DirtyUnicorns 10.6 review

Reading off the official "About DU" section of the ROM, Dirty Unicorns is a project that started out with no name. It was based off AOKP in the JellyBean days with Lead Developer Alex Cruz (he was a lone ranger during JB, hazarding a mostly accurate guess) playing on a used EVO 3D.

As the version number kept incrementing so did the team and fan following, and today the team has 20k+ members in their Google Plus community and 18 permanent team members with more people contributing externally and many more members who had to leave for various reasons earlier.

Initial boot-up on DU is straight-forward, with no SetupWizard forced on you, unless you flash thine Gapps that is. The interface is stock and not much has been messed with, with the team opting for (almost) all features as optional and disabled by default.

The first thing that strikes us is the Dirty Tweaks menu inside settings. You can also pull that up by long pressing the settings cog in the QS Panel, which generally opens up a System UI Tuner (which is pretty useless on DU hence removed). People who experiment with Android ROMs frequently will probably notice the interface is strikingly similar to AOSIP's OwlsNest tweaks menu. Yes, we devs like to share our things, if done properly :)

So diving into the meat of the game, various tweaks have been carefully grouped into named tabs, to make looking around easy.

First tab is "System", which contains some animations you can customise, settings for expanded desktop, LCD Density, Power menu and handy wakelock blockers and system app removers. Misc. Tweaks has toggles for brightness control by swiping across the status bar (Shouldn't that have been in Status Bar tweaks, eh Alex?), and VERY handy options to disable ads, add a task manager in the QS Header, and Screenshot Crop and Share. SCS (I'm lazy AF :p) provides you a UI to instantly crop your screenshots the moment you take them, saving some effort later on and making emphasis on certain parts easier. Also included is a SELinux toggle for anyone who's into that kind of thing.

More tabs reveal more features, but we can keep talking all day so let's just get into the real DU goodness, the original features.


SmartBar is a one-of-a-kind navigation bar modification that lets you add extra functions and buttons to your navigation bar. Each button can take three actions, single tap, double tap, and a long press. You can add extra buttons and assign actions to them, use custom navbar icons, and even edit them from anywhere if you have the Smartbar Editor action assigned to a button, now how FRIGGING cool is that :D


Fling is a revolutionary gesture based navigation system that divides your nav bar into two zones, left and right (duh) separated by a completely optional DU logo. You can assign actions like left short swipe, right side swipe up, right long swipe et cetera for navigation actions or pretty much anything, just like Smartbar. Back and Home always stay assigned to atleast one action, to save thee from thyself ;)


Personal favorite right here, Pulse adds a kewl-as-f*** visualizer to your navigation bar, turning the boring black bar into a living, breathing entity. You can customise all aspects of it, though I'd like to be able to completely remove the spacing between individual bars (Maybe on Nougat ?), what's there works and works good. Some times Pulse may fail to start up due to how it's designed and how Android handles audio so make sure your music player is capable of getting some Pulse love. Phonograph (fantastic app) is what I use and it works with Pulse without a hitch.


Fine, there's no such thing but I like to use the term. DU's extensions to the CMTE necessitate such fanboyism so I guess you'll spare me. Building upon OmniROM's Time Contextual Headers (QS Headers that change depending upon time of day), Dirty Unicorns supports headers to be overlayed using CMTE themes, with support for standalone header packs that only show up on Play Store searches by compatible devices, if your themer paid attention ;) DU also has a Themes Tile, an open source replacement to the then proprietary per-app theme chooser CyanogenOS shipped with. Long pressing the tile inside an app will let you apply any of your themes to it, no restrictions.

DU also has a theme compatibilty certification system, where you can submit themes to DU developers who will thoroughly test it on DU and see if it looks good and if it causes too many crashes or stuff like that, and if you make the cut, you get the DU Certified badge and a place in the official DU Certified app that ships with each DU build. From there users can see themes categorised by Dark and Light, with additional info about price and Arcus support.

DU supports a dynamic changelog system powered by their very own gerrit changelog fetcher, mushed right into your About Phone section, along with an "About DU" section to have a look at the supported devices and team members, along with a history lesson :)

All in all, DirtyUnicorns is a very feature-packed and functional ROM, and has been my daily driver for more than two months now (It's been three since I brought up my device for custom ROMs), and I will continue to stay with DU on Nougat (if I can make it boot lol).
Such toggles, much wow

Kailash Sudhakar
An engineering undergrad student who loves all things tech. He has a soft spot for Android.
DirtyUnicorns 10.6 review DirtyUnicorns 10.6 review Reviewed by Unknown on 9/19/2016 02:34:00 PM
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