Review: Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread

Almost a month on from the upgrade and so far nothing but good to report on the latest stable release of Android CyanogenMod

It's finally got my HTC Wildfire smart-phone where I wanted it all along.

The original article on rooting the phone can be found in the archive. Remember that rooting your phone will void the warranty and could do physical damage if used badly. But if you get it right...

I should remind you before you do anything - make a backup of all your data. If you have synced the device with a Google account, then the contacts, calendar, Gmail, & select other Google-related data will not be lost and will be in place after the next sync. However, you should backup any volatile data that you want to keep that is not stored on the SD card:
  • SMS/MMS messages,
  • Call Log,
  • Bookmarks,
  • Applications; I used Titanium Backup on a recommendation
  • Any application data not on the SD card
It's also be a good idea to backup everything stored on the SD card in case of disaster.

There's an excellent 16-minute video review on YouTube: CyanogenMod 7 Gingerbread Detailed Review so you can see much more than I can describe. You can see the capabilities of the touch interface and I realised I've barely scratched the surface.

What's New
It looks even more stunning than 2.1! The Gingerbread design includes:
  • Gingerbread themed icons and a stack of wallpapers
  • moved carrier name, added 3D text
  • ongoing notifications
  • the FM radio is working!
  • moved & edited clear button, added 3D text
  • new scrolling bar
There's even more in the way of customisation. You think of it, Android let's you change it.

In the Input menu, you will find the option "Trackball wake" that will allow you to you use the optical trackball button to wake the device.

Under performance area you can enable or disable JIT, surface dithering and many more options, including overclocking (steady now) your CPU, without resort to other programs

What's Good
The Notifications bar / Power bar really raise the bar (sorry) on the way Android works. The pull-downs now put a lot of control right there in one gesture. You can add icons to the bar and they wil be re-sized intelligently to fit across the screen.

The CM7 camera app works much better than HTC's original and vastly better than the one in CM6 which would crash the phone after 3 pics or on saving a video clip.  The Wildfire camera hardware itself is not, so no silk purse miracle there. It's adequate, but no Sony Cybershot.

The default music player much more useful and getting more like a PC media player. Sort and search aren't quite as intuitive as on my old Symbian-based K800i, but with the Android screens and Wildfire display quality it's not so hard to live with.

Apparently the web Browser is the same as that on the original HTC rom, without the HTC skin. The faster rendering must be a direct result of the 2.3 upgrade.

CM7 Much much faster than stock and much faster than CM6. proven by independent benchmarks. Fast and responsive.

The battery life remains good with manual sync and geo-location off. You also have the benefit of Power Menu Profiles to define power saving schemes as you want them.

Although I'm not personally using much of the gesture support on the home screen right now I can see this being a very attractive feature for some users.

This must be the first review I've done in several years blogging here and on other sites where I conclude with an unqualified success! RC


Post a Comment

At least try to be nice, it won't kill you...