Editorial

Five reasons to use CyanogenMod ROMs on your Android device

CyanogenMod ROM's are community built ROMs that are available for a huge number of Android devices allowing the user to use his or her Android device to the best of the device's ability. The most recent Android Builds are CyanogenMod 9 (based on Ice-cream Sandwich) and CyanogenMod 10 (based on Jelly Bean), both of which sport the vanilla Android AOSP holo-theme.

We've reviewed Ice-cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean in the past, but CM improves of Google's existing features. I am currently running CM 10 on my HTC One X, and the ROM is easily the best thing to have been developed for the device so far.

So, why is CyanogenMod so good?

CM focuses on multiple users rather than just the common ones, but that doesn't mean it's more complicated to understand; in fact, it's just as easy to understand as the AOSP builds.

CM essentially gives root access to some of the extra features added into the system, such as the ability to over-clock or under-clock the CPU in a user's Android device. As a result, CM can offer some pleasant battery improvements and a whole redefined Android experience as it essentially makes your device look and feel like a Nexus device.

CM is also updated every couple of days depending on your device which means it is constantly being optimized to run better on your device's hardware. With a whole community of developers building these ROMs, CM developers have proven to be more reliable than Google and its OEM manufacturers for pushing decent and significant updates.

What features matter most?

Well, there are many fantastic features in CM ROMs, but we'll discuss five briefly so that you get the general gist of what these ROMs do exactly.

1. Performance Tweaks

Being able to optimize is a huge feature, which generally means you can set the clock speed your device will run at without any 3rd-party applications. The Android system in CM itself is capable of over-clocking and under-clocking at will. On my HTC One X, I run CM 10 and the device runs at 1GHz, as opposed to the 1.5GHz it's meant to run at. As a result of this lower clock speed, I squeeze a lot more battery life out of my device.

The performance tweaks doesn't just stop with the ability to over-clock or under-clock. The ability to edit DSP settings are also handy, meaning you can edit exactly how sound output works with devices attached to the phone or tablet.

Screen sensitivity can also be improved meaning it can make your device a lot more responsive if needed. When I first got my HTC One X (Tegra 3 model), I noticed significant lag with HTC's Sense interface when playing games like Temple Run. With CM, the build feels so lightweight and customizable to the point where the most hardware demanding apps will run flawlessly.

Additionally, there are many other performance tweaks available to the user, which in itself, is a huge benefit.

2. Introducing Apollo

Apollo is the name of CM's music player. It gives users the ability to set any song as a ringtone, even when files aren't in the Android's ‘ringtone' folder. Additionally, users can skip tracks even when the phone is locked by powering the screen on and tapping the on-screen skip track icon, or by long-pressing the volume keys. It's a simple feature which does make the device seem a lot more efficient, but interactive at the same time. Credit has to go to CM developers for creating such a good-looking music player which pays homage to Google's AOSP holo-theme, also.

3. Everything is embedded into the system

From the moment CM is installed, the system will ask you for root access on first boot. This allows things like the launcher to be incorporated and customized from within the settings, rather than in just a specific launcher application. Root access is automatically on for CM ROMs and the ability to install non-market applications is enabled from first-install.

I like the fact that CM ROMs feel solid, lightweight and visually appealing, so that even with applications, features and tweaks embedded into the system, the interface is consistent meaning everything is pretty straight-forward to understand.

4. CyanogenMod ROMs are snappy

Keeping this short, CM comes with very little bloatware. I find most things useful in these ROM builds, it makes the system run faster because it doesn't rely on any application or interface running in the background. I previously said the ROMs are really lightweight, even more so with CyanogenMod 10. ROMs for CM 10 can be as little or as big as 87 MBs. The consistency in color and backgrounds means that things render a little better in CyanogenMod, which is something you'll notice from your first install.

5. CyanogenMod's AOSP look and feel (customizable too)

As mentioned before, CyanogenMod uses the Android holo-theme, so essentially it looks like the vanilla Android 4.0 or 4.1 builds that currently run on the Galaxy Nexus. The look is consistent, pretty and relevant and some applications such as Boid for Twitter, will adapt to the system theme, meaning some 3rd party applications will look just as consistent as first-party applications. The vanilla Android experience is something myself and Neowin resident writer, Tim Schiesser, feel passionate about and feel offers a superior Android experience than what current Android OEM's provide. 

However, if customization is more your thing, there are many more themes available for CyanogenMod on the Android market. Essentially, CyanogenMod can be customized into anything and everything but will suffer no performance loss as a result.

This is a big problem with OEM Android updates, as they seem to be over-packed with bloatware and bad themes which prove to be clunky. However, by giving the users maximum control of the Android system, you give these users the very best experience you can get, and this is exactly why I'd recommend CyanogenMod to most Android users.

Final Notes

CyanogenMod has proven itself to be much more appealing than OEM versions of Android, and the fact this doesn't run TouchWiz, Sense or Moto Blur makes this ROM as simplistic and lightweight as can be. Regardless of whether your device is high-end or not, CyanogenMod shouldn't open up many problems for your device depending on the build, hell, I've got CyanogenMod 10 running on my old HTC Desire, Galaxy S II and Nexus S and my current handset, the HTC One X, so what are you waiting for?

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59 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

There are just too many "gotchas" with CM. You have to go through elaborate rituals just to get common functions to work and even then they only work once, then you have to reboot. Sorry, but my mobile is my only phone. I absolutely must have a stable ROM where everything functions as it should, without half-assed workarounds. I choose a stock-based ROM that is tweaked/modded to be stable but snappy.

give them feedback : bugs report and suggestion. hopefully they will fix it on next version.

fuzi0719 said,
There are just too many "gotchas" with CM. You have to go through elaborate rituals just to get common functions to work and even then they only work once, then you have to reboot. Sorry, but my mobile is my only phone. I absolutely must have a stable ROM where everything functions as it should, without half-assed workarounds. I choose a stock-based ROM that is tweaked/modded to be stable but snappy.

Cyanogen Mod is great, excellent broad wonderful development. I love the roms features. Best around (miui have some nice undocumented features though)
I hate the constant random reboots, SOD's, and accompanying terrible battery life. These three things are in themselves deal-breakers. I have tried several RC and the final CM9 build and it was not working. CM10 is another world of hurt. Then again its not like stock is doing me any favors.

Google need to learn from this. and maybe they can consider to hire the team.
meanwhile other suggestions to google is:
1. Improve the user experience, ask somebody who never use tablet/ ipad before to use it. ask what is difficult and improve.
2. make the base easily upgraded for many device. currently many gadget still using old 2.3. and it is not good situations.
and many other improvement/ request from other user

Been running CM for years, on one of my old phones it gave me near twice the battery (even before underclocking) than the branded phone providers ROM, which was bloated to death. Not to mention the amount fo free space i had after installing CM.
CM is the way to go, why wait for the vendors updates when they feel like it?

Been running CM since I had a Dream, then Hero, SGS, Desire Z, MYT4G, Sensation...avid fan and gracious fan!

I haven't tried CM in a while but i went for MIUI mainly for the customisation because you can mix and match the icons, theme, lockscreen, status bar, messages, boot screen/audio as well as the homescreen/lockscreen wallpapers.

A major reason I stopped using this ROM on my S2 is that if you are listening to music and you get a notification, the volume will auto decrease and stay that way. It does not return to the original volume, to return back to the original volume you will have to do so manually Which becomes irritating.

Techno_Funky said,
A major reason I stopped using this ROM on my S2 is that if you are listening to music and you get a notification, the volume will auto decrease and stay that way. It does not return to the original volume, to return back to the original volume you will have to do so manually Which becomes irritating.

completely false.

you need to look at your settings. when a WhatsApp notification or something similar hits me, the notification plays, and the music plays also at the same time.

look at your settings. either that or whatever is making the sound is programmed incorrectly.

Got CM10 on my LG Optimus One P500. Works great Other than battery drain...I have to use Wi-Fi (No data plan with my phone provider lol), but still works good Nice and smooth

I'm on Rogers in Canada and, stupidly, got sucked into buying an orphaned Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S Glide) which no one supports. Samsung has left me high and dry, I'll never see Ice Cream Sandwich, let alone Jelly Bean. Worse, there's no Cyanogen Mod for me as, again, my phone has no community support.

<sigh>

Android has been a big disappointment for me. It's customizability is highly overrated if you have a phone that is "not on the list".

Jeff Mitchell said,
Android has been a big disappointment for me. It's customizability is highly overrated if you have a phone that is "not on the list".

It is your fault for getting suckered into buying that phone...

Xilo said,

It is your fault for getting suckered into buying that phone...

Thanks, thanks a lot.

You are quite correct though...in a few months (just need to suffer through till the end of the year) I'll buy something new, BUT do my homework to make sure whatever the new phone is has community support.

OR...I might just buy an unlocked iPhone 5.

They even have modded versions of CM9 and 10 for my crappy lg p505 now. They are a bit tricker to install but it is like having a new phone. Unfortunately they don't make my screen any bigger.

Just wondering, if I did install CM10 on my Galaxy SII, :
1. Do I keep all of my purchases from Google Play? Or do I need to repurchase everything?
2. Will applications such as Skype work?
3. Can I revert back to the stock Samsung ROM if I desire?

Thanks

Jelly2003 said,
Just wondering, if I did install CM10 on my Galaxy SII, :
1. Do I keep all of my purchases from Google Play? Or do I need to repurchase everything?
2. Will applications such as Skype work?
3. Can I revert back to the stock Samsung ROM if I desire?

Thanks


1. you DONT have to repurchase. all you have to do is login with the same gmail account. everything comes back
2. Yes
3. Yes

Good read, haven't rooted my GSIII yet but been considering it, this is probably a good way to go.

I quite like TouchWiz and HTC Sense (used to have a rooted Sensation) but perhaps it should try this out, after all i can always install something else anyway, like go launcher or something.

I have to wonder if under-clocking you notice much difference in performance.

Happy_Camel said,
Good read, haven't rooted my GSIII yet but been considering it, this is probably a good way to go.

I quite like TouchWiz and HTC Sense (used to have a rooted Sensation) but perhaps it should try this out, after all i can always install something else anyway, like go launcher or something.

I have to wonder if under-clocking you notice much difference in performance.

Yeah. Once you root, you can go from stock to custom anytime .

Finally decided to root my SIII, why did i not put this ROM on earlier, or even on my HTC Sensation (ran Android Revolution HD on it) Which it still has, though it's in Mums hands now.

CM10 is great, glad I rooted.

if it was for the cm teammy htc legend would still be stuck on 2.1.1 and featureless, now ive atleast got cm 7.2 with 2.3.7 and its put a bit of fresh air back into my phone

Slammers said,
Lol at close up of bud in the first picture. I wouldn't have expected that from Neowin.

xD makes for a great background I think

On another note; ALSO: Check out XDA-Developers! Awesome site, im sure everyone probably knows, but for the ones that dont. Just read read read, and bring your getting old phone back to life . Also realize, WARRANTY VOID AFTER FLASHING ANYTHING!!!

Bah! Real android modders laugh at warranties... I did when I put Android 4 on my Touchpad.

theslam08 said,

WARRANTY VOID AFTER FLASHING ANYTHING!!!

Slammers said,
Lol at close up of bud in the first picture. I wouldn't have expected that from Neowin.

Good eye .

To bad the dev for the Evo 3D is a little cry baby so we don't get it and what he did build was half assed at best...

abysal said,
Running CM 7.2 on my HTC Inspire 4G Way better then that sense crap.

You really should upgrade. 7.2 is oooold.

Xilo said,

You really should upgrade. 7.2 is oooold.

"oooold"?!? Yeah, that sh:t came out waaaaay back in June! That's like 3 months, dude! Jesus used 7.2!

*rollseyes*

Dean Wagner said,

"oooold"?!? Yeah, that sh:t came out waaaaay back in June! That's like 3 months, dude! Jesus used 7.2!

*rollseyes*


Android experience is not smooth enough Jesus says.

abysal said,
Running CM 7.2 on my HTC Inspire 4G Way better then that sense crap.

I have the Desire HD, essentially the same phone with a European antenna inside, check out the XDA forums, we have great Jelly Bean roms

thealexweb said,

I have the Desire HD, essentially the same phone with a European antenna inside, check out the XDA forums, we have great Jelly Bean roms

I looked at some IC roms, and could find one that was stable enough. JB is even newer, I wonder how stable they are.

Dean Wagner said,

"oooold"?!? Yeah, that sh:t came out waaaaay back in June! That's like 3 months, dude! Jesus used 7.2!

*rollseyes*


7.2 IS old. That's Gingerbread which has been out for over a year. There's been 8 (tablets only), 9, and now 10 since then.

Edited by Xilo, Sep 6 2012, 5:58pm :

Xilo said,

Your comment made it sound like Gingerbread was just released which is not the case.

I don't see how and what comment but ok

abysal said,

I don't see how and what comment but ok


Sorry I didn't pay attention to who replied and who i quoted.

Xilo said,

Sorry I didn't pay attention to who replied and who i quoted.

no worries, it would be nice if I had access to once these v9 + builds of Cyanogen for my phone. Although I plan on going with a Galaxy S3 come October, so the Inspire 4G will be retired anyway.

I've never been a fan.

It's certainly a ROM I always at least try on my devices. I haven't done anything to my S3 yet, and as it stands, I don't think I'm going to.

Running CM10 on my Galaxy S2. I'm pretty impressed. It feels even more snappier and responsive than CM9.

CM10 here also, Nightly 9/4 doing pretty sweet for me. Wont really need an upgrade till butter is working or at least the memory leak is fixed.

I'd love to use CM10 on my One XL (Australian Telstra Model), but I cannot find a non alpha release that has minimal functionality

Used to use CM9 on my E4GT; very pleasant experience, but I opted for AOSP Jelly Bean once that hit Alpha. Ha. CM10 isn't close to ready for my phone, too much LoS, but the other Jelly Bean available doesn't have that, and gets amazing battery life.