Top 5 Android custom ROM software features

Top 5 Android custom ROM software features
Earlier this week, we covered the best software features that you can get via Android manufacturer customizations from companies like Motorola, Samsung, and HTC. Now, it's time to take a look at the best software features you can get from Android custom ROMs that aren't tied to one specific manufacturer.

There are tons and tons of custom ROMs based on Android, and we can't really take the time to look through all of them and the various tweaks and changes that each offers; and, we aren't going to consider any ROMs that are only available on one manufacturer's hardware, like DarkyROM which is Samsung only. So, we're going to focus specifically on the biggest Android custom ROMs around, like CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android, and MIUI. These are the ROMs that have survived the longest, have the best support, and are available on the widest range of devices. Basically, we'd like this article to stay as relevant as possible for a while. 

The rules are a bit different this time around, though. These ROMs aren't device specific, so no worries about hardware-specific features. But, we are going to try not to get into the myriad settings and under-the-hood tweaks available in all the ROMs (which is why you won't find any of the nice features of AOKP on the list), and try to target more visible features. Anyway, on with the list!



1. Anshulonweb

Posts: 468; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

the beauty of android....

30. fanesxx

Posts: 74; Member since: May 19, 2011

i've been saying this for years, LIVE ICONS would change the game.....this would be my favorite feature.....

38. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

custom launcher

2. John.v2

Posts: 45; Member since: Sep 08, 2014

xposed framework is better then anything else

3. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Don't worry, that top 5 is in the works

7. dil2abu

Posts: 315; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Don't forget to add greenify in that top 5

8. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

You don't require a Custom ROM to make Greenify work anymore. It works even on the non-rooted phones

14. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

But much more limited.

25. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Not anymore. After the last update, even on non-rooted devices, it force closes apps by itself rather then having user to manually do that.

11. hassoups

Posts: 473; Member since: Jun 06, 2013

btw miui had the live icons long before ios7, they also had the blurry window thingy on folders and other places(i used both almost 2 years ago). if anything they've inspired apple on those fronts.

23. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

Live icons on iOS were before iOS 7

26. hassoups

Posts: 473; Member since: Jun 06, 2013

umm no. i have a 4s that i haven't updated to ios7 and there is not a single live icon. all you people like to do is say that apple is getting copied left, right, and center, but the fact is that they copied the live icons and the blurs from miui period.

28. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Actually, check the calender and newsstand apps.

31. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

I do miss the theme engine of Paranoid and Cyanogen mod. Also dynamic status bar in Paranoid is quite the nifty bonus (although currently only available in the beta)

33. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Wait I thought there is a Xposed module which ports CM theme engine.....

34. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Close, there is Ex-Themer engine which can run ported CM themes. Though you still need to find a ported theme or port it yourself.

36. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Oh, will wait until a decent collection of themes get ported. Till then CM FTW!!

5. Retro-touch unregistered

Though as the name implies its a framework, the modules are what we all love and there's hundreds of them by different developers

9. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Xposed it good I agree, but since Paranoid offers a similar function as Tinted status bar, I dropped Xposed so I can switch to ART

18. VyktorJonas

Posts: 40; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

PA's dynamic statusbar is closed-source though, so only officialy supported devices can get it

24. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

True PA is supported devices only and it's not that many

13. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Well we can sit all day arguing which is better, but it depends on what you want, because both things have a world of difference. Xposed is a framework with add on modules, while a custom ROM is a full blown OS. While xposed is easy to install, all you need is root access, flashing custom ROMs is a much more complicated process. Xposed is all about Customization, while custom ROMs is a lot more than customization. Xposed customization is complex with tons of tweaks that can give you brain farts, custom ROM customization is easier and streamlined. Xposed can be unstable at times, while a good custom ROM will be much more stable. Xposed can't change android version, a ROM can.

17. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

A lot of Xposed modules are ports of custom (and factory) ROM features to be used on other ROMs/devices. I actually don't use Xposed all that much on my Nexus 4, because I don't have to - the custom ROMs give me many of the tweak options I want. On my Samsung Galaxy Light though, I'm running Xposed up the wazoo, especially Wanam to get rid of the excessive status bar icons and un-dismissable notifications on this dinky screen.

35. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Once Xposed is ART compatible, I will run Xposed again. And according to the dev, he will make the changes when Android L is active (Android L only has ART)

37. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

I hope he has atleast started developing for ART (okay I've read his "warning" on xda for not insisting ;) ).

22. sid07desai

Posts: 290; Member since: May 03, 2012

Xposed is fantastic. But the feature I rely the most on is Performance control. When the battery is 10% or less on my MotoG (cm11), I set it to powersave mode and it runs at lower clock speeds (450-800MHz). This gives me at least 2-3 hours of standby time before dying. And when I set it on high performance, it actually runs smoother than Nex5 even at HALF the clock speed. (Nex5-2.3GHZ, Moto- 1.2GHz)

4. nicholassss

Posts: 368; Member since: May 10, 2012

In AOKP there is a feature that let's you adjust the display brightness by touching the notification bar and sliding back and forth. Live and die by that feature. Haha

6. Retro-touch unregistered

That feature has been there for years in tons of custom ROMs

10. wilsong17 unregistered

Aroma installers the best pick which app you want to install... Running tweaks 3.0 t-mobile note 3

12. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

I love cyanogenmod, sure there are better and more functional ROMs out there, but what matters more is the stability, wide device compatibility and frequent updates! :)

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.