Which custom ROM has the best features

Custom ROMs with Android 10 at a glance

Andreas Hitzig

Custom ROMs bring the current Android version to older smartphones and tablets. We have taken a closer look at some interesting implementations based on Android 10 for you.

EnlargeAndroid 10 also comes up with some great custom ROMs.

Android 10 has been available for numerous devices since the beginning of September 2019. Google provided its Pixel devices with the new operating system from day one.

For those who haven't been fortunate enough to receive an update directly from the manufacturer, there is an alternative way. Numerous developers have set themselves the goal of making the latest Android version available for older devices as well. Since the Android program code is available free of charge to all interested parties as part of the AOSP (Android Open Source Project), the porting range is correspondingly large.

On the following pages we will show you seven interesting implementations of Android 10. These cover different requirements: from very minimalist to flexibly adjustable. Included are the classics LineageOS and AOSIP, but also lesser-known solutions such as Bliss or ColtOS.

A Google Pixel 2 XL was used as the basis for the installation. The current version 3.4 of the recovery solution TWRP (Team Win Recovery Project), with which we implement the installation of the alternative operating system, runs on this. We will not go into the installation of TWRP in this article. However, you can find step-by-step instructions for your smartphone or tablet on the TWRP website.

LineageOS - the classic

EnlargeThe appearance of Lineage OS is very simple and clear. Since there are no apps specific to Google, alternative apps, for example for surfing or the contact details, are on board.

LineageOS has now appeared in the fifth version after Cyanogenmod and the current version 17.1 is based on Android 10. In the download area of ​​the LineageOS website you will find an overview of all supported devices including the necessary installation files and very detailed installation instructions.

If your device does not appear in the list, the XDA Developers forum is a good alternative starting point for the unofficial versions. Incidentally, this also applies to all other custom ROMs that we have tested in this article.

For the initial setup, there is an assistant available under Lineage-OS, just like you are used to with Android. With this you can maintain the central entries for language, WLAN connection or time zone, for example. LineageOS is very much based on the Android 10 standard; the developers have only integrated a few additional functions such as the setting options for the status bar and the function keys. As usual, Google's own programs are missing. And the root option, which you could still activate in LineageOS 16 using a ZIP file, is no longer available in LineageOS 17.1. You now have to implement this using third-party tools.

Our recommendation: LineageOS is very suitable for everyone who has older hardware but would like to use Android 10 in a high-performance state. The provider only publishes versions on its website that are really stable and can be used in practice. Thanks to the regular updates, you will receive all available security updates promptly and thus have a reliable and secure operating system.

AOSIP - the custom ROM with the owl

EnlargeThe AOSIP start screen is strongly based on the Pixel Launcher - at the bottom is the Google search window, at the top the time and temperature at the current location.

A year ago, the base of supported devices in the “Android Open Source Illusion Project” was still quite manageable. AOSIP is now available for download on the website for more than 30 smartphones. AOSIP is visually reminiscent of a pixel start screen: the Google search window is integrated at the bottom of the screen. The most important Google apps such as the Play Store and the Chrome browser are already integrated in the standard scope of delivery.

The real strength of the custom ROM becomes clear when you call up the "OwlsNest" in the settings. There you will find the available configuration options, neatly sorted under eight different menu items. These go from the status bar to gesture control.

Our recommendation: AOSIP is an interesting option for everyone who likes to individualize everything on their smartphone. The selection of supported devices is broad and ranges from a Google Nexus 5X to a Poco F1.

BlissRoms - an interesting alternative

EnlargeThe surface of BlissRoms, which was previously colored in light blue tones, is now very much based on AOSP. This is also evident in the standard settings.

At BlissRoms, in addition to the range of functions, the individual coloring was particularly striking. This has now been adapted by the developers and is based heavily on the Pixel Launcher. The developers describe their custom ROM on the project website at Sourceforge themselves as a custom ROM with many setting options and additional security functions. These are divided into a total of nine submenus under the “Blissify” menu item - from the status line and notifications to animations and buttons. You will also find the BlissPapers in the apps, which you can use to download additional backgrounds.

Our recommendation: If you are looking for a custom ROM with a simple appearance that does without all Google tools as standard, but still offers a lot of configuration options, the BlissRom is exactly the right place for you. With a little luck, your smartphone will also be one of the 56 models that are currently supported.

ColtOS - two launchers and Google apps