I figured just like how wine becomes finer with the passage of time, almost a month of heavy daily usage on a ROM is enough solid time for me to give a fine (hopefully) take on the ROM in question.
Oh, that wine analogy sucks, you say? Well, not until you've figured that a week in the realm of mobile technology is equivalent to probably a year or two in the wine world, considering how shockingly fast mobile tech can evolve. It's sorta like how the comparison between human years and canine years goes. There's constantly always something new and more advanced rushing down the tech pipeline at breakneck speed anyway.
Just to get it off my chest so that there are no repressed thoughts between you and me: Actually, I don't drink wine and I know zilch about it, which means my analogy probably does suck without me even realizing it myself. The only thing I know about wine is that it doesn't make you high as quickly as beer and liquor do. You can keep your stones, wine connoisseurs. 不知者无罪嘛。
Anyway, I consider my Note 2 a hybrid Galaxy Note '2.5' ever since the day I started rocking with the Tigra ROM, considering the latest 4.3 official firmware for the Note 2 (at the time of this blog post) has held back on the Note 3 features, heh. XDA moves at a pace faster than your official gallops, Uncle Sammy, I think you need to giddyup.
Before DN3, I was running Tigra ROM, which was stable and didn't give me any problems at all (after the initial FlashBarService issues got ironed out) but battery life on DN3 has been noticeably better and this factor alone is certainly a big plus over Tigra for me. Minor plusses include the fact that emojis come coloured on the Note 3's keyboard on DN3 while the one on Tigra doesn't.
DN3 also allows you to choose either multiple transparency levels for the Multi-Window panel or you can leave it as default opaque from within Aroma Installer when you flash the ROM. Don't forget that you can choose to forgo installing whatever you consider as default bloatware while tangoing with Aroma.
You can also kill off any bloat stragglers with Titanium Backup at any point in time after you've flashed the ROM. Watch it and don't be too trigger-happy and end up shooting the innocent dead though, since some system processes happen to be essential and indispensable for things to work properly. If in doubt, just flick the safety on. It doesn't have to get more complicated than that.
Quad View Multi-Window
I did mention that DN3 comes with some extra features and its Quad View Multi-Window is one such, which is a feature the Note 3's own Multi-Window doesn't have. You can have 1, 2, 3 or up to 4 windows opened simultaneously as depicted in the pic on the right.
However, I'm not so sure that the Quad View is such a great idea. If you've studied the photo closely, you ought to have observed how the elements in each of the 4 apps seem to be kinda compressed in a squeezed sort of way. Have only 2 apps shown as per normal though, and you won't see this squeezed effect.
If you have 2 apps opened in the Multi-Window and you pull in a third app, it won't replace either of the 2 already opened app windows, it creates a third window for itself instead and that's when the squeezed effect happens between the 2 apps placed horizontally side by side next to each other. Pull in a 4th app and every window starts looking like that fat Michelin mascot squeezed into a test tube.
I very much prefer the original Multi-Window which allows for only a max of 2 windows to be opened at any one time that doesn't bring about the squeezed effect and you can still toggle between different multiple apps within each window via the 'Switch Application' function anyway. I can understand that the devs wanted to bring more to the table but if more makes things look out of place, then less which looks right would be the better option, in my humble opinion.
Definitely not trying to diss the devs there, I certainly appreciate the good work they do. Afterall, it's impossible for anyone to please everybody at the same time and there are DN3 users that actually like and appreciate the Quad View feature. So the problem is not with the feature itself, since despite the squashed look, the apps within each window are still very much functional. As such, I think the problem lies in my own preferences instead.
Now here's something cleverly implemented: While you are at the Homescreen (as opposed to within an active app currently onscreen), if you pull out an app from the Multi-Window panel and drag it to, or near the center of the screen, the app gets launched as a floating window which can be moved around, maximized, minimized, closed or resized.
If you need to open the app in fullscreen mode instead (again, while you are at the Homescreen), just drag it towards either the upper or lower areas of the screen. Either way, there will be a blue highlighted area that lets you know where on the screen your app will open when you release the drag.
The devs call these 'Pen Windows' though, but I'm calling them 'Floating Windows' here instead just for the sake of differentiating them from windows opened directly via the Pen Window feature proper. They behave exactly like Pen Window windows, actually. In fact, in essence and in functionality, they ARE Pen Window windows. If only I got awarded 50 bucks for every mention of the word 'window(s)' within this paragraph.
I think you can open as many windows as your RAM can handle. I once opened 6 or 7 windows concurrently and everything still operated smoothly without any sign of a slowdown. I could have gone on opening more windows but I tend not to do unnecessary things I don't happen to have a need for doing and end up feeling as dumb as I would have felt after babbling bad wine analogies.
Finally, since the Note devices are designed for multitasking, don't forget to get your mitts on the hacks which allow you to place any selected apps of your own choice for use with the Multi-Window and Pen Window. I'm using the Wanam Xposed module which you can download for free from within the Xposed Framework as well as Pen Window Manager which you can download for free off the Playstore for these two features respectively (for rooted Galaxy Notes only).
I've encountered only the following 2 bugs so far:
- Trying to choose a notification ringtone for the stock email and pasting anything directly into it crashes the email (pasting from the clipboard via the keyboard works fine). However, after flashing the email fix, everything started working without a hitch. Happy ending.
- Just like how it was for me on Tigra ROM, I initially encountered the FlashBarService (which is the process governing the Multi-Window) crashes brought about seemingly randomly when I sometimes tried to launch Pen Window while the Multi-Window was already activated.
And just like how it was with Tigra ROM, the problem went away after some time. I'm not sure if this has something to do with certain conditions or processes being activated after a certain period of regular usage which eventually stabilized the FlashBarService process? I'm still scratching my head over this one and leaving nail marks all over my poor scalp.
So yeah, the Quad View Multi-Window aside, I'm happy with DN3 overall. If you would like to try this ROM out for yourself, the devs as well as some users have recommended flashing the MJ5 bootloader for best stability. I'm including the direct download link for the bootIoader for the GT-N7100 model here because trying to hunt it down even from within the official DN3 thread on XDA would probably make you end up popping a Paracetamol pill.
So flashing the MJ5 bootloader was what I did via Odin and you can skip Dr Ketan's WiFi fix if you flash the bootloader, which is the better option.
Happy flashing if you have a rooted GT-N7100 or GT-N7105 Galaxy Note 2 and would like to have the non-hardware dependent features of the Galaxy Note 3 running on it. Bring your Note device to the next level till you can enjoy it even better - just like enjoying sips of finer wine.
Thank you for reading this and do have a good day ahead, dear gentle reader. You have my admiration for having the endurance to put up with bad analogies thus far.
Update on 10th June, 2014: I'm now running on the new Ditto Note 3 version 5+, which combines the Note 3 features with some S5 elements since a few days back. No bugs encountered so far and everything is just better. And oh, hooray for no quad view multi-windows. Finally. Let's just say it's like having a brand new phone.
-De Lion Speaks