At Droidviews, we always try to give our visitors the best of Android. Just like you hate bloatwares on your phone, we keep away from all unimportant stuff here. With this resolution at the back our mind, we cover only those things that interests the majority of sensible users.
We work hard to make your mobile life a little easier and it if for this that we started a Best Custom ROMs Series so that we might help you, in some or other way, pick what is best for you. We already published an article (in August 2013) reviewing some of the best performing custom ROMs for the Galaxy S2.
It has been a long time since then and it was getting a little difficult for us to update the older post. and therefore we are here again with another best custom ROMs for Samsung’s once best-seller phone the Galaxy S2. The device has recently been updated to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean firmware and the new features brought by it has improved the usability of the phone. But, at the same time, the Jelly Bean update has also made the device an little slower.
With a good custom ROM installed on your phone, you can not only speed up your Galaxy S2 but also get a far better battery life than the stock firmware. Moreover, custom ROMs are capable of giving you more variety with themes and mods. Most ROM developers tend to remove the less-or-not-used apps called bloatwares from their ROMs. And thus you get more space, more empty RAM and a faster and smooth performance.
If you search the web, you can find hundreds of custom ROMs for the Galaxy S2, and this abundance of ROMs is sure to confuse you and make it very difficult to choose one good ROM that suites your taste and requirement. All ROMs listed below have been tested and found better in speedy performance and good battery backup. We tested the most talked about 13 ROMs and picked a bunch of good ones for you.
Root Your Samsung Galaxy S2:
Please note that to be able to install a custom ROM on your Samsung Galaxy S2, your must root it first. Moreover, you also need to install a custom recovery like ClockworkMod or TWRP on your device because a custom ROM or mod requires a custom recovery. If you have rooted you Galaxy S2 yet, do it now using our easy rooting tutorials from the following link.
How to Install Custom ROMs on Galaxy S2 GT-I9100:
- Download the desired custom ROM and the Google Apps (if applicable) zip package from below and copy the files to the external SD Card storage on your Galaxy S2. Do not extract the zip.
- Backup your apps, contacts, messages and all other data stored on the internal storage of your phone. These free apps will make backing up very easy.
- Charge your phone’s battery to at least 60% level.
- Turn on USB Debugging on your Galaxy S2 from Settings> Developer Options and check the box.
Installation Steps: Now follow the following steps carefully to install a custom ROM on your phone-
- Copy the ROM and GApps file to your phone’s external SD.
- Turn off your device and boot it into CWM Recovery mode: press and hold the Volume Up + Home keys simultaneously and then press the Power button. Keep the three keys pressed till the Start-up screen with “Samsung Galaxy S II” logo blinks for two times followed by a screen like this:
- Use the Volume and Power keys to scroll and select an option/file inside the Recovery mode.
- Important: Do not forget to create a backup of your current ROM, so that you might restore it later in case you do not like the new ROM or stuck on some point during the installation procedure.
- When the backup is complete, go back to the main menu and scroll down to “wipe data/factory reset” and confirm the choice.
- Next, go to “wipe cache partition” and do the wipe.
- Now open “advanced” option and “wipe dalvik cache”
- Having done the 3 wipes as described above, go back to the main menu in recovery and select “install zip from sdcard>choose zip from sdcard” option. Navigate to the ROM file and select it.
- The ROM will be installed now. Wait till the installation is finished.
- If the ROM also requires the Google Apps to be installed, select “install zip from sdcard>choose zip from sdcard” option again and install the GApps package.
- Finally, return back to the main menu and select “reboot system now”.
- Note: Some custom ROMs are installed through Aroma Installer utility. If this be the case, just follow the onscreen instruction and select preferred options.
The ROM will thus be installed on your phone and when it boots up it will have the newly installed ROM. Just go through the initial Set Up and you are on the go. The first boot might take up to 5 minutes before the phone boots up, so be patient. In case your phone is stuck on the bootscreen for more than 6 minutes, pull out phone’s battery and place it back after 1 minute. Boot the device in the recovery mode again and wipe data/factory reset again and then reboot. It should be fixed.
ROM List Updated on August 24, 2013
1. ParanoidAndroid 3+ ROM Galaxy S2
The ParanoidAndroid 3+ ROM is one of the most popular and beautiful custom ROMs for the Galaxy S2. It is available for a host of Android phones and holds a good place among custom ROMs. Its hybrid look and feel, smooth and fast performance and decent battery backup, all make it lovable. Using the ParanoidAndroid 3 ROM was a whole new experience due to its flexibility, capability of customization and, most of all, the expanded desktop mode with that beautiful Pie thing (see the screenshot).
I have written a detailed article that reveals all the aspect of this new avatar of the ParanoidAndroid ROM. It is based on AOSP 4.2.1 and also supports themes made for CyanogenMod 10.1.The ROM is almost bugless. If you want to have a fresh new experience with beautiful looks, the PA3 ROM is just for you.
Installation Guide: At the beginning of the post.
Developer: Salesale (Donate)
NeatROM for Galaxy S2 GT-I9100 is one of the best choices if you want to use a highly customizable and performing custom ROM. It is based on the latest Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean firmware for the device from Samsung. As the very name suggests, it is a very neat and tidy package that unleashes the capability of you Galaxy S2 to give you a faster UI experience, more stable performance and even better battery life. The developer has removed all bloats and thus you get more free RAM too.
There are more that 50 languages packed inside so you do not have to worry about the presence of your native language. NeatROM is a fully deodexed and zipaligned ROM with Busybox pre-installed. The presence of multi-window feature with unlimited app support, ripple and ink-effect at the lockscreen, and various other features from Galaxy S3 and Note 2 ensure that you make the most out of your smartphone. Give this ROM a try and I believe it won’t disappoint you.
The NeatROM is available in Lite and Full versions. Download your preferred ROM file below and install using the steps given at the beginning of the article.
3. WanamLite Clean & Fast JB 4.1.2
Developer: Wanam (Donate)
I have been using the Galaxy S2 for more than a year and have felt the same restlessness as you would have to get the official Android 4.1.2 update. And when it came, it brought a whole new army of features but at a great price. I felt a remarkable lagginess and battery drain with the stock JB firmware. I was looking for a ROM that could give me all the features of the official Jelly Bean but not the slow performance and poor battery. It was then that I stumbled upon the WanamLite ROM and having installed it on my Galaxy S2, I just fell in love with it.
Wanam, the developer of the ROM, has removed many bloatwares and removed the elements that made it slow. The result is a light ROM that performance faster, has many tweaks, and gives a very good battery life. The ROM is installed via Aroma Installer and it means that you have the control to chose what to install on your phone and what not to. It is a fully Deodexed ROM and therefore you can flash a theme via ClockworkMod recovery too. If you are a lover of the nature themed TouchWiz UX and want to stay with the stock JB features with faster speed and better battery, go with WanamLite!
Here is a preview of the pure Jelly Bean style theme for the WanamLite ROM made by Crussader from XDA. You can download the theme in flashable zip from below.
Download the ROM from below. If you would like to have pure Jelly Bean style theme for the ROM, download the theme file too and install it using CWM Recovery: “install zip from sdcard>choose zip from sdcard” . When the theme is installed, reboot phone and enjoy!
How to Install: See the guide at the beginning of the article.
4. Resurrection Remix JB 4.2
The Resurrection Remix ROM does not need an introduction. It is one of the most popular custom ROMs among Galaxy S2 users. It is based on AOKP and CyanogenMod 10 and lets you enjoy all the good features of Android 4.2 with extra tweaks and bonus features. The ROM is very fast and responsive and if like a clean phone with a perfect holo look and feel, Resurrection Remix is what you need.
The battery life with the Resurrection Remix JB ROM installed on your phone is simply amazing. The ROM is installed through the Aroma installer that come in action when you select the ROM file in ClockworkMod recovery. You choose the elements and features you would like to have on your Galaxy S2.
How to Install: Use the steps described in the tutorial given at the beginning of the post.
5. Biftor ROM
If you love customization and theming on your device, Biftor ROM is just for you. It is full of features and allows you enjoy various mods for battery, statusbar, user interface and other elements of your phone. The ROM is installed via Aroma and so it lets you choose what to install on the device before being installed. It features, ink, ripple and light flare effect on lockscreen, HTC Sense style task manager, internet speed tweaks, Quick Settings panel from Galaxy S4, ROM color control, and so on. The ROM gives you good performance and decent battery life.
Biftor ROM V12: Link 1
6. Omega ROM
Developer: Indie (Donate)
Omega is one of the first custom ROMs made for the Galaxy S2 since its Gingerbread days through Ice Cream Sandwich and now to latest Jelly Bean. Indie, the developer has always been active to give us the best of our S2. It’s a purely stock themed ROM with no cosmetics and a little surgery of the non-functioning and sluggish organs of the TouchWiz UX.
Omega is actually the last and 24th letter of the Greek alphabet meaning “great”. This ROM stands true to its name. It’s my personal favorite and I like it for its stability, fast performance, decent battery and stock look. Besides, the Omega ROM also comes with transparent AccuWeather widget, multi-window with more apps support, ink-effect at ripple lockscreen and various mods and toggles of system settings. The ROM can be use as a daily driver.
Download latest Omega ROM here: Link
You can install this ROM using the tutorial given above.
We are still testing some ROMs and the post will be updated soon. Stay tuned! Do you have a really good ROM in mind? Please, share with us!