A few years back, not many would have thought that smartphones with 5.5-inch or even 6-inch displays will become mainstream in the near future. But today, most of the new smartphones across various price points offer a display size of 5.5-inches or higher, constituting the phablet segment of the smartphone market. Apple too had to finally give in and join the phablet race with its iPhone 6 Plus last year. While Apple may be enjoying the highest growth in phablet sales currently, it is Samsung that almost single handedly ‘created’ the phablet niche with the original Galaxy Note in the year 2011. The ‘phablet’ proved to be a major success and made Samsung the unrivalled leader in the phablet market. The original Galaxy Note launched with Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread out of the box and was later updated to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean by Samsung. However, owners of the Galaxy Note have a number of custom ROMs available to choose from, based on latest versions of Android. Despite being almost a four year old device, the Galaxy Note has a number of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop custom ROMs available. One of the more popular Android 5.1.1 Lollipop ROMs for the phablet is the NightOwl Beta 4 custom ROM.
The NightOwl Beta 4 custom ROM for the Samsung Galaxy Note has been developed by XDA recognized developer bauner and is based on CyanogenMod 12.1. The developer has tried to leave the ROM as close to stock CM 12 as possible, so you might even say that this ROM is more of an Unofficial CM 12 build rather than an altogether different custom ROM. Currently the ROM is in beta stage but it still is quite stable and can be used as a daily driver ROM. No major functions are reported to be broken either, so you don’t have to worry about any feature not working after installing this custom ROM on your Samsung Galaxy Note. There are of course a few minor bugs that need to be fixed, but these too should be fixed in future builds of the ROM. You can expect a lot smoother experience once the ROM gets past the beta stage to being listed as a stable release.
As always, you can get this custom ROM installed on your device by following our detailed tutorial. The installation process is not very simple though, you will first need to prepare your Galaxy Note and when it is finally ready, you can start with the installation process to get it up and running on the device.
So what exactly will you need to do in order to get your Samsung Galaxy Note ready before installing this custom ROM ? Well, you will need to perform a backup of your data and your ROM, unlock the bootloader, install a custom recovery, gain root access, and a few other things. Since it is quite important to back up your data, you will first need concentrate on getting a backup of your data ready and then move on to backing up your ROM. You will need to start by downloading a backup and restore app. Many backup and restore apps can be found by searching for them on the Google Play Store. Some of the top rated apps include Titanium Backup, Helium, and MyBackup. Any of these apps would be good enough to back up your SMS, contacts list, installed apps, and also your app data. However, some backup and restore apps need your smartphone to be rooted, so we would suggest you gain access on your Samsung Galaxy Note before you start downloading the app. Once the app has been downloaded and installed, you can start backing up whatever data that is important to you and then move on to performing a Nandroid backup of your ROM as suggested in the guide posted at this link.
Some of you may have unlocked the bootloader of your Samsung Galaxy Note in the past while the rest of you may perhaps have unlocked the bootloader of your device's bootloader. If your Galaxy Note bootloader is unlocked, you can skip this step, but if it has not been unlocked yet, you have to follow the instructions to get the bootloader of your device unlocked before you start with the ROM installation process. When you have finished unlocking the bootloader of your Samsung Galaxy Note, you can begin to look for the latest version of any popular custom recovery that is available for your device on XDA developers forum. You can choose any custom recovery such as TWRP, CWM, or PhilZ Recovery, just ensure that it is the latest version that you are downloading and installing on your device. Rooting your device before installation is quite important as well, so don't forget to get the Galaxy Note rooted.
Most of the important things that need to be done before installing a custom ROM on your Samsung Galaxy Note have been done. However, there are still two more important things left to do. The first is to check the USB Debugging option under Settings and the other is to charge your Samsung Galaxy Note in case there is low battery charge left.
To check the USB Debugging option, you won't have to do much except going to the Settings Menu and then tapping Developer Options. The USB Debugging option can be found around the bottom of the screen.
As for charging your smartphone, this is something we highly recommend as there are high chances of bricking your Galaxy Note if you take the risk of installing this custom ROM on the device knowing that it has low battery charge levels left. Instead of taking risk, wait a while to install this ROM and first charge your device at least around the 50 to 60% levels.
How to Upgrade Samsung Galaxy Note to Android 5.1.1 Lollipop With NightOwl Beta 4 ROM
- The very first step to get this custom ROM installed on your Samsung Galaxy Note is quite predictable. All you will be doing in this first step is downloading the two ZIP files that are required to get this custom ROM installed on your smartphone. The first one is the NightOwl Beta 4 ROM ZIP file that can be found at this link and the other file is the Google apps or GAPPS ZIP for Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. This second file can be downloaded to your PC from this link.
If you are running Samsung stock Android 4.1 Jelly Bean firmware on your Galaxy Note, you will first need to download the PhilZ-cmw6-XXLT6-XSA-5.061.tar.md5 file to get CWM recovery installled on your device using Odin or Mobile Odin.
Now download this kernel file and flash it via recovery to update CWM recovery. Once done, reboot your device to enter the updated recovery. You can now follow the steps mentioned below. Make sure you transfer the ROM and GAPPS ZIP files to your device’s internal storage before you follow steps 2 and 3.
If you are coming from Android 4.4 KitKat based ROMs or older NightOwl Beta ROMs, connect you Galaxy Note to your computer after the ROM and GAPPS files have been downloaded. Now transfer the two files to the internal memory of your Galaxy Note. While transferring the files, you have to ensure that the files are stored in the root directory and not inside any folder.
If the files have been moved to the internal memory by now, you can unplug your Samsung Galaxy Note from the computer and then get it to enter recovery mode for the rest of the steps.
When your Samsung Galaxy Note boots into the main recovery menu, you will have to begin wiping everything so that a clean install of the custom ROM can be made possible. Before wiping the cache, dalvik cache, system, and data partitions of your Galaxy Note, you will have to perform a factory reset by selecting the 'wipe data factory reset' option in the main menu. After selecting this option, the options to wipe all of the above will show up. Select them one by one and complete the wipe process.
Once you get done with the above step, you can start flashing the files to finish the installation process. The first ZIP file that you will need to flash is of course the ROM ZIP file. Return to the main recovery to flash the file and choose the 'Install zip from SD card' option. When you choose this option in recovery, you will have to browse the internal storage of your Galaxy Note and select the ROM ZIP file in order to flash it. Now begin flashing the file and proceed to the next step once the file is flashed.
Now it is the turn of the GAPPS ZIP file to be flashed via recovery. So choose the GAPPS ZIP file via recovery this time and get the file flashed in the same way as you flashed the custom ROM ZIP file in the earlier step. If you wish to use a custom launcher with this ROM, make sure you download and flash this ZIP file after flashing the GAPPS ZIP file. Once you have done it, select the 'reboot system now' option in the main recovery and reboot your smartphone.
You don't really have to do anything else now, just wait for the custom ROM ZIP to boot up and then start exploring.
For any other details, visit the official ROM thread at this link.