The Google Pixel C is an Android tablet and laptop combination that offers something that looks similar to a Microsoft Surface with the way the keyboard is a detachable one. These kinds of devices are very cool for people like me who write a lot because the keyboard is always the first thing to go on my laptops, so this way I can just replace the keyboard instead of having to replace the entire unit. That’s not really the market that the Google Pixel C was going after when they created this tablet, though. It’s a bit small to be using as a laptop and is more suited to being used as a tablet. If their research turns out to be anything like Microsoft’s, we might see something that is more geared toward being a laptop with a detached keyboard in the future just like we got with the Surface Book that was released after Microsoft realized that a bunch of people weren’t really using the Surface Pro devices as tablets for much of the time.

One of the common problems with using a device such as the Google Pixel C for a laptop instead of a tablet is that it lacks the power to get you through many of the things you want to do on a laptop. You can even experience that when you are using it as the tablet as well if you are doing something like streaming video content. Don’t be surprised to get the occasional freeze because for some reason (money) these companies refuse to put in enough power to allow us to use them for everyday things.

One of the things that people do to create more power is to install a custom ROM. These custom ROMs often come debloated, meaning they don’t have nearly as much junk as the version of Android that comes on a device. Lots of apps isn’t really an issue with Google devices because Google devices are about as close to stock Android as you can find from any manufacturer, but you still get some bloatware from the phone carrier networks you might be with via your subscription. Even if you own a tablet and not a phone like the people with a Google Pixel C, you can still expect additional speed from many of the custom ROMs that will eventually become available because that’s one of the things they try to develop.

Pure Nexus 7.1.1_r21

The Pure Nexus custom ROM is available for the Google Pixel C smartphone already. It’s based on the Android 7.1.1 Nougat software update which is the latest version of Android that any device can run. You might already know the name Pure Nexus from the custom ROMs that were available for the Google Nexus smartphones.Those same ROMs are compatible for the Google Pixel too since the Google Nexus, and the Google Pixel are both Google-owned phones. If you go back and look at how the Pure Nexus Project did on those Google Nexus devices, you will soon find out that they were extremely popular custom ROMs to install. In fact, that were the most popular to install. You can tell this by checking out the download counter on the XDA-Developers forum threads that shows you how many downloads each ROM has received. You can almost always expect to find the Pure Nexus custom ROM at the top of the list, and the reasons for that are pretty straightforward.

The Pure Nexus custom ROM for the Google Pixel C smartphone also has some neat new features that are not available from the official versions of Android yet. One of those features is that the Google Assistant is now enabled by default when you flash the Pure Nexus custom ROM. The only ways to get the Google Assistant running before this update was by manually changing system files or installing an application called “Get Assistant” for your device. Another feature you get is to enable and disable the Navigation bar options. The navigation bar is typically quite handy for people when navigating the operating systems. However, some people didn’t enjoy seeing the Google Pixel animation at the bottom of the display. All of those people who didn’t now have the chance to remove it by disabling the navigation bar options completely. Also regarding the navigation bar, you now get the chance to customize the dimensions of the navigation bar from the Android Settings so you can style it more to the way you want to see it. To do that, click on the “Navigation Bar” option from the Settings menu and then click on the “Navbar Dimensions” option under the “Navbar customization” heading. Directly beneath the Navbar option is the Display options that you can click on. If you go into the Display options, you will find another new setting inside that allows you to toggle a switch on for the “three finger screenshot.” By toggling that three finger screenshot switch on, you can now take your screenshots that way instead of having to press any buttons like you typically would have before. Three fingers are kind of difficult to do if you ask me, but Google thought that two might be done for other things and then you would start accidentally taking screenshots. As of right now in my head, I can’t help but think this is an Android feature that will go down as a learning curve and change again in the future because I’m not even sure I have the ability to angle three of my fingers on the display all at the same time, but one of the Android engineers obviously managed to do that just fine, so maybe it’s just me. There are some new wallpapers for you to use in this version of the Android 7.1.1 Nougat Pure Nexus custom ROM also. As you know, all new versions of Android offer new wallpapers; it’s part of what gives the newer operating system a different design. Nonetheless, you don’t always get new wallpapers in the smaller updates like we have here, so it’s worth noting. Lastly, if you go into the Settings > Ringtones, you will see lots more ringtones available for you to use. Google added some new sounds for the release of the Google Pixel devices last year. Some of those sounds include the new notification sounds, alarm sounds, ringtones and more. Those sounds have been added to Android 7.1.1 Nougat now, so you don’t need to have a Google Pixel device to have those once this update is released to more devices in the future.

Download: Pure Nexus ROM

Temasek’s Unofficial CM-13.0.1

The Temasek custom ROM is also available for the Google Pixel C smartphone. It is based on the CyanogenMod 13.0.1 (not just the 13.0 like other ROMs you might have seen.) Temasek is a developer who enjoys creating custom ROMs for Google devices. He has made many great custom ROMs in the past, and this looks like it might be one of his better ones. You can use a base ROM that is CyanogenMod 13 with a bunch of other features that are “cherry-picked” from other third-party developers who work on other ROMs. It also has features from just about all of the big names out there, including PAC-Man, LiquidSmooth, SlimROM, AOSP, crDroid, OmniROM, DirtyUnicorns, NamelessROM, Euphoria-OS, AICP, and TeamBliss.

The CyanogenMod 13 is not a new update by any stretch of the imagination. It has been around since way back in late 2015 when it started rolling out for the Google Nexus devices. Nevertheless, it remains a relevant name for custom ROMs because the CyanogenMod team isn’t making custom ROMs anymore. The version of CM 13.0.1 that you get here is as up to date as it can be. In future, you can expect to find the CyanogenMod bases listed as Lineage OS ROMs. That’s what many of these third-party developers will use to build their custom ROMs. So, it’s a bit of a downer that this Temasek isn’t based on CyangenMod 14 given that we are now well into 2017, but it’s not suggesting that this ROM here is out of date for the reasons already mentioned.

Download: Temasek Unofficial CM 13.0.1 ROM

This list of the best custom ROMs for the Google Pixel C tablet will be continually updated in the future when new custom ROMs become available. As of today (27/2/2017) there is only the two custom ROMs available: Pure Nexus and the Temasek CM 13.0.1. Make sure you read the requirements section from the download links for further information about flashing the ROMs when available.

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