Custom ROMs 101: How to pick the best custom ROM for you

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 13 Mar 2014


The world of custom ROMs is very much like marketing — filled with flashy words and false promises. You need to ignore the buzz, read the fine print and then decide which custom ROM is correct for you. Below, we list down a few tips that should help you in finding custom ROMs and deciding which one you should install on your device.

Ignore the buzzwords

Any custom ROM thread or website that you come across will be filled with a lot of buzz words like “zip-aligned”, “GPU rendering”, “best battery life” and more. This is the developer way of attracting the reader’s attention and increasing his user base. However, you should keep in mind that most, if not all, of these buzzwords hardly make a huge difference in usability or performance. It is better to just ignore them and focus on the feedback from other users and the ROM’s feature set.

Focus on what you want

Every custom ROM’s feature page is going to be endlessly big. The developers will list down all the features, including the minor ones, so as to impress potential users. Don’t get blown away by the list and instead just look for the options you want. If it is not present in that ROM, you should move on to the next one that is available for your device.

Read the comments

Always, always read the comments made by other users in a ROM thread. This will give you valuable feedback as to how good it is, whether it has some serious bugs or not and how it performs. If possible, make sure to give your feedback as well as it would help other users.

Stability vs. Features

In our first post of the custom ROM 101 series, we explained to our readers about the different types of custom ROMs available — Stock firmware based and AOSP based. The former ones are light on features but are more stable while the latter are loaded with features but can be unstable. The type of custom ROM you want is perhaps the first thing that you should decide on before you start looking for them.

Alright! Where can I actually find custom ROMs for my device?

There really is one source in this big world of Internet for custom ROMs for nearly all the available Android device — XDA Developer Forums. Simply head over to your device sub-forum on XDA to find a plethora of custom ROMs compatible with it. While you may come across a few websites that list all the available custom ROMs for a particular device, chances are the list is outdated by quite a few months, which is a lot of time in the custom ROM scene.

For some big AOSP ROMs like AOKP, CyanogenMod and Paranoid Android, you can find the download links over at their official websites as well. However, then you will be devoid of all the precious feedback from other users, that might just save you a headache.

How do you decide on a custom ROM? Drop in a comment and let us know!