Oxygen ROM

We're back with another reader submitted ROM review, this time around we have Android Central member digitalslacker showing some love for the Nexus S 4G with a great review of Oxygen ROM.  I've used this one for the GSM flavor of the Nexus S, and he hits it right on the head with his review -- a sweet ROM for a sweet phone.  Hit the jump and check it out.

Discuss ROM, hacks, and more for the Nexus S 4G
Big props to digitalslacker!

Oxygen v2.2.1 (August 2011)

Oxygen is a minimalistic 2.3.5 (GRJ90) deodexed AOSP ROM for the Nexus S 4G, and a few other devices, by AdamG. It’s designed to be light and fast. Its completely built from AOSP source, not modded or ported from another ROM. It has all the stock Android features you’d expect with a few additional ones such as; power menu w/ reboot options, overclocking, Facebook contact sync, native screenshot support and many others.

Oxygen ROM  Oxygen ROM

Oxygen ROM

Installation & Setup

Installation went like any other custom ROM. If you are coming from a different ROM its a good idea to wipe data/cache. Just like with the stock, you are presented with the standard Android setup screen post-install. Once that is completed, your apps will be installed automatically. I did experience a few applications FCs after doing a restore with Titanium Backup but those were quickly solved by un-installing and re-installing the affected applications. I’m sure that’s probably more my issue than something with Oxygen but it’s worth noting in case others run into that.

Oxygen has a limited number of Google Apps pre-installed so there is no need to flash Gapps separately as you do with some other custom ROMs. One issue I had was that the Car Home app was missing. I can’t download it from the Market and even trying to side-load the APK didn’t work. For now I’m using a 3rd party car launcher until I can figure it out.


This ROM is one of the fastest and smoothest I have seen for the Nexus S 4G. I’m running at the stock 1.0 GHz and really have no desire to push the phone beyond that. It’s far snappier and responsive than the stock OS. Oxygen comes with the Netarchy based kernel which I do like. Its solid and stable but if you prefer something else you can of course install a different one.


Most AOSP ROMs don’t boast a whole bunch of additional features but Oxygen does have a few that are worth mentioning.

  • Adhoc wifi network support
  • Advanced power menu with reboot options
  • Customizable overclock settings
  • Customizable status bar power widget
  • Download any file type
  • Enhanced auto backlight settings
  • Facebook contacts sync
  • Improved widget picker
  • Long press back to kill mod
  • Optional battery percentage
  • SIP calling over 3G
  • Track change with volume buttons

Most of these features and settings can be managed through the Oxygen Settings application that comes installed with the ROM.

Oxygen ROM  Oxygen ROM

One feature I find particularly useful, which I haven’t seen on other custom ROMs, is the ability to long press the back button to kill active apps. Once enabled in the Oxygen Settings application, simply long press the capacitive back button for about a second and it will kill all the open apps. It doesn’t kill the launcher or background processes, just your open active applications. It’s a quick way to clear things out without risking killing something Android needs.


I’m impressed with Oxygen and I think it may become my day-to-day ROM. I personally prefer Matr1x kernel over Netarchy so I think after I’m done reviewing I’ll switch. There are also a few feature that I do miss coming from CM7 but no show stoppers.

So, if you are looking for an AOSP experience that is minimal and fast, I think Oxygen is a great custom ROM to check out.

To download the latest version of Oxygen visit the Oxygen forums here or download through the free version of Rom Manager.


Reader comments

ROM review: Oxygen for the Nexus S 4G


Nice review. I need to give this rom a try. I used CM7 for a long time but custom kernels wouldn't play nice. I'm on Peter Alfonso's rom now and it is great except for battery life, even underclocked . I'll be trying this rom asap.

That's odd. I'm using Alfonso's ROM on my Nexus S, and battery life is amazing. I get anywhere between 24 and 34 hours without even under-clocking it. Obviously you may use the phone more than I do, but battery life is something everyone on XDA and elsewhere raves about when talking about his ROMs.

"Its completely built from AOSP source, not modded or ported from another ROM."

Bull crap, those "features" are taken directly from CyanogenMod. The CyanogenMod Settings app has just been reworked into "Oxygen Settings" (a classic move by kangers).

"Oxygen has a limited number of Google Apps pre-installed so there is no need to flash Gapps separately as you do with some other custom ROMs."

Cue a Cease-and-Desist letter from Google if this ROM ever becomes popular.

"One feature I find particularly useful, which I haven’t seen on other custom ROMs, is the ability to long press the back button to kill active apps."

This has been in CyanogenMod for MONTHS. It's right in the Development settings menu.

Do more research before you write a review again.

Hey jackass

this rom was ported over from the HTC Desire. He's been developing all this stuff on the Desire since it's release.

Nice try though

The poster is correct, this ROM is just moved around CyanogenMod code. There's nothing new in the ROM that's from the creater.

You, sir, are either misinformed or just plain ignorant.

Yes, some features are just like the ones in CM (per popular request), but coded differently. AdamG tried hard to avoid any of the unnecessary "dirty hacks" from CM.
It's like saying: "Porsche has tiptronic and its the same as in Honda." Well, they do the same thing, but they're not the same, OK?
Oxygen Setting app is nothing like CyanogenMod Settings app.

Have you even tried this rom (or looked at the source code) to make such accusations?

You know not who you speak to or what you speak of. He's right. It's a CM kang through and through. It's not the ROM reviewers fault for not knowing though. It's the ROM makers fault for not fully disclosing that he is pulling a ton of code from CM7.

I've been using Oxygen since v1 - which was Froyo.
You can go and check on XDA the release dates - Oxygen 2.0 was the first Gingerbread custom rom (for HTC Desire only at the time), about one month before CM7.
I wonder who kanged whom...

Nice review. I've been using Decks rom and been considering switching to Oxygen for a while now. Think I'll give it a try. Thanks for even taking the time to write up a review!

Good question. Not many people bother putting a custom ROM on a Nexus device, since stock Android is so great already. However, as you can read in the review above, custom ROMs do include features and tweaks not available on the stock ROM. So some people go for the custom ROMs.

I am running Oxygen 2.2.1 with Matr1x 5.5 kernel, this phone is night and day faster than my wife's N-S, which is just plain jane stock unrooted still.

I had the EVO-3D, and my Oxygen Nexus-S blows it out of the water for smoothness and speed, plus with the "Voodoo" controls, this screen has gone from great to amazing now, the deepest blacks, and most vibrant colors.

I am shocked because this Nexus-S is rather older hardware, single core, etc...and it moves at Warp factor 9. There is zero hiccup or lag whatsoever on this ROM, it's as smooth as flowing water. Compared to my other two Sprint phones, EVO 4G rooted with Myn's ROM, and stock EVO-3D, this Oxygen Nexus-S is no comparison the fastest and smoothest of the three phones. Plus the best screen between the three, no question.

sorry but I have another noob question; what's the difference between a rom & a kernel?

I understand that the rom is the ui software that a person sees & uses to interact with the os, but what does a kernel do for the user?

Oh & if possible can you please explain it in English, not geek. Thanks in advance!

Basically, a ROM is what you said, changes to the UI from stock. It can also contain other features such as the extended settings in CyanogenMod. It can also be a port from another device, for instance this from the Desire or a lot of Droid Incredible ROMs from the Evo. The kernel, on the other hand, is the layer that lets the ROM interface with the hardware. This is why kernels usually offer different performance/battery life from other kernels, and small defects in the manufacturing process are the reason why different phones have different results on the same kernel. Personal example: I own a Droid Incredible; I've heard many people saying they get great performance and battery life on the incredikernel. I tried it out, and it's the worst one on my phone. Each phone is different, so what works for one user may not work for another.

tl;dr Kernel lets software use the hardware

No Oxygen vs CyanogenMod flame war please.

I like both Oxy and CM roms. But we all have our preferences and I love the "close to AOSP" Oxygen style. In fact I'm using Adamg's DevNull rom (pretty much pure AOSP with very few mods) as my daily driver on my SGS2.

Fine review.

I tried this rom and liked it till I started receiving mms messages. They all failed, so I went back to CM 7. Currently using CM 7 nightlies with matrix 5.5 and I can't complain.

hi everyone, i need help with something. on the app "all articles" there are the iOS bubbles. How do i get that?

That app is called News Rob, it's not part of Oxygen but is available in the Market. It's a news reader app that syncs with Google Reader. So that bubble is my un-read feeds in Google Reader.

Guys, thanks for being mostly kind on my first review. My apologizes on the bit about the back button to kill apps. I came from CM7 and have been using it since it was available on the NS4G and never noticed that setting until DrMacinyasha pointed that out. That was my bad!

Is it just me or does anyone else not have the Oxyen Settings app?

Edit: so it seems I installed a different rom and thought it was this, but it was Adam devnulls. Very smooth tho lol

For me, it was pretty close to stock, maybe a little better.

I stream music all day long at work over 3G and constantly charge the phone. I didn't feel that I was really the best use case to review the battery life because of that, so I omitted it from my review.