Previously, I transformed my Galaxy Note 2 into a Galaxy Note '2.5'. Three days ago, I transformed it into a 'Nexus':
At the rate that I'm going, I'll probably experience an identity crisis soon. Loving it ♡
My Nexu.. er, I mean my Note 2 now has the look, interface and functionalities of almost pure Android of the Nexus - to the extent that I'm actually feeling I'm using a miniature version of my Nexus 7. I said 'almost pure Android' because the ROM I'm using to achieve this has pumped binary steroids into the OS (running on Android 4.3.1), bringing more functionalities to what was supposed to be 'pure'.
Speaking of the ROM, it's Beanstalk ROM. If you are running out of time and prefer everything condensed in one page, I've embedded the video on the Beanstalk ROM here for your convenience (do read the linked Max's page first if you are interested in trying out the ROM for yourself though):
You know what? The ROM comes just shy of 190mb compared to TouchWiz-based ROMs which usually come in 1gb plus sizes, so you can imagine how clean and streamlined Beanstalk is (or any other AOSP ROMs, for that matter).
You may be wondering why I didn't flash Android KitKat 4.4 instead, which is the latest Android version.
Well, the answer is that the ROM running on 4.4 for the International GT-N7100 Note 2, which is Omni ROM, has everything 4.4 working so far except for the camera. As you can imagine, not being able to use the camera is a big no-no for me (or anyone else for that matter, my turn to imagine).
Well, KitKat 4.4 has just been released and is like freshly made chocolate just taken straight out from the oven, so it will be only a matter of time before the good devs at XDA iron out the kinks. When that happens, I'll be able to find out how the chocolate tastes like on my Note.
By the way, I'm not even sure if chocolate is actually made using the oven but it has to be. Well, whatever.
Not that a Nexus phone's battery is atrocious but if it had the battery life of the Note 2, I'm sure Nexus phone owners would be VERY pleased.
Let X = Pure Android is a super clean OS, which translates to efficient battery life by right.
Let Y = The fantastic big 3100mAH battery of the Note 2.
Let Z = The root Greenify app, which auto whips wakelock-happy apps into submission. Happy battery.
X + Y + Z = An entire day's and then some, 'Nexus' experience.
My Note running on TouchWiz beneath the surface (I use other launchers) can last me an entire day but I'll be toggling to this ROM if I have to go somewhere for a couple of days where I can't access a charger easily.
Kinda like having the best of both worlds.
Besides, I still get to use my external micro SD card (Nexus devices no longer come with micro SD slots) and my Note's camera, which is better than the Nexus's.
So, did I encounter any hiccups or bugs on this ROM? Yeah, just one: It didn't replace the 'Samsung' logo at the top and front of my phone. Pardon me for getting nonsensical there but what I'm actually trying to say is that this ROM works perfect so far and gives you the Nexus experience in terms of functionalities, interface and looks, even right down to the keyboard and the Nexus ringtones. It does all these extremely well, in fact, which was why I mentioned it felt exactly like using a miniature version of my 7 inch Nexus 7 with a 5.5 inch display.
Thing is, because Beanstalk is an AOSP ROM and not a TouchWiz-based ROM, you will lose the S Pen features and functionalities (along with the usual Samsung 'smart' features) - which means your S Pen will be stripped of its awesome powers and get rendered to just the role of a normal capacitive stylus: it's like getting demoted from a Super Star to a Calefare, even though there are alternative apps which sorta mimick the S Pen functionalities.
But restoring Nandroid backups and toggling between different ROMs via Recovery (I don't use ROM Manager) takes only a few minutes if you have to. You don't even need to be tethered to a computer to restore a backup or to switch ROMs - It's an Anytime Anywhere situation and that's awesome.
So yeah, you can have the Nexus experience without having to buy a Nexus device if you are rooted. I've mentioned it before but I'll mention it again: Being a tinkerer can many time$ $ave you a lot of mooIah.
-De Lion Speaks