Having missed the boat on the Nexus 6 launch last year I have to think back even further to the 2013 Nexus 5, remembering that it took the big ROM developers of the day a couple of months to produce stable custom firmware for Android KitKat. Cut to late 2015 and there are already two major ROMs available for late-model Nexus phones—and at least one of them is fantastic.
CM13 is the Marshmallow-powered version of CyanogenMod, and nightly versions for select devices are now ready for download. CM is one of the few (perhaps only) custom ROMs where OTA updates actually work, meaning that you won’t have to back up and restore your apps every time you flash a new update.
Me? I’ve found a new favourite ROM called Chroma. Save for the fingerprint sensor my 2014 Nexus 6 now feels just as snappy as a 2015 Nexus 6P.
I was planning on a full review of Chroma but honestly, there’s not all that much to say. Because it’s based on Android 6.0 app permissions are already present, along with full support for RRO layers. Add in the many small conveniences of GravityBox and you’ve basically got Chroma.
Here’s the team’s mission statement from XDA:
Chroma is a lightweight AOSP ROM focused on battery, performance and stability.
The philosophy of Chroma is to stay relatively close to Google’s stock Marshmallow with the additions of essential features that should have been included with stock Marshmallow as well as providing the most up-to-date security patches.
I can definitely vouch for the battery, performance and stability aspects—though I suspect that disabling the full disk encryption on my N6 might have also boosted performance somewhat.
Chroma has stable builds available for every Nexus phone back to the 2012 Nexus 4 (!) If you’re a Nexus modder who hasn’t yet had the pleasure of running the latest version of Android, I highly recommend giving Chroma a try.