If you’re an Android enthusiast like myself, you’ve probably used, or at least heard of custom ROMs. If you don’t know what a custom ROM is, then welcome to the party. A custom ROM on Android is basically Android as the developers see it. What does that mean? Basically, a developer or group of developers might see a place where Android could be improved or see a feature that simply isn’t there yet. With a custom ROM, you have complete freedom over your device. With freedom comes choice, and there are plenty of custom ROMs to choose from. While you can’t go wrong with big names like CyanogenMod or Paranoid Android, some of the smaller custom ROMs are left unnoticed and sometimes abandoned completely. Over the past few days I’ve had the pleasure of using a new custom ROM called Schism, and I think it’s time that this one saw the light of day.
Features & Customization
Most ROMs have one feature built in that makes it better than the rest, and the same goes for Schism. This ROM has what the developers call “Float View” which can be used as multi window. While it isn’t perfect and still has several bugs, it does work surprisingly well. You can use the multi-window feature by holding an app in the recent apps menu (slim recents only) and then the app will re-open in a window on screen. Options are available for the window to resize to fit half of the screen which is great for multitasking. I think that this multiwindow feature works very well and will only get better. Another highlight feature is the “App Circle Sidebar”. This feature is a list of apps that are easily accessed by the user by swiping from the center right side of the screen. I found these feature extremely useful for accessing some of my most frequently used apps like Google+, Hangouts and more. The implementation of the feature was also perfect. I’ve used app to accomplish this before, but they haven’t ever worked as well as this.
There are loads more features built into this ROM but it’s impossible for me to cover them all. If you want to try them for yourself, you’ll have to go ahead and flash the ROM!
I tested this ROM on my 2013 Nexus 7 and had no performance issues. Everything worked just as well as it does on CyanogenMod, which was previously my daily driver. Battery life stayed the same and there was little to no lag on the device. I did encounter some issues when using the “Float View” feature however. I only expect things to continue evolving on the ROM as time goes on.
One thing this ROM brings that isn’t found in other AOSP based ROMs is a light Holo theme. You’ll notice the ROM’s tagline, “A bright future from a dark past”, is very fitting to that theme. Since Android 4.0, the entire OS has been based around dark greys and blacks and cyan blue. In Android 4.4 KitKat, we saw blue swapped out for white, but is this ROM things change even more drastically. This ROM has a Holo Light theme to it where the background is white and the accents are a dark grey. At first I wasn’t sure how I would like this change, but after using the ROM for the past couple weeks I’ve actually really came to enjoy it. Even some built in apps such as the calculator and the clock are also themed in holo light.
Overall I would give the ROM a solid 7/10 since it works great but still needs work in some areas. You should definitely check it out if you are someone who is comfortable installing custom ROMs on their device. Schism is compatible with the following devices.
Nexus 4 (mako)
Nexus 5 (hammerhead)
Nexus 7 2013 (flo)
Galaxy S4 (jflte)
Galaxy S3 (d2lte)
Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (p3110)
Head over to the ROM’s website and download it for yourself. You will need to use ParanoidAndroid Gapps along with it. If you have questions about the ROM, feel free to hit up the developer’s community on Google+ to ask questions. The developers are very active and willing to help out.
Let us know how you enjoy the ROM if you try it out!