6 Best Phones For Rooting Android



Since the very early days of Android, rooting has been one of the staples of the platform, allowing users full access to the inner working of their devices:

  • Custom ROMs – which also includes getting the latest version of Android before it’s officially released for your device
  • Overclocking – which can speed up your device’s performance considerably
  • Full backup images – which can help if you load something you don’t like onto your device or get caught in a boot loop

These are just a few things that rooting allows you to do with your Android device. We’ve compiled a short list of 6 Great Phones for Android Rooting split into two groups.

Top 3 Android Phones: Simple Root, High Customization

g1T-Mobile G1

We couldn’t have a list like this without the OG of the Android world. Although the G1 was released over two years ago, it’s still one of the most customized devices out there. From the early days of JesusFreke and Haykuro to the present day of Cyanogen and many, many others, the G1 was the device that started the revolution and just keeps on going. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of custom ROM’s, themes, and tweaks already for the G1 and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down yet. While it’s not available for purchase through T-Mobile directly anymore, you can pick up one really cheap on eBay or Craigslist and get your mod on!

Visit our T-Mobile G1 Rooting Forum

droidMotorola Droid

What some perceive as Motorola’s saving grace, the original Motorola Droid is another device that has been wholeheartedly embraced by the modding community. Being the only Motorola Android phone (we’re not counting international versions) with stock Android also makes it one of the more desirable phones amongst the modding elite.

Visit our Motorola Droid Rooting Forum

nexusNexus One

The very first device released as a partnership between HTC and Google, the Nexus One wasn’t one of the best marketed devices, but it remains one of the most modded phones in the Android world. It was the first phone released with the 1Ghz Snapdragon processor which made it, and still makes it, one of the fastest Android phones available today.

Visit our Nexus One Rooting Forum

Now that we’ve looked at the top 3 devices for hacking, how about the top 3 devices that you SHOULD root? Let me explain…

Cell phone manufacturers such as HTC (Sense), Samsung (TouchWiz), and Motorola (MOTOBLUR) have installed custom Ui’s over Android in an attempt to make the OS more aesthetically pleasing and add special widgets and other tools for easier access to social networking, news, weather, etc. These customizations, although very helpful to the typical end user, take up a lot of precious memory and tend to slow some phones down. That’s where the modding community has once again stepped in.

Top 3 Andriod Phones: Own it? Root it.

cliqMotorola Cliq

The Motorola Cliq was Moto’s first Android phone to include the MOTOBLUR custom UI. Now, I know a lot of people who are very happy with the unique way that BLUR allows them to always stay connected to their social circle. I also know many people who are frustrated with the lag that their phones experience because of the amount of memory it takes up. And let’s not forget how slow Motorola has been in getting updates to some of these devices. If you can’t have the latest, then you might as well have the best you can get.

Visit our Motorola Cliq Rooting Forum

galaxySamsung Galaxy S

The Galaxy S series was the first “flagship” for any manufacturer that has been released on all major US carriers. (We’d like to welcome LG to the party!) I can say with confidence that their TouchWiz UI doesn’t seem to slow the phone down any, but it’ss very iPhone-like and its appearance won’t please everyone. Development on ROMs for this device was slow going at first but a lot of developers have jumped on the bandwagon and are making great use of the device’s 1Ghz Hummingbird processor. Especially for those of you in the states, you’ll want to root this if you are still waiting on Froyo as Samsung still hasn’t delivered. (And there are many, many leaks that have been tweaked and tuned to give you a stable 2.2 experience.)

Visit our Galaxy S Rooting Forum


The very first 4G Android phone in the world is a powerhouse. However, It is encumbered with HTC’s Sense UI. Some people like it. Some people don’t. Personally, I am a fan of stock Android. Rooting this phone not only allows you to rid yourself of Sense, but it also allows you to overclock its 1Ghz Snapdragon processor and do all the other wonderful things you can only do with a rooted phone. It’s also Cyanogen’s favorite device outside of those which come with stock Android, so you better bet that the community surrounding it won’t fade away any time soon.

Visit our EVO 4G Rooting Forum

Some of you may disagree with our selections – and that’s fine – there are so many devices to choose from and everyone has their own preferences. But perhaps this is a good starting point for the conversation about the Best Android Phones for Rooting. Tell us what YOU think in the comments.

And don’t forget to visit our overall list of Best Android Phones!

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  1. What about the Droid X? I rooted mine and I’m loving it even more than before

  2. I’m surprised the G2 isn’t even mention. It’s only one of the few that is COMPLETELY opened up for developing.
    Galaxy S? seriously? Ginger bread is already released and Sammy’s still stuck with 2.1

  3. Read the article title again, it’s not “Top 6 phones that are getting the fastest official Android updates”.

  4. You forgot the Eris. There is a reason it was the first to get a semi-stable Gingerbread rom. The Eris community on XDA is absolutely amazing.

  5. @AndroidToy

    I’ve got Froyo on my Galaxy S..

  6. Evo in the heh-zouse!!

  7. The Cliq must be rooted just to use the god damn thing! That thing was a piece! Great when it came out but quickly outdated itself

  8. Joe – +1 for the Eris its awesome xda community.

  9. I’d add Sprint’s HTC Hero to the list of You SHOULD root. It has too slow of a processor to properly run Sense, but since ditching it and moving to Cyanogen’s ROM with a custom kernel and overclocking it, it’s a pretty nice little phone. At least until Sprint releases the HTC Knight (Evo Shift 4G). I like the Evo’s design, but want a slightly smaller screen and a keyboard.

  10. Are you kidding me? Where is the DROID X?
    Z4root for one click root.

  11. unbelievable. The Cliq?! lol seriously?

  12. @androidtoy
    uh the G2 is boot locked meaning you cant load anything on to it or it will erase.

    i know cyanogen cracked this but as far as open for development not really.

    And im running froyo on my vibrant and its amazing.

  13. same thing for the droid X, its not open for development so no way it makes this list.

  14. Great article Dave Demarest! And welcome to the writing staff of Phandroid!
    I love hearing news about Android, but it’s really neat to see articles like this too that don’t just tell you what’s coming in the future, but some fun things you can do with what you’ve already got.

  15. 11. manus
    When was the last time you reads the news?

  16. …your android photo looks like he has diarrhea, poor little guy

  17. @11 Get your facts straight and perhaps, read some more before you spill more crap.
    Go to XDA G2 Forums and read for yourself.

  18. @manus-
    You really have no clue about what you’re talking about do you? The G2 is fully cracked, just as the G1 is fully cracked. Where have you been living? Under a rock? Please do some research before posting.

  19. Haha I didnt even notice it was a new writer, I thought it was quenttyn…I remember when everything was only done by Rob…Phandroid has come a long way…nice article

  20. another vote for the fabulous Eris. Long live the Eris!

  21. Eris all the way! Little bugger’s a helluva lot better with KaosFroyo v38. Can’t wait for Gingerbread!

  22. @paris – I remember those days too hehe. Dave Demarest is actually an AF Administrator and fellow Phandroid Podcast co-host. I’ve asked him to take on some additional duties which include some Phone Guide work and article writing.

    But I agree… great article, Dave!

  23. man.. and here I am once again pondering if I should keep my EVO a “virgin” … my new laptop arrives in a few days, would make quite the nice rooting command center!

  24. htc magic (32A) has been great as well, even if it is an older (slower) phone than the batch of new ones. I still like mine (rooted running froyo) and does everything well except games (i’m not a mobile gamer, so i could care less). I’m hoping the nexus s is as open as the nexus one was as I’ll likely target that for my next one assuming they make a version for the other GSM bands.

  25. the LG GW620 is awesome as well. The OpenEtna community is quite awesome for binging cyanogen to the awesome phone.

  26. The Eris community is great because they have to be, they are working on the Eris. :-)

    I really wish my wife would let me root her’s.

  27. “I can say with confidence that their TouchWiz UI doesn’t seem to slow the phone down any”

    You must be joking.

    But seriously, if anyone hasn’t rooted, lag-fixed, and installed a custom Froyo ROM on their Galaxy S yet, go do it.

  28. Have had my Motorola Cliq with the official 2.1 update since it was FINALLY announced. I actually love using Motoblur for all my social networking whoring lol! But yes it unfortunately is laggy as hell. Used Z4root for all my root apps and LauncherPro for my home screens. Did some mild tweaks & this phone is finally usable with very minimal lag. Best part is I get to keep my Motoblur interface for my continued real time social networking. I feel like i’m getting best of both worlds now. :)

  29. I personally thing the HTC Hero (at least the GSM version) should take the Galaxy S’s place. Having owned and rooted both, the Hero is far far easier when it comes to custom ROMs.

  30. The Evo with cyanogen’s 6.1 stable release has to be my favorite hardware/software combo. It’s super fast, stable and with root you can do anything! Vanilla android is the way to go for sure and using a piece of hardware like the Evo with it is one of the best phone experiences anyone could have, try it!

  31. Good job Dave and congrats on being on the Phandroid team :)

  32. @QuantumRand totally agree as I own both, the hero (GSM) is so easy to root and throw roms on. I think manufacturers should stop making it difficult to root phones. You have to go out of your way to root a phone, its not like you accidentally click a button and its rooted from stock. You have to seek out the apps to root a phone and you know your going to invalidate your warranty so it should be left up to you.

  33. @manus
    LOL.. you are dumb.

    Sometimes I wonder if PHANDROID knows what they are posting. Do Phandroid people using android phones?

  34. Yeah samsung can suck it for putting out all the crap such as there galaxy s line up. as for the nexus s i think it will be a good phone because it being pure google.

    Anyway eat me out samsung!


  36. Article reads 6 best phones for rooting. The G2 is the hardest phone to root and still should only be rooted by people with experience. That’s probably the reason its not on this list even though it is a good phone for developers. Once you get it rooted I bet its fantastic but getting it rooted is troublesome. (G2 Owner)


  38. Uhm, Droid Incredible please. Go look at XDA and see which devices have the most tweaks. Thanks.

  39. Epic. Period.

  40. Seriously? lol.
    The Cliq but no G2 on the list.

    I will give you this, its slightly difficult to crack the G2 open. But as long as you read before jumping in and choose your preferred method, it’s a synch and can be done in quickly. Then once its open, the world opens up.

    Aside from delving into the great ROMS for this device, is being able to over clock an 800MHz processor to 1.4Ghz and soon after to 1.9GHz not impressive enough for the list?

    Come on now, Dave, wheres your head at man?

  41. I am an Eris owner and without XDA and Conap, Tazz, PunkKaos, Jcase and of course Andrizoid and a LOT of other devs/users I would have thrown my Eris out the window a long time ago. It has a small proc and little memory but, after apps2sd and overclocking on 2.1 it became a new phone. Then, when the Froyo ROMs hit things got even better. I am currently running KaosFroy37 and the Buuf theme. I have 90 mbs of free memory and it runs fast as hell. BUT, last night I was running Gingerbread, FRIGGING GINGERBREAD!! On my ERIS! It’s not quite there but STILL, FRIGGING GINGERBREAD on an ERIS!!!
    So for me, picking the best phone for rooting would probably be best determined by ROM count (per dev.) and thread count on XDA forums. I have tunnel vision, I don’t know about the community on the other phones or what the rooting process is for each. On the Eris boards it’s all good with only the occasional troll and all noobs are pretty fairly handled and pointed in the right direction. I do know that when I finally get my two year upgrade, I will see what phones my favorite devs are buying, rooting and playing with before I purchase. Features from manufacturers are great but if there is even a decent processor and a fair amount of memory, having an Android phone pretty much means it can and will be rooted.

    This is a good article, more like this please and more on rooted devices and mods.

  42. You can root the Droid 2 but the boot partition is locked. Its cool because you can use a boot loader to flash a recovery to do a nandroid. The roms are not as numerous as the original droid but Cyanogen is the only one that matters which is not ported for the Droid 2. Motorola Blur on the Droid 2 is actually really good and I even have an SBF and nandroid in case I ever experiment with other rom’s. Coming from the Droid and Cyanogen 6 nightly I can tell you that don’t waste your time with any other cooked roms besides Cyanogen and the guys who make kernels for him. Don’t knock Blur until you try it rooted.

  43. Agree with Shane. Incredible has multiple ROMs based both on Sense and Vanilla forms of Android.

  44. No matter what, the Nexus One should be at the top of the list. Hell ROOTING the Nexus One is SUPPORTED AND BUILT IN!
    Just type “fastboot oem unlock” from the SDK, say YES and you’re done, and you can then do “fastboot flash recovery amonra.img” and bam you got new recovery rom already. NO OTHER ANDROID PHONE IS AS EASY AS THIS. (Rumors has it that the Nexus S will have this “fastboot oem unlock” command built in also!

  45. Rooting. Awesome.

  46. i agree with the G1 choice. it’s probably got the most update and news for more and new improving technologies for the phone. Ever since i traded it for my G2, i havent been having much phone hacking activity. Definitly not as much ROMs aswell.

  47. How the hell did the Eris not make it on this list?

  48. dont forget the original Galaxy. We would have been stuck on 1.5 with a unofficial released 1.6. But hell, thanks to work of some guys like Drakaz and the CM, we got froyo running on it. Wonderful.

  49. I would like a similar article for tablets in one or two months.

  50. @37

    The G2 is my first android device, and the day those root instructions went up, I rooted it in 10 minutes using the terminal emulator on my phone (and I’ve had no experience rooting before). I’m of the opinion that if you read instructions carefully, and fully, BEFORE attempting anything, you can accomplish it.

  51. Dude, the Vibrant is probably one of the easiest to root and OMG there are so many freaking roms out there that just destroy! Neocore: 55.6 FPS Quadrant: 2400 with Team Whiskeys Nero Rom (Froyo) FTW!!

  52. RIght on about the CLIQ! This phone works so much better rooted.

  53. Nothing touches the simplicity of rooting/customizing a galaxy s. The entire process can be completed from the app store with OCLF for one-click rooting and rom manager for clockwork recovery. The ‘hard’ part is restoring back to stock with the “odin” software just in case you soft-brick your phone, and even that is incredibly simple. It’s also virtually impossible to hardbrick the thing.

    Many of the developers also came to the galaxy s from the G1 development community… I couldn’t imagine a better phone to have for someone who likes to customize.

  54. Well Samsung has released 2.2 for the Galaxy S (on Bell – don’t know about Rogers etc.) and I upgraded yesterday (9 December, 2010) using Samsung Kies. There were a few hiccups but all in all it went well and Froyo works great. Very Happy.

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