Custom ROM? Root? 2.1 OTA stock? Too many questions.


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Feb 26, 2010
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So, a couple weeks ago I was rooted on SmokedGlass 6.0.1 with 2.1 ESE53 overclocked to 800 mhz. I played with a lot of custom ROMs and kernels and that was the set up that worked best for me. I went back and forth between rooted and un-rooted.

Then the 2.1 OTA Update finally got released. I wondered if I should try it. I talked myself out of it. Then 2 weeks ago someone on this forum asked if he should un-root and go to the stock 2.1. I read that and thought...WTF...I may as well try it. I was bored. It was a slow day at work. I took the afternoon off and played with the phone.

I was happy overall. The first day was hell though as I got used to the 550 mhz and the lagginess of the long lists and my app drawer. Non-rooters probably don't even feel the lagginess.

A couple days later I felt as though the phone was running better. I did clear all my cache and data and allowed it to build a new set of cache which I think helped.

I ran it for a week and a half before last night telling my wife I was sick of it. I was going to re-root. I mean...2.1 OTA was good. But OC was better!

This morning I downloaded the SBF file to flash SPRecovery to the phone and used SDK Tools to push Superuser.apk and Busybox...changed some user rights...added a xbin directory...pushed the apps to the right directories...rebooted and viola...I have a rooted 2.1 ESE81. This is not a hacked rooted version. It is the OTA version that I added root access to as far as I can tell. When I flashed the SBF file I did not see any ROMs pushed to my phone...just SPRecovery which allowed me to mount the data directory so I could use SDK tools with SU access.

After rooting I added Adamz low voltage 800 mhz kernel. Used SetCPU to adjust the speed and it freaked out. I set it to 800 mhz on the slidder scale but SetCPU reported maximum speed in the title bar as 550. The SetCPU widget said it was 384 max. I then slid the slidder back to 700 and everything worked fine. It feels like 800 did when I ran SG 6.0.1. So something is intollerant between Adamz kernel and SetCPU but it does work.

When I unrooted and accepted the OTA update I promised an update on how I felt about it. I know a lot of posters are wondering the same thing. I did this little experiment because I was bored and thought I could provide some useful information for you to make up your own mind. My overall observations of the 2.1 OTA update1 is it is a good ROM. I like the gallery (availble elsewhere)...I like multitouch (available elsewhere). I really likied the feeling that if my phone broke I could drop into the Vz store and deal with it without having to find a laptop to flash an SBF. I also liked that I was not burning up the life expectancy of my CPU.

What I did not like was the lagginess. I know others post that they have no lagginess. I did have it. It stuttered and skipped its way through any long lists I used as well as the app drawer. Was it unbearable? No. But I had been to the OC side of life and knew it did not need to stutter like that.

I liked the llook and feel of the OTA 2.1 ROM...buit I still had Helix Launcher installed so rarely ever saw that rom. I also got several Force Closes each day using the OTA. Probably more related to the aps I run than the 2.1 OTA ROM. But I can say that once I rooted the 2.1 those FCs have gone away. Have not had one since. This was before I installed the OC Kernel. Once I installed OC it just perfromed faster and snappier.

I know this post can't answer the question of...should I go back to stock and accept the OTA? Or...I accepted the OTA...should I re-root? Or maybe it's your first time rooting. All I can do is share my experience. I think I gave the OTA update a fair shake. On day one I was itching to re-root. But I hung in there almost two weeks. It was OK. But at the end of the day I ended up re-rooting. I'm glad I did this test cuz it forced me to move up to a rooted 2.1 ESE81 (not a hacked version). I really like it this way. Is it better than SmokedGlass 6.0.1? No. Just different. I don't have the X (nexus) boot animation...just the plain jane red eye. I did not lose any apps or data or cache doing it this way since I was not installing a rom...I just hacked the root access into what I already had on my phone. The steps involved were a PITA. But it only took 20 minutes and I was done. You just have to pay close attention to the instructions and make sure you put spaces where it calls for spaces cuz the spaces are really small and if you don't look close you might miss that. Other than that it's a cake walk.

You still have to decide what is right for you. This feels right for me.

Good Op. I tried the 2.1 but too did not like the lagging. But I liked the clean feeling of not having a Rom with a bunch of files on my sd card. I installed the hacked verion of 2.1 rooted ese 81 and just used it to install chevys kernel Lv 5 slots 1000. I mainly use it at 800; but that extra 250 makes a difference. Other then the o/c my phone is the same. I will not say that I am not going to try any more ROMs, but for right now I am going to keep it the way it is. The only F/C I have seen was with HL1 every now and then. It feels good not to have to frantically remove my body glove so I can do a battery pull.
thanks nate! i've been debating for weeks on doing the same. i'm a stock guy. i don't need usb/wifi tether, i don't need drocap2, the only thing i want is to be able to use helix without the (ever so slight) lag. so all i want is the OC. i think i'm gonna give it a shot right now!
I swear, if it wasn't for the oc I would be stock right now. I run cyanogenmod with the stock theme at 1Ghz. It is the overclock that is just so nice!
As nate showed in hip op (and what i am running) you do not need a rom to enjoy o/c, as you know. Just add a kernel and helix launcher and you are all set. No disrespect to the different ROMs. But it will be awhile before I check out a ROM.
one other thing i forgot to ask, with this setup, can i remove unwanted stock apps? mp3 store, verizon visual voice mail, goggles, etc?
I have done the same as op using a kernel from p3droid. Have never had any issues and am running a 7 slot lv 1ghz kernel. So far it works great for me - no heat issues and great battery life even clocked to full 1ghz using setcpu.

Personally I prefer having a stock rom with root and custom kernel. Dont need all the eye candy of a custom rom.
if all i'm going to be doing is OC'ing and removing apps, is busybox necessary?
its good for titanium backup, but once you install the app you can use it to install busybox.
ok, well i don't use titanium backup (should i be?). so i will save that for later. i just grabbed chevys lv 5 slot 1ghz, just renamed it to, reboot into SPrecovery and hit install right?

thanks guys!

/nm about the titanium backup. i see how it caters to root users, as opposed to mybackup. i don't plan on switching roms, but if i do i will pick it up, and busybox, along the way.

/nm about the kernel stuff either. i just get a little nervous the first time. so far so good!
That is the thing about titanium; even if you not use it, if you need busybox it will install it for you. Busybox is also used for metamorph and other theme programs.
Just something to keep in mind for the future if you run into a program that requires busybox. It is a fast way to install it.
looks like i'm good to go!! thanks again guys! i gotta figure out how to set up setcpu correctly, and figure out how to monitor temps/speeds, but i still have to read on that stuff!