Quality time with a Vibrant ROM. ICS Passion

If you have a T-Mobile Samsung Vibrant, enjoy ROM’ing your phones and have been on XDA anytime recently, you have most likely come across the XDA thread about ICS Passion. I have been using this ROM since day one of BETA and have been properly impressed with Ice Cream Sandwich. I am no expert on building ROM’s or kernel’s, but aparently Neobuddy89 and Nelson are. Neobuddy had this Rom out with the quickness after the ICS source was released to the public, but although he is the man behind this ROM, he is absolutely not the only one due credit for all the awesomeness that is ICS Passion. But none the less, here is the story of the exciting and pleasurable time I have had with “the one ROM to rule them all”.

Before I start, for all of those fairly new to ROM’ing, if you have a T-Mobile Vibrant, just flash this thing and don’t look back. This ROM is silky smooth, the battery life is awesome, everything works and it is stable. I have always owned android smartphones after the whole Blackberry craze, and this is by far the best ROM I have ever used. It has given me a taste of Ice Cream Sandwich, and all I can say is that I am truly excited about the the future of the smartphone and tab market. And you should too whether you are android faithful, Apple faithful or just plain don’t care, android is getting much better and innovation should follow.

My internal storage if full of Passion ROM’s. I have saved these ROM’s on my phone and kept them there as backup just incase I did not like my latest installed ROM. Neobuddy has been avid on getting the ROMS out the door ever since ICS was released, and in the early days of ICS Passion he had the ROM chalk-full of fun and useful things. I was flashing every new release that he posted on XDA, it was great, I was properly impressed since the earliest BETA, it was nothing like what I expected from a android ROM (you know, silky smooth until you loaded a million apps). This thing was butter. I could not wait to get home from work everyday, check the thread to see if there was anything new released to flash and continue testing. It was totally something I looked forward to, then one day, I hop on XDA, look for the thread, wait wtf, search for the thread, :’( no thread..

Apparently, the fun was too good to be true, Neo’s thread got pulled because he was including paid apps in his releases. Yes, XDA does not condone piracy and neither should you. So I thought to myself, sh*t now what, im def not going back to one of those crappy 2.2 ROM’s. Time to look for another dev to praise, flashed a few different ICS ROM’s just to be disappointed when compared to Neo’s stuff. The sadness went on for a few day until Neo’s thread reappeared :D ! So let this be a lesson people, give back to the developers of anything android, don’t think of open source as just shiz that can be had for free. Same goes for apps, just because can side load doesn’t mean you you should, if you like a app, pay for that mofo or bad things will happen!

Silky smoothness. The ROM is silky smooth, I currently use ADWLauncher EX as my launcher of choice, and it is FAST. Not that the included Trebuchet launcher is bad, I just prefer the ‘ol android look and feel. Everything is smooth as butter, every app, settings, homescreen transitions, the whole nine yards. After realizing that this ROM did not slow down no matter what I did, I decided that I would push it to its limits, sync everything and its mother, turn on gps/location based services and restore some 300 odd random app’s with Titanium Backup just to see how the ROM would handle it. To my surprise the thing remained smooth as smooth could be. The only thing that worried me is that sometimes, loading up an app took a second or two longer than if I had a empty app tray. I concluded that this is not a shortcoming of the ROM, but a shortcoming of the hardware itself, with so many apps, memory must be managed and ICS does it by far better than any other version of android, BY FAR! Iphones that I use at work have similar issues when loaded with a billion apps. But things are much better now, I overclocked the thing a few hundred Mhz :) Battery life has actually improved too.

 ICS Passion Vibrant battery life

I could get far superior battery life if I wanted to.

Battery life. Battery life is still not up to par with the iphones I have at work, but it is leaps and bounds better than anything I have had on my phone. Im getting 24+ hours out of a charge with the screen on full blast, sync on and moderate (average) use. No, I am not playing Dragon, fly! for 3 hours straight everyday, sending a million text’s or watching 8 hours of movies. I also am not deleting every app I can, turning everything off and letting the thing sleep just to see how long I can get the battery to last. I use the things smartphones are useful for, like phone functionality, text, email, internet, rss feeds, managing my funds, stock trade, taking pictures, social networking, youtube, weather, using it as a watch, analytics, and a bunch of other things. I do these these things on a daily basis. Like I said though, battery life is not as good as a iphone, but, iphones do not have background data, they do not have amoled screens (totally worth the battery hit btw) and iphones have bigger batteries that Vibrants do. On top of that, the iphones I have at work don’t nearly get beat as much as I beat the battery on my phone, and my phone is older than dirt. Battery life has definitely taken a huge leap forward in to iOS territory.

I have actually started to test battery life with the screen on low, sync/background data, bluetooth, gps/location services and all that jazz off. I called the battery run down quits after 44 hours at 48% remaining, I was satisfied with the ROM’s battery life and got sick and tired after a few days of not all the stuff being on. In all seriousness, having all the things turned off made me realize just how much I missed them. The simple core functions of android still make it worth while to take the battery hit, especially now that I never have to worry about battery life unless I know im going to be away from a outlet for a few days, and if I am, I have this little guy.  Also, just as a side note, my battery, properly calibrated, tops out just above 1200mah, just to give you and idea that yes, my battery is worn, ICS Passion is giving me these figures under normal usage.

What does not work, are you kidding me, everything works. When it comes to the Samsung Vibrant, the elephant in the room is most definitely GPS. The GPS never properly worked in Samsung’s official releases let alone third party ROM’s. The headline of any good vibrant ROM in the past was most likely something along the lines of “GPS WORKING” or “NOW WITH GPS”, you get the picture. GPS is alive and well in ICS Passion. There is another big one, and that is Facebook sync, you would never guess that Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus does not have facebook sync, thats correct, its yet to be included with ICS out the box, but ICS Passion has it. The point is that everything works in this ICS build, all from young Dev’s putting the time into our Vibrant’s, most likely because they don’t have the monetary means to justify picking up the latest and greatest device. Oh yeah, USB storage works also.

Stability. I would say that This ROM’s stability is on par with Apple iphones. Before you go and think to yourself that I am going too far and that I am just bashing like I normally do, just know that iOS also has its own set of problems, I know of this first hand, I work at a extremely busy and successful cellfone store. Hype outshines faults for apple and vice versa for its competitors. With this rom I have not come across a app that did not work and my vibrant only crashes whenever my hubris pokes its head out and I overclock the thing well past its hardware’s limits. This Rom is rock solid, the only thing Google has left for the manufactures, is to polish their drivers and tweak the hell out the thing. Now they have the time spend on innovation, hardware and a better/simpler user experience for the not so savvy :) . So expect the most for your hard earned money and demand much better from your next device manufacturer, Because im getting stability from guys that do this as a hobby.

Ultiamte backup pro screenshot

I roll with 163'ish apps on a daily basis, some being sys apps obviously.

In conclusion, I can only say that I am properly impressed with Ice Cream Sandwich and even more so with the developers that brought it to my aging hardware. I no longer look for the newest tweak to eek the most performance out of my phone, I no longer have to look forward to purchasing the latest and greatest phone. This ROM popped up right about the time I was to buy myself a Galaxy s2 for a hefty sum, I purchase devices pretty much full price since I dont have the luxury of subsidies on my dealer line. I can now hold off for the Galaxy s3, I thank the devs yet again because 400 some odd dollars every year for a phone is just too much, but 400 some odd dollars every two years is just right. Happy ROM’ing and hope you all have had a happy Valentines day.

Credit where credit is due.

  • Neobuddy89 for the ROM
  • Nelson for the kernel
  • Romanbb for source hack to enable FB sync
  • Daniel for the Bootsplash and other graphical enhancements
  • CM9/Teamhacksung for the driver
  • Annex for cosmetic upgrades which are really better than Stock ICS AOSP
  • psycho for Mods

And for all of those who don’t like to read, look as some pictures :)






About Jerm

Jeremiah Johnson is the tall, dark, handsome Co-Owner of IcerTechnologies, an I.T. Hardware and Software company. A stock trader and technology enthusiast, Jeremiah is always digging deep into industries to see what the future holds. ThingsMicro.com is his personal blog where he writes about anything he finds interesting in life. Readers beware of poor, unedited grammars. His opinions are his own. (I like Turtles)