Samsung Galaxy SII Custom Roms Overview

/* DISCLAIMER: DO NOT FLASH I9100 BUILDS ON I9100G OR ANY OTHER VARIANTS. Also, rooting voids your warranty, flashing custom roms kills bunnies, and overclocking can set the world to an early end. You have been warned. */

Hello, folks!

This here will be a general overview of all the I9100 roms I’ve tried since rooting. I’ll try not to be lazy and add screenshots for the newer ones including battery performance, quadrant, and vellamo scores.

GB based roms:

MIUI: The Gingerbread rom was my first custom rom, and stepping away from Touchwiz to MIUI was nothing short of marvellous to be honest, it was full of eye candy, although it wasn’t that much faster, it was a lot nicer. MIUI is basically a very heavily skinned Android rom, if all you want is having something eye appealing, the GB MIUI for all you GB users is definitely the way to go! It also had a lot more settings in the notifications area, and for you Arabic users, it has Arabic support as well! It also has a neat feature where you can make your own theme! Get it through here.

CM7: I didn’t use this rom a lot, since I didn’t like the stock look of Android’s Gingerbread, but I think CM7 was flashed with Siyah at the time, or another overclocking helping kernel because I could overclock from the settings menu with no external apps! Or maybe CM7 just supported OCing, who knows! You can’t go wrong with Cyanogenmod anyway, this is where you can get the latest stable build of CM7.

ICS based roms:

MIUI: When I updated to the ICS MIUI I was extremely disappointed to seeing some touchwiz lingering here and there, the dialer was Touchwiz’s, so is the notification area, which ultimately defeated the purpose of never using Touchwiz again, so I deleted it, that was the first ICS MIUI rom. However I recently ran the newest ICS MIUI and it was nice, laggy, but nice, no more Touchwiz lingering anywhere, the only complaint I had was that it looked the same as the GB MIUI with the exception of the settings menu, oh, and I think I forgot to mention that MIUI has no appdrawer, it’s iOS-ish in look really.

CM9: I spent a considerably long amount of time with CM9 ever since it released with the nightlies, following the RC builds, but I never got to getting the stable build since it was released after the Jellybean experimental releases were out, anyway, I wrote an extensive review of the rom over here where I cover the nightlies I’ve flashed on my phone and the first RC build. Stable build was released and you can find it here.

JB based roms:

Let me first start off by saying that Jellybean isn’t yet fully supported on i9100 devices since the mighty generous Samsung gods haven’t bestowed upon us, mortals, a JB rom yet. Until then, settling for AOSP roms ported from other devices is the best bet, although things aren’t buttery smooth yet, they are definitely faster than your fastest ICS or GB rom.

CM10: Again, extensive review of CM10 over here, I stopped using CM10 since the last few builds were crashing SO much it was downright irritating. Nightlies are over here.

Slim bean AOSP: Don’t expect a link here, I can’t remember the link for the version I used. Anyhow, it was a weird rom to say the least, it was, phablet like, everything was bigger, it wasn’t all bad though, it looked nice if you’re looking to see what your i9100 would look like stretched out.

SuperNexus build2: This is my current daily driver, it is VERY stable and smoother than CM10, I didn’t use it with its stock kernel, I have Siyah 4.1.1 flashed, and understandably it does make every thing smoother anyway and allows over clocking.

Battery as shown below lasts nicely, it should be known though that I underclock my phone to run at 900MHz, although the impact on performance is very negligible.

Quadrant scores are nice, maxing at 3640 when overclocked to 1.5GHz, OCing to 1.6 crashes Quadrant.

You can get it through here.

Resurrection Remix: I’ve heard a lot about this rom, and the way it was hyped up, though I have to say I was underwhelmed after a few days, the rom itself is big, huge, even, compared to other custom roms, it’s a 420 MBs rom, but it has its own custom installer (Aroma), with a lot of choices for modems, you can install either the CM10 kernel, or Siyah, you can choose to add multiple applications to your phone, including file explorers, music players, and launchers, though after that, it’s all downhill, the rom, crashes, a lot, even with the latest 3.8 update, I find the keyboard struggling to keep up with my typing, be it in Twitter or in the browser, this was also present in the previous version, and sometimes the phone itself gets extremely slow to the point of almost freezing, but not actually being frozen. Battery wise, it stacks up with most custom roms, 25~30 hours with average usage. I didn’t bother checking for Quadrant and Vellamo scores in fear that it might freeze again. This should not be a daily driver.

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!