Sunday, September 2, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Ace - S5830: On The ROM Hunt (Part 3)

Samsung Galaxy Ace - S5830: On The ROM Hunt (Part 3)
On the ROM hunt is a series of reviews to find the best ROM for regular daily use that provides stability, good performance and good battery life for the Galaxy Ace. Everyone's daily usage differs but here is my typical usage scenario:
  • 10-15 messages (including Whatsapp, SMS and/or Facebook messenger)
  • 5-30 minutes of voice call
  • 2-3 hours of casual gaming (like Scramble with Friends, etc)
  • 3G data always on (except when WiFi is on)
  • 3-4 hours WiFi usage
StockLite v7.1 (Link)
DroidAce v2 (Link)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

StockLite v7.1
As the name implies, it is a lite version of the stock ROM. According to the developer, it is supposed to be fast, stable and has awesome battery life. I have never preferred Stock ROMs as I have used and loved CM9 (and CM10), especially on my S2. However, on the Galaxy Ace, what I'm looking for here is a ROM that is stable and provides good battery life. That is the reason why this ROM is in my test list.

Stock launcher does not and probably will never perform as smoothly or as fast as the Xperia launcher used in AA ROM and DroidAce v2 ROM (review below). Lags while opening the app drawer can be seen on occasions (especially when after a reboot) and performance during gaming is laggy especially when heavier casual games are involved. However, those lags are quite expected from the Galaxy Ace hardware.

As usual, stock based ROMs have the advantage of the swipe to call/sms feature and the notifications on lockscreen but it misses the look and feel of the CM based ROMs, especially in the settings area. Probably doesn't matter too much to the average user, but a miss for me. I prefer the CM settings any day over the swipe to call/sms features. There may be other little tricks that the stock based ROMs offer but nothing that gets me excited over.

The battery life of this ROM is around average. A typical day, the ROM would be able to last from morning till when I reach home in the evening. This is with my typical usage and heavier users may need to recharge earlier. Not the best battery life I have experienced but certainly not the worst either. Comparing against the Speriance ROM, I would say that this ROM is about on par with it.

Nothing much to report from the network side. Typically, the network is stable and does not suddenly drop out of coverage for any reason. No downsides here.

Conclusion: A contender for those who likes the stock UI. I do enjoy the swipe to call/sms feature but overall, I wouldn't stay long on this ROM. The slower launcher is frustrating after you've tried Xperia launcher, trust me. Acceptable battery life and stability but ultimately, being on stock kills it for me. On the plus side, it is a lite version which does improve on battery life, performance and stability from a stock Samsung ROM.

Likes: Stock features like swipe to call/sms and notifications on lockscreen.
Dislikes: Slower launcher and lack of CM settings.

DroidAce v2
DroidAce ROM came with high expectations after it had given some great impressions in v1. Firstly, gone are the troublesome patches or fixes that you need to separately install. The flashing of this ROM is pleasant as it uses the Aroma installer. It is different from the regular installations that you will see on CWM. I'm not sure what are the downsides of using this installer if there are any, but I do hope more ROMs can use this installer in the future. Try it!

I consider the biggest change in this ROM is that it is using the impressive Xperia launcher which we first tested in the AA ROM. In DroidAce v2, this Xperia launcher shows off its impressive UI speeds as well. Very rare and few lags will be seen during regular (read: non-gaming) operations. Love it. The best launcher for Galaxy Ace surely!

The battery life of this ROM is pretty good. There were some drops and the like, but overall, I would say that it has improved from DroidAce v1. This could partly be due to the Xperia launcher (but I'm biased). Based on my typical usage, it can easily last my whole working day with some to spare (depending on how much gaming I do).

The network stability has been improved from DroidAce v1 and is now pretty stable most of the time. But there is one small downside to this ROM. It comes with RealPlayer installed. It might be good/great for some people, but I personally feel that it is too much of a space hog. I don't usually watch movies on Galaxy Ace but I do listen to songs and I would certainly prefer a smaller and lighter player than RealPlayer. Not really a big problem as you can just remove it from system apps.

Conclusion: An already good ROM made even better. It fixes all the bugs from v1 and adds the impressive Xperia launcher. A winner in many ways for me. RealPlayer may not be everyone's cup of tea though and although it can be easily removed and replaced with another player app, I would still have preferred a lighter app be included by default so that users have the option of going with a heavy app should they want to.

Likes: Aroma installer, Xperia launcher. Stable, fast and good battery life.
Dislikes: Comes with RealPlayer (if you update it, it gets even worse).


  1. First things first: Either the display issue in Play Store goes away after a time, or the developer fixed it in the final version (09-07-12) because I remember having that display issue when I first flashed Apocalypse, but I haven't had that issue in several months.

    I've been running Apocalypse for several months now, and was running the Miracle roms by the same developer before. But I'm going to try Droid Ace V2 tonight. I get bored, so I'm looking for a change, no problems with Apocalypse, but I just want to give Droid Ace V2 a shot, and according to the forums, several people have switched from Apocalypse and love Droid Ace V2.

    PS. I 've never had a problem with MX Video Player for watching movies. If you don't like RealPlayer, Droid Ace V2 has a barebones version. Just install the barebones version, then you have absolute freedom in using whatever SMS/MMS app, file explorer, camera and gallery viewer. I'm a big fan of barebones roms, considering how much bloatware my phone came with stock.

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I recall testing the 09-07-12 version as well but I did encounter it once or twice. Perhaps as you have suggested, it goes away after some time.
      You are right, DroidAce V2 does have a barebones version but for some users, it is a bit of a hassle to find a SMS, camera or file explorer app. They'd rather have it in the ROM already. So I'm just pointing out that RealPlayer does take up quite some space.
      Thanks for reading and your excellent comment.

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