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Google has finally released the Google Play Edition of Galaxy S4 last week and you are in luck because developers has already ported as a custom ROM for most of the Galaxy S4 models including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Canadian, and GT-i9505. (GT-i9500 users will have to wait a bit longer)
The biggest notice I noticed between existing AOSP ROMs and the Google Play Edition ROM builds?
Well, benchmark performances of Quadrant and Antutu are much higher. In fact, they are higher than TouchWiz-based ROMs, which the opposite is the norm. I suspect that this is due to the fact that it’s an “official” build from Google that includes all the necessary drivers, allowing your S4 to run on AOSP at full speed.
Now, there’s two different Android versions, Android 4.2.2 and the all-new Android 4.3. It’s interesting to note also that Google has launched Android 4.3 on the Galaxy S4 first (and also for HTC One Google Play Edition). With Android 4.3, there’s a simple root method for Android 4.3,
there’s no current root method at the time of this writing while Android 4.2.2 comes with root. So, if you need root, definitely go with Android 4.2.2 version and I don’t see much difference between the two versions anyways, performance on 4.2.2 and 4.3 are nearly identical.
Overall, the Google Play Edition ROM is pretty solid with everything working out of the box, if you haven’t tried it yet, definitely give it a twhirl over the week(end) and do let me know what you think!
To install, reboot into recovery, wipe data/factory reset, install ROM and reboot.
For AT&T SGH-i337 users ONLY, after installing ROM, install Loki Doki (flash the zip file in CWM/TWRP recovery), then reboot.
If you end up in a bootloop, you can try rebooting into recovery, go to Mounts & Storage, format /system and format /data, and re-install ROM, and reboot. (Only if you end up in a bootloop after installing.)
For general installation tutorial, see our custom ROM installation guide.
What is a Custom ROM?
A custom ROM is a custom, modified operating system that you can install on your Android device. Basically it's like installing Windows OS on a Macbook. By installing a custom ROM, you can bypass stock factory settings like locked hotspot tether, install new Android versions early, or even convert your phone into another OS.
With a custom ROM, you can really maximize the capabilities of your smartphone by adding custom features that have been developed by open source developers.
How to Install Custom ROMs
First, you will need to root your device, if it is not rooted yet, follow our root tutorial and root your phone.
Once rooted, you should have TWRP installed on your phone. Installation of a custom ROM is easy if you learn the basic of it. If you don't know how to install custom ROMs using TWRP recovery, see our tutorial on How to Install Custom ROM using TWRP!