Published on May 6th, 2013 | by afinest0
CarbonROM 1.7 Jelly Bean 4.2.2 Custom ROM Review (Best Jelly Bean ROM)
CarbonROM 1.7 Jelly Bean 4.2.2 Custom ROM Review (Best Jelly Bean ROM)
CarbonROM are dedicated to bringing their users fast, stable, and feature-filled custom ROMs. With the latest and greatest Android on board, Jelly Bean 4.2.2, it brings a host of great features all packed up into one all around great custom ROM. Built from AOSP sources, this custom ROM really delivers what it sets out to do.
Installation is quite easy, and very much like any other custom ROM. First, simply download the CarbonROM zip file for your device, as well as the latest GApps. Next move the files on to your device and remember where they are. Reboot into the custom recovery of your choice, and install both the zip files from your internal SDCard. If your coming from another ROM, it’s important you do a full system wipe as well as the system cache. After that you can reboot and you should be good to go!
On first boot, you are greeted with a cool animation of the CarbonROM logo. Once fully booted and past the initial set up phase, you can enter the stock Android experience which is very reminiscent of other AOSP based custom ROMs. By default on the Nexus 7, the device is set to “Phablet UI” which is exactly the same as you get with the official firmware from Google. With the phablet UI on the Nexus 7, I felt right at home, but later I switched to the full Tablet UI (more on customization later). The UI is very clean and stock looking, with even the system settings being very easy to use. Usually with custom ROMs many tend to have a whole bunch of features all spread out in different categories, but I found that with CarbonROM this wasn’t the case and I could easily get to the settings I wanted. There are many different factors that affect the way that the UI of the ROM is presented, but one of the most notable I believe is the option to enable “Dark Carbon”. This setting tweaks pretty much all the colors from the grayish “holo” look of Android to a more piercing black with white accents as well as blue highlights. If your looking for a way to make your device look more minimalist, this is the perfect way to do so.
One thing I wasn’t a fan of was the fact that the date and time in the Tablet UI was a bit too small for my liking. I searched through the “Clock and Date” options in the “Statusbar” section, but couldn’t find a way to tweak this. Another thing I noticed which wasn’t too big of a deal but added a nice feel was the animation to pop up the quick settings toggles had a side flip motion. This added to the smoothness of the ROM and was one of the things that I liked about the ROM. Lastly, one important feature I noticed when compared to the stock Jelly Bean 4.2.2 firmware was the way multitasking was managed. There was a small icon near the bottom left once in task switching mode which allows you to exit all of the apps your are currently running in the background. This made for quicker multitasking as I didn’t have to constantly swipe the apps I wanted to close off the screen.
Customization is dealt with very nicely on this custom ROM and reminds me a lot of how it is dealt with in Paranoid Android. Put simply, you have all the settings you need in one place that is well organized and fits into the system settings very cleanly. With other custom ROMs, I felt as if many of the features stood out from the software and made the whole experience a bit less fluid. With CarbonROM however, everything is well integrated and once enabled really feels as if it should be there.
Starting with the Carbon Rom section of the settings, here is where you will find the majority of your important UI tweaks that allow you to make your device exactly how you want. There is really a wealth of categories here each with their own set of options which are too much to go over individually. However, we will summarize what each category includes so you get a better picture. In the interface tab, you will find general options such as setting a custom carrier label, different notification appearance settings, and transparency settings as well. Moving down, the advanced section of the interface tab allows you to switch UI modes such as phone, phablet, and tablet. For most recent devices with ample screen room and a high resolution, we recommend the phablet UI. With small tablets and larger tablets however, we do recommend you get the most out of your screen real estate and go with the tablet UI. There are some additional options here as well such as battery warnings and screen on and off animations. In the lockscreen section, you can adjust many different things in the lockscreen such as the widgets, notifications, and different actions. Along with that you can also change the lock screen targets so that you can reach different commands straight from your lockscreen Moving on to navigation, this is really where it only applies to devices with a navigation bar instead of traditional hardware keys. Here you can choose different icons you can add, the color of the navigation bar, and even the navigation ring targets as well as widgets. On to the PIE controls, and for those that have used PIE controls before will know exactly what to expect here. Basically, PIE controls allows you to use more screen real estate by getting rid of the traditional navigation bar and replacing it with a pie shaped element that appears when you swipe onto the screen from a direction of your choosing. Its really cool and gets you a bigger work space, so be sure to try it out if your interested. Power menu is where you will find all the possible options that can be enabled for the power menu. Select them by checking off the arrows and after that they will appear every time you long press the power button The power widget is the one found on most devices, but unlike the stock power widget you can completely customize this one. Choose whatever you want to be displayed on the widget and it will show up. With quick settings however, having a power widget is a bit redundant. Ribbons is a cool section for customizing because you can set up different icons to do different actions from the lockscreen. Again, a bit redundant as you can set up different lock screen targets which in my opinion is a bit more easy and fluid to use, but its there if you need it. Statusbar is where you can change the look and feel of the statusbar itself. With options like battery icon style, bar style, and notifications settings you can really personalize how you want the statusbar to work for you. Statusbar toggles is the last section where you can set up the style of toggles, different toggles you want to include, as well as make your own custom toggle. This is a really neat feature as quicksettings from Android 4.2 is really useful, but it is possible to be even more useful if you can completely customize the toggles you want.
Go back to the main system settings and you will find the Dark Carbon toggle which as I’ve state previously, gives a more contrasting black, white, and blue color scheme to your device which certainly is fresh and unique.
The performance tab is where you will find settings for your clock speed, different governers, as well as voltage settings as well as interesting statistics on the usage of your device. Although I can’t say I’m a fan of the performance control section that is on this ROM and many others, I will say that it gets the job done.
Lastly is the themes section, which is pretty self explanatory. Basically you can choose and apply any Cyanogenmod compatible theme here.
Battery Life & Performance
Battery life was pretty solid on this ROM, and even with mediocre use I was able to achieve a good couple hours of use on my Nexus 7. With the latest version of Motley Kernel cranked up to 1.6GHz I got a good amount of battery life even with many of the features turned on. Expect with heavy use however for the battery life to get worse very quickly. With the Nexus 7 being a very developer friendly platform and AOSP being very stable and easily accessible, most custom ROMs have a very similar battery life. This is good as it means many of these custom ROMs are on a more level basis, CarbonROM included.
Performance was fairly decent as well. I wouldn’t say that its as good as the stock firmware of Android was when paired with the Motley Kernel, but it was enough to make the ROM very smooth and snappy. Without Motley Kernel I noticed that sometimes I would get a bit of lag which was annoying, so I would recommend installing an aftermarket kernel. If you are using a Nexus device, I highly recommend using Franco.Kernel as it provides some great enhancements over stock. With other devices however, its hard to say and finding a good pair for this ROM might need you to invest some time in research. In terms of benchmarking, the performance was quite good. With 3dMark running the Icestorm Extreme benchmark, I got scores consistently around the 2000 mark which is in line with what you should expect.
On Quadrant I was getting scores of around 4700, which is good for this ROM.
Lastly, AnTuTu was the last on my benchmarking list and CarbonROM did very good again with a respectable score of 13 500. Keeping the benchmark scores in mind, this custom ROM is very similar to other AOSP based ROMs even scoring a bit higher. All of this together makes quite a smooth experience that should be consistent across many devices.
Throughout the use of this custom ROM I didn’t experience any major hiccups or slow downs that deterred from the overall experience. I’d have to give credit to the developers for creating such a well rounded and stable custom ROM.
This custom ROM has a great sense of balance to it. With the latest version of Jelly Bean on board and a host of awesome features, it really doesn’t disappoint. Unlike many other custom firmwares available, this doesn’t have too many features that make it a hassle customizing or confusing for new comers. If your looking for a really good custom ROM with important features and great performance, I’d highly recommend CarbonROM. If you need a tutorial specific for your device, be sure to check out our ROMs & Kernels section to find the tutorial appropriate for you.
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