Featured ROM Review: CyanogenMod 10 on the Samsung Galaxy S3

September 26, 2012 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Here we have the Samsung Galaxy S3 running Android 4.1.1, and no it’s not the official Jelly Bean update from Samsung. We have went on and installed the latest CyanogenMod 10 (CM10) nightly on it, and it runs so smoothly with that 2GB of RAM. So who’s ready to get into the full review? Let’s get started.

Description: CyanogenMod (pronounced sigh-AN-oh-jen-mod), is a customized ROM based off of stock Android, also known as AOSP – Android Open Source Project. Cyanogenmod features all kind of enhancements including customizable toggles in the Notification drawer, a customizable status bar and navigation bar, along with various other tweaks.

Available to the following devices: Just to name a few; all variants of the Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy Nexus (GSM, Sprint and Verizon) Nexus 7, Samsung Nexus S and Nexus S 4G, LG Optimus Black, HTC One XL, Samsung Galaxy Note (International, T-Mobile and AT&T versions), and the Motorola Xoom (Wifi and Verizon models).

Opinion: Good ‘ol CyanogenMod. One of the oldest ROM’s around. Now it’s not old like the HTC Hero, it’s old but revamped with each new version of the Android operating system, and adding new supported devices all along the way. Nowadays most of the popular Android devices do have an official CyanogenMod build. With the Samsung Galaxy S3’s sizeable 2GB of RAM and 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, this ROM just flies through everything. In fact you’ll find that usually you’ll have a full gigabyte of RAM being unused. The beautiful display on the Galaxy S3 makes using CyanogenMod as your daily driver even better. Colors seem much crisper than on other devices, like my Nexus 7.

Battery Life: While it’s hard to gauge battery life on a ROM, I can however share my findings. I found that I was easily able to get a full day out of the stock (2100mAh) battery that comes with the device. The screenshots shown below are from a day where I used both 4G LTE and Wifi. A little over 8 hours with almost 3 hours of screen-on time with 49% left is pretty good I would say!

Ratings :

  • Speed (4/5) –   Depending on whether you’ve flashed a custom kernel on top of CyanogenMOd, the ROM can be very fast, or just fast. Either way this ROM will be much faster than stock Touchwiz on the Samsung Galaxy S3.
  • Features (5/5) –  Quick-reply messaging, customizable toggles, customizable navigation bar and status bar, and more. What else could you ask for?
  • Theme (4/5) – The theme manager that comes bundled in this ROM, gives you endless ways to theme your phone. There are over 300 themes for CyanogenMod 10, some are in the Play Store while others are available on XDA’s forums.
  • Battery Life (3/5) – Battery life is better than any Touchwiz-ed ROM you’ll run including the stock ROM. But it still isn’t quite where I want it, don’t get me wrong the battery life is great on this ROM. Check out the “Battery Life” section below for more information
  • Overall (4/5) – If you’re tired of waiting for Samsung (or whoever your manufacturer is) to push out an update to Jelly Bean, you’ll want to flash some CyanogenMod. This ROM is very stable and is getting better day by day.

Pros:

  • Easy to use.
  • Easy to upgrade to the newest build (just flash over your existing CyanogenMod build, no need to wipe)
  • Great battery life
  • Some Samsung apps and features do not work, like S Memo, S Voice, Stay Awake, etc.

Cons:

  • For beginners, it’s a bit difficult to install
  • With Nightlies, sometimes features get broken and not fixed for a couple of days
  • If you’re on AT&T, you won’t see an “LTE” icon in the status bar, instead you’ll see it switch from 3G, to H+ (for HSPA+) then to 4G (for 4G LTE, if available in your area).

Conclusion: Overall CyanogenMod is a great choice for a custom ROM. It’s probably one of the first ROMs that was available for multiple devices, and since has grown to support most devices. With the edition of the Theme Manager, I can change the theme on my device everyday, going from purple, to red, to green to everything in between. CyanogenMod 10 has all the features of Android 4.1 – Jelly Bean plus a little more.

CyanogenMod has turned into the “go-to ROM”. Meaning when most people first root their devices and look for a ROM to flash, they immediately search for the latest CyanogenMod. Which is not a bad thing, because that means that enough people trust their ROMs to do what they are looking for, nothing less and sometimes a little more.

Before you can download the latest build of CyanogenMod for your device, you’ll need to know the codename of your device. For example the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S3 is ‘d2att’, the Samsung Nexus S is ‘crespo’, etc. You can download all builds of CyanogenMod at the link below.

Download Link: http://get.cm/

Screen Shots: