It’s been a journey for Google in creating its very own smartphone. It is the next logical step for arguably the most significant name in mobile devices. If the software is Google’s calling card, then the hardware would be the ace in the sleeve. Because of this, we now meet the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.
It is a full end-to-end design made by Google and assembled by HTC. Expect solid performance and reliability due to it housing a Snapdragon 821 chipset. Overall, it is a very sound and stable phone.
But as the Pixel XL gets older, you may want to try to get more out of it to help it compete with new, top of the line devices by using one of the best custom ROMs for the Google Pixel XL.
The Open-Source Community
Android is an open-source project. It is because of this significant advantage it has allowed many developers to join into the community. This developer community has grown quite large, and one of their biggest feats is creating, developing, and customizing ROMs.
Custom ROMs Keep It Relevant
It has increasingly been common for users to replace their phone every two years. Many reasons have pushed this behavior. This would include the consumption plans offered by the telcos, to the lifespan of support for both hardware and software.
The Google Pixel XL is a pricey phone; it is also a solid build. This makes it easy to project that you can be using it for more than the usual two-year span. However, it is common for many manufacturers to drop support two years after it is launched. So the question now is, where can you get continuous support?
This is one of the two biggest reasons for using custom ROMs. You want to keep your device alive and updated with the latest features and updates that Android has to offer. The second reason for using custom ROMs is to make use of the features you want and remove the bloatware you don’t need.
There are numerous custom ROMs out there and choosing one can be confusing. You want to find one that has the features you are looking for, supports the hardware you use; and has a consistent development team behind it. Here are some of my top choices for the best custom ROMs for the Google Pixel XL.
1. Lineage OS
Lineage is arguably the biggest name in the custom ROM world. Starting as CyanogenMod, it is not only a standalone ROM but also the source code for many of the other ROMs available.
- Supports 190 devices which include Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola, Xiaomi and more
- Comparatively more stable than other ROMs
- One of the biggest development team
- The features it offers are basic
If you are looking for something light and useful, then SlimROMs is your choice. It is based on the AOSP code, with a few critical features added like the Slim Recents and Slim PIE.
- A clean and neat interface
- Easy to customize
- One of the lightest ROMs available
- Simple and minimalistic may not appeal to all
3. AOSPExtended ROM
Mostly based on the AOSP Source code, this ROM also adds some customization features that you will find in other devices into your Pixel XL. Some of the best features can be seen with its lock screen and status bar.
- The inclusion of tweaks and customization from other devices
- The commitment of developers to creating other features
- Can feel boring and unappealing
If you are a music lover, then this is the ROM for you. WETA was designed with music as its primary driver. Some feature inclusions are as follows:
- Dolby Atmos
- Beats Libraries and Effects
- Sony Xperia’s premium audio system
- It is a stable ROM
- Specifically designed for music lovers
- It is a specialized ROM for music lovers which can make it seem like a one trick ROM
5. Paranoid Android
Paranoid Android delivers a smooth, well polished, and refined experience with minimal resource requirements. Not surprising, it is also the basis of other custom ROMs.
- Hover Mode which gives you the ability to interact with notifications from other screens.
- It has a fully immersive mode for Android
- Not as feature rich and customizable compared to other ROMs
6. Resurrection Remix
One of the most famous and widely used ROMs, Resurrection Remix packs virtually every feature you can think of. If other ROMs picks specific features, Resurrection takes it all. It is not surprising that it is based on AOSP, Lineage OS, SlimRoms, and Paranoid Android for its source code.
- Feature rich
- Support or major devices
- Quick releases on updates
- It is quite heavy
- Mixing all those features can sometimes make it unstable
7. Dirty Unicorn
Imagine all the advantages of Resurrection Remix, and then add the stability factor. The main difference between the two is the fact that Dirty Unicorn developers write the code from scratch. This is in contrast to Resurrection Remix which combines the codes of different ROMs.
- Stability and feature rich
- Slower releases on updates
8. Pure Nexus
Created during the Nexus era, imagine a stock ROM that contains the customization that you are looking for. Based on AOSP, Pure Nexus is a custom ROM that gives you a very stable performance but gives you the experience of Xposed and Gravity Box.
- Active development and support for Pixel devices
- Stable performance with few to no bugs
- Did not improve battery life compared to stock ROM
9. Carbon ROM
Compared to Resurrection Remix, CarbonROM includes many of the same features but on a more stable platform. Although it still can’t match the sheer number of features that Resurrection Remix offers, the stability and smoothness of CarbonROM are unmatched.
- Feature rich
- Carbon Fibers give it numerous mod possibilities
- Still lacks maximum customization features
10. The Hexa Project
Combining features from different mods and based on a CyanogenMod, this ROM now includes more recent updates from Lineage.
- Smooth and stable
- Still considered an unofficial ROM