So given access to something like the Cyanogenmod Epic 4G Blog, along with some of the other resources I’ve come across while using CyanogenMod 7.2.0 RC 2 for a few days (not to mention the CWM Recovery utility’s Nandroid backup function), I decided to go ahead and give CyanogenMod 9 (currently at beta 3) a try. In the various forums I’ve come across, CM9 is always spoken highly of, so I figured it had to at least be at the point of being usable.
CM9 is based on Android 4.0.4, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Samsung and Sprint have said that the Samsung Epic 4G will not be updated to ICS; it’s an older phone and they even suggested that the Epic 4G didn’t have the power to run ICS.
I can say it runs pretty well on mine.
The EpicCM blog has a handy installation guide, which I kind of which I had seen before I went through the process of installing CM7, as the suggested method there for CM9 would work perfectly fine for CM7.
So, what do I think so far?
- I don’t like the 4G indicator for the default theme (and I haven’t looked for new themes that might have something different); it isn’t different enough from the 3G indicator. A significantly different indicator is very nice to have, in case you forget you have left 4G on. It burns battery life like there’s no tomorrow and anything that reminds you that you turned/left it on is helpful.
- The WiFi indicator, however, does have a nice lightning bolt indicator when you’re actually moving data around.
- The Power Control widget provided isn’t as good as the one in CM7 – the one in CM7 is much more customizable. However, there is a Widgetsoid widget available for free in the Play Store that fits the bill.
- The home screens for the launcher/interface do not have a wraparound option (yet, anyway). Annoying.
- I wish I could move the unlock option on the lock screen to a different position; but the ability to add additional apps to the screen is nice.
- The interface and menus seem a bit more polished. Honestly, this could just be the choice of launcher, but even some of the system menus just seem … sharper than previous Android versions.
- Overnight battery usage (granted, there was a text message that triggered the LED sometime last night) was around 30%. I’m going to watch it again tonight, but this was even after looking over the battery saving suggestions on the EpicCM site. This could be a show stopper for me and could drive me back to CM7, if the daily battery usage follows the overnight trend. Thing is, it’s possible the stock F09 Gingerbread from Samsung/Sprint was just as bad, maybe even worse.
- EDIT: The clock, when docked, is quite dim. Probably a combination of my brightness setting (which I keep fairly low to save battery) and the nature of docked clocks in general. Doesn’t seem that configurable, and there aren’t controls for music or anything else. BUT: It senses the dock and starts up just fine. /EDIT
- EDIT: Chrome users: If you’re encrypting everything you sync (as opposed to just your passwords), you’ll need to either not sync browser data or break the sync on a desktop session, delete the data from your Google Dashboard, and resync using the “Encrypt passwords” option. /EDIT
So overall, I’m happy with it. It’s not perfect, and there are a few bugs, but by no means (other than the battery usage) are they show stoppers, and honestly I’ve seen worse bugs from Samsung and Sprint in full release versions of the Epic 4G’s OS they provide. It seems pretty much on equal (to me anyway) with CM7, and it’s likely that the CyanogenMod developers will be focusing on CM9 from now on.