My Pocket PC (PPC) Adventures: Hisense A5 Pro CC

Year 2020: Hisense A5 Pro CC

After splintering both screens of my Yotaphone2 multiple times, I got an Hisense A5 Pro CC (HLTE203T) [specs] [shop] in 2020-11, with Android 10 (API 29) but without Google Play. The e-ink screen is marvellous: No need for a LED display anymore, although on the flip side it is both a medicre e-ink paper (RGB filters mean only 30% of the contrast) and a mediocre LED screen (4096 colors with underwhelming tone mapping make for rather unnuanced photos). Still, it gets me away from browsing the internet, and towards reading books! So my main goal is reached.

A configurable side button on the left side can be set to screen refresh for one click, and backlight on/off on double click. At the bottom, a fourth softkey toggles between paging and scrolling/video mode, and indeed the frame rate is good, unlike the sometimes flat colors. Hardware buttons at the bottom will probably never be in vogue again. Battery life is fantastic, I havent charged the phone in 4 days.

Hisense A5 Pro CC Evaluation
Hisense A5 Pro CC Pro:
  • E-ink, with 4096 colors
  • A-GPS+Glonass+Baidu
  • 12 MP Camera
Contra:
  • Too large at 5.8"
  • Non-removable battery
  • No hardware buttons
  • Incomplete i18n
Bugs:
  • None in hardware
  • Software see below

I knew from the start that no gapps meant going F-Droid and replacing many of my apps, but it turns out the replacement is sometimes even better:

Minor irritations:

Using adb (stand-alone per apt-get install adb or from Android SDK) is a must to get this device up and running, particularly to remove all the tracking software that ClassyShark3xodus identifies [forum]: That includes the stock contact and calendar apps.

Privacy: A5 Pro CC

First disable apps manually by going to Settings->App and permission management>Manage apps, and then turn off everything in:

Second make your Linux computer recognize the phone with idVendor=="109b" (Hisense) [doc], connect the phone by USB, and then test the connection with adb devices and then adb shell, where you can pm list packages and grep to find out if a specific app is installed. Install a new keyboard before going on the disabling spree [forum].

pm disable-user --user 0 com.android.inputmethod.pinyin
pm disable-user --user 0 com.android.inputmethod.latin
pm disable-user --user 0 com.iflytek.inputmethod
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.userexperienceprogram

pm disable-user --user 0 com.android.hplayer  
pm disable-user --user 0 com.android.browser 
pm disable-user --user 0 com.android.calendar
pm disable-user --user 0 com.android.contacts
pm disable-user --user 0 com.android.firewall
pm disable-user --user 0 com.android.hplayer
pm disable-user --user 0 com.android.mms
pm disable-user --user 0 com.android.powermanager
pm disable-user --user 0 com.android.providers.downloads.ui
pm disable-user --user 0 com.android.sos
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.account
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.antivirus
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.assist
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.einklauncher.plugin.wechat
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.facelock
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.FileManager.Activity
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.HmctService
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.imageedit
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.mobileclear
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.questionnaire
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.theme
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.updater
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.voiceassist
pm disable-user --user 0 com.hmct.voicetranslate

... and that should save you some battery life and provide additional privacy too.

EOF (Apr:2021)