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.
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.
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.