Cyanogenmod is arguably the most popular custom firmware fordevices. With the latest iteration, the Cyangenmod team have added some cool new features to the latest version of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and packaged it up into a vanilla experience. Arguably the most popular custom ROM for Android, Cyanogenmod 10.2 is the latest version of one of the best custom firmwares available for a number of different Android devices.
Installation Installation is very simple and exactly like every other AOSP custom ROM. First start off by downloading the appropriate ROM and GApps .zip files for your device. Next, you will need to transfer them to your device and remember where you left them. Now, reboot into the custom recovery of your choice and flash the two .zip files. Depending on what device you have and what custom recovery you are running, there will be different ways of getting into it. Please check out our Root section to see more tutorials on how to get a custom recovery on your particular device. If your coming from a different ROM, its necessary to wipe all your data and cache in order to make sure that Android will run smoothly. This will however erase every setting and some files on your device, so make sure you take a backup of things you need before attempting this.
General UI Upon booting up your device, you are greeted with Cyanogenmod’s logo with a blue circle circulating around it. Once you boot up, everything is pretty much what you would expect from stock Android. Even though Cyanogenmod is a custom ROM, it doesn’t really change Google’s already perfect user experience. There are some small improvements and customization you can make through the ROM’s option, however stock there isn’t a discernible difference between Google’s firmware and Cyanogenmod’s.
One of the main improvements that I noticed with this custom ROM that I really liked was that now the Quicksettings toggles are actually switches that turn off and on the different functions. This is different from the stock experience as there they are more like links that lead you to that specific tab of the settings. So for instance, instead of pressing the bluetooth toggle and have it lead you to the bluetooth settings, it just turns on the bluetooth function on your device. It may be something small, but it definitely saves time when you use it everyday.
You can also choose your own theme here. Any Cyanogenmod compatible theme will work with this ROM and there are a ton to choose from. Also, There are many little things that you can customize on this custom ROM such as the battery icon, style, status bar, navigation bar, and more. Most of the basic Android 4.3 Jelly Bean stays the same but you can tweak some of the elements to your liking which is definitely good to see. More on customization in the next section.
Customization While Cyanogenmod is pretty bare bones for most custom firmwares, it still does retain most of the important features necessary on a good custom ROM. The different settings of the ROM are actually implemented in the settings menu of the device, so there’s no silly app you need to install in order to make the most of your device.
Firstly is the interface section is where you will find all of the CM10.2 settings available for your device. Lets start off with the launcher portion. Here you will find some basic settings for the stock AOSP launcher for your device. Here you will be able to set the wallpaper, grid size, transition effect, orientation, and other useful settings.
The lockscreen section is a bit less extensive and just features the basic settings for the lockscreen such as widgets, slider shortcuts, and battery status.
Themes is simply where you can select and apply your different themes. Stock, there is only the AOSP theme out of the box but if you download and install more, they will appear here.
Lastly, the system section is where you can change even more of your device such as the status bar, quick settings panel, notification drawer, power menu, and even more. Most of the little tweaks that I mentioned earlier that are not available on Google’s version of Android can be chosen and applied here.
Performance & Battery Life Performance is actually quite good on this ROM. In terms of just straight up day to day performance, this custom ROM really flies. The reason for this is mainly because of how lightweight and well optimized it is for the Nexus 7. Depending on what the support on your device is, you might experience something different. But for the most part this ROM is really an extension of Google’s own operating system created by adding some great optimization that just makes everything buttery smooth. In real world performance, it doesn’t get much better than CM10.2. In terms of benchmarks, things are pretty much what I would expect at this point. In terms of benchmarks, let’s start off with 3DMark06. On the regular IceStorm benchmark I got a score of 3500 points.
With the latest version of Quadrant installed, I was getting scores close to 3900.
With AnTuTu, the best score I could muster was 13383 which is all in all pretty good.
Battery life was also very predictable. Much like the stock Google OS, you can get pretty good battery life out of this. With the stable version of this ROM, I got pretty much the exact same running time as I did with the stock OS on the Nexus 7. Being a lightweight ROM, there isn’t much to drain the battery life from your device. On average I got a good 10 hours of average use on this ROM. If you use more draining applications such as games and stuff, then you will obviously drain the battery much quicker. If that happens, you should expect around 4-6 hours on the Nexus 7 which is what I consistently got.
Bugs/Glitches Being a nightly version of Cyanogenmod 10.2, this firmware was surprisingly very good for day to day use. Throughout the usage of this ROM, I didn’t experience any real hindrances that would take away from the awesome experience.
Final Thoughts/Conclusions Cyanogenmod 10.2 is probably the most popular custom ROM on Android devices today, and there’s a good reason why. Its lightweight, powerful, and has the most widespread support throughout Android. I would highly recommend this ROM if your just getting into custom firmwares and are looking for a very solid and lightweight solution.