“This ROM is ALMOST as beautiful as me.”
My esteemed colleagues believe that my review is a little long winded but in true New Yorker fashion I really don’t care. LOL. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
For my first review I decided to buck the standard CyanogenMod that everyone seems to be using and try a rom that is an AOSP based Android 5.1.1 Lollipop ROM, BrokenOS Version 2.2.. As you read you will see why this has become my favorite ROM to date.
The Broken Team also has their own version of GApps appropriately named Broken GApps which I decided to use to immerse myself into the entire Broken experience.
My first boot took approximately four minutes from swipe to welcome screen. The boot animation was entertaining and I found myself watching that instead of the clock.
After completing the sign up process and signing into my Google account I immediately noticed that I was not receiving LTE and was losing both Cell and Data service about every ten seconds. I went into the APN settings and saw that my APN was defaulted to MetroPCS when in fact I am using T-Mobile. No big deal, to change this all you have to do is check off T-Mobile US LTE in the APN settings and all was good. Did a reboot just to make sure the new settings took effect and everything was good to go.
BrokenOS uses Nova Launcher as their stock launcher which is great since Nova Launcher is one of the most efficient and polished launchers available in my opinion and is my go to launcher no matter which ROM I am using. I upgraded to Prime a long time ago to support the development and to have a few more options to play with. BrokenOS uses a default blacked out theme that looks very polished and fits the whole Broken theme.
While BrokenOS works awesome right out of the box, digging into the Settings gives so much more to tweak.
Once you go into Settings you will see the usual first panel for Wireless and Networks. The next panel is where the fun begins. This panel is titled “Tweaks”. Kind of gives me goosebumps just to type it. In here the very first selection is Broken Pieces. Broken Pieces is where tweaks like Ad Blocker, Animations, App Circle Sidebar along with other useful features reside including the Power Menu. This is where you truly make BrokenOS yours. This is also where you can change your battery icon color, style and animation along with your clock and date location, color and style and also reorder, add and move your custom tiles. Also in here is your Wakelock Blocker and where Init.d is located. Do not just go into Wakelock Blocker and start blocking everything in an attempt to save battery. You will definitely do more harm than good. There are a few good Wakelock detector apps available in the Play store. I recommend downloading one and let it run for two battery cycles then use the information as a reference to which Wakelocks should be blocked. That just names a few tweaks available in this section. I literally tweaked my OnePlus One for over an hour and ended up spending many more hours as the week progressed.
Going back into the Tweaks panel your next selection is called Other Mods and includes Lockscreen Shortcuts and the Force Expanded Notification toggle.
After that the next selection is Performance. This is where you can tweak the Broken Kernel. I found the stock values worked perfectly for me so I left this section alone. If you do not know what you are doing do not attempt to tweak the settings here. If you make a wrong move you could possibly create a $350 paperweight. You have been WARNED….
The next selection is where you can literally spend days and weeks. The Layers section. If you are not sure how to use the Layers there is an awesome tutorial on XDA that will explain it *LINK*. WARNING: Playing with Layers is extremely addictive, proceed at your own risk!!
After Layers in the Tweaks Panel is the Broken Center. This is where the Devs provides links, tools and information to make your experience better. They also have a donate link here. If you like Broken as much as I did why not buy them a beer. It will go a long way. There are also two other tabs in here, one is BROKENOTA which is where you can see if there is an update, look at the Changelog, Download BrokenOS and GApps and read news about the ROM. The next tab is called the BROKENSIZER where you can delete system apps. WARNING: Do not delete any system apps unless you are sure they are safe to remove.
After the Tweaks panel you have the Device Panel, followed by the Personal Panel and the System Panel. BrokenOS still uses SuperSU. Other than that everything in those panels are the same as any other.
Other notes: Version 2.1 used Viper4Android. This version uses AudioFX. I added MaxxAudio on my own. There is a lot of argument out there about which is better with most audiophiles liking Viper4Android. Me personally, I like AudioFX with MaxxAudio. I find it easier to tweak, especially on the fly.
This version of Broken uses Slim Kernel. The next version will be using AK Kernel and compiled using Sabermod 5.1 Toochains. This should definitely make this ROM fly while still giving you great battery life. Not that right now the ROM isn’t fast, it is as good and fast as any other ROM I have used.
The battery life that I experienced on BrokenOS is by far the best that I have had with any 5.1 ROMs. On two separate days I had 30 hours off charge.
I would definitely recommend this ROM as a daily driver. In the week that I have tested it I did not experience one random reboot. On one test day I used the ROM in my car. I used the GPS while streaming music through Rhapsody and made two calls and had two people call me. The entire time this ROM handled everything perfectly. While on the phone the music was paused and the GPS instructions were still spoken. When the call was disconnected the music started again and when the GPS had to speak a command the music volume was lowered so the GPS command was on top.
Edit: Tomorrow is now!! In true BrokenOS fashion they have already made tomorrow today. Since writing this review BrokenOS has release version 2.3 with the extra toppings I mentioned above. They also made another announcement that they will now be releasing new builds weekly. This ROM just keeps getting better.
To download the ROM, go *HERE* and the download links for the ROM and recommended GApps will be on the right side of the page.
(Written by Greg Toback)