Samsung Note 8.0 WIFI GT-5110 – Rooting and Flashing CivZ ROM
I have been staying away from rooting any mobile devices since my HTC EVO3D, which I sold and replaced with a Nokia Lumia 820. These days there are no real good reasons for me to muck around with rooting devices anymore…apart from wasting more time. However, there is just one device that I *have* to root because I think it is a necessity. I bought my Samsung Note 8.0 Wifi from JB Hifi in March 2013, shortly after it was released in Australia. I am not sure how and why but it looks like because of the ongoing disputes between Samsung and Apple (among other reasons unknown to me), the OTA updates stopped at Android 4.2.2. That’s a bummer to say the least.
In practical usage, I could probably live with this BUT the stock firmware is also limited in some ways. One of the things that bugs me all the time is that I cannot change the dock icons at the bottom of the screen. That feature has been disabled for Australia versions of Samsung devices. In addition, I find that the battery life suffers a great deal since the firmware was updated from the stock 4.1.2 to 4.2.2. So after enduring this for about 1.5 years, I decided to take some time to root the tablet and flash a new ROM, hopefully to improve the performance of this little tablet. I quite like the Samsung note 8.0. It has a good form factor, not too bulky but like all things, there are many rooms for improvement.
So I began reading the XDA forums and it looks like there are several ROMs popular for the Samsung note 8. The CivZ ROM, X-Note ROM, CyanogenMod ROM and among many others. I finally decided to go with the CivZ ROM. It is a personal preference thingy.
Rooting the Samsung note 8 and flashing a new ROM is a lot easier than I anticipated. In comparison, the EVO3D is a lot more difficult to root and romify (if there is such a word).
There are already so many well written root tutorials and firmware update guide on the net. I will not re-invent the wheel here.
Here are some good references that I find useful:
Installing PhilZ, a custom CWM tool
Downloading CivZ ROM
The following is an over-brief account of what I did…mainly to commit the experience into written words than keeping them in memory.
Step 1: Download and installed these software
1. Samsung Kies v2.6 from here. The latest is actually v3 but because I am stuck with v4.2.2 on the tablet, I installed v2.6 as the first step. I will update to v3 later. I use the software to first make a backup of whatever I have on the tablet. It is not really essential to me because most of my data is on the external SD card but backing up is more for peace of mind than anything else.
2. Odin v3.07 from here. The latest as I found out is actually v3.10. There are some minor differences but I stayed with v3.07 anyway. Odin is the ROM flashing tool for Samsung devices. The software does not require installation but it is important to note that Odin should run with an Administrator rights.
3. “CF-Auto-Root” file. Odin will use this file to complete the rooting process on the tablet. Just leave this file in the same directory as Odin. Note that the CF-Auto-Root file must be specific to the Samsung Note 8.0 version that you have. I have the N5110 and so I used this file: “CF-Auto-Root-konawifi-konawifixx-gtn5110.tar.md5“.
4. CivZ ROM file. Download the ROM file from the link above. The version I used is “CivZ-FlexNote8.0_KK-Rev2.1-N5110_signed.zip” and it is a 1.7GB file. Put this file in the external microSD card on the tablet. Do NOT unzip this file.
Step 2: Enable the “Developer Option” on the Samsung note 8
Just like the HTC phone devices, we have to enable the “USB Debugging Mode” on the device. This feature is available on the stock firmware but it is hidden. Thanks to the XDA people, this is very easy to be enabled.
Go to: Settings -> About device. Then tap on the “Build Number” line 7 times. A popup message will then say that developer mode has been enabled. This will enable a “Developer Option” tab on the menu. Go into the menu and enable “USB Debugging Mode.” That’s all there is to it.
Step 3: Boot Samsung note 8 into “Download mode” and Root the Device
First hard power off the device. Then press the “power”, “volume down” and “Home” button at the same time until the Android robot shows up. Then press the “volume up button”. Very simple indeed.
Start Odin and then connect the tablet to the computer via USB. If the tablet is detected, Odin will report a log message as “Added!!”. This is a good sign.
Then click the “PDA” button to select the “CF-Auto-Root” file. Make sure “Auto Reboot” and “F. Reset Time” check boxes are ticked. Leave the other settings intact as they are. Press the start button and Odin will work its magic. Odin is “supposed” to report a “PASS!” message in green if the root is successful. In my case, it says “RESET!” instead and the tablet rebooted. It turns out that others have also experienced this and to complete the root, allow the tablet to boot normally and go to the APPS section and find a “SuperSU” icon. Click on this and follow the prompt. This would complete the rooting process. How easy was that.
Step 4: Install a Clockwork Mod Recovery for the tablet and flashed a new custom ROM
Next, the tablet has to be installed with a Clockwork Mod Recovery in order to flash a custom ROM. Many people recommended the PhilZ Touch and so that is what I will be using. Download PhilZ from here: https://goo.im/devs/philz_touch/CWM_Advanced_Edition/n5110/. I used this version: “philz_touch_6.41.6-n5110.tar.md5“. Copy this file to the same directory as Odin.
Put the tablet into “download mode” again, and then point Odin to run with the PhilZ CWM file that we just downloaded. Again, Odin is supposed to report a “PASS!” message but again it reported a “RESET!” instead. This is actually fine. Now power off the tablet, and this time press “power”, “volume up” and “Home” button to put the tablet into CWM mode. Note that it is “volume up” NOT “volume down” this time.
Now the tablet will now boot into PhilZ and I further clear all the cache, and execute a full wipe to clear the device. Then I proceed to install the ROM by pointing PhilZ at the rom file on the sdcard. The whole thing is intuitive enough that it is a breeze to do all these. The installation process is very straight forward. Just follow the prompt. It will then reboot and viola….
Step 5: Success
That’s it. My Samsung Note 8.0 is now running the CivZ custom ROM based on KitKat 4.4.2. I was kinda worried about the accuracy of the stylus pen after the update but it turns out there are no issues whatsoever. Wireless and everything else on the tablet works straightaway. No further mucking around needed. I am impressed.
I hope this update will prolong the usefulness of this little tablet a bit more. Right now I don’t have any urgent needs to upgrade to another tablet but who knows 🙂
I hope you find this article useful. Until next time 🙂