This will be short reviews of a couple of custom ROMs for the Samsung Galaxy Ace – S5830. All the reviews are based on my personal experiences, thoughts, opinions and usage. Your usage and experience with the ROMs may vary. As usual, treat this as a guide and use your own judgement to find the best ROM for yourself.
Phone: Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830
Area: Mostly around Bayan Lepas, Penang
Auto sync: On
Applications: GMail (auto sync), Whatsapp (auto sync), Facebook (auto sync), Skype (not always logged in)
What I do:
I use each ROM for around 2-3 days to get a feel for its capabilities, performance and battery life. My usage is light on calls and SMS with more focus on data usage. Your usage patterns will vary from mine and hence, your results could vary as well. After the break, we will get to the reviews for the ROMs.
Unofficial CM9 beta 9 from Maclaw Studios
I was very optimistic of this ROM after having read some good reviews about it at XDA developers and decided to make this the first ROM I try. The installation procedures can be found here. My impression is that this ROM is quite smooth. It is based off Android 4.0.4 and the usability is almost on par with the official CM9 releases for other devices such as the Galaxy SII. But while this ROM has smooth interface, there are still some bugs that Maclaw and team has to work out. The camera is one area where Maclaw is still trying to fix and it shows in the ROM as the camera is quite laggy. Aside from the camera issue, I’ve also experienced some blank pages when trying to load emails and in Facebook. The battery is weird. During my first test, it had a very heavy drain, a second flash showed a more decent battery drain but there would still be some sudden drops in battery percentage at times.
Pros: Very usable CM9 ROM, quite smooth and responsive UI.
Cons: Camera still needs fixing and some blank pages in GMail and Facebook. Weird battery behavior which may be due to the battery itself.
SGSII ICS v9 from Rushabh25 (TeamAdreno)
The reason I tried this ROM is because I was fascinated that someone would try make the Galaxy Ace look and feel like a Galaxy SII. Would they succeed? How smooth can it be? Those were the questions I was going to answer by trying out this ROM. And I have to admit that I was blown away by what I’ve experienced. While this ROM may not be smoother or as responsive as CM9, it is still quite responsive with some lags. Surprisingly thought, the phone that Samsung didn’t upgrade to ICS is enjoying ICS with Touchwiz courtesy of TeamAdreno. There is a noticeable lag when waking up the phone from its slumber state but after it does get more responsive once it has fully woken up. I’m guessing that the low RAM didn’t do it much favors here. Best of all, this ROM has superb battery life, comparable with CM9 on my Galaxy SII even. Where Maclaw’s CM9 beta 9 sounded the low battery warning after 4-5 hours with minimal usage, TeamAdreno’s SGSII ICS v9 still had 60% battery life left after 9 hours of minimal usage. No major issues were found with this ROM. One thing that I’ve noticed after using it a few days, sometimes the battery percentage would be stuck at a certain level then abruptly dropping when I launched an app like Whatsapp. The drop would be drastic, like 10% or more.
Pros: Good battery life, usable ICS ROM, functioning camera.
Cons: Can be a little laggy, especially when just waking up from deep sleep. Weird battery behavior which may be due to the battery itself.
Download link (password is “teamadreno” without the “”)
Official CM7 from CyanogenMod team
How can I not test this official ROM? An official CM7 is supposed to be among the best custom ROM for a device. The ROM itself performs well. I have noticed that there is lagging when navigating around in the browser and Facebook. During standby, the battery drain is pretty good. However, I’ve encountered similar situation like when using the SII ROM where a sudden and abrupt drop is seen when some apps are launched. One thing I’ve noticed is that when it reaches a low percentage, around 7%, the battery will have a slow drain. I think it points to either custom ROMs not reading battery percentages properly or the battery is having issues.
Pros: Pretty stable ROM with most things running acceptably smooth. Good battery life normally.
Cons: Noticeable lagging in browser/Facebook. Weird battery behavior which may be due to the battery itself.
In my conclusion, I would say that all 3 ROMs are quite stable and usable. The best ROM is down to the individual choice. I wish I could give a more certain answer, but due to the weird battery behavior that could be due to the ROM or the physical battery and lack of another Galaxy Ace to test on, I cannot be certain. I would appreciate it if other folks who have tested either of the ROMs listed could confirm if they see the same battery behaviors as me or not.