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My HD2 Featuring NRG’s GTX ROM

My daily weapon of choice is none other than the beautiful T-Mobile HD2. Not that this device needs much of an introduction, but I’ll go ahead and point out a thing or two for those of you who have been residing in a cave for the past few months.

The HD2 is outfitted with a huge 4.3 inch multi touch screen, a 1GHz snapdragon processor and the ability to hold the phone however you want to make phone calls. There is a laundry list of other really important features I should be mentioning, but oh well! Huge screen and 1GHz processor sums it up nicely.

Directly from T-Mobile, the phone comes loaded with the latest and greatest version of HTC’s Sense UI. I doubt most will ever understand how big a deal this is, but considering this thing runs windows mobile 6.5, a top notch UI like Sense is more than welcome!

Around here, we have a problem with running things “as is.” It’s just the rebel in me, the need to do exactly what they told me not to do. If I were to buy an iPhone, I would jailbreak it the minute I get home. If I were to buy some sort of android device, it would be rooted in the car on the drive back from the store. And so, my beloved HD2 has been Hard SPL’d and ready for war!

Hard SPL is a little firmware hack that allows us to load up custom ROMs on the device. This is where the real fun begins. Custom ROMs offer the absolute latest and greatest from all aspects, be it software updates from newer devices to new and improved radio drivers for the cell phone radio itself. It’s all available and waiting for you. But you will be warned! You can and will brick your device should you not read and follow instructions! Luckily, there is a wealth of information available on the forums and lots of people willing and able to help out.

After you’ve flashed your first ROM, you will never be able to stop. You will develop a constant need to flash. You will read things like “so much faster than the previous ROM,” and your instincts will get the best of you. And then your mind takes over, you start to tell yourself things like “man, this really is faster!” But its okay, I welcome you! I’ve been waiting for you! We will walk this sad road together! And we will discuss why we think the device freezes when it wakes up from suspend mode. And so on and so forth.

Mental issues aside, I am here today to discuss what I am currently running on my HD2. What ROM I am running, how it’s set up and even an app or two. Not that anyone cares, but I like to tell myself you guys love me, so let’s dig in!

Usually I stick to Dutty’s ROMs, but today I went back over to the NRG camp to see what was going on. NRG is just about the most popular chef there is, mainly because he cooks ROMs for a long list of devices. This is where I developed my love hate relationship with his ROMs. I remember having my Touch Pro II running NRG’s ROMs, and it wasn’t always a nice thing. Some obvious things would be missed up or missing or simply ignored because he didn’t have the time to devote a little more TLC to one device. But none the less, the ROMs for the most part were always stellar and always worked.

So coming home to a NRG ROM would feel very familiar. Then came the exciting part, which version would I select? He cooked so many it is almost over kill! I said almost! After running Dutty’s No frills strictly performance ROMs, I felt like it was time for some eye candy, so I went with the NRG GTX version. Boy oh boy what a choice!

Figure 1 My home screen after setup

GTX is a very attractive skin for HTC’s Sense UI. Just about everything has been retouched to pull together a beautiful white colored experience. It’s done so well, you could swear it came from HTC themselves. On first boot, it’s really a thing of beauty to look at. Even hours after setting up the phone, I can’t help but look at the theme in awe. But GTX shouldn’t have all the credit here, NRG has added some little tweaks and touches of his own as well. He really pulled it all together nicely.

Visuals aside, the NRG performance and stability is very much present here. This ROM is as fast and responsive as they come. There is no lag at all when navigating the UI or when using app in your everyday routine. Also present are NRG’s expert chef choices. Things like using the default text messaging method over HTC’s buggy offering, or the inclusion of ArkSwitch task manger to assist in multitasking.

Figure 2 NRG has included the new lock screen from HTC.

NRG even added a widget of his own that will display the change log in his newest rom, very nice! Because his cooking style and choices are so mature, there is very little tweaking I have to do after a flash. The first is to turn the backlight back to auto; NRG has the backlight set to full brightness by default. Second is to log in to MyPhone to pull down contacts, then off to marketplace to download my apps. And lastly, install the rest of my apps from the .cab files on my storage card. It may sound like a lot, but trust me, it really isn’t. NRG’s ROMs are very usable right from flash. Nice!

Figure 3 My quick links applications

From the marketplace I grab a few key apps I use every day. Personal Assistant from Page One is my first download. This app allows me to add just about all my financial accounts from bank accounts to phone bills. It has a very straight forward UI, and really keeps me in the loop as to where my money is going.

Then I grab my favorite twitter app MoTweet, followed by my second favorite TouchTwit. Please don’t ask me why I feel the need to use two twitter apps, because I don’t have an answer for you!

Lastly I grab Wordy. This is a highly addicting word game, and just in case you want to know, I suck at it! Go figure.

From my storage card, I install my SPB wallet app, which keeps a digital copy of all my cards for reference should I need them. EverNote for all my notes. There are a few more apps, but last but not least I install IMAP Pusher. This is a neat little app to enable push on all my Gmail email accounts on the phone. I simply cannot live without this, and kudos to the developer who took the time to make it happen.

All in all, my setup of this ROM took about 5 minutes, and it was a very worthy flash. My only complaint really isn’t a complaint anymore because I am used to it. For whatever reason, NRG’s ROMs just seem to have some sort of vendetta against the battery. This rom is no different; it eats through the battery like you would not believe. But because it’s so beautiful, I really don’t care! To combat this I have an extra battery with me at all times, so eat away pretty little ROM…eat away! Besides, it could be worse, I could be using a Sprint EVO.

I highly recommend this ROM to anyone running a HD2, or any NRG supported device for that matter. It’s simply a thing of beauty. Now, if you’ll be so kind as to excuse me while my HD2 and I go off to fight crime!