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Re: Rooting and ROMS- Questions.
So you got a Nexus 5. Nice thing about a Nexus is its designed to be easily rooted. Unlocking the bootloader is easy, applying a custom recovery which is used to flash ROMs, kernels and more is easy also. Google is even so gracious to supply what is called official Factory Images to restore your device back to bone stock and remove root.
If you root and stay on the stock OS and don't remove any system files then yes you can still receive the OTA updates with very little difficulty. Worst case you may have to reapply the stock recovery to complete the OTA update.
Will i still be able to get updates from Google like bug fixes and whatnot?
Yes if you run a custom kernel it will improve battery life. However once you start flashing kernels and ROMs you lose the OTA option. But most good ROM devs will stay on top of things and always update to the newest OTA.
Would rooting improve the sometimes poor battery life from my phone?
Not 100% positive on this since its been a while since I had my Nexus but I think it does give you the space to use and not just a blank area.
I like that I can remove the navigation bar if I root. Do games and apps
fill up the removed navigation bar, or will there just be a space there?
Cyanogen is the most popular along with AOKP and a few others. Keep in mind to always make a backup in your custom recovery ( TWRP/CWM ) so if something goes wrong or you don't like things you can restore your previous working setup.
What are the differences between each ROM, which is more stable, the popular ones at least. From what i gathered, Cyanogen and ParanoidAndroid seem to be prevalent(correct me if im wrong). I like the HALO thingy from PA so im kinda edging towards it a little. What are the latest stable builds from these ROMs?
Rooting always has a risk involved but as I mentioned before the Nexus line is your best and safest option out there for playing around because it is after all a " developer device ".
Are there any risks? Or are the risks just as basic as jailbreaking(faulty cable, user mistakes, etc.)?
Can't answer that because I have no experience with these. But rooting and running a custom ROM, kernel, etc will always improve over all performance in a device.
Last question. Other music widgets seem to be sluggish and slow compared to the Google play widget. I use Jack's Music Widget, however when it comes to changing songs, playing/pausing, there tends to be a slight delay. Will rooting solve this in any way?
Moderator Team Leader @ Android Central.