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Bionix vs. Official 2.2 Froyo
So I thought I’d write a comparison of the two different operating systems (is that what we’re calling them these days) on my favorite little mobile device that could. Before I get to far into the nitty gritty, I should divulge that I am, by no means, an Android expert – I’m still looking up definitions for commonly used terms (AOSP stumped me forever), but I am fairly savvy technology wise, and actually have a background in hardware design and software implementation for 3d hardware on the PC/Mac platforms. Einstein, I am not – but I am far from standing in the corner with a dunce cap. I think it’s important to address, what I consider a fundamental unsaid portion of this review; “how can you judge a carriers OS implementation against a developer, who so clearly wants you see only the purest form of the software available?”
I think often times it’s easy to get mired down in one particular camps philosophy on “which is better,” is it the AOSP (see I can use it in a sentence and everything) mentality that has the purist’s best interest at heart while still offering functionality for us “brainless masses” – or should we side with the manufacturers for clearly being in our corner – specifically in their ability to think for us and create their own themes and standards. Here’s where I stand – I like Touchwiz. Oops, I just lost half of you…oh well, my goal here isn’t to change minds – it’s to present an accurate comparison of two similar (if different) looking animals, much the same way that I’d judge a video games multiplayer implementation weighing in on if I like the Sony approach of “hands off…bare bones, multiplayer options,” versus the “we do your thinking for you, pretty without being obtrusive Xbox live” platform. The bottom line is that everyone has their opinions and preferences and we won’t be suppressing any of those today. So why do I like Touchwiz – well, for one…when I started using the Vibrant – I didn’t have any choice…and I sort of got used to it.
My first leap to another OS was a AOSP build, and to be honest – at first, I found it very limiting – I missed my docked icons, the MMS/SMS options, I really liked the side to side applications menu…and while these things are all purely preference, they were my preference when compared to the more stark look and feel of that ROM (which I think was Auxura but don’t quote me). So as I go forward, understand that there’s a person writing the article – and I do have my own opinions based on experience. So without further ado, let’s jump in and see where we land, for this particular comparison I’m going to use the latest team whisky Bionix V (2.2), all stock with no other flashed kernel’s or modems – against the KA6 T mobile 2.2 official release.
Ok – I was the first to admit it, I happen to like Touchwiz – so stealing certain features of it and incorporating with your OS release isn’t going to make me go frowny face on any user boards or forums. That being said, I find the Bionix V version isn’t far more versatile than the 2.2 version released by Tmo. I will say that the device itself is snappier on Bionix and that navigating through menus is measurably faster on the homebrew OS used here. Also, I did reinstall the OTA 2.2 from Tmo a number of times to verify this, but there was a marked increase of lag, especially when navigating from home screen to home screen, even noticeable when looking at the vanilla clair (2.1) compared to the vanilla froyo (2.2) released by Tmo – this was especially apparent when using a live wallpaper as the home screen issue (though, I tested, it didn’t matter as much how many home screens you were using – just that you were scrolling between them with live wallpaper).
I’ll give Bionix this – with what it’s incorporated from Touchwiz – I’m sold. I still miss the 7 individual (editable) home screens – but the contacts/phone app along with the SMS piece – I don’t really need to be on Touchwiz to enjoy it’s refinements as much as I have in other ROMs
I don’t know which one “wins” in this category – or if there is a winner honestly. They can both make calls, receive and make text messages and emails, both surf the web with ease and implement froyo’liscious Flash…so I’m sold on both
Hands down the winner is Bionix. In every application or benchmark – the Team whisky OS is just faster. Quadrant under 2.1 clair (Tmo vanilla) was around 900, with 2.2 I was up around 1050 – with Bionix (which is on a newer file system, lag fixed, etc etc) I was around 1600! Games run faster, apps load quicker – there’s no comparison
Ok – here’s the big category everyone wants to know what types of issues they’ll experience, rather than try and make excuses for them – or get into what’s a “big deal” or “not a big deal” – I’m just going to list these as all of them have frustrated me:
Tmobile 2.2 Official release:
Avatar Bug: If you, like me, moved your version of Avatar off the tiny memory card provided with the phone and on to a bigger card – your version got locked. Yes, there are fixes out there – but all of them involved going back to stock or deleting something – possibly putting back in my old 2 GB card – I couldn’t be bothered. T-Mobile, hear me – you sold this phone with the movie on the side of the box – someone should have tested whether or not the movie – that you GAVE US, not the rights to watch, but actually SOLD US THE MOVIE, would work on an operating system you released. This is made more infuriating by the fact that there was no issue with the leaked builds from weeks before – meaning you broke something – you knew it…but you still released the patch without ever acknowledging it in the release notes or a press release…sloppy sloppy sloppy. Oh, and did I mention that sans one little stupid blue icon – Avatar works just fine in Bionix.
Oceans Live Wallpaper Deleted: What the hell how did you miss this T-Mobile? I realize I can go on the app store and get the .apk from someone who’s ripped it, but why on earth do I have to do that?
TmobileTv = MobiTv: Ahh…fascinating – you paint a turd gold and wonder why we want root access to uninstall your crap. Oh, and I also find it amusing that installing the 2.2 update deleted the links I had for Samsung Media Hub…lucky for me I still had that .apk sitting around
Desktop reset: Holy cow, how I love to go back through and reset my desktop because T-Mobile decides that my preferences aren’t worth saving. Another nagging issue and easily resolved – but it’s one of those “experience” issues that will be hard to overcome from a Customer perspective.
Keis Mini: Oh, T-Mobile won’t be doing OTA’s anymore…ever apparently for the Vibrant. Ok, that’s a sensational comment with very few facts – but I’ve gotten my last two updates from Keis mini – and that’s like installing cancer on my laptop. Seriously Tmo…get your act together – Galaxy-S is a flagship device…I realize you care more about the MT4G…but we don’t.
GPS: It’s still broken. Call me provincial, but I’m one of those that believe when you include an update to a device – you might want to make sure the hardware works with the software? T-Mobile didn’t feel this way – and BAM…another broken GPS OS. I can say with complete confidence that this is not a hardware issue because….guess what? My gps works within 10yard accuracy just fine in Bionix. I can prove it again and again and again – the gps problem on my Vibrant – is a software bug.
Bionix V Issues:
Bluetooth – It may be me, but I’ve seen it on two Vibrants both with Bionix V loaded – every so often, when I enable Bluetooth (for my car for example) through the pull-down menu bar, my phone starts the pairing process and forgets the Bluetooth settings from my car. I don’t know what this is – but it’s annoying that I can’t find one reliable reason that it happens and I’m forced to sit through the four minute pairing process between my car and the phone. Eliminating the car’s memory as the reasonable constant yielded no better results – I’ve had it happen on a Bluetooth headset as well.
And that’s it…believe it or not – that’s the laundry list of issues with Bionix…the one.
This category goes to Bionix hands down.
Honestly, there’s not much comparison – T-mobile dropped functionality out of their 2.2 release and in the competition, the stakes were raised from Nero’s last release to Bionix. Rather than list all of the issues again, I’m going to tackle a new one. I give you the Android Keyboard – which was left out of the 2.2 Official release, inexplicably, paring down the two keyboard options to Swype and the (shudder) Samsung keyboard. Making matters worse – for Joe Everyday…you can’t get your Android Keyboard back.
Winner – Bionix
So that’s it, my wrap-up…I dub thee Bionix the champion winner super-big. I personally won’t ever go back to using stock-rom’s, I’ve seen the light – there are too many factors in making a good stable, decently performing operating system to be left to corporate development teams who, for all intents and purposes – work to a budget that doesn’t allow them time for ample testing and implementation. I’ll personally stick to the poor guys who spend free time doing something they love for the community the (at least from where I’m sitting) fully appreciates them.