Siyah Kernel (tiny) review (v4.1Beta4)

I have seen the word “Siyah” thrown around a bit on the XDA forums, never really knowing what that was, and me being a bit lazy, I didn’t research it, until a friend of mine brought it up, and said he wanted to flash it but didn’t know how, so I decided to flash it myself and tell him (and all you good folks) the results!

Flashing the Siyah Kernel itself could not possibly be any easier, you just download the latest kernel from here (Make sure it’s the S2’s and not the S3’s), reboot into recovery, and flash it as you would a normal rom! I usually wipe both cache, and Dalvik cache, not sure if it’s necessary though.

After flashing you will notice how smoothly every thing is going, yes, even smoother than the stock CM kernel, a LOT smoother even! It has the potential to make the battery last even longer than your most battery saving settings since Siyah makes underclocking (and overclocking) a breeze! You have clock frequencies ranging from 100MHz to 1600MHz, and if you download ExTweaks as well, you can modify the voltages of, well, pretty much anything in your phone!

The latest Siyah also flashes CWM based touch recovery for you! So if you’ve been intending on switching to the touch recovery, this will do it for you! (It’s a lot prettier, if you’re wondering). The one thing that drains the battery, is the screen, which pretty much makes more sense than seeing “Android OS” on top of your battery drainage list, I still managed to have it last an entire day and 4 hours at 200MHz – 1200MHz which is the normal.

One thing to note though, after you flash a new rom, (in my case it was a new CM10 rom) make sure you re-flash Siyah as CM’s kernel replaces it.

Now the most epic feature of Siyah is its support for dual booting! This will pretty much allow you to install two custom roms (let’s say ICS and JB) and switch between them whenever you wish to! You can install a battery saving ICS one and the latest JB for example, or you can do like me, and dual boot MIUI v4 and CM10!

The process of dual booting itself is really easy, all it requires is patience, and a fully charged battery. All you need to do is basically make sure you have at least 2.5GBs free on your internal SD card.

1. You then have to download the other rom you want to flash (pretty obvious) and save it on either your internal or external SD card, won’t matter.

2. Reboot into recovery and go to Dual Boot Options.

3. Select Wipe 2nd ROM data/cache, this will take the longest, probably 7~10 minutes, so don’t freak out.

4. Go back outside, go to advanced, and select Wipe Dalvik Cache.

5. Now after you’ve done all that, select from Dual Boot Options “Install 2nd ROM from Internal SD card” if you’ve saved the other rom on your internal SD, or “Install 2nd ROM from External SD card” if you’ve saved it to your external SD.

6. Navigate to the secondary rom, flash it, reboot.

7. press the volume down or home key for secondary rom boot, don’t press anything for primary rom boot. TA DA!

Personally I didn’t really dual boot for anything other than geeking out, if you’ll do it for the same reason, you have my respect, if not, well, you still have my respect nevertheless.

Let me know what you folks think of Siyah, or of any other kernels out there, I’d love to try out some of your favorites and review them here! Have a good day, folks!

UPDATE: Overclocked the phone today to 1600MHz and the minimum to 1500MHz through ExTweaks, kept crashing, A LOT! Though when I lowered the maximum to 1500MHz and the minimum to 1000MHz it didn’t crash, though the battery was draining in front of my eyes, which was admittedly, a bit surreal. Anyway, Benchmarks time!

Quadrant read a nice back to pace 3065, which was very nice to see, after all the 2xxx’s I’ve had over the past few CM9/10 roms with their stock kernels.

Vellamo, however, read a 19xx score! Which is almost an all time high for my humble Galaxy SII! Psyched? Indeed I am, good folks! Flash away, now!

Cyanogenmod 10 Review (Updated to build 20120815)

Jellybean! Google’s latest sugar coated Android offering! And it has already been ported to other Android devices! My galaxy SII being one of them, thanks to the great Codeworkx and team Hacksung! This sugar coated flavour comes to us GSII users in the guise of Cyanogenmod 10! Now most of my readers will know how much I love CM over other custom roms out there, like MIUI for instance, it’s simply for how much CM sticks to the stock Android look, and seeing as I, along with many others, I’m sure, have suffered so much at the hands of Touchwiz, and don’t really want an iOS-ish look, Cyanogenmod saved the day!

Onto the good stuff. You can download the build I’m currently using on my phone here and of course the Google Apps over here. To start this off, I’m not responsible for any damage/bricking that may occur to your phone, though it’s a very VERY low possibility that it almost never happens unless your battery dies out midway through flashing a rom or something, it’s still a possibility! I also read on the original post by Codeworkx on XDA that you should have ICS bootloaders before flashing CM10, basically, have CM9 first, do a full wipe, all cache wipe, and flash this bad boy.

And now, the review (Yay!).

Let me first and foremost remind you all that this is an experimental build, not even a nightly build, so it is basically allowed to have bugs, though I am yet to find any, which is incredible for an experimental! This rom here is as stable as CM9’s RC2, if not better (It actually IS better). The OS feels smooth all over, thanks to Google’s Project Butter which completely eliminates the Android lag we have all grown accustomed to, this basically means that the one thing iOS users have been bragging about, is no longer a brag point. Scrolling through the screens and the apps is a joy, I honestly just open the phone to scroll through it meaninglessly just to enjoy how smooth it is! The notification bar has a new look now as well, also when you drag it down, it dims the background, like a curtain, and brightens while pulling back up. Speaking of the notification bar, we have expanded notifications now! Yay!

Also when you set app defaults, like for viewing pictures, or whether you want the phone or skype to make the phone calls, this stuff, well, they changed that a bit.

It’s not that big of a change, but it’s nicer that way in my opinion.

Google’s voice search! Oh how I love it! Let me ease your minds first, it is lightyears ahead of Samsung’s S Voice, so, no, you didn’t miss out by passing on the SIII, it’s almost as accurate as Siri, but it doesn’t launch apps yet, and you can’t tweet/update your Facebook status from it, not yet at least. But you can make calls and send messages from it. It also has a nice feature called “Cards”, it’s basically, well, cards.

Now that we’re done with the UI stuff, let’s delve a little under the hood. As I mentioned before, the OS feels A LOT smoother than ICS, though Quadrant and Vellamo don’t seem to think so, but hey, if it’s making the experience more pleasurable, who am I to judge by the numbers?

The numbers though ARE higher than CM9’s RC1 though a lot lower than the first few CM9 nightlies I’ve flashed. I should mention that I’m keeping the processor at stock speeds, I didn’t overclock the phone yet, I was keeping it running at 1200MHz throughout the benchmarking for optimum results.

The battery life was tested with heavy usage in mind, and some mild usage in between, and it lasted a nice day and a few hours! Wifi was on most of the time with screen brightness set to max since I was outside most of the day, and the benchmarks were done in that battery cycle as well, while showing some of my friends CM10, so they toyed around with it testing and stuff, hindering the battery cycle even more, for it to last a day with that much usage was really nice! I think with mild to almost no usage, it would last around 2 or even 3 days!

One single disadvantage I encountered was that the connection drops frequently, a simple reboot though fixes it.

And that’s it for my CM10 review, I think it’s outstanding, very fitting for day to day use albeit being in experimental status, I won’t be flashing back to ICS at all, and again, much thanks to Codeworkx for bringing this to life as soon as he did!

Let me know what you folks think of the rom if you flashed it, if you have any questions feel free to leave them down there and I will do my best to answer you all! Have a nice one, folks!

UPDATE: This build is, hands down, the smoothest version of Android I have personally ever used, it is amazingly responsive, and I haven’t yet encountered any experience hindering bugs, the build brings back Trebuchet as the launcher though, so you WILL see your desktops reset, but then again, Trebuchet is a really nice launcher, so, win-win. Quadrant shows a score of 2175, Vellamo a score of 1257. A new system settings menu has been added, “Hardware options” which allows you to enable custom actions on your button presses. I’ll update this post again if I encounter any bugs, for now though, this really is the nicest JB build out there! After a day of usage, I can also say that the battery life is a lot better than the older build!

UPDATE: Latest experimental build, now I did not test this build thoroughly, though basic stuff works fine, that includes -but not limited to- phone, messaging (I think), camera, video camera, data, wifi, and all buttery goodness! Also, I know you like numbers, and I like this build’s numbers so much I let out a loud “HOLY CRAP” at the beach, and when my friends asked what I was surprised at, I told them, and, well, suffice to say, I was labelled the trips ultimate dork/geek. But I care not for the earthly amusements of theirs! It is numbers we seek, and it is numbers we shall get!

Quadrant gave an absolute all time high. (I should mention that I’m also running Siyah Kernel, and this was made while having the phone overclocked to a max of 1.5GHz and min of 1.0GHz)

Vellamo as well gave an all time high. Same overclocking.

The 20120815 build, while good as benchmarks, does have frequent crashes, annoyingly frequent that is. Another weird thing that has happened as well, both Apollo and Gallery have switched to showing the media stored in the external SD card, not the main memory, and I can’t find a way to switch it back.  I would advise NOT flashing this build mainly due to the frequent crashes, unless you want to show off the benchmark numbers that is.