After years of waiting for Sprint to get their act together, I gave up. I stayed with Sprint for years hoping they would get on the 4G bandwagon. They started, changed their minds, went with different tech, etc. I finally hopped back to Verizon after something like 8 or 9 years with Sprint. I stayed with Sprint for the unlimited data for the most part, but also because I’m lazy! Change is hard! Well first I analyzed my data, I rarely go over 2GB – I could get a 4GB package for the same price I was paying Sprint. And honestly, what good is unlimited data when you can’t get a signal half the time, and when you can it’s too slow to be worth anything? I picked up the Galaxy S3 through Verizon and so began the fun!
Now to be honest, I did not immediately dive right in and root my new phone. I’ll be honest here, I love tweaking things and digging in where I’m not wanted, but the setup on the Samsung phone isn’t actually terrible. I believe they call it Touchwiz, and the phone works great, it’s fast, and it has a lot of pretty cool features. But after a couple of weeks, I did get a bit sick of not having the Google interface that I’m used to and I got a bit sick of all the extra fluff on the phone that I had no intentions of ever using. I don’t need S-voice, or S-memo, or any of that other stuff. I like Google Now plenty, I like Evernote, etc. I was already set in what I liked. So I decided to get back to my happy Google place.
So, here I am, writing this up as much for me as for you, my readers. I need a place to jot down my notes so I can remember how I got here down the road. I really like exactly where my phone is now, if I screw something up too much I want to get back here! Of course I have a backup, but knowing the process is cool too.
So as I read around the webs, I found out that backing up your IMEI data is pretty important stuff. This is the bit that tells your phone what it is. I guess it tells your phone what network it is on, what its phone number is, etc. All pretty important stuff. I ran across a variety of video tutorials that various people have had various success with. None of those methods worked for me unfortunately. That is common, different computer/phone combos have different success, and just the phones themselves can be flaky. I came across this XDA thread, again, no luck. I finally came across this one on XDA that worked perfectly for me, and also seems like the best preventative method. I won’t lie, I learned about this a bit late. I had already unlocked, rooted, and flashed before I learned about this. This is apparently supposed to be the first thing you do!
When I need to unlock or root anything, I usually just head on over to Youtube, there is always a variety of tutorials over there. The second video I found was quality and worked perfectly for me. Here it is!
Now that we have our phone wide open and we have a recovery in place, it’s time to decide on a ROM. I’m a CyanogenMod guy normally, but I felt like doing a lot of reading this time. I really want myself a nice AOSP type ROM, something lightweight(ish), clean, and not too many options. I like options, but only ones I’m going to use. I settled on CarbonRom with Jellybean 4.2.2. I felt good about what the team was saying, and I felt good about the feedback. If you are interested in it, find it here on XDA – I have not regretted this choice at all!
The Galaxy S3 has NFC built in, it was intended to have Google Wallet, I use Google Wallet. My option here is obvious. First thing I did was install Busybox with this app here. There are plenty of Busybox installers on the market, take your pick! With Busybox on my phone I could grab the Google Wallet installer discussed here, which worked flawlessly. I don’t think this will stay put after a ROM flash, so it’s definitely important I put this here for myself!
OK, so this isn’t a necessity. The S3 has a built in car mode. I have a sweet dock that I really enjoy. The dock automatically launches that car mode, but to be honest, the built in options pretty much suck. Verizon has a really stupid app that would get you killed if you use it while you drive, Samsung defaults to just launching S-Voice I believe, which is pretty useless. But here is a cool little find on XDA, the Car Launcher snagged from the Sony Experia Z. No lies, I love this thing. It launches when I plug in, and has big fat buttons that get me to my nav and music.
The keyboard on the S3 that came stock was decent, but you could tap a key on it to upgrade. I never paid attention to what it actually was and I was hopping all over trying to figure it out. Turns out that is Swype and it is fantastic. It’ll probably work on any phone, but as soon as it was gone, I missed it! I grabbed the installer here for the newest Beta – works great for me!
After that it was just a matter of grabbing the Verizon app so that I could have the data use widget, which I really don’t need, but I like it! I grabbed the Jelly Bean live wallpaper from the play store, and I downloaded the NHL gamecenter app (which I don’t need to sideload anymore, since I’m on Verizon).
That takes care of, what I consider, my perfect phone setup. Everything is fast, easy to use, clean looking, and I have all the functionality I need! What do you think? Do you have a Galaxy S3? How do you have yours configured? Is it perfect, or are you still looking for more?