Welcome to 2012! This is the first post of 2012 and hopefully this will set the tone for posts to come.
Without further ado, I am going to reveal what’s good and what’s bad on CM7.1 for the Galaxy SII.
*** Please take note that this is only for the I9100 model and does not apply to the I9100G model. ***
Good battery life.
Zero Samsung bloatware.
Small ROM size.
ADW launcher preinstalled.
Ability to adjust CPU frequency is integrated.
Has some issues when trying to restore settings from Titanium Backup.
No office application preinstalled.
No Gmail preinstalled. The Gapps package weirdly did not install it either.
No Samsung specific features (swipe phone contact to call/sms, etc).
** The full instruction of how to install a CM rom can be found here and I will not repeat it **
For the regular user who uses the standard Android market and other Google apps, I suggest that you install the Gapps package along with the CM rom. This will at the very least, enable Android market which you can then access to install Gmail and other Google apps (like Maps) if you need them.
Installing CM rom can be a frustrating thing for newbies as it can fail the installation without the user noticing. This happened to me and I had to search through the CM forum to find out why. To avoid the pain of frustration and searching, just follow the steps in the CM wiki page here and remember that if your device doesn’t boot, please flash the CM rom again. Flashing twice usually will solve any issues.
The first thing I do after flashing is to install Titanium Backup which I keep as an APK. Then I restore the apps that I figure I need. This includes a couple of games and handy utilities like 3G Watchdog and Battery Widget. This works fine. Nothing reported that it was broken. Until I started exploring the phone. This was when I found 3 failures on my phone.
Failure 1 – Bluetooth:
For some reason, after restoring the Bluetooth pairings saved by Titanium Backup, the Bluetooth would not turn on and would even restart my phone. This may be due to difference in the Bluetooth modules used by Samsung’s Touchwiz vs CM7. My advice is not to restore the Bluetooth pairings. Yes, its a pain to re-pair every single device but that’s the only way to avoid your Bluetooth dying on you. If you had already restored your Bluetooth pairings, try to unrestore them. If it fails, as a last resort, you can always reboot into recovery and reflash your CM7.
Failure 2 – Camera/Video recorder:
In my case, my video recorder would force close on me. I’ve read reports on forums that for some people, its the camera that force closes. While there is a variety of posts that recommends doing one thing or another, I’ve found that it is likely to be the incompatibility of existing photo/video in the DCIM folder that is rendering the CM’s camera/video recorder function unable to function. Simply rename/move/delete the existing folder/photo/videos and you should be good to go.
Failure 3 – Browser:
Yes. My browser also failed. Due to Bookmark incompatibility. A bit silly, I know. But that’s the truth. To fix, simply remove your existing bookmarks or don’t restore them from Titanium Backup in the first place.
After fixing or maneuvering past these issues, you should be fine. I have been using CM7.1 for a few weeks now and I’ve noticed that the battery life is getting better. During the first 2 weeks, it would hold out about 1-1.5 days at most mainly due to tinkering and other stuffs. But currently, I’m able to get up to 2 days usage and still have 35% left over. I should mention that my usage isn’t extreme in any sense, but I do have WiFi on or 3G data on 24 hours a day. My screen brightness is set to between minimum and minimum+2 depending on the situation. Gmail and Facebook is set to sync automatically. I make a few phone calls and sends a few messages a day. I also occasionally play games like Fluffly birds or Big Big Two on it.
In conclusion, while CM7.1 is not the perfect rom for the Galaxy SII, it does come close. It is not the rom for everyone but it offers something for people who are fed up with the stock Samsung Touchwiz rom. It is definitely worth checking out.