I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, the whole “custom roms” thing, since I finally
got the guts and rooted my Galaxy SII. And ever since then I tried exactly two custom roms, MIUI and Cyanogenmod, now the reason I’m reviewing CM and not MIUI is very simple, I was lazy. Anyway, onto the review!
I initially made the switch from MIUI since their ICS version wasn’t all that stable, nor was it really usable on a day to day basis, the lockscreen wouldn’t function correctly, the device was overall slower than the Gingerbread version, and it all just didn’t feel nice. So based on a couple of recommendations from a few friends, I decided to give Cyanogenmod a go, and let me tell you this, I was scared shitless of bricking my phone with all the custom rom installations, but after I got the hang of it, I was switching out roms like there’s no tomorrow! I also tried the Gingerbread CM7 but I didn’t like it all that much, the ICS flavor was a lot nicer.
The thing about Cyanogenmod is that it looks almost exactly the same as the stock Android, so if you want that stock Android experience, especially that the stock ICS is VERY sexy and hot, then I strongly suggest going with the nightly build I’m reviewing right now (which is CM9 Nightly build 20120322, since it’s stable enough for day to day use). Now this has all the ICS goodies Google were so kind to bestow upon us, including Face unlock, the new task manager, and the very nice browser wheel thingy! Oh, and it supports Arabic! Finally! MIUI didn’t, my stock Touchwiz android didn’t, but now I can finally read Arabic tweets!
Onto the battery life! And I can say with absolute certainty that it. is. fucking ridiculous! seriously! compared to what I used to get before rooting, 3 days and some hours is insane! This was an average to low usage, with me overworking the processor at times, and doing the occasional benchmark, because, you know, you only get the idea to do these things when you’re leaving the phone on the side… Scumbag brain…
Speaking of benchmarks, here you will see two benchmarks, first is Quadrant, now what I did here, is set the processor to work on full load (Yeah, you can actually do that in CM9! But you can’t overclock without extra tools, unlike CM7) and just blasted away the benchmark, and this is what I got! before CM9, or actually, before rooting entirely, I got a 3200 score, now I know a 297 jump isn’t exactly THAT huge a jump, but it’s still a difference, and it proves that TouchWiz was somewhat hogging my phone’s potential.
The other benchmark here is Vellamo, a mobile web benchmark that evaluates browser performance and other stuff, and as you can see here, my dual core GSII beat the quad core Asus Transformer Prime, albeit by a very small margin, but a win is a win! Which further proves the advantage in performance I gained from Cyanogenmod.
The only issue I have with this version of CM is that the video camera doesn’t work, at all, when you start recording, it crashes, but everything else works just fine.
This whole rooting, custom roms thing is very new to me, since the GSII is my first Android phone, and again, I was scared shitless when I was doing this stuff the first time, especially since I had a couple of issues rooting the phone at first. Let me know what you folks think of Cyanogenmod and MIUI, and if you have suggestions for other custom roms, let me know!
UPDATE: Flashed a newer Nightly (20120402), fixed the video cam issue, records normally in fullHD now, scored 3555 on Quadrant, and scored 1569 on Vellamo, I don’t exactly remember how much the older rom scored, but I know it was closer to 1400.
UPDATE: Flashed the newest Nightly (20120625), AVOID THIS NIGHTLY! Highly unstable, lots of issues with the dialer, the “1” key hangs as if pressed and any other press is considered a multitouch press and swipes the dialer away, along with frequent network connection losses, all the other stuff seems to be working fine though. Mainly all of the Nightlies prior to (20120402) have lower Quadrant and Vellamo scores, significantly lower, Quadrant doesn’t pass the 2900 mark, and Vellamo at best reads 1100.
UPDATE: RC IS RELEASED! Yay! Get it through here. So far, the dialing lag is there, also the notification bar doesn’t show notifications, the rest though isn’t there, very stable, everything I’ve tested seems to be working fine, although Quadrant reads a disappointing 2371 and Vellamo reads 1100. It’s still completely bad ass though, very smooth and stable, highly recommended!