In spite of my misgivings about trying CM7 on my Galaxy S, I couldn’t resist trying out a Gingerbread custom ROM and went ahead with installing it. I had earlier tried out the beta versions of Darkys ROM and had found them to be in usable shape for my primary phone. Less than a day of CM7 use convinced me that it is extremely half baked and is practically unusable. I ll list out my experience on CM7 in this post.
- The phone, immediately after a boot, is quite slow and sluggish with a lot of screen animations and transitions skipping frames. But after about a half hour or so, things become smoother. Perhaps there is aggressive cacheing at play here.
- The notification bar on the top of the screen is butter smooth. Irrespective of the kind of load that the CPU is running, pulling it down doesn’t result in any choppy animation. The GPU must be at play here – this is purely a Gingerbread feature.
- The screen lock animations(CRT turn-off) in Gingerbread are great. You have to see it to understand what I’m talking about.
- My phone tends to reboot sporadically without following any noticeable pattern. It has restarted while charging, while simply lying on my desk doing nothing and once while installing an app(Skype).
- Each time it reboots, the phone takes an inordinate amount of time(about 8-10 minutes by the watch) to get cellular connectivity. Manually selecting a network provider also doesn’t speed up the process.
- The WiFi signal strength takes a hit. The phone is more prone to dropping a weak signal – in effect the range of the router for the phone is reduced.
- It was disappointing to see that CM7 doesn’t bundle the stock Gingerbread launcher. Instead it comes with ADW Launcher.
- The display gamma seems to be a lot higher. Wallpapers that I had used earlier seem brighter in CM7. Black themed wallpapers seem very faded and are not black anymore.
- The bundled video player plays HD videos very choppily.
- The camera application is the stock android app. Surprisingly(perhaps not very, since Nexus S too faces this problem) it doesn’t support recording of 720p video. There is also no touch-to-focus functionality. None but the basic shooting modes and effects are present. This app is very lacking in features.
- The phone app is similarly barebones. There is no smart dial option. I cannot start typing a contacts name and expect his numbers to show up. On CM7 it is very buggy as well – on most occasions, pressing the first digit of the number to dial doesn’t show up in the display even though it registers. Tapping the second digit then shows both the first and second digits together. This happens only for the first digit tapped. Similarly, tapping backspace the first time registers but the display shows all the digits intact. Tapping it again or typing another digit fixes the display.
- The Quadrant score is 1397 for the first attempt and 1704 for the subsequent attempts. Nevertheless the 3D graphics tests are choppy. The test with a satellite revolving around its planet shows severe artefacting. Framerates are noticeably lower too(25-30 fps for the first person shooter test vs 40-45 that it used to clock earlier).
- Auto brightness of the display needs to be adjusted. It doesn’t dim enough in low light. Darkys ROM got this setting perfectly.
- Skype is unusable. It simply doesn’t work with CM7. The login screen shows up fine. Once you login, Skype force closes. If you give wrong logon details, it doesn’t crash and remains on the login screen.
Overall my experience with CyanogenMod 7 was quite flakey and lukewarm. Nevertheless I’m looking forward to the final stable release and will probably install it the day it comes out. For the time being being, its back to Darky.