Here we are with yet another ROM review. This time I've flashed some Black Bean from Team BAKED on my Nexus 7. Has anyone heard about Black Bean before? It's not just available for the Nexus 7, its available for a handful of other devices as well. But we'll get further into that below.
Name: Team BAKED - Black Bean 5 for Grouper (Nexus 7)
Description: Black bean is a nice inverted ROM with some features from CyanogenMod, AOKP and a few other tweaks that make using this particular ROM shades of awesomeness. The ROM also comes stock with Faux's kernel which makes the ROM very smooth.
Available on: Nexus 7 (Grouper), Galaxy Nexus (Toro, Maguro, and Toroplus), Nexus S (Crespo), Nexus S 4G (Crespo4g), Galaxy S3 on Sprint (d2spr), T-Mobile (d2tmo), Verizon (d2vzw) and US Cellular (d2usc), International HTC One X (endeavoru), ASUS Transformer pad (TF300), and ASUS Transformer Prime (TF201).
Opinion: This was my very first time running Black Bean, and I would keep it on my Nexus 7 forever. Or at least until Key Lime Pie hits. I'm not a huge fan of inverted style ROMs like Black Bean, but I can get used to it. For anyone with kids, this ROM is great. Adding users and restrictions (expand about this below) are one of my favorite features in this ROM.
Battery life: My experience with this ROM was great, but for battery life I was a little shocked. I expected with Faux123's kernel that I would get better battery life than on stock. I was able to get almost 3 hours of on-screen time at about 40% left. That was with some heavy gaming with Bad Piggies, and Jetpack Joyride. Of course I spent a lot of time on Google+, XDA and Twitter as well.
Speed (5/5) - It's just as fast as stock Jelly Bean on the Nexus 7, if not faster
Features (4/5) - Black Bean is jam-packed with great features from CyanogenMod, and AOKP.
Theme (4/5) - Like I said before, I'm not a huge fan of inverted ROM's or apps. But this is one I really like.
Development (3/5) -- The team behind Black Bean work very hard. Now they don't release updates quite as often as CyanogenMod does. But the development is there. So crackflashers like myself, may get bored of this ROM since we can't flash an update everyday.
Overall (4/5) - I'd have to give this a 4 out 5, simply because of Battery life. I didn't notice much of a difference between Stock, CM 10, AOKP or Black Bean. Don't get me wrong, it is a great ROM. But not quite at a perfect 5 out 5...yet!
- Inverted black theme throughout the ROM, making it easier on the eyes than some of the brighter/lighter colors
- Fast kernel with a fast ROM equals a very enjoyable experience on a great piece of hardware such as the Nexus 7
- Stronger Wifi signal, for faster speeds on Wifi
- Nothing special about battery life. About the same as Stock, unless you want to mess with the kernel
- Had a few issues with Wifi not connecting, a clean wipe and fresh flash fixed those issues.
- Users and Restrictions: this is something we've been asking Google to put into future versions of Android. The ability to have different users, and have restrictions on those user accounts as well. Now it does need some work, but nice to see this type of feature in there. So now you can give your kids your Nexus 7 on the "Pesky kid" - or whatever you choose to name the account - user account and let them have fun.
- OTA Updater: This we've heard of a lot lately. Between the OTA Update Center, and recently CyanogenMod bringing back their own Updater app, this is something that's great to see in custom ROMs. That way we don't have to download the ROM from XDA, Rootzwiki or wherever else the ROM is located. We can also dirty flash, meaning we can flash the new ROM and only wipe Dalvik cache, so all your data is still in tact.
Conclusion: All in all, this is a great ROM for the Nexus 7, and it probably works just as well on all of the other devices that Black Bean is available for. Like I've said over and over throughout the review, I don't generally like inverted ROMs because I love the stock feel of Android 4.x, but this one was done perfectly. My favorite feature of any ROM for the Galaxy Nexus or Nexus 7 would have to be the ability to easily change the navigation buttons. I first saw this in AOKP, and now many other ROMs are adopting it. Personally I like to change the color of my soft keys to the blue color you see throughout Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, a.k.a Holo-themed. In Black Bean you can change the colors to any color you can think of, purple, red, black, yellow and millions more. You can also add the menu button, custom apps, search buttons and more to the normal back, home and recent buttons at the bottom.
Bottom line is, if you're looking for a fast, bug-free, inverted black ROM for your Nexus 7, this is the one.