Since the symbian days, me and my mates have always enjoyed messing about with phones – we had TomTom Navigator running off Nokia N73’s with bluetooth GPS add ons – we were symbian gangstas!
Anyway, a lot has changed in ten years and we now mod Android phones and make them do cool stuff.
I’ve personally had HTC Hero, Desire, Xperia S and am now running a Samsung Galaxy S3 – and until recently ive had no desire to mod it at all!
We’ve had these phones for about a year now – we had them when the blue ones first came to the UK and its been the best smartphone ive personally ever owned. The battery life was great (lasted more than 1 day on heavy use) the usability was good (got better the more we used it, some things seemed worse than on HTC android/stock android) but after a year things got slower, the battery life got a bit worse (probably the battery physically getting a bit tired) so i started doing my research on the best custom roms for the Samsung Galaxy S3 i9300 International – and the next few days would be full of headaches, stress and annoyance – resulting in me almost ending up when i started – back with a samsung-esq rom that was almost identical to the one it came with.
Step 1 – Rooting
I used CF root – i’m not gonna tell you how to use it, as if you can’t do this bit then you shouldn’t be doing this to your phone at all.
Step 2 – Choosing a Rom
First rom I tried: JellyBam
This was the first Rom i tried – it is advertised as being the best rom for the i9300 and its not bad at all – its highly customisable, everything from a custom carrier name right through to selecting “tablet” resolution on your phone.
Kinda inevitably, it came with its share of bugs – more so as its so highly customisable. I was unable to use Plume (my chosen twitter app) as the screen kept flashing black – the same in some emails too. It got so annoying, i started looking for something else…
The next roms I tried;
This looked SO promising – i installed it, watched their android chap walk in 3d for twenty mins and then started setting it up. I was excited as this looked like THE rom for me – it was highly customisable, had some neat features…
Despite it saying it was for the i9300 it just had a STOP sign where the 3g signal should have been – meaning no calls could be made.
It did, however, come with a Samsung Popup Browser which i REALLY liked! So i found the APK and kept that to one side so that whatever i settled on i could have that!
I was quite excited about this one too – looked like stock android not samsung aids-roid – but at the time of testing (and still now) the links from XDA developers to their website bring up a 404 and i can’t find a good download of it. Shame 🙁
IIRC this rom also didn’t like my simcard – installed OK but wouldn’t let me make calls or recieve texts – and thats pretty important 🙂
I had heard good things about this Rom, it almost seemed like the most commercial, non commercial rom available. So much so they didn’t ship it with Google Apps to avoid getting sued. This seems fair enough, but then you have to separately flash Google Apps and for some reason my phone just didn’t like it at all!
Im sure its a great rom – but for me, i just wanted to flash one and move on. No messing about with flashing other (hugely important) parts of it separately.
The same was to be said for;
LiquidSmooth (Jellybean Edition)
This whole process was starting to piss me off now – i just wanted to breath some new life into my old (ish) phone – so i decided to write down what i actually wanted from my phone.
- It needed to be reliable as it was a business phone
- Better battery life
- Popup browser (seriously that shit is cool)
- Splanner Widget or alternative full screen month calendar widget
- Google apps as part of the rom
So rather than just try and get a stock android looking rom for the sake of it – i chose to go with something samsung-esq so that my popup browser would work and things like talking to my phone to answer calls and stuff – its the future haha 🙂
I stumbled upon this rom, boasting better batter life, less lag and bloat and better CPU performance. It was also samsung based so my popup browser installed and works like a charm – so far it seems to be doing what i wanted!
I also had splanner back which i have come to love.
All in all it was a fun journey, but if i had sat down and thought about what i wanted to do i’d have saved 2 days of my time, 12 nurofen and a chunk of my sanity.
I would recommend Android Revolution for the best samsung inspired rom for the i9300, and probably JellyBam TBH for a more stock android rom – maybe ill change my mind as i test more, but time will tell and im happy with Android Revolution at the moment 🙂
It all depends on what you want your phone to do!
EDIT: Since i started doing this, i also bought a new original battery off eBay and that has made the battery life almost as good as it was when i first got the phone. Score.