ROM review -- Serendipity for the Samsung Captivate

The Samsung Galaxy S line gets a lot of custom ROM love, and the Captivate is no exception.  The awesome hardware just begs to be put to task, and there's that whole Android 2.2 update issue for Galaxy S phones in the USA.  This time around Android Central forums adviser ls377 gives us a look at Serendipity 6.2 for the Captivate, and it's a stunner.  But don't take my word for it, head on past the break and have a read.  Thanks, Larry!

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Serendipity 6.2

When I first got my Captivate a few months back, the first thing I did was try to find the best ROM to flash. Most Captivate owners know the stock experience is lacking, and the restrictions imposed by AT&T can be annoying to any power user. After hours of research, I decided on Serendipity, from MikeyMike01 and ChanceM, for my first flash, and I haven’t looked back. The look and performance of this ROM is spotless, and has met all of my needs since day one.

The first thing you notice about Serendipity is the heavy Gingerbread themeing. Don’t let the colorful wallpaper you may be familiar with from HTC fool you, the black and green status bar, Gingerbread launcher, and themed menus are all there, and they make your Captivate look and feel like Gingerbread. But Serendipity takes the darker theme introduced in Android 2.3 to another level. The included apps have a black theme, including the Market, Gmail, Messaging, and most of the stock apps. This color scheme looks great on the Captivate’s Super AMOLED screen. Serendipity uses the stock Android lockscreen by default, but one of the best features of many Samsung custom ROMs is the choice of lockscreen. You have the Android, Epic, glass, orb, and rotary lockscreens to choose from, and all five are appropriately themed. Throw all this together with some snappy transitions, and you get a thorough but not over the top theme. There’s even a red theme available for those of you who can’t stand Android green (if you don’t like black, then you’re out of luck).

Of course, looks aren’t everything. Every user needs great performance, and Serendipity delivers. Built off of the JS7 leak for the international Galaxy S, with hardcore’s Speedmod kernel, the ROM includes the latest software from Samsung, combined with tweaks from the developer community. All of the AT&T and Samsung bloatware, including Touchwiz, is absent in Serendipity. The ROM runs extremely speedy and smooth, with virtually no lag, and handles demanding tasks with ease. There are also various sharpness and brightness tweaks, and the kernel comes with Voodoo sound, which greatly improves sound quality and volume. The battery life gets me through a day with minimal charging. Oh, by the way, GPS locks almost instantly.

One of the coolest features of this ROM doesn’t even make it to your phone. The ROM has most of the Samsung apps taken out, and there are many options for battery mods and transition effects. It’s a pain to have to flash 3 or 4 zips, and push apps to the system partition, so the developers came up with an “add-on kitchen”. You can choose you themeing options and apps to add, and the kitchen packs them together in a single, clockwork flashable zip, streamlining the installation process. There are other useful features from the ROM, including backlight notifications, which uses the backlight for the capacitive buttons as an LED replacement, and the hacked camera app, which allows you to take pictures with the power button.

What I’ve talked about here is just the tip of the iceberg. Serendipity, in my opinion, is the best choice for a custom ROM on the Captivate. It brings out the hidden functionality in your phone that AT&T and Samsung failed to give it. If you’re worried about updates, Serendipity has you covered, with updates coming weekly, and sometimes as often as twice a day. If you own a Galaxy S device, and are disappointed by the software that has been provided to you, you should look into a custom ROM. The devs have taken a somewhat crippled phone, and turned it into a beast with unmatched smoothness and stability. Chances are, your phone has something that performs just as well as Serendipty.

 Serendipity 1  Serendipity 2

Serendipity 3  Serendipity 4

Serendipity 5  Serendipity 6

Serendipity 7

Serendipity 8

 
There are 21 comments

rootusr says:

hey jerry great review! I have a galaxy s i9000 and I know this rom is compatible with my phone, I just wonder if it should be as good as you says it is for the Captivate. What you think?

Thank Larry (AC Adviser ls377) :) All I do is put it on the blog, he did all the work lol.

After talking with him about it, I'd certainly give it a try on your i9000. I love the black app look on the SAMOLED screen, and wish I had something similar for my Nexus S

Rootmepls says:

I've been using it on a Captivate for over a well over a month, since early 5.0 (before that Cognition). Best ROM I've found so far. When 6.0 rolled out it took about half a day to squash all the noticeable bugs that people reported. By 6.2 I installed and haven't had any issues. I've had Samsung stock firmware on my phone for about a week of its life.

ls377 says:

It should be better, if anything. The ROM is i9000 based in the first place, so they probably just took out all the Captivate reorientation.

ChanceM says:

If your Rocking an i9000 we have a build especially for you! It can be found here on the i9000 forums at xda.

ChanceM

GQ50 says:

This maybe the ROM Ive been looking for. Just learned how to flash ROMs. Hope this is very stable and what about voice dialing using bluetoothe devices?

ls377 says:

Not to pimp my own work, but we have a thread for that ;)

http://forum.androidcentral.com/t-captivate-rooting-roms-hacks/63024-ind...

EDIT: Oops, wrong comment. This is meant for the one below. Not sure about bluetooth voice dialing, because I don't use bluetooth.

Myria says:

ROMs built off of non-i897 kernel/modem combos aren't going to have support for the Audience chip, at least not as far as I can determine. Kinda a deal killer for me, since the software noise canceling seems to be vastly inferior to the Audience hardware.

Outside of Cognition, I'm not sure which ROMs are i897-based, but it's something to keep in mind.

eliminat says:

While Serendipity is a good ROM, I still personally prefer the Cognition series ROM.

The article is a little mis-leading. You state that you decided on Serendipity, then later state that certain features and speed are "unmatched" without stating which other ROMS (if any) you tried as well as Serendipity. If you haven't tried any of the other ROMs, you don't know it's "unmatched". If you have, please list the ROMs you tried before settling on Serendipity as points of reference. In reviews I put more weight behind and appreciate reviews comparing not only to stock, but to other options as well.

ls377 says:

See, this is what happens when I write stuff on two different days, I contradict myself. You should see my college papers :)

To be honest, I haven't given any other ROMS a thorough testing. Nothing has wowed me enough to keep me off this for a long enough period. However, I'm constantly reading through threads here and at XDA, and the general consensus backs up my claim. Maybe that's not the best way to go about things, but during the day I need stability and battery life, so I don't have time to give other ROMs a thorough testing. Take that as you may.

My point is, Serendipity has been so good, I haven't had to look for something better.

E_man says:

Serendipity is THE best froyo rom I've tried on my captivate, including cognition.

However, the lure of CM7 was too great, and it's actually quite stable by now, so that is my daily driver. However, if mikey and chance make a CM based rom, I will be all over it. Those guys do awesome work.

DrewCSchultz says:

Oh wow, is there a way to get that gray Google search widget on CM7?

bdotto14 says:

Great review, I don't even have a Captivate and I want to try it!

Thanks for the review! I recently upgraded to the captivate (first android/smart phone) and I love it for the most part. I get sad though after reading about certain things about it I can't do yet I know it can so, no problem.. I have never flashed a phone in my life before and I have recently decided to street clear of at&t's official 2.2 update due to all of the problems I've been reading about it, in general, and all of the installation problems people have been running into...

I'm hoping this is what I've been needing and hoping for and more. I have lots of questions but the one I was really hoping to get answered by someone is whether or not I'll need an internet-connected pc or if this was something I could do by copying over the necessary files to my pc and flashing it without any problems. Can anyone help? Thanks again, I really hope I can start enjoying this here soon!

ChanceM says:

Well if you could get all the files together it would be possible. I would highly suggest an internet connected PC so you can grab all the parts. Plus you can visit our IRC and get lots of help.

ChanceM

klee0032 says:

I'm really thinking about puting a custom rom on my Samsung Captivate. So I did a little research and everything I came across says you have to root your phone before you can put a ROM on your phone. I figured as much but when I went to the serendipity website and was browsing around under the recommended section #4 states

(Place this update.zip on your SD Card. Flash it in 2e recovery (twice). This will install Clockwork Mod Recovery. No root is necessary.)

So Now I'm wondering do I really have to do a root before or in the process of installing the ROM does it root the phone for me. I'm just a little confused. If someone could claifiy this for me I would greatly appreciate it.

Merv80 says:

klee0032, hopes this helps. The information from the Serendipity website is correct, no root needed. Follow the instructions, which are fairly simple, and it loads Clockwork Mod for you. From there you choose which ROM to load, let it do it's thing and test it out.

Thank you to MikeyMike01 and ChanceM for making this available and for turning my bloatware infested Craptivate into an amazing machine that i can actually enjoy using. Good review, great ROM.

^ Great question.. Thanks for the advise, I am going to go ahead and wait until this weekend to do the update from a pc with internet connection just to be safe... Hopefully I'll be rocking serendipity by this time next week.

This ROM is amazing! I've been using Mikey's ROM's on my Captivate since Assonance. It's the only ROM that can compare to CM7.

marco.92 says:

i tried to do this for my captivate & i was unsuccessful :[
i dont know what i did wrong or maybe im just new to the whole thing but i really want to get this on my phone. i need help.

t3chn0s1s says:

I have owned my Captivate for almost a year now and finally decided to root & flash a custom ROM. After some thorough research and reading/viewing screenshots of different ROMS I decided on Serendipity (which BTW now, is up to v6.4). I absolutely LOVE it. The stock Touchwiz interface BLOWS HUGE CHUNKS and is quite lackluster to say the least. I must say that AT&T and Samsung really failed to deliver a stable and aesthetically pleasing UI in the Captivate. I honestly can say that this ROM hasn't solved ALL of my problems (GPS is at the top of my list) but it has helped tremendously. One odd thing I ran into after running Serendipity for 2 weeks was my accelerometer/G-sensor suddenly stopped working. I'm honestly not sure if this performance issue had ANYTHING to do with Serendipity. After this occurred I did more reading on XDA and such & found no certain answers. Everyone seemed to think it was one thing or another and no one could offer a solution other than to factory wipe all my data & start fresh. I did just that & my acclerometer is working perfectly again... Regardless, I love this ROM and will NEVER flash back to stock EVER EVER AGAIN.