Team Sonic’s FreeGS3 Samsung Galaxy S3 ROM Review

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This is a review of the FreeGS3 ROM by Team Sonic for the Samsung Galaxy S3 (it’s only for GSM variants, and we tested it on our T-Mobile SGS3). The ROM is based off of stock TouchWiz 4.0.4 and is fully deodexed, zipaligned, has busybox and superuser installed, and is free of most bloatware and CarrierIQ. But if that isn’t enough for you, FreeGS3 also includes several extra features that make the user experience even better. Check them out below:

No boot up or shutdown sounds:  Whether you’re turning the phone on or off, you won’t hear a sound anymore. And with the annoying T-Mobile jingle on the SGS3, this is a very good thing.

Awesome Beats: Awesome Beats is basically Beats Audio on the SGS3. I haven’t tested it enough to be able to tell the difference, but I’ll take the developers word for it giving a better audio experience.

Audio Hack by Meltus: Speaking of audio experience, the audio hack by Meltus pushes the Galaxy S3’s speaker to its full potential. In other words, it makes it louder in the same way that Volume+ does. Again, I haven’t noticed the difference myself here but take the developers word for it.

Jelly Bean Animations: Even though the ROM is based off of ICS, that doesn’t mean that the animations have to be stuck in the past. The FreeGS3 ROM uses Google’s latest set of animations making everything feel faster and look smoother (sort of like project butter does in Android 4.1).

Modded YouTube Apps: Yes, it’s plural on purpose. There are two YouTube apps that come with the FreeGS3 ROM. One is basically the Android 2.3 looking version of the YouTube app with the extra feature of being able to download YouTube videos right onto your phone. The other is the same new YouTube app with a black theme.

CRT Animation: Like we saw in Android 2.3, the FreeGS3 ROM brings back that CRT screen shutoff animation. It is pretty slick but I’ve had issues where it causes flickering when I turn the screen off about 50% of the time. Not a big deal, but does make things feel a little glitchy.

Quick Controls: There is an app called “extended quick controls” that comes preloaded with the ROM. This app lets you customize the toggles in the notification bar. There are a bunch of different options you can choose from, from rotation to screen brightness.

Sony Bravia Engine: I’ve taken a bunch of pictures while using this ROM but haven’t really noticed too big of a difference in quality, but according to the developer who ported this over the Sony Bravia engine is supposed to make pictures look smoother than they are normally. Sounds nice in theory, but I’m holding out judgement until I see the difference for myself.

4 Way Restart: When you press and hold power, and then press “restart” you’re given a few options: reboot, hot boot, download, or recovery. It’s a small thing but it makes it pretty convenient to get to exactly what you’re looking for.

So far I have been happy with the FreeGS3 ROM. There aren’t any major bugs that I’ve seen thus far and performance seems buttery smooth. I did a few benchmarks with the ROM but got scores that were pretty much identical to the ones I got with the stock ROM (given they’re running the same kernel). This is the third release of the ROM, with a fourth one coming up which means it’ll only get better. Check out the XDA Developers thread for more information from the developer. I’d like to give a big thanks to uoY_redruM and the rest of Team Sonic for providing this awesome ROM.

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About Author

David Rahimi is the editor-in-chief at PhoneBuff.com. Ever since he got his first smartphone, he has been obsessed with mobile technology and all that it has to offer. Other interests include business, investing, and neuroscience.