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Featured ROM Review: Grouper gets Paranoid [Updated with Video Review of Pie]

December 15, 2012 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Currently the Nexus 7 has very few Android 4.2.1 ROMs that are stable enough for daily use. But Paranoid Android is based on Android 4.2.1 and is very stable. I’ve been running it for about a week now and haven’t noticed any bugs at all. I’m referring to version 2.99 as seen in the About Tablet screen shown below. Now Paranoid Android isn’t your typical ROM. It is so much more. It allows you to change your DPI settings to have the phone, phablet and tablet interfaces. Which is a huge reason why everyone loves this ROM. I have tried it before but quickly flashed something different in the past because I didn’t like the tablet interface on the Nexus 7. I think the display is to small for a tablet layout, but that’s just me.

Available on which devices?

Paranoid Android is available on a ton of different devices, many of which aren’t listed. Paranoid Android is used almost as much as CyanogenMod. You can download Paranoid Android for the Nexus 7, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and many more. Far to many to list here. But you can visit your favorite XDA forum and find out if it’s available for your device.

Opinion: It’s a great ROM. Very stable and very customizable. If you find you don’t like it, give it a day or two. After using it for a bit, you’ll probably find that you really like all the customizations it brings. I made the mistake of judging it after just 2 hours the first time I flashed it, and decided I didn’t like it. Big mistake. So with any ROM give it a day or two, unless it’s not stable, before you decide to flash something different.

Battery life: Battery life was right on par with other ROMs on the Nexus 7. Nearly 2 days on a single charge with just over 3 hours of on-screen time. This was with the brightness on auto, and no custom kernel, underclocking or undervolting. Just straight using the Nexus 7 the way you’re meant too.

2012-12-10 12.25.20 2012-12-10 12.25.24

Ratings :

  • Speed (4/5) –   It’s no faster than stock Android 4.2.1 is on the Nexus 7. Didn’t see much of a difference, but it definitely didn’t slow down at all.
  • Features (5/5) –  There are just so many features. Check out the features section below and you’ll know what I mean.
  • Theme (4/5) – Themeing on Paranoid Android is great. All the CyanogenMod themes should work with it. As it is using CM’s Theme Manager.
  • Development (4/5) — Development is great for Paranoid Android. Frequent new builds, with each one getting better than the last.
  • Overall (4/5) – Overall it’s a great ROM. But if you like your Nexus 7 in the phablet layout, then this might not be the ROM for you. But you can try it out and see if perhaps you do prefer the tablet layout in Android 4.2.


Pro: 

  •  Highly customizable
  • The Status bar color changer
  • CyanogenMod themes; they all work with Paranoid Android

Cons:

  •  It’s an early build of Android 4.2.1 so expect bugs. Although I didn’t encounter any
  • Everytime you change the device’s layout you’ll have to reboot the device.

Features: Paranoid Android has plenty of features. But the main one we are going to focus on is the DPI and Layouts. With all these phones getting bigger and bigger, it’s only natural that you’ll want the status bar and navigation bar both at the bottom of the screen. It makes it easier on your fingers to check notifications, go to settings, and navigate through apps. With Paranoid Android you have basically four settings. You can have your device look like a phone, stock or two different sized tablets. There’s a mid-sized tablet and then the regular tablet layout as shown in the screenshot below.

2012-12-11 15.31.03

Now I am currently running the Nexus 7 using the mid-sized Tablet UI. It’s actually pretty nice, but I had to get used to my navigation buttons (back, home, recents) being on the left side instead of the middle. Along with having the status bar at the bottom instead of at the top. But this isn’t the end of DPI customization. No, Paranoid Android goes even further. You can choose which layout you want per app. For this example we’ll use the Settings app. We’ve changed the Layout from 720px, to 600px, and 360px as shown below.

pa-settings-grouperSo as you can see, there’s a small difference between the 600px (middle) and 360px (right), and the huge difference is the 720px (left). On a 7-inch tablet this can sometimes feel cramped while in portrait, but in landscape it’s great.

Now onto the PA Colors you saw in the image above where we talked about the different device layouts. So what does that do? Well the description is kinda vague, where it says it splashes some color on your apps. Well what it does is change the status bar to match the color of the app you have opened. Now it doesn’t work for most Holo-themed apps as they should already match the status bar. But in the apps I had installed it worked on Facebook and YouTube as shown below.

colors-pa-grouperSo Paranoid Android has some pretty nice features that you probably won’t find in any other ROM. Except a PAC man ROM which is Paranoid Android, AOKP, and CyanogenMod all fused together.

Video Review

Conclusion: Paranoid Android is a great ROM, and I’m now kicking myself for not giving it a chance before. As far as having it on my Nexus 4, not so sure yet. But on something like the Droid DNA or Galaxy Note 2, it’ll be a great ROM to get AOSP and the latest version of Android. The version of Paranoid Android I have installed is pretty stable, like I said above I’ve been running it for a little over a week and haven’t had any bugs show up, or any random reboots. Which is always good for a ROM that is only a few builds into a new version of Android.

So if you’re yearning to try something new, you’ll want to check out Paranoid Android.

Link: http://www.paranoid-rom.com/

Screen Shots: