28
May
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Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

After spending almost a year with my EVO 4G in what was essentially rooted stock condition (Fresh ROM, based on stock Sense, minus bloatware), I finally got frustrated to the point that I was ready to make the jump to CyanogenMod and see just how much better the fully unlocked stock Android experience with CM improvements is.

The Sense ROM offered by Fresh, even in its supposedly optimized form, was starting to get quite slow and would sometimes start choking for no reasons whatsoever. Whenever I was installing apps, I could forget about getting any useful response out of the phone - I had to wait till it was done in order to avoid frustration.

During my commute, seemingly at random, the 3G data would become ridiculously slow (you may have seen me complaining about it on Twitter a few times), causing annoying latency in my online activity. The 3G symbol stayed on, yet my connection was crawling at less than 100-200kbps at times (though, in its defense, at least it wasn't fully disconnecting me as was the case with both the Thunderbolt and the 3G/4G Verizon Wi-Fi hotspot, but I'll save it for another story).

But that wasn't all - I was constantly running out of internal space for apps, as average application size grew but my app partition remained the same. Installing new apps turned into a constant battle of figuring out what I'm willing to give up this time. I only had space for 3-4 games, and even with Google's official Apps2SD, there was simply not enough space for a power user.

Space is not the only thing I began to run out of - apparently, memory started getting a little tight, and both Sense and LauncherPro launchers were continuously getting killed and restarted by the OS, causing even more lag on my homescreen.

Additionally, the EVO was still stuck with Froyo, while my Nexus, custom ROM, and modern device-bearing buddies were running around with Gingerbread. May I remind you that Gingerbread is now over 6 months old too?

Here's a summary for you - I was getting pretty darn sick of what at first was a great device but turned into a clunker with an outdated OS, creaking under a moderate amount of apps.

2 months before that, I breathed new life into the wife's oh-so-slow HTC Hero by flashing CyanogenMod 7. The updated Gingerbread-based OS transformed the phone into something completely unrecognizable - it became fast (relatively) and usable. Before CM, I wanted to rip out all of my hair whenever I used it, but could now bear it without banging my head on the closest wall.

So, now it was EVO's time - after doing a nandroid backup in case I want to go back to Sense as if nothing happened, I flashed the stable CM7 release (currently 7.0.3.1), followed by the necessary Google Apps (gapps). The flashing process was absolutely painless and completed in record time - about 10 minutes from start to first boot.

Important: Before you flash CM, perform the "GPS fix" as instructed here. It only works from a Sense-based ROM, so make sure to do it while you still have it if you want to have working GPS.

Note: Go for the stable release - don't touch the nightly builds unless you're prepared to deal with bugs that make your device unusable.

wm_snap20110526_181530 wm_snap20110526_181654 wm_snap20110526_181711

Speed, snappiness, responsiveness

As you've already probably figured out, my biggest hope was that CyanogenMod 7 will bring noticeable performance improvements, due to both the fact that it runs Gingerbread vs Froyo and includes multiple optimizations.

I'm glad to report that I was not disappointed - in fact, the EVO got so fast that I could no longer recognize it anymore. It literally felt next-gen, and yet I was still holding the same familiar slightly beaten up black handset that I got so attached to in the last year.

I noticed performance improvements all around - navigating menus, starting applications, doing something when installing multiple apps at the same time, having multiple apps running in the background - almost nothing could slow the phone down anymore.

Night and day, folks. A transformation beyond all my expectations.

Automatic support for Apps2SD in most apps = free space to install more

As I mentioned earlier, I used to frequently run out of space and had to give up already installed apps when trying new ones. Get this - in CyanogenMod, almost all apps are automatically installable to SD. Rather than having to wait for developers to enable the feature explicitly, it is done globally.

Before CyanogenMod, I used to have around 50MB of free internal space, with Android no longer functioning right if I dipped below that (WTF by the way?). Now, I have about 120MB with roughly the same apps installed, and I haven't even gone through them all to make sure they're all moved to SD!

CyanogenMod Wiki explains:

CyanogenMod 6+ takes the native Google method, and improves upon it; no longer requiring the app developer to explicitly state whether an app can be moved or not, and giving that control back to the users.

The user can choose to override the developer's method and force an app to the SD card.

Limitations do exist, namely you cannot move protected apps, and those highlighted here.

Additionally, if an app is not designed to run from the SD card, it can break the app. Commonly, this includes home replacement apps, virtual keyboards, and widgets.

Latest Android version (currently Gingerbread) without having to wait for manufacturers

Because CyanogenMod is compiled from AOSP (Android Open Source Project), it is updated and merged with the latest code pretty much the moment Google lets it out. Sure, it may take a few weeks to get it to be stable enough for daily use, but it beats manufacturers' timelines every time.

In EVO's case, the stable release currently ships with 2.3.3, but if you want 2.3.4, it's available in unstable nightly builds.

And don't forget the sweet TV-off effect when powering off the screen that was added in Gingerbread - it looks so cool, it starts whole conversations!

wm_snap20110526_181823

More stable and consistent 3G data connection

One of my biggest frustrations with Sprint was the 3G connection. Since WiMax is still very spotty (I am not even going to go into how unusable it is while on the move), I am in 3G mode pretty much all the time. Or so the EVO says, and yet the connection speeds drop so low and the latency spikes up so high at times that the phone becomes almost unusable.

CM7 made this problem pretty much go away - my connection is much more stable and the weird dips have disappeared. I am no longer frustrated during my commute - the data speeds stay relatively uniform throughout the whole ride.

Another great CM feature is that it actually tells me when the phone switches to 1x from 3G. I don't remember ever seeing 1x in stock Sense, so I'm pretty sure it was made to hide it on purpose to make Sprint look better. Instead, it made me wonder why my speeds spike so much and threaten to switch to Verizon (that didn't go over so well - Verizon's coverage while moving around was way worse).

Here are my mobile network settings that I found give the most stable connection:

wm_snap20110526_223213

Painless Wi-Fi tethering built-in

No more carrier tether apps, no more Android Wi-Fi tether, which started to get kind of buggy lately - just pure Gingerbread Wi-Fi tethering built right into the OS (which normally gets disabled by carriers).

It's simple, it is secure, it works well, and I can use any power control widget that supports a native Wi-Fi Tether switch, including the one bundled with CM (see below).

The 2 features I kind of miss are MAC whitelisting and a disconnect timer that would kill the Wi-Fi hotspot after a period of inactivity. The first one is not really that essential, since I'm using WPA2, and I can live without the second for the time being.

wm_snap20110526_223130 wm_snap20110526_223141

Quick controls in the notification bar

I used to be a fan of ExtendedControls, which allowed me to place flexible power control widgets anywhere I wanted. However, lately it became so buggy that it became completely useless. In CyanogenMod, you get a power control widget that's almost just as flexible and built right into the notification dropdown.

Sure, it doesn't shrink 10 buttons into the 4x1 space, but it turns them into a horizontal slider instead. Come to think of it, that's exactly what I want in my power widget - lots of properly clickable buttons. CM lets me configure which ones show up, including the Wi-Fi tether switch that I mentioned above, as well as their order. And unlike ExtendedControls, everything works. Simple and robust.

wm_snap20110526_181800

A whole new 2nd notification LED

Oh boy, was I surprised to find out my EVO 4G actually has a 2nd LED (on the right) that can glow green and amber! Did you know this? I sure didn't, as it was never activated in the stock Sense ROM.

The 2nd LED actually glows softly and is used by default for notifications, leaving the regular blinking one for battery charging. Absolutely awesome.

wm_IMG_9218

Battery percentage in the top right of the notification bar

In stock ROMs there is no way to get the exact battery percentage to show up on the top right, next to the clock. You have to get separate widgets, that waste precious space in the notification bar and duplicate the functionality that should have been there from the start.

CyanogenMod to the rescue!

image

Built-in SetCPU-like functionality

Want to tweak advanced CPU-related settings? CyanogenMod comes with a CPU tweaker built right in. You can:

  • set max CPU clock speed
  • set min CPU clock speed
  • change governor profiles (presets optimized for performance, battery life, and everything in the middle)

Swipe-away notifications

A hidden and unexpected gem, CM supports Palm Pre style swipe-away notifications. Got a notification you want to get rid of without clicking into it? Just swipe it away left to right.

The only problem is that it is not very sensitive, so it takes me quite a few swipes that sometimes result in clicks. I'm looking forward to improvements in this area in the future, if someone from the CM team is reading.

No bloatware

Ah, the bliss of Stock Android OS - not only is it fast, but it comes with no carrier crapware or custom UIs that can both have negative side-effects on battery life, performance, and your overall satisfaction. Bye-bye, Sense, I'll hardly miss you.

Revoking permissions

Added in the latest nightlies (this is not in the stable ROM just yet), fine-grained permission revocation satisfies even the most paranoid among you. Want to deny Internet permissions on a per-app basis? No problem. No access to contacts? You got it.

Of course, there is a downside to this solution - apps that expect certain permissions they've declared might crash, and it's up to you to decide whether you're willing to live with that or not.

See here for more details.

While the Grant/Revoke buttons are gone in the actual CM release (instead, you just click each permission to cross it out) and Spoof is not supported at all, the screenshot below from this thread should give you a good idea of what to expect.

image

Countless tweaks way beyond stock Android

There are a whole bunch more tweaks that I am going to bundle into a single section here. Here are some of them:

  • widgets are grouped by the application they belong to in the Add Widget menu, which results in less clutter
  • long-pressing the power widget items in the notification area goes to their respective settings
  • just like in the latest Sense on the EVO, I can select a period of time during which the phone doesn't re-engage the pattern lock
  • 180 degree rotation
  • removal of time altogether from the notification bar
  • compact carrier label in notifications
  • customize the number of recent apps when you hold Home (I upped that to 12)
  • my podcasts are no longer annoyingly interrupted and muted by notifications sounds - instead the notification sound plays together with the podcast. Amen to that!
  • you can enable long-press on the Back button to kill whatever app you're in

wm_snap20110526_221700

What about battery life?

Surprisingly, I did not see much improvement in battery life after flashing stable CyanogenMod, and it was definitely awful in the nightly. Some people report great savings, while some say it gets worse. Really, only you will be able to tell whether it works better on your device or not - they are all too different to generalize.

Launcher that keeps restarting

One of the things that pushed me to flash CM was the fact that my launchers started continuously restarting. That included Sense, LauncherPro, ADW, and Go. I was hoping that this would no longer happen in CM, but alas, it does.

My ADW EX restarts pretty often, even though the amount of available RAM hovers around 100MB. I have gone through all the settings and enabled the CM tweak that should allow launchers to stay in memory, but it did not help.

If anyone knows a solution for this, please let me know.

What do I miss from Sense?

  • the HTC keyboard is still my preferred input method, even after using SwiftKey, Swype, Thumb Keyboard, and all kinds of others. The reason is simple - it has the best typing correction I've experienced, and that includes SwiftKey. I do miss the HTC keyboard, but SwiftKey should do for now
  • certain Sense widgets, like Calendar and Weather, though a lot of good replacements exist in the Market
  • the Sense Camera app that focuses and takes a picture when you touch and hold the screen

Conclusion

CyanogenMod 7 has completely transformed my phone into a device that feels future-proof and next-gen. It is faster, less buggy, and has more features that I actually care about. I was relatively happy with the EVO 4G before, but now I'm ecstatic.

If you're still on the fence, like I was for a while, do yourself a favor - go to CyanogenMod and don't look back.

Bonus: Read the Wired Modders Make Android Work the Way You Want story about the rise of CyanogenMod, including an interview with Cyanogen (Steve Kondik) himself. It reads like a Biography special and is quite entertaining.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Frank Zermeño

    Nice review, Cyanogen is definitely amazingly better than stock.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Thanks, Frank.

  • cheapskate88

    What's funny is everything you used to describe stock sense is what I use to describe CM nightlies. You should have really given one of the optimized Sense Roms a try. Myn Warm 2.2 works flawlessly.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Gingerbread > Froyo. No thanks, I don't want to go back to Sense.

  • erik

    i wish i could load Cm7 into my droid 2 global. damn you motorola!

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, I feel your Motoblur pain - out of all custom UIs, it's definitely the worst one.

      • evan anderson

        You obviously have never used touch wiz it is the worst thing since opera and aids

        • Fady Mahfouz

          Maybe TouchWIZ 3.0 was pain in the a**, but TouchWIZ 4.0 is great, you would have to try it.

        • Hal Motley

          I find TouchWiz slow and laggy!

    • siddharth

      u can get cm7 on droid 2

  • Jaymoon

    You have no idea how great of a post this is! I know a ton of Evo users that need to read through this.

    I've always tried to explain why CM7 is worth rooting and flashing for, but they just sit there with the stock rom and act like I'm trying to get them to switch car insurance providers or something. It's Gingerbread! The geek in me WILL NOT be satisfied with an outdated OS.

    Yet they continue to put up with their "low storage" notifications, slow home screens, and having to install about 20 different tweaking apps just to be able to do what's built in to CM7.

    *sigh*

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      When I started using it, I knew I could not go back and had to share it with you guys.

      Let your people know, ;-]

  • Alex D.

    Revoking permissions has been denied by Cyanogen and several others and will never be merged with CM. So it will never be seen on a stable release. As Cyanogen stated, it would piss off manufactures, carriers, and Google.

  • EdBoyWW

    U wantc Sense keyboard? Voila:
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=701089
    I'm on Legend cm7, it works like charm, highly customizable, pure awesomeness.

    • xDeToXx

      I came to second this. I have the HTC_IME mod on my G2 with Cyanogen, and I use it more than I use the hardware keyboard.

  • John Schaffer

    Great rundown. I found Cyanogen on a day that I was ready to throw my Hero out of a moving vehicle. Since I knew Sprint wouldn't upgrade the phone from 2.1, I started researching and found Cyanogen. I've been happy with my Hero ever since, but now I'm ready for the EVO 3D. I wonder how long it will take for Cyanogen to come out with a ROM for that? I'm usually shocked at how fast they can get something together.

  • Duncan

    You're right about everything, CM7 is much better than HTC's stock rom on my Desire HD.

    At first I missed the HTC Keyboard too, the word suggestion works a lot nicer, but now I got used to the stock Gingerbread one. I do miss HTC's Camera-app though, that one is much better than the others.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Oh that reminds me - I can't figure out how to change the resolution in the camera. None of the options seem to mention it.

      • http://tridentcase.com E.J.Su

        Camera resolution is in the top most option, scrolling down, following right below the exposure options.

        • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

          Ohh, thank you! It's totally not obvious that it scrolls.

  • Lada

    Nice article :) I'm thinking about flashing CM to my HTC Desire and there is one thing I'm not sure about. Does the camera app in CM have the feature of "tap to focus" (so I can specify place at the scene to be focused)?

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      No, it doesn't have the tap to focus feature. Come to think of it, I'm adding the Camera app to the list of things I miss about Sense.

      • bumsock

        Lol you should just flash mikfroyo 4.5 or 4.6 I tried CM 6/7 and they feel sluggish in comparison, and they are sense roms. CM6/7 are hugely over hyped/ugly unless you're a overclocking/benchmark whore,its highly over rated.

        • adriankeith

          I have the same sentiments about CM7 (the latest stable build). I'm on the HTC Inspire 4G so my experience is probably that of a few. However, I noticed that it was such an extreme drain on my battery. I would have to charge the thing wherever I was and within 4-5 hours I was down to nearly 30% battery life. I found CM7 to be pretty unstable, apps would force close a lot, ADW Launcher would crash often and a host of a lot of other issues. One of the biggest ones was that it would randomly (frequently) drop signal and say that there was no SIM card in my phone. I'd have to reset my phone 4-5 times before it would come back and even then, this would happen at least 3-4 times a day!

          I've since moved back to Ace's tweaked sense ROM (I don't know what it's called) and since then I've noticed a major improvement in battery life. I left it off the charger all night at about 75% and woke up 8 hours later to find it at 63%. Major improvement there and I haven't had the SIM card issue. Haven't had an opportunity to test the GPS yet but everything seems great so far. CM7 has a lot of great things to offer but on my phone specifically it is unusable.

      • http://jakelauer.com Jake

        I wouldn't be surprised to see CM7 integrate tap to focus at some point. IIRC, CM6 had it in the later versions.

  • Nathan

    to the author, if you still want your HTC_IME keyboard, here you go: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=654179

    not 100% sure if it works on CM7 but worked on CM5 and CM6 for me. now i use smart keyboard pro.

    • EdBoyWW

      It works on Legend and Desire.

  • Zulqarnain

    Launcher that keeps restarting:
    "used to happen to me in CM6, there are two things that helped me,
    1. LauncherPro (enabling its own option of keeping itself in memory in addition to CM's)
    2. Zeam Launcher (this is the launcher m currently using on Yoshi Ginger, and it is so so light that there is virtually no chance of it crashing)
    Note: dont forget to force stop ADW.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I'll give LPP another try - switched to ADW when I moved to CM.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/MindStrider MindStrider

    So have you tried any other AOSP ROMs then? I've got a Desire (original, AMOLED, in the UK) and I flashed away from Sense pretty early on because I found that it slowed my down more than it helped - and it just got in the way. I like CM, certainly, but I don't want to make the commitment of flashing to a new set of HBOOT partitions, which is all but necessary because of the Desire's pathetically minute internal storage...
    EDIT: Forgot to say, I'm using one of the 'pure' breed of AOSP ROMs - ones based on their own kernel work, rather than modifying Cyanogen or anything else. Redux, if you're wondering. Gingerbread, mmm.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I haven't - CM has the largest community, likely to actively support development for a long time. I really like all the CM tweaks and feel confident using it.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/MindStrider MindStrider

        That's fair. I'm a bit of a ROM-flashing junky really. I keep flashing different ones - but at the moment I keep ending up in Redux. I might go over to CM at some point - but it's the HBOOT issue, still.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/wwickedd wicked

    Great review Artem. Good read once again.

  • Nick Johnston

    Just wondering, had you given Fresh 4.0.0.4 a shot yet? I know it's still in beta, but it is GingerSense, my daily driver and I love it. It has apps2sd enabled if you already have an ext2 partition. I've tried Cyanogen a few times, and always just find myself missing the aesthetics of Sense.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I did but the screen brightness stopped working, which could not be fixed, so I switched back. There were other bugs too, and overall I didn't like it that much. The launcher was restarting like crazy - much worse than 2.2 or CM.

      • Nick Johnston

        Luckily I don't have the novatec panel, so brightness isn't an issue for me. I haven't noticed the launcher restarting on me at all, but that maybe that I just came back from Virusrom Sense 3.0 port. Like I said I've tried Cyanogen, and don't get me wrong I like it (actually loved it on my G1 as it made it last much longer than it should have), but after having sense I just like it too much to give it up. I do miss the Wimax light notifications though for my SMS(Wimax Notifier doesn't seem to work on GingerSense). BTW great write up.

    • Brady

      I used Fresh 4.x beta for almost a month. Then one day last week for no apparent reason, my handset just started flaking out. Missed e-mail/sms. Phone calls would drop at random. Currently Ava's GingerAleV3 is my daily driver. Only nuisance is the brightness bug. Though if I could figure out what's causing the connectivity suck, I'd still be running CM.

  • Brady

    Artem

    How are your connection/download speeds? I've given CM7 a couple of different tries on my Evo, but my data connections practically crawl in comparison to the Sense based ROMs. I'm located near downtown Atlanta, fwiw.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Brady, read the 3G speeds section in the post. I have just the opposite experience (with a stable release - nightly was pretty bad).

  • 80′s Rocker

    Couple of questions...

    1) Does CM7 have the Swype keyboard include? If not, is there a way to get it?

    2) what

    • 80′s Rocker

      Couple of questions…

      1) Does CM7 have the Swype keyboard include? If not, is there a way to get it?

      2) What is the link for getting the official released version of CM7?

      3) Is it easy to install & revert back to stock if needed (ie: warranty repair needed, issue with CM7, etc).

      Thanks

      • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

        1) It doesn't but the Swype beta is open right now - just go sign up and download it yourself. http://beta.swype.com/

        2) http://www.cyanogenmod.com/devices/htc-evo

        3) Just make a nandroid backup of your stock ROM and store it safely. Then flash back to it using ROM Manager if need be.

  • Danny

    I used CM7 on my Evo, but had to switch back to Fresh because of a few issues... 1. My phone became very laggy. I don't know if it was an app that conflicted with CM7 or what (I was using ADW Ex Launcher). 2. My battery drained real fast, almost twice as fast as when using Fresh. 3. For some reason, my keyboard would intermittently become unresponsive; I'd usually use Swype, but even the stock GB keyboard wouldn't work, I would type away but nothing would appear in the text box; the only fix was to reboot the phone.

    From what I understand, the overwhelming majority using CM on Evo don't experience these issues. I don't know if it's an app I'm using that doesn't mesh well with CM 7 or what. I don't think I have any apps that are particularly out of the ordinary.

    Other than those issues, CM 7 rocked, but alas, I had to switch back as battery life, sluggishness and the keyboard issues kept popping up. If anyone else experienced any of these issues and found a way to straighten them out, I'd like to hear from you.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Hrm, that sucks - I haven't experienced any of these issues at all. Were you flashing stable or nightly?

      • Danny

        Stable CM 7.0.3.1.

  • MrBlack

    If you want to boost your battery life, try flashing a custom kernel that is undervolted. XDA has at least one for the EVO 4G.

    Also, Go Launcher EX hasn't given me any problems ever.

  • Jordan

    For better battery, try flashing a SavagedZen kernel. You won't be disappointed.

    • Danny

      That's an excellent point! I'm gonna try another kernel.....been using stock, but am afraid if I switch the kernel, it might mess up my 4G. I had that happen once, had to switch the phone for a new one when that happened.

      • Jordan

        I just flashed up to the newest SavagedZen Kernel and I have no problems with 4G. I specifically use this one, but most people like to use this one. The difference is BFS (my choice) vs. CFS. If you don't know the difference, do some research :)

        • Jordan

          Artem, try using this one and flash thru Rom Manager. http://mirror.savaged-zen.com/dl.php?id=141

          I also use SetCpu to create a profile that is activated when the screen is off. Sets min frequency to 245 MHz and max to 384 MHz. Makes the battery last sooo much longer.

          I seriously suggest flashing that kernel.

      • Lolo

        I would also recommend in cm settings, under performance, switch the governer to savagedzen after you flash the kernel. I get fantastic battery life and the performance doesn't seem to be hindered. Good luck.

        • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

          I don't have savagedzen in the stable version. Do you know which I should pick that's closest to it?

        • Lolo

          Download and flash the savegedzen kernel from their website. Make sure to wipe dalvik and cache prior to flashing as with anytime you flash anything. Then it should be there. I am not sure what would be the closest setting based on the stock kernel but my guess would be conservative. I still recommend flashing savagedzen. Another kernel that has a deep fan base would be the tiamat kernel but I first tried savagedzen with the proposed settings and I can now get almost 2 days on a single charge with light-moderate use. And yes, that is on a EVO with a stock battery. Good luck on finding a good combination.

    • Danny

      I flashed a new kernel and it's working great! No lag, great battery life! Thanks for the suggestion. I don't know why that never occurred to me.

  • fins1771

    Artem...were you using Fresh 4.0.0.4? That is 2.3.3 and runs great. I don't currently use it, but that Fresh nandroid backup of beta4 is what I consider my goto ROM when I need stability. I'm running latest kingdom ports right now. After using sense 3.0 I haven't been back on fresh. 3.0 with issues is worth it. Fresh 4.0.0.4 is a very stable, smooth running ROM for me though.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I was using the 3rd or 4th beta, I don't remember which one exactly. Granted, i didn't wipe before flashing, but I had some problems, most notably the brightness bug for the LCD panel I have, which cannot be fixed.

      • fins1771

        Beta4 is in Fresh updater only after installing beta 3. Beta 3 was more buggy, wipe cashe and dalvik then flash beta 4 to run it smooth. Seeing as how you , not to mention countless others , love cm7 I will give it a shot. Question for cm flashers... If I have apps backed up in titanium from sense, do i need to download apps again if going to aosp cm7 ROM? Not sure but I believe I read somewhere that I would have to. Ty in advance.

        • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

          You can use your TB backup from Sense no problem, that's how I restored most of my apps. A minor portion of them didn't work, probably because they're not compatible with Gingerbread, but the majority restored fine, including data.

  • Adam

    I was really disappointed with CM7, I keep going back to it but every time I just find it buggy and frustrating.

  • http://About.me/DarknesSx DarknesSx

    About widgets of Sense ... they are SUPERIOR to anything found in the market but those would do good too...
    About HTC keyboard ... i can't live without it so.... check this out :D
    http://www.gimpsta.com/

  • Awetdonkey

    Artem perhaps this might help you with your launcher problem: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1012330.

  • Skitchbeatz

    Gingerbread closes out apps a lot faster so to keep the launcher in ram you have to increase it's priority

  • Dark Wizard Matoya

    I've been running CM7 (I'm using the nightly builds) on my Droid Incredible and I love it. I don't miss Sense at all, the only thing I miss from the stock ROM is HTC's camera, and now that I've bought Vignette I really don't even miss that much anymore. Battery life isn't great I will admit, but using a custom kernel has helped that tremendously. Because I'm using the nightly builds and not the stale version there are bugs, but nothing that renders my phone unusable and the nghtlies have worked well as my daily driver. Great article, Artem.

  • http://lankycyril.com/ Cyril

    Hi Artem!
    I've got a somewhat peculiar question: what will it mean for me as for a developer to go from stock sense (Desire HD) to CyanogenMod? Do you by any chance know if applications may behave differently in CM than in stock (without permission revoking, of course)? My phone is the only Android device I own so far, and I need it for testing.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Well, it's closer to stock Gingerbread than anything else custom, so I'd say you'll see fewer problems that may be related to custom crap HTC/Samsung/Motorola/etc add to their devices. If you're using standard Android APIs, I wouldn't expect there to be any problems at all.

  • Zepius

    you might try and lock home into memory. i maybe on the OG droid using PE6, but i think CM had something like that built in. if not, LP has that option in there, which should help the restarting thing.

    battery life - try different kernels. my buddy has an evo and he found a kernel that gave him crazy battery life... i'm not sure which one it is, but its worth looking into.

    • Decimae

      Yes, CM6(at least) and up have that added in, in performance settings. I am running a CM7 derative, and I used to run CM6, and both contain this option there.

  • irwin

    CM7 actually screwed up the notification LEDs when you think about it. with stock and other non-CM7 based ROMs, all notifications came through on the left. Then with the app "WiMax Notifier" it will enable the right side LED to display THREE colors (amber, red, and green) at at different pulse rates or just constant. This way, I had missed calls and texts show up on the right side LED and then miscellaneous notifications on the left side LED, allowing me to see two different notifications at the same time.

    With CM7, you only get the right side LED notifications and the pulse rate is soooo slooooowwww.

    CM7 is an excellent ROM overall, but i'm going to jump ship when a Sense based Gingerbread ROM is released that also fixes the 100% brightness issue with some displays.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Actually, CM7 has a customizable area where you can set the color of notifications per app. There are only 2 options - amber or green, and you can't set frequency, but I don't really care for that - it does more than enough for me.

    • fins1771

      Brightness issue is due to HTC not releasing the kernel yet. I have no brightness issue since I must have an Epson screen vs novatek screens that have brightness issues. My EVO and wifes screens both Epson with no issues. You may have to wait for the official 2.3.3 release due out later this year.

  • John J

    Welcome to CM goodness :)

    1) If you're using CM7, have you looked at s2e? It's a more thorough App2sd, also allows moving dalvik.

    2) You can manually set the launcher in memory, if the CM option doesn't seem to work. From terminal:

    su

    echo ro.HOME_APP_ADJ=1 > /data/local.prop

    reboot

  • Jim

    Setting "National Data Roaming" pops up a big warning about not setting this if your carrier charges for data roaming in country. So... well, does Sprint charge? I have no idea.

    Thanks for the great article!

  • Jordan

    Just want to say, the nightlies at this point are faster than the most recent release. Nightly 87 is amazingly quick.

  • Terrence

    Great post. I wanted to like CM7 because you can tweak pretty much everything and the cool screen off animation and built in tethering, but I just couldnt get used to the Stock experience at all..for example the Camera and the Gallery apps are terrible compared to Sense's. And the black menus are sort of hard to see. But theres a million reasons to love CM7 over Sense and it all just boils down to personal preference

  • Aatif

    Sweet. Not to be spammy, but there are a couple of more reasons why I find it to be awesome, give it a read: http://zomgitscj.com/2011/05/10/cyanogen-mod-7-ultimate-pimpage-on-the-galaxy-s/

  • Luis

    Does CM7 support 4G (wimax)? This is one of the reasons that I stayed with Myn's warm 2.2...

    • Artem Russakovskii

      Yes, it does fully.

  • John

    Look for a kernel to boost your battery performance.

  • AlexG

    Great article Artem!

    I'll try it on my root-o-phobic friends.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Go get 'em!

  • dmeegan14

    I have used CM7 and was hooked untill I found the Ultimate Droid ROM 3.3.1 based on CM7 much more stable more bells and whistles and battery life is outstanding this like you said makes the EVO like a brand new phone !

  • Dale

    My only question about his is... Does 4G still work? I know when flashing roms the 4G tends to get disabled for what ever reason. Does this rom have that problem? We have 4G in our area and I don't want to deactivate it.

    • Artem Russakovskii

      See a few comments above - it does.

  • Product F(RED)

    Here are some replacements for things you liked from Sense. I also am an Evo user:

    - For Sense keyboard, search for "HTC_IME". It's an EXACT copy of the HTC keyboard and it works on HTC and non-HTC phones, any ROM.

    - For the HTC Camera, try this MIUI camera. It has all of the features, minus FFC. It has a see-through interface, touch-to-focus, etc.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/88583/MIUIcamera-signed.apk

    - For HTC Gallery, use QuickPic. It's much better than the stock Gallery app.

    - For Sense Clock, grab either Fancy Widget or Fancy Widget Pro and grab the "H7C Clock" theme.

    - For Sense theme for CM7, grab NTSense.

    Hope that helps,
    Frederick

  • AndroidA

    Geez.. I highly recommend you guys check out Calkulin's EViO 3 (beta 2) ROM - that's the ROM to beat, not all the other ones you semed to have waisted your time with. EViO 3 is bases on the leaked Gingerbread update, but it's still the old Sense UI underneath. It's hands-down the best ROM in all regards - except maybe that you can't choose other custom kernels yet. And that's why EViO3 is sporting an HYC stock kernel.
    Still, I haven't found a better ROM than EViO, and my previous changes to CM were rather disappointing, due to the fact that some important feature didn't work (camera, 4G etc.) back then.
    Will give CM7 a shot now, but I doubt it's any better... We'll see.

  • Martin

    I use CyanogenMod with HTC IME MOD, so I get the best out of Cyanogen and HTC's amazing keyboard. This, coupled with LauncherPro is a winning combination :)

  • http://twitter.com/eddiekrueger EddieKrueger

    In order to keep your launcher from resetting try this:
    Menu> Settings> CM Settings> Performance> OK> Tick "Lock Home in Memory"

  • Btownflorida

    Im an android noob, so can anyone of you reading this please tell me if i can put this on my evo flashed to metro pcs without losing the flash?

  • Jeff

    Solution for launcher restarting:

    The trick is to force the launcher to stay in memory. When it gets swapped out, that's when you see the delay while it redraws when you hit Home.

    2 options. One is in the ADW settings, the other in CyanogenMod settings. Both are called "Keep launcher in memory" Take a look for those and enable one of them (no need to enable both). See if that fixes your problem.

    NOTE: forcing the launcher to stay in memory is effectively blocking off that amount of memory, so no apps will be able to use it. That might make some other memory-hungry apps like music players and maps/navigation get swapped out more frequently instead. The curse of using a device with a small amount of memory when apps keep getting bigger and bigger.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Neither of these settings worked. The in-app setting says it no longer works in Gingerbread, and I'm not sure the one in CM itself does anything either.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/jresneck Joshua

    You are aware that JonASL on XDA has a HTC Touch Input Keyboard generator so you can get that keyboard back, right?

    Link here - http://www.gimpsta.com/themer/

  • http://twitter.com/grellanl grellanl

    Another vote for using S2E with CM7 - HTC devices have always had frustratingly small flash storage, and the limited apps2sd that came with Froyo/Gingerbread just doesn't cut it. I could never previously install Google Earth and CoPilot at the same time on my Nexus One, for example.

    Create a decent-sized ext partition on your SD card, and S2E makes the whole process really simple, no manual scripting or command-line work to worry about. It's like having a new device, you can go nuts installing apps without worrying!

  • Jeremy

    Not sure if this is a fix for everyone but I fixed my battery issues when I unchecked the "backup my data" box in privacy setting. I read it on a forum and sure enough I had a big improvement

    • Jordan

      That helps, but I go a step further and disable all mobile data when not in use. I can still receive texts and calls, but I never go on 3G to sync unless I do it manually. Saves a ton of battery. I go two days without charging.

  • worldbfree4me

    Art, I currently own a Nexus S (Until EVO 3D arrives), am I good with stock Ginger 2.3.4 or should I consider a ROM mod? Thanks in Advance

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      There are still quite a few improvements in CM, so it's up to you if the above seems compelling enough to move to it.

  • worldbfree4me

    Cool. One more question for you. With Sammy recently giving Cyanogen developers free GSII's to have their way with, how will that benefit you, me and others going forward? Will their perhaps be a way to side step a manufacturers skin or dual boot into your custom ROM officially ..ie boot option would be Touch Wiz or Google Experience akin to an official Hackintosh that can boot Win7?

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      That means the GS2 will likely support CM7 pretty fast. This has nothing to do with the manufacturer's skin (that is not part of CM) or dual boot. CM will never have TouchWiz or any other proprietary skins.

  • Ray of Perth

    Guys, for most of us who just like an alternative to Crapple but aren't "nerds" don't run with the risks attached to "Rooting" our phones and don't understand the technical terms used. I have been on that many sites that give "Easy" instructions on how to root the phone, but there are so many variants of some brands of phone it makes us uneasy to try any of them! Cant one of you experts make a simple App that we could download and apply to the phone to give us root access or give us plain simple instructions to achieve this. I haven't even applied the Lag-fix solution because even it is too confusing for us lowly non-nerd types to be sure that it will safely apply the fix to our phones. We cannot afford to replace the phone if it becomes "really "rooted" (thats "stuffed" "buggered" or f*#ked) depending in which country you live in.

  • sonicxml
  • http://d-site.net OmniUni

    Recent versions of GO launcher have options to help keep it from crashing/being closed by the OS. I'm not exactly sure how it works, but it seems to. Even on my OG Droid, GO tends to stay open, and causes less problems than other launchers. Zeam is also good, though, if you want to try that.

  • marty331

    Any idea when there will be a Cyanogen for the Samsung Infuse????

  • http://evilcyber.com Evilcyber

    I finally made the jump, too, and won't be looking back. I own a HTC Legend, which is less than a year old and HTC already said Android 2.3 won't be coming to it - they probably rather have you buy a new phone.

    Now on CM7, I have 2.3 and with the Fancy Widgets app also a weather / time clock very close to Sense. That together with the ability to install DroidWall, Astro and AdFree, the Legend is now all I wanted it to be.

  • Daniel Knox

    If you want an HTC keyboard use this website and you can design the htc keyboard as much as you like!
    http://www.gimpsta.com/themer/

  • Marc

    Does doing this solve the bluetooth connectivity issue that many of us are having since we were forced to upgrade to gingerbread with sprint? Will going with CM7 get my phone to connect to my car again. That alone will get me to do what you suggest since driving and holding the phone drives me nuts

  • Bob

    There's a solution for the Launcher getting closed - it's a script (V6 SuperCharger) that reconfigures the Android Out-Of-Memory Groupings, so that important apps (i.e. Launcher) remain in memory as much as possible.

    You can find the "V6 Supercharger" script
    here

  • shannon

    I've got a telstra HTC desire, absolutely sick to death of the useless Telstra apps which cant be removed, the lack of memory for new apps and just the whole thing in general! So, im looking in to rooting and flashing, but have zero confidence in my tech savviness - any helpful nerds in perth WA who would be willing to do it for me? sr.saunders@bigpond.com

  • http://www.touchytechie.com Michael

    This was a great read, thank you for the effort you put in to the post. I had been wondering what the exact benefits were.

  • Ray of Perth

    I have a Galaxy S with std 2.3.3 with around 246 apps installed, with App 2 SD I have 129 apps still on my phone memory. The only issue I have is once or twice a day the phone restarts, which I think may be because I am on stock 2.3.3 and I have seem reports of this being the case. I am awaiting an official update to 2.3.5. I have looked at rooting the phone to get updates quicker but two things are putting me off: One is actually doing it and the risk involved, secondly having to backup and replace everything every time I do an update. As Shannon said, surely there is somewhere we can take our phones to, to get them rooted and updated. If as devotees of rooting say, there is no risk of "bricking" the phone, then why don't they offer to do it. Seems to me there is a good potential home business there for someone competent!! ??

  • Fady Mahfouz

    Well, CM on SGS II makes the phone very and I mean very hot, even with simple usage.

    This is a big FAILURE.

  • Victor Teles

    I have a Samsung Galaxy 5, already dead to Samsung, but when I installed CM7 Gingerbread 2.3.7 it was awesome, I really don't like those UI tweaks that Samsung does to their phones (and I tested a HTC Wildifire, the HTC UI is even worse!), also I wanted a pure Android experience, no TouchWiz things, and of course, Gingerbread! Since Samsung clearly won't be updating Galaxy 5. Now I can't wait 'til CM team launch Ice Cream Sandwich, and let's see how far my Galaxy can go. (too many commas, I noticed)

    • http://sketaful.se Sketaful

      I've done the same to my Galaxy 5. It is really fast now. But I can't use it without the power plugged in because the battery unloads within 1 min...

      I don't know why this happened, but it wasn't like this before I flashed CM on it. :S ??

  • alexods

    do CM7 do video-calling ? I put one time and do not see that any more in the cellphone when I try to call someone...
    how to activated?
    thanks

  • New_Guy

    I know you wrote this a while ago, but I just read it. With your launcher restart issue; I noticed my TBolt only does that when I am using a lockscreen app like MagicLocker or the like.

  • papoose34328

    great article! im not sure if i missed this in the samsung/google ics event, but it seems that ics doesnt have "quick controls in the notification bar." that would have been a nice feature to see implemented in the stock OS.

  • parth

    I wanna ask dat if i failed to install cm in m galaxy i9000 dan wat ll happened..?? Nd wat shld i do..?? Explain in details. Thankxx

  • parth

    I wanna ask dat if i failed to install cm in m galaxy i9000 dan wat ll happened..?? Nd wat shld i do..?? Explain in details. Thankxx.

  • http://pureloveclub.com bob marley

    No spoof?

    Worry less. Bacon Liberation from Google code shared

    LBE privacy guard
    http://LBEsec.com

    Now also in English, and for Gmail fanbois also in Google malware market.

  • http://pureloveclub.com bob marley

    No spoof?

    Worry less. Bacon Liberation from Google code shared

    LBE privacy guard

    Now also in English, and for Gmail fanbois also in Google malware market.

  • http://pureloveclub.com bob marley

    Cyanogenmod is likely to have patches on the fly for ACTUAL PRIVACY assurance (data spoofing / faking permissions) courtesy

    PFFmod

  • cole

    SO HAPPY WITH CM ON MY HTC EVO!!!
    I don't care about screanshots or tether, but the overclocking, silent time, keyboard, screen dimming adjustment period, and silky smooth operation are awesome!

  • GregMG

    My CyanogenMod 7 Night 255 camera app does have a "tap to focus" option that sense had, but you need to enable it manually in the camera settings.

  • Ben

    I have a huge problem with cyanogenmod 7 stable on my nexus s. When I wake up in the morning my phone is off, and the last time t needed me to take my battery out to turn it back on. I live this mod and don't wanna go back but this Is a huge problem cause my alarm doesn't go off

  • miniCM7

    I really like Cyanogenmod (miniCM7 v21), only things i don't like are the battery life and the automatic screen orientation (portrait/landscape) it is very slow. But other than that i really like the customize-ability. oh and don't know if the built in permissions manager needs IPtables, probably it does need it, but it makes apps force close because of 1 permission that is denied (which not even has impact on functionality) And it doesn't pop up directly after install like LBE Privacy Guard, so you need to open app manager in settings....

  • yossi cohen

    fortunately for you the dying homecreen launcher have a solution!!!!

    the laucher keps dying just cos you enabled the "long back soft-button press to kill apps" feature!!!!

    it occures when you accidentally kill too many apps or just double kill...
    (personally ill live with the dying launcherpro and wont disable that awesome feature!!!!)

    hmm great review but you forgot to mension HOW FAST IT IS!!!!(you didn't mension it enough)

    I LOVE CM7(with launcher pro) it runs beastly on my motorola defy(its a better phone than sgs1 apparantly)
    and its "iphone-smooth"(especially ilauncher 2 lol)...

    BTW IOS 5 SUCKS!!!!(have it on my ipod 4g syncing is slow as hell even on usb)
    and the notification center isn't as responsive and usefull as android's!!!!(but it is kinda smoother-well i-device...smooth but useless)

  • http://www.teluguwap.net venkatesh

    i have samsung galaxy y smart phone. can u pls add to build it of sofware . i want to enter in to the cyanogenmod pls

  • http://www.busyweather.com Erick R Williams

    Do you still have to do the GPS mod first or is this not an issue with the current stable release of CM&? I am using an HTC EVO 4G as well.

  • HTC IME

    New version of HTC IME keyboard mod available at XDA.

    See: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1844512

  • Arnie

    Why does my phone take 5 minutes to start up?! And where is the enable fast boot option on 2.3.7 thundershock?!

  • BPADHEE

    I WANT A CUSTOM ROM FOR MY MICROMAX A26 (ROOTED).

    THANKS IN ADVANCE