Nexus devices have always been particularly popular with ROM developers. The Nexus 5 is no exception to this rule. We present the five best alternative firmware files currently available.
With custom ROMs you breathe new life into your Nexus 5 and equip the mobile phone with many new features and functions. Setting options that were not possible with the Google version or only by rooting become a simple fingertip with custom ROMs. In this article, we introduce you to some Nexus 5 ROMs that can be used to make your Nexus 5 even better.
Good to know?
Custom ROMs cannot simply be installed with one click, and there is a reason for that: The installation of a custom ROM is a deep intervention in the Android system, because basically you swap the preinstalled Android system with a modified version of one unknown developer. To install custom firmware, you must first install a custom recovery on the system and then overwrite the preinstalled system. All data will be lost in the process.
Flashing, not bottles
Loading new software onto a flash memory is generally called flashing. For all custom ROM files described here, you have to flash them via custom recovery over the current system. All data will be lost in the process.
To actually install the ROM, copy the ROM file and the Google Apps file (usually both in ZIP format) to your smartphone. Then boot into the custom recovery of your Nexus 5. For this article we used the Win Recovery team. First, prepare your Nexus for the new system. To do this, click on the “Wipe” menu item and drag the blue arrow from left to right. In this way, the recovery clears your device of the data from the previous ROM. Then return to the main menu and navigate to the Install category. In the displayed file browser, select the ROM file as the first file and add the appropriate Google Apps file to the order by clicking on Add More Zips. Confirm the installation by dragging the arrow from left to right. You can always monitor the status of the installation process. When the installation finishes, simply click Reboot System Now and your Nexus 5 will boot into the ROM you installed.
“Purity” means “purity” in English. The developers of the Purity ROM didn’t choose the name for nothing, because they clearly focus your ROM on stability and performance. Nevertheless, you do not forego the elementary additional features and modification options that a custom ROM brings with it.
At first glance you will not notice any major changes or discover new settings after installing the Purity ROM. They are all hidden in the normal Android settings under the item Purity. Divided into seven categories, you have the options of the Purity ROM in one place. Under “Status bar” you can make settings for the appearance and behavior of the notification bar. For example, a tick ensures that the device goes to sleep when you tap the notification bar twice. Under “Quick settings” you can adjust the tiles of the quick settings according to your requirements. You can add new actions, move others, or adjust the order. Under “Screen lock” you can add completely new functions to the unlock slide or make the unlock screen transparent.
As you can see, despite the focus on stability and speed, the Purity ROM comes with customization options that are really useful in everyday life. The download page for the ROM file with the previous builds is in the XDA thread under linked, there is also a link to the Google apps available.
Beergang ROM is still relatively unknown, although it has a lot to offer. The additional features of the ROM can be found in the Android settings under the category Beergang. The developers have placed their features in the so-called “Beerbar” and divided them into six categories. The beer bar allows you to adjust the lock screen, the navigation bar, the notification bar, the LED light and the power menu. In the lockscreen settings, for example, you can specify the display-off animation and whether the device should be unlocked without clicking the Enter button when the correct PIN is entered. In addition to the Beerbar with the configuration options, the Beergang ROM brings with it other, inherently active changes: For example, when the notification bar is opened, the quick settings appear automatically if there is no notification. You can also activate the Dark UI theme in the Android settings. It transforms previous gradients and gray tones into deep black, which looks minimalist and elegant. As a user of the Google Experience Launcher, you will notice the changed number of apps per page to be really useful. Many more apps fit on one page, so that long scrolling through page-by-page apps is saved.
So far there are not as many features in the main ROM as in other ROMs, but the developers are constantly working to improve the ROM. A lot of functions and options will certainly be added in future versions. The current link to the ROM file can be found in the XDA thread of the ROM under . The same Google apps are used as with the Purity ROM. There’s a link here too available to the thread. With the Beergang ROM it is also necessary to have the SuperSU Zip from Chainfire to flash with.
With the Dirty Unicorns ROM you get the most developed ROM to date on your Nexus 5. It is bursting with features and setting options. As with the other firmware files, the ROM’s own options are integrated into the Android settings, but the Dirty Unicorns ROM also comes with apps that expand the range of functions. These include a simple flashlight app, a terminal emulator, the Apollo music app and the DSP manager known from the CyanogenMod ROM. With it you control the enjoyment of music on your Nexus 5 down to the smallest detail, you can create different profiles for different devices and much more. In the Dirty Tweaks you control the general changes. The Dirty Unicorns ROM allows the normal changes known from other ROMs to the notification bar, the quick settings, the navigation bar, the lockscreen etc. But here it starts with extraordinary possibilities. For example, you can choose from a wide selection which animations should be used. It gets really interesting in the “Miscellaneous” category. There are really many features here that are rather unknown but really good! With ActiveDisplay, you activate an unlock screen on your Nexus 5 that is modeled on that of the Moto X. In the case of notifications, not only the LED, but also the display with additional information indicates this. The appbar is a bar on the edge of the display from which you always have quick access to previously defined apps. In Gesture Anywhere you can link your own gestures to previously set actions, which you can then carry out from anywhere. The HALO bubble known from the Paranoid ROM is also on board. For the power users, the Dirty Unicorns ROM also offers further options such as information on partitioning and, in the “Performance” setting, the possibility of modifying the governor, the scheduler and the processor frequency. All in all, the Dirty Unicorns ROM comes with a lot of expanding options, some of which have not yet run smoothly. The ROM settings hang here and there, or it doesn’t work as intended. This behavior is due to the early stage of development. However, this does not detract from the extensive options and possibilities, so the Dirty Unicorns ROM is our clear recommendation for power users. The download link to the ROM file as well as to the appropriate Google apps is in the XDA thread of the ROM under available.
Made famous by innovative features such as HALO and UI adaptability for every app, the Paranoid ROM has enjoyed great popularity on previous Nexus devices. Of course, the developers also make their ROM available for the latest smartphone in the Nexus series. So far, there are only BETA versions of Paranoid, but they don’t even come close to bringing the usual wealth of features with them. The hybrid properties for making the known UI modifications are completely missing and there are not many other options either. This is because the developers are still in the middle of development. They regularly release new beta builds with more and more features. So it’s worth checking every now and then to see if a new version is available. You can access the ROM’s own download page at on. Special paranoid Google apps are also on the download page below available.
Changing the firmware is not an impossible task with a little know-how and the necessary caution. As a sense of achievement, you will discover completely new possibilities and features, depending on the ROM. Thanks to Android, there are hardly any limits to customization. Which of the listed ROMs you ultimately choose is a matter of taste. Some like an abundance of settings, others prefer a fast and slim OS to functions. In any case, it’s worth taking a look at the custom ROM scene in order to use the Nexus 5 even more efficiently.
- Purity ROM: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2528265
- SuperSU: http://download.chainfire.eu/372/
- Beergang: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2526681
- Dirty Unicorns: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2588152
- Paranoid: http://paranoidandroid.co:8000/roms/hammerhead/
- AOKP: http://aokp.co/devices/hammerhead
- Purity ROM download: http://htcfanboys.com/download/DariosF/?action=list&folder=6918
- Google apps: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2397942
- Paranoid Google Apps: http://paranoidandroid.co:8000/gapps/