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New Nexus 4 Experiment – Day 1

January 17th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments
This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Nexus 4

The package arrived today. So far, everything looks good. Buying a phone from EBay always seems like taking a chance, but so far, this seems like a bargain. This phone is in near perfect condition – there’s not a mark on it. I plugged it in and let it charge for about an hour which restored about 25% battery. It fired right up to the default Android JellyBean screen. It had clearly been factory reset, but I reset it just in case, taking the phone back to 4.2.2.

I added my Wi-Fi password and it connected without problems. Then within 5 minutes it alerted me that an OTA update was available, which I installed without an issue. A few minutes later I received another OTA update offering the 4.3 update which also installed perfectly. Finally, in another few minutes the OTA icon offered the 4.4 KitKat update which installed flawlessly. So, within 30 minutes out of the package I’m running the latest Android OS available. So far, so good.

One of the reasons I bought a Nexus 4 for cheap instead of a Nexus 5 was that I know LTE can be enabled on the Nexus 4 with a variety of hacks. But to do that you need root access, so rooting the phone was step #2.

I’ve had lots of fun rooting devices using Fastboot commands in the past. If you’ve never done it, I recommend rooting the old fashioned way (see http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2018179 for instructions) at least once, since you do get an idea of what actually needs to be done to accomplish it. But frankly I’ve had enough command line fun for one lifetime so when a decent toolkit exists to get the job done I’ll use it.

There appears to be two main toolkits competing for attention on XDA Developers at the moment: one created by a developer called “WugFresh” at http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2517778 and one created by “mskip” located at http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1995688. After reading the full threads I chose WugFresh’s toolkit. Why? Well at the time I write this, mskip’s toolkit only worked with KitKat 4.4.2 if it auto-updated to the latest version, and the only way to enable that was to pay a fee (a “donation”) and get a key from the dev. Only based on this post and this post, some users had waited more than 5 days and still hadn’t received their key and the developer was nowhere to be found in the thread. No way I was chancing that. So WugFresh wins the day.

I watched the instructional video at http://www.wugfresh.com/nrt/wiki/ and followed it as closely as possible (the screens for installing the drivers are different in the newer version of the toolkit, but easier to use so no big deal). Short version of the story – it worked absolutely flawlessly. Seriously, no issues whatsoever. A few button clicks and I have a phone with SuperSU root access, BusyBox installed, TWRP custom recovery, and still running 4.4.2 KitKat. What more could I want?

Next step – tomorrow I get a new LTE-enabled micro-sim card (I only have a mini sim in my current phone) and install a new radio to turn LTE on. We’ll see how it goes.

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