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Poblano VLE5 Hot Pepper

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by LOveWerks, Apr 22, 2019.


How can you cloak your data?

Poll closed Dec 31, 2019.
  1. Root

    0 vote(s)
  2. Get a Jitterbug

    0 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. LOveWerks

    LOveWerks Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Hello -

    I haven't posted in the forums for a long time, as I've been through some health changes; yet, I'm doing better now.

    In the quest of saving money, I came to the end of my contract with the phone carrier that I'd been using, and decided that a 4G Lifeline phone with unlimited data, texts and calls at $35 month was the best deal I could find.

    The phone that I received was the Poblano VLE5 Hot Pepper, a Google GO-based, Oreo OS smartphone with minimal bells and whistles. It does the job, and it came with the ubiquitous bloatware that plague most phones.

    It was refreshing to be able to uninstall the majority of the bloatware apps, including Facebook.

    IMHO, Facebook and many other social networking sites have have joined Corporate Big Brother in data collection/sharing schemes that have become mind-blowing, and an encroachment on personal liberties; I won't digress into my first AF rant in 2 years, so let's go back to my original quest for knowledge.

    I've installed an 64 gB SD card, and it seems to work SLOWLY in this phone, though it has class 10 spec.

    Will root/Superuser help this phone by way of custom ROMS, to provide access to non-GO apps, and a less-sludgy app experience? Jump in to this thread, as there are many like me who are on fixed income that need a smartphone that will work as efficiently as the lower-end Samsung/LG et al.

    Thank you for reading.

    Roozter and MrJavi like this.

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  2. Dannydet

    Dannydet Extreme Android User

    MrJavi and Xavier Black like this.
  3. LOveWerks

    LOveWerks Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    MrJavi likes this.
  4. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    1GB RAM, I didn't even know that could run the latest Android version, Pie 9.0. Must be painfully slow. And only 8GB internal storage with Pie, that doesn't leave a lot. As for custom ROMs and rooting, no chance. China phone, from an unknown manufacturer.
  5. terrabry

    terrabry Lurker

  6. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    holy crap man.....talk about a blast from the past. i just started to hang out here more about a few months ago. must have missed this thread. glad to see you alive and and still kicking.......LOL

    always check out xda to see of your phone is rooted or not. they are usually the source of all things root. not always. like we have actual developers who now hangout here then over there which is great for AF. but in general xda is where you want to go. for me before i buy any device i always check to see if the phone is generating excitement from the devs or not.

    like i always say no dev support=no fun.
    MrJavi and LOveWerks like this.
  7. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    This phone is actually much better than people are making it sound.

    As you have discovered, most of the bloatware can be removed.

    You have installed a 64MB SD card.
    This phone is made for a maximum of a 32GB card.

    As it could work anyway, I must inquire if you purchased the card online for cheap or payed full price for it at a brick and morter store.

    I ask, because you say the card is class 10, yet it is slow.

    There is the possibility that it is a fake 64GB, class 10, or both.

    Anyway, the best things you can do for that phone is to eliminate as much bloatware and Google junk apps and spyware as possible.

    Even the clock app has spyware in it!

    Then get F-Droid on it, and install some good, small, plain, efficient apps.

    I suggest apps from Simple Mobile Tools.
    Be sure to include the Thank You app, as this will coordinate the collection of apps from there.

    I suggest:

    File Manager

    All of these are better than the stock options, and so you can disable those.

    I have diabled all unneeded Google apps, such as Photos, Files, Talk To Text, Assistant, Play Music, Play Movies And TV, G-Board, Google, Duo, Chrome, Maps, YouTube, and others.

    Also think about a new launcher.
    The stock one is rather bad.

    KISS Launcher, also on F-Droid, is awesome, small, simple, and very efficient.

    Hacker's Keyboard is a great keyboard, also on F-Droid.

    For a browser, try FOSS.

    Remember that many things such as Maps and YouTube are accessible through a browser, so you do not need apps for them.

    Now, even though this device only has 8GB internal memory, it is a GO OS.
    A typical 8GB phone system will use about 4GB just for the system, while the GO on this one uses around 2½GB.

    So there is more room than you think for your useage.

    Another thing you want to do is keep running apps to a minimum, as this will increase battery life between charges.

    For this I use Greenify.
    Do not Greenify Clock, Calender, or the like because they may be off when you need an alarm.

    Telegram is an amazing addition to this phone, and F-Droid has a nice FOSS version.

    For those times when you absolutely have to get an app from Google, you might try a site or app called UpToDown.
    They have many Google apps, and also offer the option of installing previous versions.
    This can become very useful if an update 'breaks' an app, or if you just don't like a new version.

    F-Droid also allows the installation of previous versions of apps.

    I have a Hot Pepper, among other devices, and have found that it actually holds it own pretty well.

    I actually do more with mine than most folks I know that have $500-$1000 phones.

    So don't get discouraged, get creative in finding efficient apps that make it run well.

    It actually is a pretty sweet phone for the money.
    #7 puppykickr, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    Roozter, MrJavi, LOveWerks and 3 others like this.
  8. The-Truth

    The-Truth Android Expert

    With root and/or a custom recovery img.built for this phone alone! (ON TOP) of even a LOS ROM not to mention a custom OC' Kernel. I mean OFCOURSE it not only could but WOULD be elevated with these perms. Any phone with root is highly modifiable in that way. Allowing high level modifications equaling Custom tweaks and performance and battery enhancements. Issue is popularity of device/s and accomplished devs or those so inclined to be willing to jump on board this unpopular overlooked uninterested or ownef by anybody who could and/or would do the work.
    MrJavi likes this.
  9. Jahsinger

    Jahsinger Lurker


    Attached Files:

  10. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    I have not seen my Poblano do this.
    That being said, don't give up yet.

    Take the battery out again, only this time hold the power button and one or both volume buttons at the same time after you have removed the battery.

    This should drain the capacitors inside the phone that can hold a charge for a while after a battery is removed.

    Hold the buttons for at least 30 seconds.

    After that, let the phone sit.
    Go get some coffee or something.

    Then come back in and replace the battery, and plug the phone into the charger, then the charger into the wall.

    Wait a few moments, and see what happens.

    Mine will act like it is starting up, showing the color explosion and the hot pepper, etc., and then go dark.
    After a few more moments, a large battery emblem appears in the middle of the screen showing the state of charge.

    The LED indicator is red if any charge level is below 100%, and green if it is 100%.

    Wait for this battery thing to disappear and for the screen to go dark.

    Was there a good charge?
    If not, wait a while.

    If there was 60% or more, then press and hold the power button until the phone vibrates a bit and the screen activates.

    Hopefully your phone will boot up normally.

    If not, then you are probably stuck in recovery mode or something like that.

    As familiar as I may be with these things, that is something that I only found by accident, and I considered myself lucky to find my way back out of it, hahaha.

    But hopefully the steps above solve this for you, if not then we can try something else.
    MrJavi likes this.
  11. LOveWerks

    LOveWerks Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    The last phone that had root in my life was running Lollipop; before that, Gingerbread. I joined 8-9 years ago, back around '10-'11 - and these forums are where I learned the fine art of Superuser privileges. Even then, I had concerns about data, and how people just don't seem to understand that 'once it's out there, that's it baby...'

    Last year, I got an Ancestry account for Christmas. I thought to myself, "Hey. Do you want your DNA in a database in the Cloud?"
    My answer was, and still is - NO.

    There are too many people pointing fingers at governments from around the world, but the real crime is this:

    Corporate hijinks. Data. Metadata. Around the world. Here is your Big Brother.

    Any way that you can help me 'semicloak' this not-very-smart smartphone would be great. I fondly remember the days of Odin, when I was using an old Samsung... man, it was so much easier than trying to gain root access on an HTC or Moto...

    MrJavi and puppykickr like this.
  12. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    On F-Droid, there are a few apps by the same dev that may be useful to you, and one outstanding browser you are sure to like.

    There are 2 similar apps that allow you to store bookmarks and open them in a convenient way:

    Web Media Share

    WebApps allows you to stay logged into sites that you frequent, while sandboxing each one from the others.
    Each individual 'WebApp' will open a separate tab in your recent apps.
    Each individual site you store also can be limited by the user (you) as to what 3rd party links can be allowed.
    This is great to hamper tracking and ads.

    Web Media Share is similar to WebApps, except the individual sites do not open up separate tabs in recent apps and there is no sandboxing as far as I know.
    Although a bit less secure, this is a nice app for those sites that do not function well with WebApps.

    G-Apps is the third one by this dev, and works for Google related sites.
    I didn't have much luck with this one, just as I don't with any official Google related crap.

    The browser that I prefer is Lightning.
    Once you go through all the settings (Default homepage and search engine is Google, so change that first!), you will have a secure, ultrafast browser with unlimited tabs and bookmarks.
    It is a great default browser, and even has a built in ad blocker that is customizable.
    MrJavi and LOveWerks like this.
  13. i had a hot pepper that i bought for $500 (300rmb) and could not root it. another thing is, there seem to be limited numbers of roms for lesser known phones like hot pepper. i would like to also say that rooting chinese phones are possible. i rooted one with king root, and another one through twrp. i have not tried it on any of the more recent android phones. now if you dont want to pay alot for phones, you can look into these brands, nuu, coolpad, and zte. you didnt mention which carrier you use, but the cheapest one is $5 via hello mobile. because of how cheap they are, theyre phones sold out in a month. if you are using one of the at&t based carriers, then you can choose from alot of cheap phones from xiaomi, oppo, or vivo
  14. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    I don't think that we are talking about the same 'Hot Pepper' phone.

    The one being discussed here is one that is often provided for free with the government free cellular program that is available in the USA.

    The phone, according to the supplier, is manufactured by ZTE.
    ZTE does not list this device as one of their own, so I am assuming that it is a special purchase.
    MrJavi and LOveWerks like this.
  15. LOveWerks

    LOveWerks Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Ah, hell.

    So long in replying, but your information was extremely helpful.

    Thank you.

    puppykickr, MrJavi and ocnbrze like this.
  16. LOveWerks

    LOveWerks Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    You were a great help, and thanx. I've been crossing over to .onion land... but your suggestions for sandwiched apps/browsers were great. Y'know, in Xmas 2018, I received a gift: Ancestry DOT COM...

    Unbeknownst to the gift giver, I got money back. There's no way that I would put my genetic DNA signature in the cloud. There are too many fools that think that's okay.

    I'm not one of them. I've stayed current in computing et al since my first Apple II, but the "transparency" that is happening online is unnerving. Old school, in many ways, is good school. I've got 26+ year old kids that actually agree with my parental skills from back in the '90s to now, and I started late.


    Protect your data.

    Protect your freedom.

    And thanx for your help, once again -

  17. LOveWerks

    LOveWerks Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Yep. I got the phone while I was in and out of the hospital. It was free, & I pay the carrier $35 monthly. It manages 4G, and I can listen to streaming music with no hiccups. With WiFi, it's a cruel 2.4 GHz joke - where gigabit internet won't even show up.

    I've been away for a bit, but I wanted to come back and tell all of you THANX. I've missed AF.
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  18. LOveWerks

    LOveWerks Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Thank you for your help. I'm late in my response, but know that people like yourself are greatly appreciated. I've made a Tor departure, but the apps you mentioned sound great.

    MrJavi, puppykickr and ocnbrze like this.
  19. jay8080

    jay8080 Lurker

    My Hotpepper Poblano's camera doesn't work at all.. it's slow and possibly has some kind of hacker watching what I do. How do I find that out?
  20. Dannydet

    Dannydet Extreme Android User

    Factory reset the phone
    MrJavi likes this.
  21. jay8080

    jay8080 Lurker

    I have
  22. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    how do you know you have been hacked?
    MrJavi likes this.
  23. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    First things first.
    Without knowing you or your situation, I can say with relative confidence that your phone is not hacked.

    I am lazy, and on my Poblano right now, so I didn't go over all (or any) of the apps that I may (or may not) have suggested.

    Did I mention an app called Pandroid?
    It is a Device Administrator app that controls the camera.

    This app gives you a quicksettings tile that allows you to activate and deaçivate the app, which allows the camera to work or not.

    This is intended to keep apps from using your camera without your knowledge/permission.
    The caviat is that as far as I know, this is only effective against user installed apps- meaning that a factory or carrier installed app might still be able to aquire unknown access to the camera.

    All this extra info aside, did you happen to install Pandroid or a similar app?

    If so, this will prevent the camera from working (at least for you, lol).

    I have it and use it all the time.

    Let me see if I can make a short video for you to compare with your experience.

    I keep getting a 'security error' when I try to upload it here, so here is a link.

    ocnbrze likes this.
  24. Roozter

    Roozter Lurker

    I'm getting a Poblano also.
    Thankful to hear bloatware is removable! I'll be making as many changes as possible so thanks for the tips. Much appreciated!!
    ocnbrze and puppykickr like this.
  25. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    Roozter and ocnbrze like this.

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