The following information was written by
by Zack Smith,
linkWhat is CECT?
They are a major company in China that makes many cell phones. In the case of these phones, it appears that CECT makes the hardware and that any number of other companies add their own variant of software to the phone. The software on all of the phones is basically similar, the exception being the "Hiphone", which is poor quality, and phones running Windows Mobile. What is the P168+?
It's one in a line of cheap Chinese phones that first appeared perhaps a year ago, billed as iPhone clones, even though the software was very different and the look was not identical. There are now related phones (the i68 and i9) that look virtually identical to the iPhone physically, while the software is still quite different. They are not true clones and should instead be viewed as decent phones in their own right.
What do the P168-series and related phones offer?
These GSM phones are different from the iPhone but they offer much. They are media-centric cellular phones with loads of features, some clunky, some very usable, typically including:
* GSM phone itself
* MP3 player
* Video recorder
* Video player (plays 3GP and MP4 formats)
* Image viewer
* Voice recorder
* Support for 2GB (maybe more) micro-SD flash.
* FM radio (usually)
Which phones are we talking about here?
CECT makes a range of phones that are in some cases renamed, especially if sold by websites. Most Ebay sellers stick to the standard names, which include:
Are the P168+ or related phones locked?
No. Never have been. If you see an ad for one that is locked, don't buy it.
Is the P168+ quadband as Ebay resellers sometimes claim?
No. It is technically triband GSM as is the P168C etc. Some call it near-quadband, because there is an internal setting alterable only at the factory that lets them assign it either the frequencies
* 850-1800-1900 (for North America) or
* 900-1800-1900 (for everywhere else).
(The four possible bands are: 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz.) The important issue is whether it supports the 850 MHz band, which is used in North America. To learn if it does, check the ad carefully, ask the reseller, or once you have one check the IMEI sticker in the battery compartment.
With all the confusion surrounding these phones. I would like to start off by mentioning
1) Do your homework regarding these phones.
2) buy one from ebay from a reputable seller Ask questions and ask to see a picture of the battery compartment ask to see a photo of the product. (see image below)
3) If in the United States, make sure it is imprinted next to "Made in Taiwan" on the tag. (AS SHOWN)
Although there are quad-band models of this phone, they are very unstable. I did my homework,
they have poor reliability with At&T / t-mobile. ( and there is "no QUADBAND for the P168C. THE P168 IN ANY VERSION "+" or "C" has never had a QUADBAND VERSION. if you see one advertised as one STAY AWAY!!!!!!!
P168C WITH NEW MENUWhich is better: the P168, P168+, P168S, P168C?
Most people seem to have the P168+ and they say it is good. Resellers may tell you the P168C is the latest incarnation, and is nice because you can use two SIMs and switch between them easily. Some will say the P168S is newer. FYI, I have a hunch the P168S is not as good as the P168C.
As a rule, you should always go with the newest phone since it has the latest firmware. This is rather important because once you buy the phone you cannot (usually) obtain newer firmware.
What is the camera resolution of these phones really?
For any of these phones, most Ebay ads will say 2 megapixels. This is usually a lie. The resellers rarely test the phones to learn the camera's maximum resolution. The resolution depends on three factors:
1. The CMOS or CCD image sensor itself.
2. The processor that it connects to.
3. The software.
As far as the processor goes, here is what they potentially support, if the software uses it:
* MTK MT6225 = 640x480 (e.g. Sciphone i68)
* MTK MT6226 = 640x480
* MTK MT6226M = up to 1.3 MP
* MTK MT6227 = up to 2 MP
* MTK MT6228 = up to 3 MP
Caveat: It is hard to predict what processor your CECT phone will have. You can inquire with your reseller but they often do not answer the question, although learning the processor is not hard. It's best to go with a reputable reseller who communicates well. If you use Ebay, read the feedback comments. You may learn that a reseller with 1000 positive feedbacks got them all by selling baubles instead of Chinese phones. Do your due diligence as a consumer.
The Sciphone i68 and i9 are new and look just like the iPhone. Are they better than the P168-series?
Some people say that the MT6225 processor in the i68 is a problem. Others say the phone is fine. The MT6225 is a slower processor and it only supports cameras up to 640x480 resolution. The newer i9 has yet to come out as of July 2008 but may be better. I have a hunch the i9 will be the best CECT phone yet. I could be wrong.
Are there official manufacturer web pages for any of these phones?
No, because CECT does not officially acknowledge that they make these phones, presumably to avoid getting sued by Apple. And in fact Apple has sued at least one reseller of the phones. Thus there are no such web pages. However the people who supposedly make the Sciphone have set up MySciphone.com.
Which Ebay seller is reputable?
There are so many, it's very hard to keep track. I can't recommend one over another. If they do not have an email address listed on their Ebay page, you probably should not deal with them. And please don't buy a phone from a seller who has zero feedbacks, since more than likely you will never receive a phone from them. Be wary of buying directly from China, since after all if the phone is defective the cost to return it for repairs is large.
What frequencies does GSM generally work at and where are these frequencies used?
GSM phones work at some or all of:
* 850 MHz = North America both coasts
* 900 MHz = Most other places
* 1800 MHz = Most other places
* 1900 MHz = North America East Coast
Note, Europe and China use both 900 & 1800 MHz.
Are the triband CECT phones a problem?
Early on, some CECT triband phones sold in North America supported 900-1800-1900 MHz: thus lacking 850 MHz. Now, supposedly they are all 850-1800-1900 triband, but you should do your due diligence as a consumer and verify with the reseller that that is the case. Remember:
* On the West Coast: 850 MHz is absolutely essential.
* On the East Coast: 1900 MHz reception is available but may be limited.
Thus for North America, you actually need both 850 and 1900 MHz.
What are the top priorities when shopping for one of these phones?
Definitely make sure it has:
* The latest software.
* Always ask which processor it has. The higher-number processors are better.
* If you are in the USA then 850 MHz band capability is a must-have in addition to 1800 & 1900 MHz.
* The 1.3 megapixel camera is useful even if photos are not great quality.
Beware! Some phones are being sold as 2MP when they only have VGA-resolution 640x480 cameras.
* Slide-to-unlock feature.
* Shake to change song/image feature.
* Orientation sensor for video/photo viewing.
* Java MIDP 2.0 for games and programs.
Additional accessories that it should include are:
* An extra battery.
* Battery charger.
* Car charger.
* An included flash memory card e.g. 1 or 2 gigs.
* Some kind of case.
* USB cable.
Can I put YouTube videos on my CECT phone?
Yes, but you must convert them to 3GP or MP4 format from YouTube's FLV format. Probably it is best to convert to 3GP since files in that format are smaller. The website Vixy.net will do that conversion for you. Or, a company called Erightsoft makes a free program called SUPER that does many conversions and supports both 3GP and FLV.
How do I copy videos onto my P168 or related phone?
1. Buy microSD card.
2. Download video FLV e.g. using Real Player with Firefox 2.
3. Convert video to 3GP format using free program called SUPER.
4. Plug card into your laptop SD reader.
5. Copy video onto the microSD.
6. Put card into phone.
How do I download or update the firmware?
* You probably cannot obtain newer firmware except from other owners who have downloaded it from their newer phones. A few people have begun to modify the firmware using a program called Spiderman.
* You will need to buy a serial cable to transfer the firmware to/from your PC. It costs about $15 from resellers e.g. perhaps Zydaglo has it. Your computer must have an available 9-pin serial port which typically only desktops and older laptops have.
* You will need to use a free program from Mediatek (who make the processor) called MTK FlashTool that allows transferring the contents of flash to your PC and re-flashing.
What if my P168 suddenly shuts off?
I have heard of this problem. Especially with older software, people report that the on-screen battery monitor is not accurate and that when the battery gets low, the phone simply shuts off.
It is also the case that the default screen saver kick-in delay may be too short. That is easily changed.
What about MP3 playback quality?
There are four speakers on the front of the P168 series phones, providing decent sound quality. The Sciphone has two on the back of the unit. All of these phones come with earbuds that plug into a proprietary jack.
Are the earbuds good quality?
No. People say that the included earbuds are junk.
You can buy an adapter to use your own headphones with the P168-series phones from Zydaglo.
There is no such adapter yet for the Sciphone.
What operating system does the phone use?
* An analysis of the Hiphone firmware provided evidence to support the following claims.
o The operating system is ThreadX from Green Mountain.
o SDL is used for graphics.
o There is WAP support.
* An analysis of the Sciphone i68 firmware provided evidence to support the following claims.
o MT6225 processor is used.
o The operating system is Nucleus Plus OS from Mentor Graphics (ATI).
o J2ME i.e. Java MIDP-2.0 support is present.
o There is WAP support.
What processor are these phones based on?
All phone except the T32 seem to have one of the MediaTek (MTK) processors.
* MT6225: slow and VGA camera
* MT6226: VGA camera
* MT6226M: 1.3MP camera
* MT6227: 2MP camera
* MT6228; fast and 3MP camera.
What is the architecture of the MTK processors?
These are ARM-compatible, in fact the MT6226 and MT6227 both certainly have the ARM 7EJ-S core, which is a 32-bit RISC processor that can also natively run Java bytecode and includes an LCD controller.
What is the special key code needed to get into "engineering mode"?
* On the P168-series phones: dial the number * # # 3646633 #
* On the Sciphone i68: dial the number * # 8560968 #
Be very careful when you are in engineering mode! You can easily ruin your phone by accident.
Does any of these phones run Java applications or games?
All of the phones come preloaded with some clunky native games.
However as far as I know, only the Sciphone i68 runs Java.
Does the email functionity support common POP3 accounts?
Most do not. The A88 phone supposedly does support POP3.
Do any of these phone accept 4GB micro-SD flash cards?
Officially they take a maximum of 2GB, however some people have reported success in getting 4GB to work on some models.
Can I sync with the contact list on my PC?
Seemingly not. I have heard of people having problems with that. I myself do not keep contacts on my PC.
Where are specifications for the Mediatek processors?
* MT6226 data sheet
Instructions on how to cross-compile the Nucleus OS happen to be here.link
* MT6226 technical brief [url= http://www.sw-box.com/forum/china-phone/16589-mt6226-gsm-gprs-baseband-processor-technical-brief.html]link[/url]
* ARM7EJ-S technical reference manual link
Where are specifications for the operating systems?
Nucleus OS link