Not all that long ago I did a very brief article as to which kernel I thought was the best. I said platypus, but really didn’t give many details. This article will hopefully make up for it. Today I will be reviewing three specific kernels; kang, platypus and Le kernel du jour(aka, TheEscapist’s kernel).
First, before we just into the kernels, I want to introduce an extremely helpful script from the members of XDA. Called Ultimate Kernel Cleaning Script. Basically as the name suggest, you run this little script to clean up after your previous kernel. Not a lot of magic here, it just clears the cache, dalvik-cache and previous kernel settings. While you could do this all yourself, it’s really handy to have it just in a single run file. Here’s a link to the forum so that you can download the file to keep.
On to the good stuff now. I have AT&T’s Samsung Captivate running the latest version of MIUI 1.5.13(Gingerbread 2.3.4) Since the Captivate does not have an official gingerbread release, all gingerbread roms are buggy at best, so when comparing the three kernels, stability is the last thing we’ll talk about. We’re not going to undervolt and we’re going to overclock to the kernel’s maximum safe setting. With that out of the way, we’ll be looking at three different areas, Benchmark, Real World and Stability.
Because this is what we care about the most, right? It’s not a surprise here that Le kernel du jour took hope top honors. TheEscapist’s kernel allows for overclocking of up to 1.55GHz, which is more than Platypus or Kang at 1.3. Using quadrant as measurement tool, all three had about the same scores on the first run, 1700+. After two or three back to back runs though, the Kang kernel tops out around 2100, Platypus around 2200 and the Escapist went the distance, bringing in around 2400.
So when we look at it on paper, the escapist is a “clear” winner. However, if either of the other two aloud overclocking over past 1.3Ghz, I’m sure they would score the same.
Not that there’s many of us here, but we do need our phones for phone calls and general phone stuff every now and then. So what we’re looking for here is how does it handle is real life. We’re going to measure this with battery life for the most part. So, not a surprise here, that the 1.5GHz kernel is in last place. It’s nothing personal, but more power takes more juice. The kang kernel wasn’t far behind, but was beaten by platypus. Obviously I have not had enough time to test any of the three kernels for more than a day on MIUI 1.5.13, so these results could change in time. I know that in previous releases, Platypus was a very clear winner. I could get a day and a half on platypus, but never more than a day from kang. Kang has improved recently, but from what I can see, Platypus is the battery saver. The Escapist clocked at the same speeds performs about the same as Kang.
All three will get you a full day of use, but Platypus seems to get you the most.
I can’t really tell you which one was better here. I did notice that again, TheEscapist kernel performed poorly. The backlight seemed to stay on as long as the screen, but not always. It also had some trouble coming back on or freezing after unlocking. Platypus and Kang both performed equally. I couldn’t tell much of a difference between these kernels. They both however, seemed to be more stable than TheEscapist. This may have something todo with the scheduler having more CPU power than needed.
Overall, I would say that both Kang and Platypus are tied here. Not because they are stable, but because TheEscapist kernel is so unstable.
Overall, if you had three phones with each kernel, and gave them to testers to see if they could tell the difference, they wouldn’t know. Currently Gingerbread has so many bugs on the captivate that the kernels really don’t have an opportunity to shine. I wouldn’t really worry about what kernel your ROM comes with and would probably stay with whatever it was packaged with. While TheEscapist kernel will clearly give you more speed, it’s not going to help you with battery life. I do believe that the Platypus kernel will give you better battery life, but you may be sacrificing stability. For testing purposes, I’m still running TheEscapist kernel, but for day to day use, try Platypus or Kang.