[Week 1] – Dax Nagtegaal’s Review

[ROM][5.1.1][AOSP] XenonHD by Team Horizon (May 6th 2015 Build)


XenonHD, one of those ROMs that looks amazing at first glance; cool boot animation, very nice looking website, great performance and stable release builds. All sounds great, but does it live up to the expectations? I spent the past 6 days on this ROM and here’s what I think about it.

The performance stayed smooth, and the boot animation didn’t magically change, nor did the nice look of their website. It held up in those regards, but it didn’t blow me away, there were some bugs. The May 26th and June 1st builds had constant reboots, so my review is based on May 6th build, which is a shame considering the 26th one has some nice features.

UI Feel and Smoothness

The AnTuTu score was low, so low that I won’t even mention it. Why? Because it doesn’t matter. In the 6 days I spent on this ROM there were no noticable slow-downs or excessive lag despite its low benchmark score, XenonHD is as smooth as any other 5.1.1 ROM and performance kept up from day 1 to day 6 no matter what type of usage I threw at it, from heavy gaming such as Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2 to simple chatting on WhatsApp and Hangouts.

Battery Life

I would describe the battery life on this ROM as ‘Good enough’, and it was pretty inconsistent, I got 7h30m of SOT one day, and 5h30m the next day with virtually the same usage. My average SOT was 6h30m, which is low for my standards. I usually get 7h30m average on other ROMs, the only battery saving app I use is Greenify and I use Privacy Guard to deny Google Play Services.

Screenshots of battery stats here;
Day 1: http://m.imgur.com/a/73woD
Day 2: http://m.imgur.com/a/qAoNF
Day 3: http://m.imgur.com/a/MLh7M
Day 4: http://m.imgur.com/a/Wyyoi
Day 5: http://m.imgur.com/a/zY9OJ

My brightness is quite low overall and I’m almost always on WiFi, a whole day outside on LTE with full brightness would probably result in 3.5 – 5 hours of SOT for me on this ROM.

Features and Customizability

Their website says that XenonHD has “Advanced Customization Options”, which is debatable, it’s certainly no Cyanide L with literally every single customization option known to man built in, but it does have a nice array of tweaks. I won’t go into this too much, their website says “Simplicity” and I think that’s the main feature of this ROM, it’s clean, simple and easy to use while still maintaining some nice features and customization, PrivacyGuard and AdAway are built in and work well, I haven’t seen any ads and PrivacyGuard does what it does, we all know these two.

XenonHD uses Layers for themeing, this was my first experience with Layers and while it isn’t as easy to use as the CM theme engine, the learning curve is not very steep. I’ve been running the SkyBlue theme which looks very very nice, and the ROM allowed me to change the color of my on-screen buttons to blue to match the theme! Warning: Playing with Layers is addictive and some have reported bootloops. To get out of a bootloop, go into TWRP and delete the layers “Overlays” folder. Or if you know which layer is causing it specifically, just delete that.

Overall Impressions and stability.

Pretty good. I was plagued with touch issues so that has undoubtedly left a sour taste in my mouth, it wasn’t the ROMs fault, but I’d be lying if I said that it hasn’t affected this review at all. I will probably revisit XenonHD for a day or 2 when they get the new touchscreen firmware and update this review if there is a need for that. XenonHD is solid, very stable and fast in almost every situation. I haven’t experienced any random reboots, force closes, freezes or other weird shit.

The very few bugs I encountered were kind of annoying, but not really a deal breaker. The on screen buttons (nav bar) has a setting where you can change its size, which doesn’t work, vibrate on touch can’t be disabled and the built in screen recorder doesn’t work either, but those are the only things I came across. None of those things are a big deal to me, though I would’ve liked to disable vibrate on touch for when it’s silent in my house at night. Voice Wakeup is currently not working either, they are aware of that and will hopefully fix it soon.

In conclusion

If you’re looking for a fairly simple and stable ROM then the answer is yes. I quite enjoyed my time on this ROM, I don’t use my phone for much fancy shit, all I need it for is web browsing and using a few basic apps like the camera, hangouts, whatsapp etc. and it does that well, very well. No crashes, no hangs, no bullshit. Simple and stable.

Overall rating? 3.8/5, would bump up to 4.2/5 if the battery life was better.

XenonHD XDA Thread: http://forum.xda-developers.com/oneplus-one/development/rom-xenonhd-5-0-2-beta-5-26-01-15-truly-t3028163




  1. redleema

    The random reboot issue on the June 1st build I managed to cure by flashing a different modem as my previous ROM was probably using something different. Since then, I had it running solid for 3 days before moving onto the next ROM but your review was more or less in line with my experience.

    XenonHD introduced me to layers which I’ve now become a big fan of, especially BlueShades and by installing Pie Controls (and to a lesser extent, Kernel Aduitor), this ROM gave me all the functionality for my daily needs. Virtually all the Quick Settings tiles are there to choose from which is kinda nice as some ROM developers sometimes like to dictate which should be available. Choice is always good.

    Also, there’s an excellent selection of reboot options included that’s not necessarily found in all ROMs, i.e., Reboot, Soft reboot, Recovery, Bootloader. Little thing but thought I’d throw that in.

    I’d highly recommend this ROM to anyone looking for an all-round performer without being overloaded with frills, but not if you’re a fan of LiveDisplay or CM theme engine because it isn’t cooked into this ROM. The next step up to XenonHD would probably be the more feature rich BrokenOS as layers can be reused to maintain some of the look & feel.

    UI look & feel: 8/10
    Battery: 7/10
    Impression/Stability: 9

    Overall: 8/10… 4/5 in keeping with AndroidScout scoring. 😉

    1. Epic Swirly Epic Swirly

      Lol. Thanks for the mini review. 😉

  2. Kevin Connolly aka theshinybeast Kevin Connolly aka theshinybeast

    Damn ,Redleema has beat me to it .This is still one of my favourite ROMs , if not favourite (Broken permitting) . Layers is becoming /is one of my favourite features on any ROM .What I like most about the ROM is your last phrase “No crashes, no hangs, no bullshit. Simple and stable.” and Layers .

    Loved the review Dax ,well written and to the point .Top stuff Sir .

    1. Dax Nagtegaal Dax Nagtegaal

      Thank you very much for the nice comment shiny 😛


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