Published on June 8th, 2013 | by afinest2
Paranoid Android 3.5 Hello Halo Review
Paranoid Android 3.5 Hello Halo Review
Paranoid Android has become one of the most innovative and best Android experiences for the devices it supports. With this latest version, you get Halo which is an awesome feature that takes multitasking and notification management to the next level. Minimalist and easy to use, Halo allows for quicker switching between apps and replying of notifications when managing several apps.
Installation is very simple for this custom ROM and follows the footsteps of pretty much every other custom ROM. Simply download the latest version of the ROM as well as GApps, then proceed to reboot into the custom recovery of your choice. If your coming from another ROM, its a good idea to clear all your user data and cache. In your custom recovery, install the ROM and GApps from the internal SDCard and wait for the process is finished. Once the process of installing has been completed, you can return to Android by rebooting your device. Something worth mentioning is that Paranoid Android does come pre-loaded with Goo.im Manager which is an app from which you can download the latest build of the custom ROM as well as GApps. This is useful because it means you don’t have to go searching for it on the internet and you can download the latest build straight on to your device.
Depending on how you have setup your device, the general UI will appear differently. This however is the prime reason Paranoid Android is so successful, because it allows you to set up your device according to you. There are 4 main unique work spaces you can choose to run on this custom ROM. With the phone UI, you get an experience that is exactly like the Nexus 4. With a notification bar at the top and navigation keys at the bottom, this works great for devices that are quite small. The next is the Phablet UI which is taken directly from the Nexus 7. It is very similar to the phone UI however the icons are smaller and the notification bar is a bit different as well. You can swipe down from the right side of the navigation bar in order to see your quick settings toggles and from the left side in order to see your notifications. Lastly are the two tablet UI’s which only differ in the ppi used. With the normal tablet UI, you get a lower ppi with a smaller interface and with the tablet UI (mid) you get a slightly higher ppi which is more finger friendly with a larger interface. Depending on which device you are using, both are viable options. What I use as a basic rule of thumb is that if you want a more compact interface you should go one higher than what you are currently using. Lets say your using the Nexus 4, then I would recommend you use the phablet UI interface as it allows for more room but is still usable unlike the full tablet UI which has icons that are too small. Obviously its all up to you and what you like using but its something that I’ve noticed that I like to do with my devices.
The last but arguably most important with the new features now is the expanded desktop mode. This gets rid of all of notification and navigation bars and leaves you to use PIE. If you’ve never used PIE before, its basically a quite new addition to Paranoid Android that allows you to navigate and check your notifications by activating a half circle control that has different controls that are accessed by swiping on to the screen. This works in partnership with the new Halo feature which is a revamped notification and multitasking feature. Halo is really unique and its a whole new way of using your device. Basically, Halo is a notification bubble that appears on the side of your screen. Once you receive a new notification, Halo grabs your attention by popping out slightly and pulsing a blue ring from its center. Multiple notifications are handled by being able to swipe between them, with a ) bracket separating each notification. You can then remove the notification by swiping up or swipe down to hide Halo.
Once you click Halo, it will open up a new window to that notification and is basically like having an app running in the foreground instead of having to switch between apps in order to access and respond to your notifications. This means that responding to notifications is much faster and also it means you don’t have to exit out of what your doing at that moment.
In addition to this, you also can download the Halo))) app from the Play Store for free which allows you to set apps that will act like a persistent notification in Halo. This means that you can have a bunch of frequently used apps that you can launch into a separate window straight from Halo. This is useful for such things as Google Play Music in order to start playing music and quickly switch between music as well. In conjunction with PIE controls, Halo adds a ton more available screen real estate for your device as well as being able to multitask with ease. In my opinion this is the best way to use Paranoid Android.
There is a ton of customization to this ROM and most of it is unique only to Paranoid Android. The settings for customizing the different features of this custom ROM blend very nicely into the original settings of the device and make it feel like Paranoid Android was always there. The settings for Paranoid Android are split into 4 main categories: toolbars, lockscreen, hybrid properties, and themes.
In the toolbars section is where you will find all the needed settings for the notification bars, quick settings, navigation bar, and even PIE controls. There are many different things that you can switch around here and they mostly affect whats displayed on these different bars. The PIE controls section is a bit more extensive and has all the different ways that you can customize the PIE controls such as the size, spacing, and icons to include as well. I really recommend that if you are using PIE you check out these settings because they can drastically enhance your experience.
The lock screen section is a bit more simpler and has the most basic settings for the lock screen such as changing the background, different widgets, and short cuts as well.
Hybrid properties is where you will find the different non-PIE work spaces I mentioned earlier such as the stock, phablet, and tablet UI’s. Here you can also enable PA colors which changes the colors of the toolbars and PIE to coincide with the app that you are currently running. For example, once enabled PA colors will change the colors of the tool bars to a dark blue if you are using Facebook. This is a nifty feature and makes the toolbars blend into the app you are using nicely. In the interface section you will be able to fine tune the work space you are currently using as well as assign some global properties. In the apps section you can further customize the colors and ppi of every app on your device precisely to that of which you want. The rest of the tabs in the hybrid properties are more or less tools to help you back up and restore your settings as well as help, about, and a link to the pro version of the app.
Lastly, themes is where you are able to choose and apply themes to your device. This is useful as you can download any compatible theme from the market and apply it for use here.
Battery Life & Performance
Battery life is pretty good on this ROM, and is very reminiscent of the kinds of figures I was getting on previous build without Halo. Halo doesn’t seem to get the device any hotter or use up any more battery which is definitely a good thing. This means that you don’t need to worry about heavy use of Halo and how it will affect the battery life of your device. With moderate use I was getting around 10 hours of battery life on my Nexus 7 which is just to be expected. There’s no surprises here really, so I think it’s safe to say that you shouldn’t experience any problems when using this ROM.
On to performance, and this is sort of a mixed bag for me and my Nexus 7. On one side, the benchmarks are pretty decent for the device. I got consistent scores of around 12 500 when running AnTuTu using the M-Kernel overclocked to 1.7GHz.
On Quadrant Standard Edition I was able to get consistent scores of around 5000-5100 points.
On 3DMark very respectable scores of 1822 on the Ice Storm Extreme benchmark as well as 3323 on the regular Ice Storm benchmark.
This isn’t as good as previous versions of Paranoid Android, but its close enough to the point that it doesn’t really make much of a difference. I did experience some lag and stutter once in a while when using this ROM buts its still very early in the development phase which means that this is still acceptable, being that I believe this is still a pre-beta build. I didn’t really have many performance issues while using Halo but once in a while it took a bit of time for the different windows appear. Still however, this is completely fine and I’m confident that the Paranoid Android team will improve these issues with later builds.
Again, this custom ROM was quite smooth overall and I didn’t have many issues with it except for the occasional stutter or slight bit of lag. Of course, you have to consider that this is still very early in the development process of implementing Halo into Paranoid Android so I would wait a bit longer for later builds that should be able to make most of these problems disappear.
If you want the cutting edge of what’s possible on Android, its hard to justify going for another ROM other than Paranoid Android. With the latest features implement Halo, its really a big step in the evolution of Paranoid Android. When paired with a custom kernel to increase performance, I think that this is probably the best combination for an Android experience on the supported devices.
If you want to install the latest Paranoid Android on your device, be sure to check out our ROMs & Kernel section the tutorial appropriate for your device.
Thanks for reading our article: Paranoid Android 3.5 Hello Halo Review. Be sure to stay tuned to Android’s Finest for the latest in Android news, reviews, tutorials, and more! If you found this tutorial helpful, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.