Despite being an avid user of Android OS, I don’t get into trying Custom ROMs much. However, I keep on looking for and trying out Stock ROMs whenever I find enough time.
Galaxy Note N-7000 has seen enormous amounts of updates since its launch. Starting off with Ginger Bread, currently enjoying Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) and looking forward to the Jelly Bean. Ginger Bread was plain basic but ICS brought substantial improvements. Earlier versions of ICS introduced some advanced S-Pen functionality along with vanilla ICS goodness but later versions are probably designed to offer some eye candy as well.
When Pop-up play appeared in some ICS 4.0.4 Stock ROMs, I thought it would be the final offering by Samsung before Jelly Bean but the latest ICS 4.0.4 Stock ROM for German users literally took me by surprise. It packs a beautiful bunch of features…..which were not even rumored 😉 Some features have been borrowed from Galaxy S 3, some from Galaxy Note 2 and the rest from …. well, some other Galaxy.
Here are the new features as per my information:
New Launcher: Note users definitely needed a better launcher. The one that comes with this ROM has been taken from Galaxy S 3. It is more fluid, has better homescreen and application management and App drawer is more in line with vanilla ICS. Totally a welcome upgrade!
New Gallery: Now thats a huge improvement, I tell you. Its been taken from Galaxy Note 2. Honestly, I flashed this ROM only to see the new gallery in action and believe me, it was nothing short of expectations. Old gallery app was crappy to the core with those illogical accelerometer based tilt actions and all. The new gallery app has some cool 3D layouts for looking at the list of pictures and videos in the gallery. In addition to that, the folder management and picture viewing experience has been immensely improved.
Camera Quick Access: Another useful feature where you can turn the camera on right from the lockscreen. Just tap the screen in portrait mode and while holding it, rotate it clockwise or anti-clockwise. Thats it! you got the Camera app open and you are already in the right screen orientation. This option works only with the Swipe lockscreen and it has to be turned on in the Display settings.
Pop-up Play: This feature lets you watch videos while doing anything else on the device. Sounds weird? I feel the same. Anyhow, while in stock Video player, you can tap on the Pop-up play button (on top right) to get your video in a smaller screen on top of everything else. Thanks to this ROM, you can now resize the video screen, just like in Galaxy Note 2.
Direct Call: Its taken from Galaxy S 3. Open a contact in Contacts app, raise the phone to your ear (like when you place a call) and see what happens. It literally places a call…..just like that!
S-Cloud: It allows you to backup your Call logs, SMS/MMS, and Settings. Auto backup option is also available. Additionally, you can sync your Calender entries, Contacts and Internet app data with Samsung servers.
New Setup procedure: The initial setup screens are all retouched to give a new and fresh look. S-Cloud syncing is also offered during the setup.
Performance & Battery: While these are purely subjective areas, my personal observation is that performance is quite a lot improved. Launcher is snappier, apps open and close quickly, S-Pen is a tad more responsive. Battery, if not better, is definitely at par with how it performed in earlier ROMs. Just allow it to complete a couple of cycles before you jump to a conclusion.
Others: Comes with loads of bloatware but you may delete all the German apps just like any other app. Flipboard has been included as a system app now, which means it cant be deleted like normal apps.
Please use comments section below to share any other changes that you come across while testing.
I have spent more than a day with this ROM now and to me, it seems like a rebirth for this year-old device. Better performance, no force closes, new features and eye candy make it worth trying. I strongly recommend it for every Note user who likes to stick to Stock ROMs.
Installation Guide: It may be found here. Its written by XDA-Developers Forum user named dr.ketan. If you have any query regarding installation, you may easily ask directly from him using this forum. He is kind enough to spare all the time for every single user.