FoxHound ROM for Galaxy S3: The Best of All Worlds?

One of the most important reasons I decided to buy a Samsung Galaxy S3, instead of waiting for the new Nexus device, was that given the popularity of the Galaxy brand, there were bound to be hundreds of custom ROMs developed for it. See, if there was an AA group for customization addicts, I’d be standing there now and introducing myself, “Hello, my name is Rita and I’m an addict.”

For about 2 months after getting the S3, I gave Samsung the benefit of the doubt, restraining myself to their own ICS flavor. However, the delay in official Jelly Bean’s arrival on my device and the itch to try something new finally pushed me over the edge. So I set out searching for custom ROMs and I looked at CyanogenMod first, a long-time favorite. But it was either a choice between a stable ICS — isn’t that what I was running away from? — with CM9, or a nightly Jelly Bean with CM10 and many bugs still plaguing it.

Then I widened my horizons, downloaded about 10 different ROMs and ended up on FoxHound, a surprisingly awesome custom ROM that ticked so many boxes for me. Here are the reasons I fell in love with it and decided to use it as a daily driver.


Like the article? You should subscribe and follow us on twitter.

This ROM is only for the international Galaxy S3 I9300. Don’t flash it on other versions of the S3.

FoxHound Is Based on Stable Samsung Jelly Bean

Foxhound uses the latest Jelly Bean release by Samsung. While this might sound like an inconvenience to everyone who hates TouchWiz, it’s still a major advantage. Samsung-based ROMs are more stable, relatively bug-free with a working Camera, NFC, TV-Out, FM Radio, Bluetooth and decent battery life. Besides, they also come with the Samsung-specific features like swipe to capture a screenshot, pop-up video player, Smart Stay, S-Memo, the camera and its HDR and burst modes, and all the default gestures that Samsung implemented in the S3.

Given that I use these quite frequently, I was reluctant to see them go if I installed an AOSP ROM with Vanilla Android. Thankfully, with FoxHound, I don’t have to miss any of them.

About Foxhound, and the Jelly Bean drop-down notification

About Foxhound, and the Jelly Bean drop-down notification

It’s Debloated

The fact that I love a few of Samsung’s default S3 features doesn’t mean that I’m OK with all of the bloat they installed on this poor device. I am no fan of S-Voice, S-Planner, their files application, their keyboard, and I’m definitely not a fan of TouchWiz. All of these are gone — or can be opted out of — with FoxHound. This ROM sure understands how to keep things light.

It Comes With an ICS-Like Theme

My hatred of all that bloat is nothing compared to my loathing of the color scheme Samsung uses throughout its UI. The dark teal is horrible to look at, the icons are so 2010, and the green toggles on the notification drop-down are so huge and intrusive. By comparison, I love the black and blue look that Google introduced with ICS.

FoxHound takes this to heart and can be configured with different themes, one of which is the awesome FoxHound Blacked Theme, which emulates an ICS look everywhere. From the pop-ups to the settings to the toggles, it’s all black and blue, and clean. Very clean.

An example of the ICS-like theme in the notification bar, settings and clock

An example of the ICS-like theme in the notification bar, settings and clock

Aroma & OTA Make It Completely Yours

As if that wasn’t enough to persuade you to try FoxHound, I’ll add another reason. It comes with the Aroma installer. Aroma, for those of you who hadn’t heard of it, is like a small kitchen in the Recovery where you pick your ingredients before flashing the ROM fully.

FoxHound comes packed with several launchers, cameras, music players, keyboards, and so on. When you start flashing it in the recovery, Aroma will open and ask you to pick your own settings. The first time I did it, I felt all powerful and cool. It’s not even that I was installing a different custom ROM, I was actually customizing that said ROM to fit me specifically: Nova Launcher, AOSP keyboard, and Samsung’s Camera, please.

FoxHound OTA categories, and personally customized Nova Launcher homescreen

FoxHound OTA categories, and personally customized Nova Launcher homescreen

However, FoxHound’s personalization and coolness doesn’t stop once flashed. There’s a specific section in Settings that lets you tinker with a few things, amongst which picking your own drop-down toggles and their order. Also included is an OTA installer where you can download more themes, more MODs, more apps and as the meme crowd would say “MOAR EVERYTHING”. Do you want the Galaxy Note 2′s camera and gallery? They’re only a download away. How about the new Android 4.2 keyboard? Same thing.

It Has Inverted GApps

How about one more cool feature? Foxhound comes with inverted black apps – Google Now, Gmail, Play Store and the SMS app all use black backgrounds. An inverted Google Talk can be flashed from the OTA installer. This helps save a lot of battery life on the S3′s SAMOLED screen, especially if you use those apps frequently. Also, surprisingly, all those apps look good, even better, dare I say, than their original white counterpart.

Inverted Gmail and Play Store

Inverted Gmail and Play Store

A Step Away From Perfection

The major downside to FoxHound is the inability to update the default inverted apps. Given that these use a different signature than Google’s, whenever an update is issued, you won’t be able to install it from the Play Store. Instead, you’ll have to wait for the FoxHound team to integrate it into the next release. At the time of the writing, Google Now’s new version, that supports Gmail integration and app launching has been out for more than a week. However, the FoxHound version is still stuck on the previous one. I had to use Titanium Backup to remove the built-in inverted Google Now, then I installed the latest and still white version from the Play Store.

Another caveat is there are instances where you need to reflash the whole ROM if you made a mistake pick with Aroma. For example, I chose the default Samsung dialer when I meant to go for the AOSP dialer. After a day or so with the ROM installed and configured to my liking, I went to make a phone call and noticed I’d made the wrong choice. The only way for me to switch is to reflash and reconfigure everything. Sigh.

Those two niggles aside, FoxHound is one impressive beast. My S3 went from ICS to stable and fast Jelly Bean. It has the Samsung features that I love, wrapped in a clean AOSP-like look, with battery-saving inverted apps, without the bloat that I loathe, and with enough customization options to keep me happy for a while. And did I mention I can now toggle the LED flashlight from the notification drop-down? Because I can, unlike Samsung’s previous silly solution of using that awful 2×1 Assistive Light widget.

So is FoxHound the best of all worlds? Yes, definitely. If you have an international Galaxy S3, and you’re relatively used to flashing custom ROMs, I recommend you give it a try and let me know if you love it as much as I do or if there’s something even better out there.


  • Sigilist

    A good write up, Rita. Along the way, I actually learned a thing or two I didn’t know before, though I have yet to take the leap into ROMs vs. just rooting every Android device I own… so I own it and not Google and the company who made the device. Keep us informed of anything further in the development of Foxhound, and I’ll be waiting and watching.

  • Eduardo Raizer

    I couldn’t agree more. Like you, I tried lots of custom roms, including cyanogenmod 10 and lots of stock-based ones. And then I finally settled in FoxHound.

    Ps: I REALLY loved your wallpaper, could you share it?

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      Here’s a link to the zip:
      https://dl.dropbox.com/u/5501034/WP8%20setup.zip
      Containing the PSD, the wallpaper without the icons, the wall with the icons, and the way you should use it with Nova – that launcher has a tendency to stretch wallpapers a bit, so i add a black border in order for my wallpaper to be fullscreen like I want it.

      • Eduardo Raizer

        Thank you SO much! I use nova as well ;}

      • Matthew

        How did you configure that wallpaper? I don’t have the international version of the gsIII but I found that the jelly beans rom is a lot like this for the verizon one. I’m running nova launcher. I just don’t know how to put the icons in there.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/norwegian-cactus/ Yassine Jaï

    Great review of the Foxhound Rom, but being an owner of an S3 just like you, I think am gonna stick to the CM10 nightlies. So my question here is, can I have the interface of CM10 with the stability of the stock jelly bean firmware ? the only thing that can make me switch to that foxhound is the support of the stock camera, nfc and other sensors. Keep up with the reviews, you’re doing just great !

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      Actually, you can’t for now. CM10 is built on AOSP (ie original Android Google code), which is not -yet- optimized for the S3′s hardware, whereas the Samsung ROMs like FoxHound are made just for the device’s hardware. Some things, like TV-Out are proprietary to Samsung, and will probably never work on any non-Samsung ROM.
      However, as CM10 progresses from nightly into alpha, beta, and stable release, you’ll see a lot less bugs and a more reliable ROM.

  • Pedro

    hi,
    Nice article, i was looking for a new ROM to try, having use OMEGA, slimBeans, CM10 and many more, i will give a try to this one since I like the things you mention.

    thanks for the review and recomendation.

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      You’re welcome Pedro :)

  • Sami Iskandrani

    Hi,

    Great article. Thanks!

    Would you mind guiding me on how to install the Foxhound ROM?

    This would be my first, so I am a bit scared :)

    Thanks

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      Sami, I can’t explain how to do it all, you’d have to do some research. But these are the headlines: you’d have to have a rooted S3, with a recovery (mostly CWM) installed, you move the Foxhound .zip file into the SD card or internal storage, then you boot into recovery and choose to install zip. Pick Foxhound and that should launch the Aroma installer. You can find detailed how-tos all around. Make sure you have a backup.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/norwegian-cactus/ Yassine Jaï

    Hello Rita, well, I spent 48 hours with that foxhound rom on, and there’s two littles downsides that have been bugging me. Coming from a CM10 rom, I found it sad not to be able to toggle between 3G & 2G as I used to, and there’s no way i can add a ” Power Save ” toggle like the stock samsung app. Finally, which launcher do u recommend me to use ? i’m not fond of features, but more over performance and ram usage, no lags etc…. thanks for your time !

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      Ah, yes, those two features are missing in FoxHound. As for the launcher, I’d recommend Nova. It’s fast, and can be customized to be as complex or as simple as you want.

  • Pingback: ROM pour Galaxy S3 FoxHound : Le meilleur des mondes ? - hexogene

  • Rumen Rahman

    A very nice review. I would also recommend Criskelorom. It too has an aroma installer with a variety of options. Add to that the “pimp my ROM” (another aroma installer)mods, makes it a great combination!

  • Jav

    Thank you sir, you’ve saved me heaps of time with this review and ill be definelty looking into fox hound, would you know anystep by step tutorials by any chance

  • pissed

    fox hound 1.6 installed pretty awesome. I was stoked until the reboot and my phone was bricked. nobody mentioned this is an international ROM and installed on US phones will brick it.The web page in spanish should have given it away guess. Next time freaking add which phones accept the rom! Thanks a bunch

    • Linus

      He does mention that this is for international S3 at the end of the article:

      “If you have an international Galaxy S3, and you’re relatively used to flashing custom ROMs…”

      maybe this article will help you? http://www.xda-developers.com/android/fix-your-soft-bricked-galaxy-s-iii-samsungs-way/

      • http://bit.ly/khouryrt Rita El Khoury

        Thanks for pointing that out :) I did mention it in the post, and after all, I expect anyone who dabbles with custom ROMs to check and see if it’s for their device before flashing. I know I do my research quite extensively before deciding that a ROM is safe.

    • CMKY8132

      Is there a port of this ROM for AT&T branded models? SGH-i747?

    • ohnoes

      Hah, good cliche, ignorant american impression, if only you were putting it on… Everything is for me me me. International version is the ‘proper’ version and you get a different version because your phone company owns you. Thanks for sharing and I hope you can’t unbrick:D

  • Kane

    Great review !! This rom is what i’m looking for . Very disappointed about not having an I535 version. Not sure what the technical difference is between the two models or if anyone is even trying to make a version for the I535. Nothing about it in any of the forums. Not going to flash anything till Foxhound or something super close and stable is offered up !
    This is for (Pissed)! I recall reading something in the forums about someone putting or tying to put this rom on an I535. I believe he was trying to purposely soft brick and recover for the reason of trying to figure why or exactly what was causing it not to work. Think it was XDA/Developers.

    • http://bit.ly/khouryrt Rita El Khoury

      Kane, check if CodecROM is available for the 535. I’ve been running it on my international S3 and it’s quite similar to FoxHound in almost everything.

  • Drg

    Hi
    I’m using FoxHound 1.6 Rom for a few days and once a day I get like a back screen freeze and I have to restart it ?Did somebody had the same problem?
    Thanks

  • Bruce

    Your article has helped me to decide on the best ROM for my S3. Thanks! The only thing I wasn’t sure was the kernel selection. Do you know which one is best especially for the battery life?

    • http://bit.ly/khouryrt Rita El Khoury

      I just went with whatever was the default selection. Battery life was good with it.

  • Androidfan

    The creator should at least have the courtesy to warn the people that this version will brick the US versions of Samsung Galaxy S3. Thumbs down for this article.

  • CarpeDiemsNuts

    Androidfan learn to read, if you cant take the time then its your own fault. Its an Italian ROM developer so try using XDA for english instructions as he posts there as well, then post a stupid ass comment like your previous and watch them ban your ass – douchebag

  • Black FiRe

    Do they support Galaxy Note 2 ?
    I was running OMEGA on my S3 , then I switched to the note 2
    I’m still using Omega and its so compatible
    Is there any FoxHound for the Note 2 ?
    Btw its really great article, thank you

    • http://bit.ly/khouryrt Rita El Khoury

      I don’t think the developer does. He’s a one man team. Another ROM I recommend is CodecROM, you’ll have to see if it’s available for the Note 2 though.

  • Richard

    I’m running the iMUI on my AT&T s3 I LOVE this rom it’s fantastic. I also have Liquid Smooth and the Serenity and also parakangandroid as backups.The iMUI is a really great rom!

  • Hussa,

    Does the S beam works on Foxhound for galaxy s3 actually ?

    • thunderror

      Yes it does.

  • Cam

    I’ve got aokp on my sprint galaxy s 3 right now, and I have to say, I miss the stock rom because I miss all the samsung features and it became slow and laggy as hell. Does anyone have a link for a sprint sph-l710?

    • Cam

      A foxhound link*

  • Jordan

    I bricked my GS3 after flashing this Rom…It was completely my fault though. I was in such a hurry to get rid of CM10 and didnt read carfully to see that this was for the i9300 and not the L710 I got the phone replaced, however I am just wondering if there is a version of this Rom for the L710 because I really want to give this Rom a whirl. So is there an L710 varient?

  • Abdullah

    Hi Rita,
    Great article, been using foxhound for years even on the sgs2 and it’s by far the next ROM I’ve used. How do I get the metro style icons in the screenshot above. Actually I like the whole look and the widgets.. So could you please advise how to get it. The third picture set on the page
    Thanks

  • isaac

    hard bricked my phone using this rom with US s3… any help?? if i send back to verizon will they charge me??

  • http://www.markschoones.nl Mark Schoones

    Great article. I was wondering how you managed to get Gmail inverted. It’s still all white on my phone after flashing.

    • http://bit.ly/khouryrt Rita El Khoury

      The latest Foxhound ROM has a regular Gmail app. When I first reviewed FoxHound, the version came with an inverted Gmail.

      • Krt

        Probably the guys didn’t want to make a new ROM every time a new version of G-mail came out.

  • Izzy

    Loving this ROM, its all working great except I can’t seem to display the clock in the status bar. Looked through all the settings and cant find anything. Any help?

  • Krt

    Now that’s a review you get some indication on what to expect. Just bought my S3 and couldn’t wait to flash something that wasn’t original samsung. And since I was comming from a HTC Desire, and had all my ROMs in one place on XDA forums, it was kinda hard to decide what to install. Tried Baked, UltimaROM Levithan, … now it’ looks like I just might have found the ROM I was looking for. Thanks!

    • http://bit.ly/khouryrt Rita El Khoury

      You’re welcome! I was lost like you, and had to look at 30+ ROMs on XDA to try and decide which one to pick.

  • Sanii

    Rita! I flashed Foxhound ROM recently! But i didnt get that Black & blue background. However i got Blue status bar symbols like battery signal bar wifi data etc but not black & blue background! I love that much! Is it a theme in the Foxhound OTA? Or I have to flash once again?? I saw a Foxhound Blacked Domination 1.8x Theme in the FoxhoundOTA option. Should i have to flash that to get it?? Please reply asap! waiting..

    • http://bit.ly/khouryrt Rita El Khoury

      Yes, it’s the domination theme that makes everything black. You could have picked it in the Aroma installer I think as well.

  • David

    Shukran Rita

  • Pingback: 5 Features I Absolutely Love in LG’s Optimus UI | App8ite

  • http://nixdevblog.com Kasun

    Hi Rita,

    Excellent blog. Whats the home screen theme you have ? I understand youve given links to wallpaper but how’d you get the icons to align on the screen if that makes any sense ? Is it some sort of a widget ?

  • Pingback: How to Find Custom ROMs for Your Android Phone | Android.AppStorm

  • Pingback: How to Find Custom ROMs for Your Android Phone | World of EJOOMZ.com

  • Cliff

    installed foxhound and now I can’t use or reinstall any of my apps from google, also can’t revert back to the stock firmware. how do I get my apps to work on foxhound?

  • Guillermo

    Nice review. I do love foxhound but I wondering when they are going to make a JB 4.2.1 or 4.2.2 that will be fantastic.

    Saludos :)

  • Pingback: Custom ROMs for Your Android Phone | Age of the Geek, Baby!

  • Pingback: Will You Buy a Samsung Galaxy S4? | Android.AppStorm

  • Guest

    Alraghhtt

  • Chirath Ech Yu

    Hi, this rom is awesome compared to the Omega,Carbon, crDroid roms I used. When I went to the FoxHound Extra –> FoxHound OTA and downloaded the app that said that it was the Note 2 camera. Then I chose reboot and install. It hadn’t changed from the default s3 camera though. A guide on how to install these stuff maybe? Thanks in advance

  • SB

    FH is awesome!…totally agree with your review. I’ve been using it on my GS4 International for 3 weeks now and only ran into 1 issue. The smart scroll ( using you head to scroll) is not working. Any one else experiencing this issue? thanks.

theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow