if anything goes wrong the handset may not be bricked but at least it will give me a heck of trouble and troubleshooting. One benefit of unrooted device is that you know you aren’t gonna be able to do anything that will cause all hells break loose if you get my point. :)

      I heard about Android. I’m happy with my Dolphin so I think I won’t be missing it. :)

  2. By stock Rom…I ment the Rom released from the sony, so you’ll pretty much have the same thing you have now(along with some bloatwares, thanks to sony ). I have downloaded the ICS rom file and the GB rom file from xda just to be safe (kinda experimenting with my device now a days,like installing beats by dr. dre, walkman app from ics which is far better than the one sony gives in the mini imo, quickpanel,etc) so that I can revert back to GB or reinstall ICS any time if I do something wrong. And you’ll find the same build number rom there,just be sure you are not downloading the incorrect rom(like rom for mini and flash it to mini pro,it’ll create a lot of trouble).

    Rooting doesnt do anything wrong unless you do something without knowing properly about it.(like once I flashed a file via CWM that was supposed to only work in ICS in my set which was in GB rom and got bootloop, but recovered by flashing the GB rom again on the set by flashtool) So as long as you do something before knowing fully about it then be assured, you’re set will give no problem.

    • After rooting I installed a few apps such as Titanium Backup and a few others. So I’m hoping that I won’t do anything bad. However, I don’t wanna mess with bootloader or ROMs. I heard that there is some stock recovery options. Do you know about it? Like if I don’t install clockwork mod recovery, which I don’t really want (I tried using ROM manager’s built-in way to install CMW but after confirming that I had Mini Pro, it said there was no official version for my set. And I don’t wanna go the manual way.), and if anything goes wrong, will I be able to boot into any recovery mode Sony has built into my set? I heard of it as stock Android recovery or something alike.

      Although I feel a little unsafe (of others doing unwanted things with system apps) after rooting, I’m more worried about what happens if I don’t install CWM and something goes wrong unexpectedly. Can you tell me if stock recovery option exist on Xperia Mini Pro and how can I boot into it if it does?

  3. umm..well…there is one mode called flash mode(holding the volume down button while powering on)…but it is used to flash/upgrade roms. Don’t know any more than that.

    I installed CWM by installing this app > https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pvy.CWMinstaler . It lets you install CWM into any xperia phone without messing up the rom. Just install, open and click Install CWM.That’s it. You’ll also get options to reboot into cwm recovary, or automatically reboot and do an nandroid backup. Pretty handy.

    And I think even if there was any recovary,it would be just as useless as sony’s other softwares.

    And if you mess up big time(like go into bootloop), sometimes you wont be able to repair from cwm recovary. You’ll need to either upgrade/flash(let it be via seus or flashtool) or give it to a repair center then. And I think you’ll get non rootable ICS if you do a repair via pc companion,not GB.(well, you can root ics,but its a very looooong and complex process).

    And I think you got the wrong impression about the stock ROM. The ROM I’m talking about is the ROM that sony gives us via the pc suite. Some people just extracted it and posted it. So nothing to worry about messing up with bootloader(unless you want to flash a customized rom, but that’s completly a different story). Downloading and keeping one is usefull(you’ll need it as you’re not a fan of ics,trust me) if you do stuffs like flashing new app via cwm recovary which has a slight chance of bootlooping your phone.

    Here’s a big tutorials with all the stuffs about android> http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1568792 . This might help you to understand a bit better about rooting,flashing,bootlocker unlocking and stuffs.(dont try them all though!)

    • Thanks. I think Nandroid backup is what CWM will be able to restore to get all my current settings and apps, am I right? I went to the thread but for my build (.58) the stock ROM was not available. :( I’ll have to search for it later.

      So, basically if I get into bootloop or brick it somehow (like accidentally deleting system apps), CWM won’t work, right? If that’s true, what’s the point of CWM? I can have flashtool installed on my computer and have a titanium backup of my apps and a stock ROM. So if anything goes wrong I could just flash the stock ROM and restore from titanium backup so that I get all my apps back.

      Isn’t that how it will work in such a case?

      Thanks for all the help. :)

      • Yeah, settings(like wallpapers,widget positions on homescreen- meaning the state your phone is now) and apps will be restored.

        That’s odd. They only have the previous (.42) version(btw build number=update number, like for ICS the build number will be 4.1.B.0.431) and the next (.69) version. Although there is one update for SK17a(mini pro “a” version) which is .58. Are you sure your’s one is Sk17i, not Sk17a?

        If you get into bootloop(will only show sony logo,nothing else), cwm will still work(as it starts on the sony logo, you have to press volume down button several times when the sony logo appears). But it cant recover from the bootloop (I’m still not sure about this. people usually recommended me to reflash the rom when mine happened).

        Well, titanium works too but restoring apps one by one seems like a boring job and it cant restore your settings. Also, if you want to flash from and within the phone, you’ll need cwm(it has an option called “install zip from sd card”)

        • Mini pro a version seems to be more common. But yes, I’m sure my unit is S17i as it’s written on the about phone section.

          By the way, how did you end up in bootloop? I wish there was a simpler way to recover into stock ROM without having to flash, like they have a separate recovery partition in today’s laptops. :(

          • Ah, then you should only try Sk17i ones. Sk17a might give you network problems.
            You can download the .42 one, but then you wont be able to restore your current state via cwm. You’ll have to do it manually via titanium or any other software.(only apps)

            Well, I tried flash a mod zip file (beats by dr. dre, said it’ll boost the bass) via cwm while I was on GB. That mod file was actually for ICS and I realized that after flashing the file(I didn’t read the comments before). The phone got bootlooped, only the sony xperia logo was coming. Then I tried to do a restore via cwm but the result was same. So I decided to flash a rom and luckily I found the stock roms(both gb and ics) on a topic in xda, downloaded them and flashed them(you have to root in gb before rooting in ics, and there are some procedure to follow so you dont lose your root while upgrading. directly rooting the ics fw isnt possible atm) and then installed the mod.

    • I think it’s for unlocked bootloader. I’ll go through all the posts to see if there is any mention. The second link has a torrent link which seems to be just what I need. But there is no seed. :(

  4. Hey man, I agree in full! I tried to found some way to root the sk17i but there are many. I didn’t know much about android before buying this smartphone, and I expected it was easy to deeply browse it, being it linux based. But it doesn’t, and a lot of exploits work just on windows (which seems to be a bit a nonsense). So I asked myself how much important is to rack my brain on this job, that could be clear and simple (and documented by its sources and, I think, by the supplier of the phone itself) to be made but is not. The answer is the same you gave here: the machine works great as is. Better to spend my little time learning the way to make it work fine with its native functions, than to crack it and risk. Some people reports issues after rooting, installing bootloaders and so on, not considering that every software ready to be flashed is binary: they trust its supplier (I don’t say it’s malware, it can be just buggy) more than they trust the phone manufacturer. Don’t seems a way to be geek.

  5. Darn right, I am also staying with gingerbread.
    upgrading also means you spend more ram running the newer ICS.

    rooting not for me because I never want to waste time messing with my ‘appliances’.

    I understand many people spend more time messing with new and newer software day-in-day-out than they spent rooting it ( or worst still, more than utilising it to get things done, for that matter).

  6. liked ur blog….

    although I believe rooting isn’t essential if ur happy and contented ; but I had no option left for my Micromax a57. I rooted ;uninstalled some nasty preloaded apps and then unrooted it. I am happy now.

    some issues im my phone still pertain:
    1)ram as shown on titanium backup app during root : 77 mb free of 217 mb

    but my phone running services under setting show 50 mb free. of 110 mb

    wats reason for that?

    2)apps stored in sd get banished on reboot

    are these 2 problems related to my stock rom

    if yes can I solve this without using custom rom

  7. I guess u are all newbies to android world…. Rooting is our right.Linux on the pc platform provides user all the rights.But on android there were restirctions imposed. A person cant get the best potential from his device until he roots his phone. Rooting is not dangerous… it would only soft brick your phone on the event if something bad occurs, rest if rooting process goes well no harm. Even softbrick can be easily cured!!! :
    1)init.d tweaks
    2)overclocking /underclocking
    3)theming
    4)swapper(using sd card based partition as ram (page memory)
    5)system apps(install and uninstall)
    6)ad blocking
    7)using benefial root apps
    and many more …. Rooting is nothing but to get the right to modify ur phone to a greater depth.We all do that for windows ,linux installed on Pcs.Thats why windows is too much exposed to crashes,viruses .Linux being open source is still safer than windows!!!

    Search some android forum for ur phone…. find a suitable rooting method that had worked for alll…. enjoy!!! if avialbe put custom rom which are specifically for ur phone !!!

    If u want to unroot ur phone u can do that… and even if u want to go back from custom rom to stock rom… it can also be done with ease and u get ur warranty back!!!

    i was also afraid of rooting my phone…. but when i saw many people in my phones forum doing that i too also rooted my phone and soon i found i had many a thing to keep myself busy with and do..

    i wasnt even able to play fruit ninja on my phone and now i am playing asphalt 7,pes 2012 ,gta 3 and temple run 2 and OZ on my phone.Play safe but dont play foolish!!! Root ur phone from a guide that has good number of succesful comments that their phone was succesfully rooted by that guide…(better is try custom roms)

    I was a newbie to android and in the process of rooting and putting custom rom i became a senior member at my phones android forum!!!

    • This post was published at a time I was indeed a newbie. Right now, or as of now, I’m not. I’m proudly the owner and founder of the first and most popular Android portal in Bangla language, Android Kothon! :)

      Then again, thanks for your really helpful comment! :)

  8. Hello, Neat post. There is a problem with your site in web explorer, would test this?

    IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a large element of people will pass over your excellent writing because of this problem.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s