It’s been a week since I upgraded my Galaxy S3 from Samsung/AT&T Android 4.1.1 to CyanogenMod 10.1/Android 4.2.2. I made a few changes since the upgrade. I installed and set up Nova Launcher to gain a little more flexibility. I also installed the TouchWiz theme to add some color to the setup. The setup screen in the default CyanogenMod 10.1 theme looks like this:
I could live with that, but the TouchWiz 5.0 theme adds a bit of color:
I like the extra color across the interface.
So, I spent this week on the road using the Galaxy S3 as my primary web/email/etc. device. The trip provided an opportunity to put the CyanogenMod 10.1 release ROM through a trial by fire.
Overall, the ROM performed as advertised. I encountered no problems with the GPS, WiFi, or phone connections. I used Google Navigation quite a bit without issue. The device performed all tasks crisply and the ROM proved very stable. Battery life was at least as good as stock, and likely somewhat better.
I did note two issues. The worst was with the Bluetooth. I could connect with my headset two or three times with no problem. However, after that point the Bluetooth refused to respond to activation attempts and the slider in Settings/Bluetooth appeared greyed out. I could only regain control of the Bluetooth by restarting the phone. Not a disaster, but very inconvenient.
I decided to compensate by using the speaker phone. That resulted in the caller at the other end of the phone cutting out with startling periodicity. It was like a square wave where I could hear three or four words, then an equal period of silence. This did not happen on the headset or using the built-in ear speaker. As best I can tell, the sound from the speaker fed back through the mic and created a square wave cutout cycle. Very strange and annoying.
Upon arriving home, I used the internal CyanogenMod update checker over WiFi and discovered two release update versions available (10.1.1 and 10.1.2), both primarily security updates to Android 4.2.2. Such updates took a year plus with the stock ROM, if ever released. When I selected an update, CyanogenMod downloaded and used CMW to install it without further user interaction, rebooting the phone twice in the process. No data or settings were affected. Very slick!
I tested the speaker phone issue on several calls after the update and believe that it is fixed. Yay!
However, in a sense, the Bluetooth is worse. But I discovered that how I execute the disconnect matters. If I turn off Bluetooth on the phone while it’s connected, the Bluetooth will not reenable even after only one connection. I have to restart the phone to get Bluetooth back. However, if I turn off the headset first, then all is fine on the phone. The Bluetooth can be started and stopped successfully any number of times as long as it doesn’t connect to anything. Interesting. I’ll leave a note about it on their board.
The best news, though, is that the nasty battery-sucking “leak” that I had in Samsung/AT&T 4.1.1 is gone. I had rarely gone more than a couple of days without something (I never could find what) triggering a rapid battery drain with attendant high battery temperature. The only recovery was to restart the Galaxy. I did not encounter this situation once in a week of heavy use with CyanogenMod 10.1. That alone provides a huge win.
Overall big thumbs up to CyanogenMod 10.1. I’m very happy with the ROM, both its stability and performance. I could kick myself for waiting so long to try it.