Mahdi – Best ROM Ever?

Mahdi Logo

If the rumours are true then the Android 5.0 update will be rolling out to Nexus devices today. The other modder-friendly phone—the OnePlus One—likely won’t be in this first round of Lollipop OTAs, so for OPO users here’s a different kind of update: Mahdi ROM.

I first heard about Madhi on the OnePlus forums; if I’m not mistaken it was one of the very first custom ROMs available for the OPO. It has a Cyanogen base and retains most of the features of the stock ROM, while adding to the mix some innovations from other ROMs as well. The team is already working on 5.0-based firmware, which makes the latest Mahdi download a final release—so it doesn’t get any more stable than this!

I’ve been waiting on an OTA update to the stock OPO ROM, which I was hoping would fix some lag issues I’ve been experiencing with games and scrolling through long web pages. Since I was going to flash a Custom Recovery and a zip of the OTA anyway, I figured I’d give Madhi a try first. It was good decision.

Two immediate benefits of Mahdi ROM are: (1) it’s pre-rooted so you don’t have to flash a separate, and (2) it’s got CyanogenMod’s Privacy Guard baked in. With that out of the way, let’s have a look at some screens!

Mahdi Default Theme

Here’s a fresh install of Mahdi on my OnePlus One. The hardware keys have been disabled and replaced by the on-screen navigation bar. It’s running Cyanogen’s Trebuchet Launcher—the Google Now Launcher is also included. If you find the default wallpaper a little… lacking I’d have to agree; it looks a lot like my doormat.

Mahdi Play Store Theme

Fortunately the Mahdi team has put an L-inspired theme up for download on the Google Play Store, which looks much better. I should mention that even without this theme, Mahdi has a dark UI option similar to SlimKat, which I generally prefer. Saves a bit of battery, too.

And if you don’t care for this particular theme Mahdi supports the Cyanogen Theme Engine, so you can grab the CM Theme Store and replace what you see here with something else.

Mahdi Notifications

Here’s another feature that you won’t find on the stock OPO ROM: Lock screen notifications, which can be swiped away without unlocking your phone. I think this was first developed for Carbon; whatever the case, they’re very handy.

Mahdi Camera

So now the bad news: Instead of the superior camera app you get out of the box with CM11S you get the inferior Cyanogen camera app from CM11. This also means that you lose 4K video recording—though with a non-OIS camera lens it’s not really a deal-breaker for me. You do, at least, still get to record in HFR (slo-mo).

As for stills, HDR is still supported. I myself just use Google’s camera software.

Mahdi Music Player

But here’s some good news: unlike the stock ROM Mahdi has CM’s awesome Apollo music  player on board. Why Cyanogen didn’t include Apollo in CM11S is anyone’s guess; thankfully you can get it through a Play Store workaround.

What I haven’t even gotten to is the insane amount of customizations available on the ROM, particularly when it comes to animations. The video above shows Mahdi running on a Nexus 5, but as far as I know the same options are also available on the OnePlus One.

As I mentioned off the top of the post, the Mahdi team has already moved on to a Lollipop-based ROM, to be called Euphoria-OS. Maybe that’s why the official Mahdi site has been down for some time. But no matter, other download channels are available via this XDA thread.

It may not be Android 5.0, but as custom ROMs go Mahdi is pretty great!