Although it's reportedly not as well-received on the market as its predecessor was, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has been on the market for quite some time now. Released back on April 11 this year, the Galaxy S5 has undoubtedly landed in many users' pockets,and while it's definitely not the most-outspecc'd device you can get now, it was among the more power-laden phones at the time of its release. Today, it's still a relevant handset.
As we are dealing with a Samsung flagship here, it comes without saying that the device has a large developer base, which constantyl develops new firmwares for the Galaxy S5 and improve the user experience, at least software-wise. Sammy's current flagship was launched with Android 4.4.2 (got updated to 4.4.4 eventually), with the company's signature TouchWIZ UI on top. Nturally, most of the custom ROMs for the Galaxy S5 are based on this the latest available KitKat build.
While it's say impossible which of the custom ROMs for the Galaxy S5 are the best ones, we can highlight the more noteworthy and popular ones, with which you'd hardly go wrong if you decide to ditch the stock firmware for a tad lighter one. Have in mind that custom ROMs that are based on stock Android don't support fingerprint scanners just yet, thus flashing one of these will render your embedded one useless.
One cannot simply make a list with good custom ROMs for Android and don't include CyanogenMod (CM for short). Its latest version for the Galaxy S5 is CM11, which is based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat and brings an user experience that is quite similar to stock Android. Only nightly builds are available at this point, though. CM's definitely not among the most feature-rich ROMs out there; it's a lightweight solution for those looking for a no-frills experience.
CyanogenMod supports different themes, profiles, and many other features that are nowehere to be found in its stock TouchWiz. Not to mention that goes lighter on your system's resources and, arguably, provides better overall performance. An aplha version of CM12 (based on Android 5.0 Lollipop) is already available, yet it's quite bug-infested at the moment, so we'd advise you to stick with CM11!
You can get it from here; for further instructions go here.
Based on CM11, Carbon ROM comes with many more nifty features which add up to the deep functionality bag of Cyanogen's creation. Carbon comes with the so-called Carbon Fibers, various features that are neatly sorted into categories. Among these are a Moto X-like Active Display, Halo, Pie controls, customizable status bar icons, themes, extended power menu, optional navigation bar with custom toggles, expanded desktop, advanced privacy settings, and many others. Sounds good, doesn't it? Carbon ROM is definitely worthy to grace your Samsung flagship.
Download it here; for flashing instructions go here.
PAC-man ROM is a concoction between three of the more popular custom ROMs, Paranoid Android, AOKP, and CyanogenMod. Thus, it includes most of the signature features of these, alongside the goodies that KitKat brought in the mix. Some of its more notable features are Appbar, Battery Bar, CM Themes, Floating Windows, Halo, Gesture Anywhere, OmniSwitch, PAC, Slim Pie, Wakelock Blockers, and many, many others.
While most of these features speak for themselves, other require the user to carefully research what they do. Well, it's usually good to have many features on board, but that's also the Achilles' heel of PAC-man ROM - it's not as lightweight as the ROMs, the features of which it has adopted. Nevertheless, a viable alternative for the powerusers that own a Galaxy S5.
For installation instructions and download links, go here.
PAC-man ROM screenshots
Let's be frank here, folks, most custom ROMs come with some unnecessary features that only add dead weight to the whole experience. Unlike these, Slim ROM lives up to its name, as it is a lightweight and straightforward firmware that wants to make you experience the need for speed from the front row. It's all about the speed and the experience, but don't think that Slim ROM is devoid of useful features.
Quite the contrary, in fact: its custom shortcuts, system-wide keyboard controls, as well as a slew of camera features (Trueview and Smart Capture, in particular), pie menus, and others. Then again, it's not intended for those who are looking for a cornucopia of functionalities - combined with the hardware prowess of the Galaxy S5, Slim ROM is doomed to fly.
You can get it and find out how to flash it right here.
Touted as "having a huge array of on-the-fly options for you to play with", this custom firmware for the Galaxy S5 indeed comes with a surplus of features, options, functionalities, and you name it. The focus of Alliance ROM, which is based on TouchWiz, is on the customization options it has in tow. The ROM comes with the large amount of 24 themes on board, which can be changed while on the go, without rebooting the phone itself.
Apart from these, Alliance ROM brings about double-tap-to-wake/sleep feature, custom menus, a surplus of small, yet useful improvements that will surely come in handy to those battle-hardened Galaxy S5 veterans in the wild. The modifications are quite many, so we'll abstain from listing them her (an impossible task, we might add), so if you are up for an improved TouchWiz experience, don't overlook Alliance ROM.
For more information and installation instructions click right here.
The developer of this ROM claims that it's the lightest TouchWiz-based one ever produced (for the Galaxy S5, that is). Many stock TouchWiz features have been removed, and as a result, the whole firmware weighs in at just 480MB - it goes without saying that this is substantially less than the original TouchWiz that Samsung usually pre-loads on the Galaxy S5. Interestingly enough, the developer claims the fundamental TouchWiz goodies will still work. Nifty.
Some stock apps have also survived the diet - the original Samsung Gallery, Camera, Dialer, Messages, Music, Alarm & Calculator apps are all aboard, ready for action!
The XtreStoLite kernel allows you to choose among four different kernels during the installation process, which might be valued highly by the savvier Android powerusers out there. What's more, this ROM fully supports the ART runtime (the one found in Lollipop). Native call recording is also present. What's not to like?
You can download and learn more about XtreStoLite here.