mono for cm12: An in-depth review
The mono family of CM12 themes is a tidy bundle. The themes are clean and effective giving your device a whole new look. Jacek Malinowski or YAdesign has made a big splash in the theming community with his “mono for cm12″.
What you get with mono for cm12
With mono, you are given five themes of varying colors: pink, blue, green, purple and red.
Each theme contains the following standard CM12 theme components:
- Lockscreen wallpaper
Considering a single theme of high quality can easily run you more than two dollars, these five quality themes for under three bucks is a steal! Counting each individual theme, you could consider mono for cm12 to have a value of at least $10.
Font and Style
The foundation of the mono style isn’t really anything new. You get you standard dark background colors with a single color accent depending on the theme you apply.
The colored accents have an outlined feel about them that make the theme feel elegant and simplistic. Everything about the look of the theme is visually pleasing and a genuine joy to look at and use.
The font really adds to the style as well. Often times, I have seen CM themes that are packaged with a font that just look terrible with the font, but the font packaged with mono really helps emphasize the elegance of the outlined icons.
Plus, I am extremely partial to lighter font types, so that could be a factor.
Unfortunately, the designs aren’t without their flaws.
The unique WiFi status and cell status icons look great, but they can be a bit hard to judge. I can’t ever tell when there is something wrong with my connection or if my connection is just really low.
At my school, they use a log in system to verify the users on the network. If I am not actually logged in and have a limited connection, the stock indicator shows an exclamation point (!) to indicate this.
With mono, this indicator is non-existent and I will often find myself waiting for an app to load that will never load because my connection isn’t verified yet. Poor little me is just sitting there waiting patiently because I think I just have a bad connection.
The wallpapers are also really nice complements for the theme as a hole. They are simple and bold. The colors match the respective theme perfectly as they should.
There really isn’t much to say here besides that I wish the mono app had a separate section so that I could download the wallpapers for use on other ROMs that don’t support the CM12 theme engine.
The icons are my biggest complaint excluding the issue with they style previously mentioned. The icons look amazing. They are unique and I could see myself using a mixture of the different colored icons to form home screens worthy of envy from others.
Unfortunately, the icons don’t really fit in with the theme. The theme is simple and outlined beauty. I find the included icons to be more defined then the rest of mono to the point where the icons actually clash with the theme in an unfaltering manner.
As an independent icon pack, I feel that the icons could go far. They are shockingly different from what is currently being offered by most icon packs (flat and colorful), yet they don’t feel like a step back in design like other icon packs that try to break the mold.
Another, smaller, complaint is that there are a little over 50 themed icons in mono. That amounts to less than a third of all my app icons themed.
This normally wouldn’t bother me, but with a two colored icon theme, the themed icons really stick out in an unsavory way. In order for me to really use an icon pack like this, my entire app drawer would have to be themed (highly unlikely) or I would apply them manually from directly from my launcher.
This can not be done because they aren’t a standalone icon pack, so I make do without using the icons. For now, I would be happy to revisit them later if they were to become a standalone or themed more of my installed apps.
Theme App / Installer
The app is relatively simple. You are greeted with an overflow menu and five bands of colors representing the five different color variations that come with mono.
All you have to do to install the theme is tap the band of color you want and hit install. After it installs, apply the theme through the CM theme engine in the device settings.
The overflow menu provides the following options
These are pretty self-explanatory, so I will leave it at that.
The only weird thing is that “Catch up with designer” will open up in the Google Plus app (if you have it installed of course), but the “Visit community” opens up in the browser no matter what. No harm here though.
Jacek Malinowski has hit a home run with this theme. Everything is very pleasing aesthetically, and mono is definitely shaping up to be what seems to be on of the most popular CM12 theme out there so far.
Mono would definitely be worth your hard-earned $2.83.
Only thing is that I wish there was a RRO layer version of Mono. If you don’t know what RRO layers are, we will be making a post shortly about RRO layers and CM themes.
Basically, RRO layers is a new way to theme Android and it isn’t dependent on CM code. The beauty in RRO layers is that I can pick apart a complete theme and only pick the parts that I like.
For an example, I could grab the blue version of the framework and system ui so that my settings and status bar, notification drawer and quick-setting toggles would be blue, but I could use the red version of the Instagram app along with the green version of Google Plus and a purple Hangouts to top it all off.
This would probably result in a disgusting abomination, but it is just an example. With RRO layers, I would be able to pick and chose to make the perfect theme for me; however, the CM theme works just fine with me. I just end up changing colors multiple times every hour.