When I first bought my Galaxy Nexus I was thoroughly impressed. In fact you can read both mine as well as other authors’ 24 hour and 48 hour initial thoughts on the matter. As I used the phone more and more I have found that the one aspect of the phone that really got me down was the battery life. Even with the extended battery I still had to plug the device in about half way through my day just to make it through the rest of my work day and I’m not even in a 4G area.
I went through the process of rooting the device, perma-installing Clockwork and backing up my stock ROM and that was it. I still suffered through horrid battery life. While yes Samsung does pledge to bring better battery life and an extended battery helps, I was quite sad at the matter.
Well it wasn’t long after the release of the Android 4.0.3 images that ROMS were popping up. While I was hesitant to flash anything to my device, not because I was scared of ROMing such a ROM friendly phone but because I love stock Ice Cream Sandwich, the battery life was a big issue. I experimented with a few ROMs, GummyNex, AXI0M 2.3 and Tranquil Ice v6 to name a few and I found that while battery life was better, it still wasn’t good enough for my liking.
The ROM of Choice
While searching through various kernel and ROM lists my editor stumbled upon Codename Android 1.1.1. That was the latest version at the time but as I am writing this I am on version 1.1.4. I spent some time reading the forum for various bugs and issues and I found that this one had the least amount of problems. The ROM boasts that everything you want in a ROM is in this one ROM. As the developer puts it:
”Codename Android is a fully open source rom that focuses on speed, usability, and getting every feature that we can get CRAMMED in there”
After downloading the ROM, the Gapps (1.14.2012) and at the time, the Franco Kernel I was ready to flash and install.
As usual I wiped all data and factory settings, plus the cache and Dalvik cache and flashed the ROM followed by the Gapps package, and finally the Franco Kernel. Sadly at the time I hadn’t backed up any of my apps with Titanium Backup so I had to reinstall all my apps. After that I spent some time getting all my screens back to the way I wanted. Surprisingly, even with downloading all my apps I only used about a quarter of the battery.
It took some time to get all my accounts set up and what not but the ROM adds some amazing features.
A while after set up, Yes it was -11 out.
The ROM adds some nice features to an already impressive OS. There are now new options in the settings menu that allow you to customize the lockscreen, adding more shortcuts and so on, all the way up to the addition of well, additional softkey mods (see picture below). You can turn off the persistent search bar for extra screen space; add up to 7 total home screens, and even the ability to resize widgets.
Battery Bar and Custom Softkeys
It also adds the ability to customize the pulse notification light without a special app like Lightflow. You can change colors duration, etc. I love the ability to add toggle switches in the notification bar, even the LTE toggle. You can customize which toggles you want too. This added with the performance and battery life of the ROM coupled with the Franco Kernel creates an over all awesome experience.
The Performance and Battery Life
The amazing thing about this ROM is everything seems quicker. I don’t know if you folks noticed but there is some lag time between selecting the camera on the lock screen and it loading up. This is gone, much to everyone’s relief. Menus were snappier and navigating just seemed quicker. Transitioning from one page to the next in the app drawer was smoother as well. NFC works as well, and Google Wallet comes pre-installed with no need for fancy hacking or modding skills.
Battery life on the ROM with the Franco Kernel installed was quite phenomenal. While I don’t have 4G in my area, we’ll get to the 4G later, I was able to get over 16 hours worth of battery life with heavy use on the extended battery (see below). By heavy use I mean six 20 plus minute phone calls, constant emailing, texting, and Internet browsing, plus Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies gaming. That amount of usage would have me plugged in and charging after about 6 hours on Stock ICS. The 16+ hours of battery life has become a daily occurrence and I can safely say that I can go through an entire day without worrying about bringing an extra battery or charger along with me everywhere I go.
Not bad for a day’s worth, with juice to spare
Now I know I am not in a 4G area and for those of you that are, this isn’t a fair representation. However my editor Stacy Bruce has the same ROM installed. He has the Faux123 Tuna Kernel installed because he found that it had better battery life on a 4G connection than the Franco Kernel did. In fact you can see from the image below that he was able to get over a day’s worth of use with mild use. According to him mild use includes “a bunch of emails, couple texts, 2 downloads, 8 pictures (no flash), 20 min of Shine Runner and about 20min of web browsing.”
Stacy was able to suck every last bit of juice out of his battery.
This ROM has been amazing. I installed it over a week ago and I haven’t looked back. Battery life is a huge driving force for me in choosing and keeping a ROM and part of it is thanks to the kernels flashed. Codename Android keeps the stock appeal but adds some much needed functionality and customization to the Galaxy Nexus. Coupled with battery life you have before you a super amazing ROM.
For me this ROM is as close to stock as you can get but with the option to throw in as many goodies and customizations you can to your heart’s delight. If you want a ROM with really good battery life I would recommend this ROM whole-heartedly. While other ROMS with the same kernels probably have the same performance, the ability to customize this ROM without the need to flash various mods makes this ROM complete. You will find below a link to the ROM, and both kernels for your flashing pleasure and if you haven’t rooted your Galaxy Nexus you can do so by going here. Enjoy!
Codename Android 1.1.4 – Download
Franco Kernel v 13.1 Nightlie – Download
Faux123 Tuna Kernel v10 – Download