Custom ROMs 101: The best Android custom ROMs available

cyanogenmod-logo

There are thousands of custom ROMs available for all the Android devices out there. While some ROMs are only available for a specific device, others are available for all the popular ones. Below, we list down some popular custom ROMs out there along with their major features. 

Keep in mind that the list only includes those popular custom ROMs that are available for a variety of devices. It is simply not feasible enough to cover the features of each and every popular custom ROM out there. All the ROMs below are based on AOSP, which means that while they are loaded with features, you might come across some stability issues as well.

CyanogenMod

The most popular and oldest AOSP based custom ROM out there with more than 10 million+ users, CyanogenMod is available for more than 100+ devices and is packed with features that help improve usability. While the ROM packs in a lot of features, the CM team avoids adding any feature that greatly differs from the stock Android user experience. The team’s motto is to add just the right amount of features and enhancements that don’t differ too much from stock Android.

Late last year, the CyanogenMod team went public and formed a company and has since then been working with multiple OEMs to ship CM pre-installed on their devices. Here is a walkthrough of all the features in CyanogenMod 11 M2 that should give you an idea of all the features present in the ROM.

If you are new to the custom ROM world and are looking to try out an AOSP based ROM, CyanogenMod should be perfect for you.

CyanogenMod’s official website

AOKP

AOKP or Android Open Kang Project is another popular custom ROM based on AOSP. There really is one intention of the AOKP team — to offer an insane amount of features and customization options. If CyanogenMod ROM does not fulfill your thirst for customization, AOKP definitely will. The ROM has a lot of innovative features including the ability to resize the navigation bar, nav bar widgets, app sidebars and more.

While not as big as CyanogenMod, the AOKP ROM also has a pretty strong user base of more than 5 million users and supports nearly 50+ devices.

AOKP’s official website

Paranoid Android

Paranoid Android is another popular AOSP based custom ROM that is known for introducing some unique features — Halo, PIE and Per-App DPI — to the custom ROM scene. These features have completely changed the way the end user communicates with the device. Like CyanogenMod, the PA team only focuses on adding features in such a way that improve and enhance usability.

The ROM only supports only a handful of devices and is mainly aimed at the Nexus series. However, you can always find an unofficial port of the ROM for your device over at XDA forums. Here is a quick explanation of all the major features in the latest build of Paranoid Android, based on Android 4.4 KitKat.

Paranoid Android’s official website

There are a plethora of other ROMs that I have not included in the above list. This is because they either contain features found in the above ROMs or are only available for a couple of devices. Which is your favorite custom ROM? Drop in a comment and do let us know!