Friday, February 22, 2013

Ramos W30HD 2/16/2013 Firmware Update Review

So about every other day I would go onto the official Ramos website to check from the source for a new firmware and about every other day I got more and more disappointed that there wasn't an update out. That changed on the 16th. I heard rumors floating about that Ramos was planning on releasing it either on or shortly after the Chinese New Years and they didn't disappoint only about a week later which isn't the worst that I've seen from some well known companies that'll say tomorrow but mean in about 3 months.

Installing the update is somewhat straight forward. You can download it officially here which is the official download link from Ramos or find another mirror that is quicker. I just slowly downloaded mine overnight. Installing the update itself is kind of different, it's definitely my first flashing it their way. You can follow their instructions if you have a translator and or can read it here or follow my simplified one here. It WILL restore your tablet IE wipe everything off of it so make sure to have backups if you need them. It takes about 5-10 minutes depending on your Micro SD card to install it and be warned after you update it you may get two weird lines of pixels near the center of the screen for a few minutes. Ramos says this is normal and it will eventually go away. It did on mine after about 20 minutes of usage.

Alright first and foremost just like I feared this is a minor firmware update not a major one so people hoping for Jelly Bean you are out of luck for now. It keeps 4.0.4 but somewhat fixes the hardware video acceleration. I say somewhat because there are still a few videos that just won't work. In my experience with my Tablet Plex, Youtube and MX Player work as they should but oddly enough Netflix still gives me a black screen and some game cinematics so it's at least progress but still not 100%. Because it's still 4.0.4 there is still an interface lag at least on the stock launcher that hasn't been addressed with Project Butter yet but just like before I use a different launcher from the market and it solves that issue. But with that being said performance has improved. Antutu benchmark score increased by 1389 points to 15658 and Quadrant increased 454 points to 5563 all averaged over 10 runs running the stock firmware update just the Ramos junk disabled and rooted.

They have also appeared to address the battery issues that have cropped up in mine. The meter now properly shows 100% after fully charging it and at least in my preliminary testing battery life has improved around 10-15% after 4 battery tests and I can somewhat tell with my day to day usage it has improved but I'll run a few more tests to get a better average. They also appeared to solved my little issue of every once and a while it just wouldn't charge without the tablet fully powered off haven't ran into it once since updating.

Lastly they have fixed and addressed the issue with the Wifi sleeping while the screen was powered off. They give you 3 options now if never want it on, only when charging or wifi always on with the screen off. I know I didn't touch on this in my first review because I hardly noticed it but after reading on some of the forums I know people were screaming for this to be addressed so kudos for Ramos for listening.

All in all this was definitely a much much much needed update that didn't disappoint. The W30HD still needs work, and shame on Ramos for not releasing the source code because I feel like if the custom rom cookers could get their hands on it, and trust me they want to, this tablet would fly but for now Ramos appears to be holding off and trying to fix things themselves. This is their 1st update and a welcome one that addressed a lot of issues but doesn't fully solve the hardware video acceleration, they more or less put a Bandaid on it because it's still broken in some apps but solved some other big issues with the tablet and I have a little more faith that Ramos will actually deliver the Jelly Bean update like they promised. But exactly when will be anyone's guess. So considering the new update I would give the Ramos W30HD an 8/10 score. It's not perfect yet but it is a step in the right direction but it more or less needs 4.1 to iron out the interface lag and or video hardware acceleration in all the apps.


Ramos W30HD Firmware Update Guide

I'm not responsible for any bricked devices. I will attempt to help you out best way I can if you do run into a problem but as I said I'm not responsible for any bricked devices.

Alright this is a guide that will walk you through how to upgrade your Ramos W30HD Firmware exactly how I did it and it worked perfectly on my W30HD. If you have anything important on the tablet make a backup as this will wipe the tablet clean of all data.

This guide assumes you have your Micro SD already plugged into your computer and ready to go. And speaking of Micro SD cards I used a 16GB Kingston class 8 which worked fine but YMMV concerning cards and or card readers.

1: Download the update either from the official download mirror here or find another speedier mirror. Don't ask me to post it somewhere else because no offense but I can't be bothered I slowly downloaded it overnight so it didn't kill me.

2: Unzip the folder so you should have 3 things within the folder. A folder for Winimage, A .vhd file that says Ramos_xxxxx.vhd and a .doc file.

3: Take the Ramos_xxxxx.vhd file, and if it has any Chinese characters in the name delete them, and move them somewhere out of the folder. I moved mine to the desktop because Winimage doesn't like Chinese Characters so you either have to rename the folder or just move the file.

4: Download WinImage from here and install it. I tried using the bundled Winimage in the download and it didn't work so I just downloaded it from the source.

5: Launch WinImage as an administrator if possibly.

6: Under the Disk menu select "Restore Virtual Hard Disk Image on Physical Drive."

7: Select your Micro SD card. If for some reason it doesn't show up you can try checking the box that says "Include Non removable hard disk(s)." If that doesn't work try a different card and or card reader.

8: Navigate to the Ramos_xxxxxxxx.vhd file wherever you put it and select open. And wait for the disk to be written.

9: Power down the tablet and install the Micro SD card into the slot.

10: While holding the volume up button, which is the 3rd from the left when holding the tablet horizontally, press the power on button and hold both until it shows Updating on the screen. I waited about 10 seconds after it said updating on my screen before releasing anything.

11: Wait for it to be done and it should reset itself and then launch with the fully updated firmware.

After your first boot you may notice 2 lines of pixels and lines around the center part of your screen. Ramos claims this is totally normal and I did have them on mine but they will go away after a while. Mine took about 20 minutes to fully go away.

12: Optional But because it wasn't shown anywhere if your Micro SD card doesn't show it's maximum volume you have to Format it. I used SD Formatter 4 which you can get here to restore the card to it's maximum volume.

13: Optional If you need/want root my old method posted here still works just fine for getting the W30HD rooted.