ROM Review: BiffMod 2.0

If you scroll back a bit in my posting history, you’ll see that I upgraded my phone at the start of the year. I got the HTC Tattoo, a fairly low-end smartphone that runs Android 1.6. From that point, I was hooked and now I write to you, an Android fanboi.

A few months ago I sat browsing some random local classifieds and stumbled upon an advertisement for an HTC Dream – the first Android handset – and after some checking I realised that it’s probably the most community-supported device out there. I bought it, rooted it (Was there ever a question? Now there is…) and started trying out various ROMS for it. CyanogenMod turned out to be the best and I was content using that…until BiffMod.

I’d used one of the earlier versions of BiffMod, but it was quite unstable – random reboots, lots of applications force closed and the Market would bounce back and forth like a ball in a squash court. Consequently, I switched back to CyanogenMod but found that, while it was more stable, it was also a lot slower. After a while I couldn’t take the slowness anymore, so went looking to see if there were any ROMs that promised speed and stability. Luckily, on the XDA forums there is a listing of all current ROMs with scores and sometimes video reviews done by RoyalKnight6190. I checked the scores and eventually narrowed the field to two competitors and of those two I decided to test out the one I remember from past experience – BiffMod 2.0.

The first thing I noticed was that it’s a bit of trouble to get it installed (and by bit I mean that you need to read properly…RTFM, if you will) – you have to follow the instructions to the letter or else something is going to break.

The second thing I noticed – after installing it properly – was the speed. Swiping between homescreens is fast, downloading from the market is fast and launching an app is super fast. It almost felt as though I was working on an HTC Desire, everything was that fast.

Third on the list is that everything is plain and simple. Simple launcher and no added crapware – the latter being something that a lot of people complain about but many ROM developers still don’t take into account. BiffMod keeps things simple – the way it started and the way it’s meant to be. If you don’t like the stock launcher then slap on ADW or LauncherPro. (short and sweet: LauncherPro is faster IMO, but ADW lets you customise everything out the wazoo)

After a few weeks of using it, I also took note of the stability. I think in all that time I had one random reboot and I honestly believe that that was because of a misbehaving app which I uninstalled and haven’t had the problem since then. BiffMod is as stable as any production quality ROM, if not more so (goodness knows I’ve had issues and reboots with factory ROMs).

Just before finishing this review, I decided to to do a test of the battery – I charged it up and unplugged it before going to bed. When I did this with CM6 the battery was dead by morning – 8 hours and it was toast. With BiffMod, the battery was still fully charged when I woke up. That’s right. Full. If I wasn’t using the device, then it wasn’t using battery power – at least not any noticeable amount. Another test I did was to see how much power it used when playing music. Full blast on my bike to work – which is about a 30 minute trip – it used a nice 5%. This translates to about 10 hours of playback time which is pretty damn amazing on an HTC Dream running Froyo. Playing games, browsing etc. will give you around 5-8 hours of constant use.

Working on RoyalKnight’s rating scale the above translates to: Stability: 5/5; Battery life: 5/5; Speed: 5/5; Visuals: 2.5/5; Daily Use: 5/5.

Of all the ROMs I’ve tried, I’d recommend BiffMod 2.0 (or 2.0.1) to everyone with an HTC Dream. It’s everything a good ROM should be and then some and it has a dedicated team behind it. Hit the link if you want to give it a swing, and if you like it then donate – it’s for a very good cause.

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