One week with Cyanogenmod 12 on my Galaxy S5: impressions

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To tell you the truth,  I was really angry on the latest Android Lollipop update on my SGS5. It was laggy as hell, and every time I was using the Facebook Messenger app it freezed like I was typing from the North Pole. Also, the Touchwiz interface was a little dull to me,  so I decided to do something that I was waiting for a long, long time: to root my device and get a custom ROM. I knew that rooting my device will void the warranty,  but hey,  it will expire in April anyway. What’s one more month?

Before this, I had little experience with rooting Android smartphones. I’ve used this CM 12 tutorial and everything went smoothly. I had small problems installing the SuperSu app,  but hey,  the Internet is packed with information and I finally managed to find what I was needing in order to complete the process. It’s not that difficult once you get the hang of it.

Now,  let’s get to my conclusion on using the CM 12 on Samsung Galaxy S5 for one week.

The Camera
First, you should know that this build is not perfect, and there will be bugs and stripped-down changes. The most annoying was the one related to the camera,  a feature that’s really important to me. Sometimes, the camera fails to start in 3rd party apps like Camera360. Also,  the Touchwiz camera app was replaced with the default Android camera, which is more simple and has no features. So, right now, I’m missing many features from my old ROM, like the HDR mode or the stereo audio recording. 4k recording seems to work fine.

The speed / performance
There’s now way to compare CM12 with the stock ROM because the CM12 wins hands down. No doubt about it. It’s faster, it’s highly customizable and it will speed your device to 200%. No more problems with apps freezing when I’m using the keyboard…

The battery
I was really disappointed to see that the battery life is not that good with CM12. I haven’t made an accurate comparison,  but I will estimate that this CyanogenMod ROM is 30% less battery efficient than the Samsung’s custom ROM. I have checked on various forums, and other users reported the same poor battery performance. Right now I’m testing apps like Greenify that kill background tasks in the hope of getting more juice of that battery, but the conclusion remains: the CM12 eats more battery. Hopefully, a future release will fix this issue.

Special apps
If you were using the SHealth app, split screen window, air controls or the fingerprint scanner, this custom ROM is not for you, definitely! These apps and functions are nowhere to be found in the CM12 release. I guess you can install third party apps as an alternative, but I haven’t dug too deep into that.

Other things
Man, that light is killing me. I like to use my smartphone at night, and the old ROM knew the shut those capacitive button lights down. This ROM had them turned on by default,  and they’ve remained on as long I was touching the display. Like… Forever!  After trying various apps from the Store,  I learned that there’s actually a setting option in the control panel that switches off those annoying capacitive button lights. So,  if you fave the same issue, go to Settings –  Buttons –  Backlit and disable that option. Simple as that!

This is my one week experience review with the  Cyanogenmod 12 custom ROM. So far,  I haven’t decided if I should keep it or not, since I’m still trying to tweak it in order to fit my current needs. What I like about it though,  is the fact that it’s getting constant updates, so I am expecting a better performance in the next couple of months. If you have any questions about it or if you want to share your own CM12 experience with other users, just leave a comment below. Cheers.

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