Review of SlimSaber ROM 4.4.3 06/16 on Galaxy S2/GT-i9100

Hello,

I still have Samsung Galaxy S2/i9100 and I used ROM CyanogenMod cm-10.1.3-i9100 “stable” which is JellyBean based. My main reason for upgrade was that I not very happy with the battery life and also my internal 1.97GB partition got filled and uninstalling apps did not help, so I decided it is time for re-flash.

I did quite a lot of research and I found that there up to hundred of ROMs for my phone to choose from… Many of them focus on tons fancy features, but I have different priorities.

My main expectations of the new ROM were better battery life and security feature to set individual permissions per application. So in final I decided to try SlimSaber ROM:

[ROM][4.4.3][06/16] SlimSaber – i9100 [SlimKat Unofficial Builds] – in following text I consider this link as it’s “homepage”.

So here are my first impressions:

– After first reboot I was impressed that I see TWRP and not CWM. Whilst doing ROM research I wanted to install TWRP on my phone but I actually discovered that it is not supported on i9100 by checking supported HW list on their site – http://teamw.in/twrp_view_all_devices … Well if you install SlimSaber you will have TWRP 😉

There was no issue with the first boot into SlimSaber (first boot in every custom ROM takes longer time which is expected – see deodexed vs odexed).

First think I wanted to change was DPI. Apparently SlimKat ROM has the settings for DPI in system settings/interface, but this is not ported into SlimSaber. I could save myself time if I read FAQ on SlimSaber homepage which recommends to use “Texdroider DPI” app. I first tried to set set value of ro.sf.lcd_density in /system/build.prop to 240 (from SlimSaber default of 180) manually by mounting /system and copying this file to sd cards, updating it and copying back – DON’T DO IT!! It will break build.prop permissions and your phone will not boot. TWRP however works, and as I made backup of whole /system I managed to restore it without the need of second re-flash.

Then I tried two apps I found in play store “LCDDensity” and “LCD Density moderer”. First one works but only if you reboot the phone via the app itself. If you reboot manually, DPI is back – very annoying. Also they sell paid version which is waste of money. So you can either use free “Texdroider DPI” which I haven’t tried or you can use great free app I found – “BuildProp Editor” – it can set DPI and also any other value in build.prop – and the change sustains reboot 😉

Once DPI was set, I thought I have USB connection problem, but there is none. There are just two USB notification lines if you want to use it as mass storage. First you have “Connected as installer” where you can select if you prefer Media device (MTP) or Mass storage (first one is more modern and does not have drive letters in Windows, second one is older and it has drive letters), then “standard” notification will appear “Turn on USB storage” – so you need to do that as well in order to have USB mounted as mass storage.

I experienced and (partially) resolved these issues:

– Media scanner is eating my battery – yes some advices are described in FAQ, but there is no universal fix/solution. As you can see in my previous post of CyanogenMod 10.1.3 review, I experienced the same problem there. And it was JellyBean system… To my dissapointment, the problem was not fixed it KitKat. Actually it gets worse – Both”Rescan Media Root” nor “Rescan Media” do not work under SlimSaber – both crash :( However after some reasearch I found app “Media Scan Switch” – you can find paid version in the marked and free version on xda forums. I used free version only and it works, however GUI is a bit strange and I have to turn media scan manually after every reboot. Also I have to note that SlimSaber has “Media Scanner behavior on boot” option under Settings/Advanced options – even if I set “Do not scan media” – it does not seem to work for me.

– Our “old friend” “system_server” has the same disease as in the CyanogenMod JellyBean. Yes – it is eating battery more when auto-rotate is enabled!!! This is second battery drainage issue which survived from JellyBean into KitKat, however – I’m using custom ROM with it’s own custom kernel, so perhaps something is fixed in stock releases… I would expect screen rotation is done based on some interrupt and not by process constantly polling the sensor… Also I would prefer screen rotation “auto” change when I shake the phone… I let you know when I found out how to do it (without battery drain).

– I’m not signed to Google+ however I noticed that google plus app for some reason eaten almost as much battery as display. So I uninstalled it and it resolved this problem.

– As per SlimSaber web-site recommedation I tried to use CPU governor with “zzmoove” with profile 2 (and I/O scheduler row – which I think was set as default), however with these options I experienced one random phone shut-down (during inactivity) and 2 shutdown during viber call. All of those happened within 2 days. Once I set governor to “ondemand” and I/O scheduler to “noop” I had no shutdown since (for about 5 days).

In final I experience an issue which I was not able to resolve yet:

– Microphone sound is too sensitive and I’m not able to influence it. I noticed in logs of previous versions of SlimSaber that some users complained that mic is too quite. On my phone however it is too sensitive and it is picking sounds which it did not before. My friend who I called could hear cars, planes and when I was in quiet are, she could hear my steps and even my headphone cable touching my jacket while I walked. It is very invonvenient but I did not find a solution to fix it yet… (in the worst case I can recompile…)

What I like on this ROM is for example an option to program behaviour of the right button so when I press it during the call, it won’t terminte the call, it will just turn off the display – very handy.

Overall having experience with this ROM for about 2 weeks – it is nice and stable ROM (if you do not use zzmoove) and once I find the solution how to change the microphone sound, I think I will be happy user for months to come.

-ja

PS. If you are interested, here are my detailed flashing notes:

– I followed instructions on SlimSaber homepage and I came to two points where I was not completely sure if things are going well:

  • Full wipe: data, cache, dalvik cache.

With dalvik cache wipe, I got an error:
E:unknown volume for paht [/sd-ext]:

I found explanation here, that actually there is no concern about it:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1659203

  • Mount system and format system partition manually.

At first I was not sure where to do it, but I have done it in CWM.

 

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