Android’s open source nature means that developers can tinker with all the underlying code and that brings the ability to create custom Android builds, which are popularly known as custom ROMs. Custom ROMs are popular in the Android universe due to many reasons. Not every Android smartphone gets updated to latest versions on Android and that’s where Custom ROMs come into play. Also, not everyone likes the various manufacturer skins like TouchWiz, Sense etc., which are kind-of bloated and resource extensive. And while there are launchers available to customize the interface, Custom ROMs let you change every element of the Android interface along with giving you control over everything.
So, if you love tinkering or if you are just looking to get on-board with the latest Android version, Custom ROMs are the way to go. Choosing a custom ROM is a tough job, as it looks complicated and there’s also the issue of compatibility or serious bugs. Well, we are here to make things easier.
Note: Installing a custom ROM requires you to root a device, which voids the warranty on most smartphones and if things go wrong, the process might even brick your device. So, do it only if you are sure and be careful.
CyanogenMod has grown a lot since its yesteryear’s and it’s now a full fledged company, which also offers Cyanogen OS. CyanogenMod’s popularity in the Android world is no surprise because it packs a plethora of unique features like the integrated theme engine, custom profiles, gestures and the ability to customize everything. You can configure the working of the navigation bar, status bar, notification drawer and hardware buttons. Moreover, the ROM is regularly updated and supports most of the devices available on the market. It also recently started offering nightly builds of CyanogenMod 14.1, based on Android 7.1 Nougat.
Paranoid Android is another very popular ROM, which has been competing against CyanogenMod since a long time. The ROM has a beautiful interface and you can customize everything the way you want. There are a number of cool unique features like hover notifications, cool immersive mode (hides the status and navigation bars), dynamic system bars, peek notifications from lockscreen and ability to use gestures instead of the navigation buttons. Furthermore, it packs in Cyanogen’s theme engine along with various other customization features. The ROM is officially available for Nexus, Oppo and OnePlus devices but you can get it on other devices through unofficial channels on XDA.
Resurrection Remix is one of the most stable, regularly updated and clean looking ROMs, which also stands out through its features. The ROM lets you personalize everything, from the lockscreen, notifications drawer to the navigation buttons and animations. Other feature include Pitch Black dark theme, customizable notifications and more. Ressurrection Remix is a ROM aimed at people who want to tinker with every element in the interface. The ROM’s website states clearly that it has an amalgam of features from other popular ROMs. The good news is that the ROM is supported on various Android smartphones and the developers recently outed a Marshmallow build as well.
XenonHD is a fast and performance oriented ROM, thanks to its lightweight nature. Along with the performance, the ROM does not sacrifice on features as well. It brings layers based RRO theming, which lets you theme your interface according to your need. The ROM brings a stock look but you can customize everything including the status bar, notification drawer, buttons etc. The Lollipop based ROM also includes features like built-in root access, privacy guard, filter notifications and more. The ROM is certainly not very feature rich but it arguably brings the most stable and breezy performance. The ROM is available for a few Samsung, Sony, Nexus, HTC, Oppo devices through the official channels but you can get it on other devices from unofficial channels as well.
MIUI is a popular name, thanks to Xiaomi’s increasing market share and the good news is that the ROM is available as for other devices as well. While the OS does look like a rehash of iOS, it still looks beautiful and most importantly, works flawlessly. MIUI is for people who want a huge departure from stock Android. The ROM brings some handy features like Child Mode, Showtime, popup view, Blacklist, data stats, MiCloud, Theme store and more. It also lets you customize everything about the interface and moreover, the ROM is regularly updated. The ROM also supports a lot of devices including older ones, so you can certainly breathe new life to your older smartphones through MIUI.
Cataclysm might not be a fancy looking ROM, as it rocks the stock Android look but it aims at bringing value additions for a solid performance. The ROM brings a lot of handy additions like configurable toggles, lockscreen along with customization options for status bar, notifications etc. Other notable features include Smart Radio, App Ops, battery styles, navigation bar options and more. The ROM is best known for its great performance and solid builds, with the least number of bugs. The ROM is only available for Nexus devices officially but you can get the ROM for other devices from unofficial channels like XDA. Well, if you are looking for a solid Marshmallow ROM with tons of features, Cataclysm should be good enough.
If plethora of options and features excite you, you must get the Dirty Unicorns ROM. The Marshmallow based open-source ROM includes the CM Theme engine along with other cool features like status bar & notification drawer mods, notification LED settings, lockscreen configurations and more extensive customizations. The ROM includes a cool “Dirty Tweaks” section, where you will find all the tweaks including double tap to lock, immersive mode, OmniSwitch floating toolbar, dataflow indicators and more. There are many more features and you should love it if you love fiddling with settings. The ROM is supported on many devices, although some devices have been left behind after the dawn of Marshmallow builds.
BlissPop might not be as popular as others on the list but it holds its own due to its unique features. The CM12 Lollipop based ROM adds a number if cool features like “Bliss interface”, which packs in all tweak settings in one place, making sure your Settings page is cleaner and more usable. There are other cool features like lockscreen shortcuts, battery styles, status bar configurations, navigation rings, left-handed mode, LiveDisplay etc. It also lets you customize all the interface elements to its core. For instance, you can change the icons, colors, texts, fonts and more in the status bar. BlissPop is available for a number of devices through official as well as unofficial channels.
9. Euphoria OS
Euphoria OS, previously known as Mahdi is a popular ROM based on AOSP and it recently took the plunge to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Along with the usual personalization options, it brings features like privacy guard, LED manager, hardware keys configuration, profiles, double tap to wake and more. Also, it uses a custom kernel, which is supposed to bring better performance and battery usage improvements by under-clocking the device, when not using extensive apps. Other features of the ROM include different animations, lockscreen weather, configurable power menu & recents screen and more. Euphoria OS is available officially for a few smartphones including the ones from Nexus, Motorola, OnePlus, LG etc.
OmniROM is another popular ROM developed by ex-Cyanogen developers and a Marshmallow build of the ROM was recently released with unique features it has been known for. The ROM brings features like OmniJAWS weather service, DSPManager, delta update system, dark mode UI, quick settings panel, enhanced Do Not Disturb mode along with the usual customization options we expect from a ROM. The most intriguing feature it brings is OmniSwitch, which lets you switch between different apps quickly and easily. OmniROM is available for various devices from the likes of Oppo, Sony, Samsung, HTC, Asus, LG and of course, Nexus devices.
There are plenty of other custom ROMs available for Android but we found these to be the best out of them. These custom Android ROMs pack in lots of features and they are stable, which is an important thing to know in the world of Android mods.