We have been using Paranoid Android for over two weeks on our Nexus 4, and have gained deep insight into Paranoid’s special features.
Main finding: While Paranoid does have some nice functions, Paranoid’s main features are more gimmicky, rather than usability enhancing features.
Paranoid is another custom ROM (aka Operating System) for your Android phone. It is probably the second most popular custom ROM, after CyanogenMod.
(We have installed and tested all the functions, that came with the latest stable version: 4.45)
Installation of the Paranoid operating system was very easy. Our phone was already unlocked, rooted and whatnot, from our last tutorial (the Grandma’s Guide to root and unlock your Stock phone; easy as pie, written for the layman and grandmas).
Main features of Paranoid:
1. Pie Control
What is it?
Do you have on-screen navigation buttons? -Yes, that strip at the bottom of your screen, which is taking up valuable screen space…
With Paranoid’s Pie controls, you can (optional) get rid of those on-screen buttons.
Swipe up from the bottom, (or from the right or left of your screen, ) to get access to the buttons…
Utilizing the full screen for your apps is nice, and you can do that permanently with Pie controls.
However, the extra time and effort it takes to swipe, just to access the navigation buttons, and then finally tapping on the button you want, makes Pie controls more of an inconvenience than a useful feature.
People with small hands may find it more useful, as they won’t have to reach right down to the bottom of the screen to access the buttons. (They can instead swipe from the right.)
What is it?
When you have Hover activated, you can (optional) basically get a small popup of the relevant app, whenever you get that app’s notification. These apps include Gmail and Hangouts.
You also get large notifications, which you can tap to get the popups (if the app can support it.)
Hovering is nothing like Samsung’s multi-window.
You cannot drag or resize these ‘hovered’ apps.
The point of Hover?
We guess that it’s supposed to help you quickly mind that notification, and get back to the task at hand.
… It can get in your way.
We didn’t find it useful; a small popup didn’t help (much) with usability. Instead, the feature sometimes got in our way, as you can see in the above image, inducing uncontrollable rage.
3. Paranoid OTA
Over The Air updates, by Paranoid Android. It’s a standard app (‘Paranoid OTA’) that comes with the installation, and it notifies the user whenever there is an Paranoid update available.
Did not work as expected.
We were pleasantly surprised when we were notified of an update (though it was a on-stable, ‘beta’ version update). We selected “Download and Update“.
After the download however, the phone did not install the update; it didn’t fully carry out its function and stood us up! How could they 😮
4. Recommended volume level warning – STFU, finally.
Positive news: You can finally disable that annoying volume level warning (which pops up to prevent you from increasing the volume level).
This is pretty much the only useful thing we have found with Paranoid… so thanks Paranoid. Here, have a cookie.
5. Battery life
Without going scientific, after 2 weeks of testing we can comfortably say that Paranoid Android’s battery life is comparable to Stock Android.
In other words, it’s worse than what we got with CyanogenMod with the same usage (at least 3.5 hours of screen-on time).
6. No love for lefties.
In short, there are no changes from stock Android, to accomodate left-handed users.
Unlike CyanogenMod, when using your phone on its side (horizontal) the on-screen navigation buttons are permanently on the right hand side. Right-hand bias
You can also have quick access to the Quick Settings, by swiping down from the top-right corner only; I am dissapoint
7. App Privacy
Allows you to have control over what an app can access from your phone. It’s easy to use!
…which is nice, but it’s not available for all apps (e.g. Google Play Services, which can sometimes be a battery draining mofo).
8. Stability and Speed – Solid.
We did not experience any issues with the stability, nor the ‘speed‘ of Paranoid Android.
This means that for our testing duration (2 weeks of normal usage, on the LG / Google Nexus 4), we experienced no restarts, no lagging nor stuttering when opening / closing random apps.
(Note: we never had any issues with these with CyanogenMod, nor stock Android in the first place.)
We do not recommend Paranoid Android over CyanogenMod, but recommend it over the stock Android.
We found the special features, as described and reviewed in this article, more like gimmicks rather than useful additions; they do not improve usability for the general user, when compared with stock Android.
Also with Paranoid Android, we were not able to find all the useful customisations that made CyangenMod so much more useful.
Install Paranoid Android and judge for yourself; the easiest instructions to install it are at the end of this link.
Otherwise, enjoy using CyanogenMod, which is our recommended custom ROM (for now).
Are we right with our verdict?
Did we miss anything special? Have we been fair?
Do you choose to use Paranoid Android?? 😮
Let us know in the comments below!
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