Evo 4G Customization Goodness

Since my initial rooting and unlocking project last weekend I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the shiny new ROM I have installed and how awesome it is.  So now that I have the taste for flashing custom ROM’s, I wanted to see what else was out there.  I did some digging and learned (to my happy surprise) that the Evo 4G, or the “OG” as community members refer to it as, is still alive and well, with a very talented community and very active user base.  Especially for a device that is nearly 3 years old.

If you missed my original ROM flashing post you can view it here.  That should get you up speed.

Custom ROM’s can be confusing and maybe a bit intimidating at first but once you start to wrap your head around the concept then things get much easier.  If you have any questions let me know and I will do my best to help explain things as best I can (from my own understanding of how it all works at this point).  I am certainly new to this as well but am quickly beginning to understand the power and draw behind custom ROM’s, especially for tinkerers and people that are interested in DIY tech projects, there is really a whole world out there to go explore for this type of stuff.  I would take a look at XDA Developers forum for a good place to get started on many of these topics.

I am working on putting together a list of the latest and greatest ROM’s that I have stumbled across since my initial flash using the MazWoz Jelly Bean ROM last week.  I will also try to offer some perspective and comparisons between these custom ROM’s to help you choose which one will suit your needs and will work best in your use case.  All of the ROM’s that I have been testing are currently all 4.2.x (Jelly Bean) and are all fantastic, so if you are having trouble picking one out I would advise that you just pick one.  More than likely it will be a good fit.  The only difference between many of these are small subtleties such as specific themes, customization options, look and feel and a few packaged apps here and there.  So for example, Slim Bean offers a UI “pie controls” that aren’t built in to some of the other ROM’s.  But for the most part many of these ROM’s are using a lot of the same “stuff” in the background.  There are probably more out there but I will just be covering the most popular and most active ROM’s that I cam across, so let’s go ahead get started.

MazWoz – http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1947452

This is a great ROM and the first custom ROM that I tried.  Nearly everything is working currently, it is certainly stable enough for every day use IMO.  It did a hot reboot on me once and the camera was a little bit on the glitchy side, there were some strange GUI effect glitches every now and WiMax is broken (which won’t get a fix it doesn’t look like but who cares) but otherwise worked flawlessly, it is very snappy and responsive, it provides a buttery smooth experience.  I would highly recommend giving this ROM a shot since it is both stable and smooth.  It isn’t quite there 100% on all the new Jelly Bean features but it is getting there and is under active development by its creator and maintainer.  The latest release was about a month ago so hopefully there will be an update to provide some of these niceties in the near future.

Slim Bean – http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2217412

Currently testing this ROM out.  So far so good, it is fast and everything I’ve tried seems to be working correctly.  This ROM is designed to be light weight and snappy, so only basic themes, look and feel and apps although I will say that after booting initially it felt a very tiny bit slower than the MazWoz ROM but this slowdown was still very tolerable.  I suspect there may have been issues since it was trying to sync up and download things in the background, because everything has been working much more smoothly after the everything is in sync.  The camera works slightly more fluidly than the MazWoz camera and there do not appear to be any other noticibly odd glicthy behaviors with the GUI.  Other initial findings were that there is no WiMax (again expected) and no front camera.  This ROM is very smooth and there is support for facial recognition and unlock which is pretty slick.  There are some other cool features baked in such that other ROM’s do not offer such as “The Real Dark Slim (TRDS)” which is basically a customization engine for this particular ROM as well as Slim PIE and a few other unique customizations for this ROM which allow for a more fine tuned experience.

Cyanogenmod 10.1 – http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2244061

This is the defacto for custom ROM’s currently, it easily has the largest user and developer base and its latest version has been ported over to the Evo 4G.  This is pretty much the most complete package as far as custom 4.2.x ROM’s go.  It has basically every standard feature that comes along with this version of Android as well as a ton of tweaks and improvement, including pie controls and speed/optimization improvements and other nice goodies.  There is no official release for this build because this current port literally just happened not more than a few weeks ago but I’m sure the word will spread quickly.  So far I have liked this release for the most part, there are some issues though, such as a little big of glitchiness as with the other releases I have tried, the swype style keyboard doesn’t work all the time, the launcher (trebuchet) crashed ones, no front camera, some of the camera options aren’t perfect either and there is no WiMax support.  These are really just small gripes though and outside of that it is snappy and also probably the smoothest ROM I’ve tried so far.  It has some slick features built in including a custom launcher, file manager and media player, as well as some additional themes and widgets built in which are a really nice touch.  The CyanogenMod is an all around good experience and with all of the little additions and bells and whistles built in has been my favorite ROM so far.

AOKP – http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2257194

This is one of the newer projects out there but it is gathering steam and the community as well as developers have really worked hard to make this ROM very nice.  The features of this ROM are on par (some may even say better) than Cyanognmod and this ROM certainly delivers so very nice customization options as well as a stable and fast platform.  I have only recently tried this ROM out myself yet so I can’t report on all of the issues that it has other than the standard issues that all of these ROM’s suffer from.  No front camera, no WiMax, some weird camera issues, etc.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  I have really liked the quickness of this ROM so far, I’d say it is on par or better than Slim Bean and offers a really nice experience overall and the ability for a lot of customization.  I would definitely recommend trying this ROM out.  The only caveat for getting this ROM to work correctly is that you need to partition your SD card prior to flashing, otherwise you will suffer from boot loops which caught me originally.  Other than that, it is pretty straight forward to flash and use.

Evervolv – http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2172323

This one is worth a mention as well but seems to be losing some of its previous favor amongst the community as of late (at least as far as I can tell, I could be totally wrong about this though).  It seems like a lot of ROM’s are built using much of Evervolv’s code but the project itself isn’t quite as popular as it was at one time.  I haven’t tried this ROM out for myself yet, I just found that it was worth a mention because of its support for the Evo 4 G.  I might come back and update this post if I ever switch and try this ROM out, but I just can’t get away from Cyanogenmod right now.

Josh Reichardt

Josh is the creator of this blog, a system administrator and a contributor to other technology communities such as /r/sysadmin and Ops School. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.