What are the best mods available for Samsung Vibrant?
March 4, 2011 9:11 AM   Subscribe

I just bought a Samsung Vibrant (ver 2.1) from T-Mobile. What should I do to it to get the most out of it? What is the best Android mod available for it and what's the process?

I went to the xda forums but the sheer number of roms available was overwhelming for me. I have a regular T-mobile Vibrant running 2.1 version that came with the phone.

What is the best way to root/mod the phone? Also, any other Android tips/tricks/apps that I should be following? Any links or posts that explain the process from start to finish would also be really helpful. Thanks.
posted by libbrichus to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you had an Android phone before? Don't bother rooting it unless you actually have an idea of why you want to do so.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:35 AM on March 4, 2011

Cyanogenmod is one of the better alternative ROMs. I'm currently using the CM7 release candidate on my Nexus One, and prior to that used CM6 on an HTC Aria.

Yes, XDA is huge and mostly unorganized, but this is really all you need:

Based on my experience, you'll see a huge benefit between 2.1 and 2.2. Not so much between 2.2 and 2.3 (though the better text selection is gladly received). Cyanogen also has nifty features like putting toggle switches in the notification shade which I use regularly.

A word of warning - none of this is particularly difficult, but if you're not comfortable getting your hands dirty then proceed with caution.
posted by devbrain at 9:44 AM on March 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Cyanogen is pretty much the baseline, and a lot of the ROM mods you'll find are based around the roms that Cyanogen releases. Were I you, I'd start there, and explore other mods if you find that you're not happy with CM. The Vibrant isn't quite officially supported yet, and you'll have to run the development version of CM, which is CM7. In the past, it has been the case that the development version of CM is more stable and more full-featured than the official release. I found this to be the case for CM5 over CM4, and then CM6 over CM5. It does vary quite a bit by phone, though. (Checking the forums, they're claiming that CM7 for the Vibrant "contains a lot of bugs and is purposed for testing only. It's not ready for daily use!" So take that as you will.

This is the rooting guide for the Vibrant.
This is the guide to flashing CM once you're rooted.
And Here's the forum for CM experimental for the Galaxy S (which is the vibrant).

If you want to check out other roms, here's the Androidspin release matrix for the Galaxy S.

And generally, once you root, it's fairly easy to switch ROMs, especially if you haven't been using the phone for long, and haven't made a lot of custom settings.

Do yourself a favor and read as much as possible, extremely thoroughly, before you start flashing. Depending on the level of work you have to do to install CM, you can definitely get into bricking territory. Read the CM forums, read the XDA-dev forums, just try to ingest as much information as possible before you start flashing.
posted by god hates math at 9:44 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

A word on "just bought". Rooting the phone voids your warranty, and puts you on a one-way path to plunge ahead on your own. If you're not comfortable doing that on such a new phone, I'll throw out the idea that you might return it and pick up a (used) Nexus One on ebay.
posted by devbrain at 9:48 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Team Whiskey for the win, at least pending a proper Cyanogen release. Their installation guide is here. Of course, read everything you can about this sort of thing before doing it.

Note that one reason to go with alternative ROMs is to deal with the Samsung's stupid, stupid, stupid decision to write their own filesystem instead of using, say, ext4 (Google never specified a filesystem to use with Android, probably because they never thought anyone would be so stupid as to go out and write their own horrible one and use it). Here's a discussion of what's going on with that. Team Whiskey's Bionix ROM will replace RFS with ext4 out of the box, so you don't have to muck around with duct-tape-and-baling-wire lag fixes.
posted by chengjih at 11:31 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding devbrain. I unlocked my Nexus One and regretted it dearly when the power button stopped working and HTC quoted me $200+ for what would normally be a free repair.
posted by chrchr at 11:35 AM on March 4, 2011

Did you know that there is an official (but non-OTA and non-mandatory) Android 2.2 update available for your phone? I would try that first before rooting and installing custom ROMs. I think another 2.2 update is coming later as an OTA update, but the one I linked has really improved the battery life on my GF's phone by quite a bit.
posted by strangecargo at 1:02 PM on March 4, 2011

I've had a Vibrant for several months. You don't say how comfortable you are with hacking your phone. My advice would be to use the official update, use it for a while and see how you feel.

If you really want to install your own rom, I would go with one of the Team Whiskey roms. I've had very good experiences with them. Don't use Cyanogen, it's not as stable as Team Whiskey for the Vibrant (Galaxy S).
posted by demiurge at 2:28 PM on March 4, 2011

other Android tips/tricks/apps

I'm new to Android (recently got used nexus one - it came pre-rooted with Cyanogen7) and the best tip I got was to use AppBrain to manage my apps.

My essential apps are Dropbox, KeePassDroid, Dolphin Browser, Flex T-9 speak-trace-write, RealCalc, and Moon Reader. Plus Google apps, of course: Maps, Search, Translate ...
posted by anadem at 3:02 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have this phone. Piece of advice: Get the 2.2 update (see above). It makes it usable (eg cuts out the frequent lockups when doing anything with GPS). Before this came out I was bitterly regretting my failure to take advantage of the buyer's remorse clause. Now I'm still regretting it, just not bitterly. The GPS is still garbage and the compass works 50% of the time at best.

The 2.2 update gives you convenient tethering without the need to root.
posted by mullingitover at 5:19 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

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