I’ve mentioned a bunch of times about how much I love the customisation of Android and the ability to flash custom ROMS. I’ve been quite reluctant to do it on my Galaxy Note due to it being fairly new and quite expensive, and there’s always a risk of bricking no matter how good you are at flashing and modding Android phones. I’ve done it though and things went smoothly, so here are my thoughts about CyanogenMod 9 for the Samsung Galaxy Note.
First of all I must point out that it was a total pain in the arse to get my Note to this point, not because it was difficult to flash, nor were their any complications, there just isn’t a totally straight forward way to root and then flash CM9 that I could find on the web.
If you’re interested in how I did it without using Heimdall I’ll fill you in at the end.
I’ve had CM9 for about 2 days now and I have mixed feelings about it. First of all, if you’re into using the S-Pen that comes with your Note, I wouldn’t recommend flashing CyanogenMod 9. That’s because CM9 is just a bare bones stock 4.0.4 Android with a few added tweaks and extra features, because of this the ROM doesn’t have the Samsung Framework that the S Note apps use therefore you can’t install the S Note Premium Suite or anything of that nature. If you’re not fussed but want a decent app to scribble notes down on, you can get a fairly good app as a replacement called GNote.
I’m also having a bit of an issue with the ‘Stock’ Email app that I have all of my POP3 accounts on, it syncs fine, but even though I’ve set it to sync every 5 minutes it seldom notifies me about any emails I’ve received. I’m planning on switching to something like K-9 Mail and seeing if that works. On the good side though, the email app is laid out pretty much identical to the Gmail app which is nice.
You also don’t have a file browser (TouchWiz comes with “My Files”) so you have to download something like Astro to browse through your system files.
With all that out of the way lets get to the good bits.
The over all improvement I’m experiencing with CyanogenMod 9 is great, its quicker and more responsive and isn’t filled with a bunch of crappy apps. This is one of the main things that wins me over to flashing a custom ROM. CyanogenMod 9 doesn’t come with any Google Apps “Due to licensing restrictions, these apps cannot come pre-installed with CyanogenMod and must be installed separately.” So once you’ve flashed CM9, you must also install the Google Apps package and guess what, all you get is Google Play which is great because you get to decide what Google Apps you want on your phone. So you don’t want YouTube? Don’t install it. Not a fan of Google Maps? Don’t install it. It’s as simple as that, and something I really like about CM9.
The ability to change almost everything about your launcher is great too, you can choose how many rows and columns you want, you can choose what gets displayed in the notification bar, and even change the toggle icons in the notification drawer.
I’m also a huge fan of music, and the music app that comes with it (Apollo) is nice looking and works really well. CM9 also comes with DSPManager so you can tweak and fine tune the sound to your tastes.
Along with the DSPManager you also get Dev Tools that’s full of information and, well.. Dev tools.. It’s not something I think I’ll ever be using myself, but for those of you who like to debug and tweak things this may be a really handy app.
Another good thing I’ve noticed with CyanogenMod 9 is the ability to tweak the performance of your phone without having to download/pay for a whole bunch of apps. You can check and also change the Processor speed, enable Memory management and a few other handy tools.
Overall I feel that I want to like CM9, honestly I do, but there are some things that I’m not so sure about. I think its purely down to the fact that its something that I’m not used to and that I still need to get to grips with it.
How-to Flash CM9 on the Galaxy Note N7000 with Odin:
First of all you need to get the SpeedMod Kernel for Odin. Once you’ve flashed this, you should have CWM Recovery and have a rooted Note. Next download Odin from here. After that you must download the latest build of CM9 from here and Google Apps package.
Before you do anything be sure to back up all of your texts, numbers, pictures, blah blah blah.. and then put the CM9 zip and the Google apps package on the root directory of your phone.
Make sure you have at least 60% battery and then switch off your Galaxy Note until it vibrates to confirm that it’s off.
How to flash:
- Put your Galaxy Note into Download Mode by holding down the Volume Down button, Home Button and then Power Button, you’ll soon be met with a notification saying that flashing custom software can be dangerous, yada yada, press the Volume Up key to continue.
- Extract and open the Odin folder and open Odin.
- Connect your Note to your computer until you’re met with the “Added!!!” notification.
- Extract the Speedmod Kernel so you’re left with a .tar file, then in PDA select the speedmod-kernel-x-y.tar file you extracted
- Double check that PHONE, CSC, PIT are blank and Re-partition should be un-ticked
- Press START and wait until the flashing is complete, it should take around a minute to complete and your Note should restart.
How to install CM9:
- If the above steps were successful you should have a rooted phone with the speedmod kernel, you can check this via the “About Phone” option in the phone settings.
- Turn your Note off and wait for the vibration.
- Boot into recovery by holding down the Volume Up key, Home Button and Power, wait until the Samsung Logo appears and let go of the buttons.
- This should boot into CWM recovery.
- First, select Wipe Data/Factory Reset and confirm the wipe
- Select Wipe Cache and confirm the wipe
- Select Install ZIP from SD card and locate the CM9 package you put onto your phone in the earlier steps
- Next repeat the above step but with the Google Apps package
- Restart the phone and hopefully you’ve got CM9!
You may notice a small-ish triange when your phone restarts, this is because Samsung now store a flash counter that keeps track of how many times you have flashed firmwares or have rooted to your device, to remove this download Triangle Away from the Google Play store and run the app, this should remove the flash counter triangle.
Let me know how you get on in the comments below, if you have any questions feel free to email me.