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- both are based on Android 5.1 Lollipop,
- both support Legacy BIOS and UEFI boot methods, but sometimes Phoenix OS Legacy mode does not boot, unlike UEFI,
- Remix OS lacks adjustable windows and some of them can only be maximized or minimized,
- Remix OS requires USB 3.0, Phoenix OS only USB 2.0,
- Phoenix OS boots faster,
- Phoenix OS fluency and functionality are better than the Remix OS,
- Phoenix OS 1.0 is 370MB, Remix OS 2.0 is 689 MB, both zipped.
Remix OS 2.0 Launcher:
Phoenix OS 1.0 Launcher:
Images source: Softpedia
Video comparison: http://youtu.be/E6BNcXRyOr4
Add to the above answer; from what I found while testing both OSes:-
- Phoenix OS is now x86 only platform, while Remix is x86/Arm
- Phoenix OS supports window transparency.
- File manager in Phoenix OS makes more sense in use.
- Settings panel of Phoenix OS is more well-organised.
- Phoenix OS still lacks of Ethernet support. (major drawback).
- Phoenix OS doesn't support 2nd screen output (on laptops), while Remix can mirror and allows the main screen to be turned off via laptop's function key.
- Applications running in full-screen (most 3D games) work properly in Remix OS, while those running on Phoenix OS tend to leave space at the bottom (what likely the size of hidden status bar+title bar) and miscalculate the mouse position in Y-axis (title bar height above the actual picture on screen).
My personal verdict so far:-
- If you just need the desktop oriented Android and play games less, choose Phoenix OS.
- If you care more for Android 3D games, choose Remix OS.
I can add to the above:
- In PhoenixOS clicking "X" in the top window bar doesn't kill the app; thanks to that, apps can run in background without icon being visible in the bottom taskbar (like in Remix)
- PhoenixOS works with floating windows just fine, no matter of app window size. RemixOS fails at this quite much - works only for some apps and only in fullscreen mode
- PhoenixOS has already built-in brightness control availible in Display options, slider on the notification area and via function keys on keyboard; RemixOS has this hidden, but it works with function keys
- RemixOS since ver .205 lags significantly due to badly designed use of android.process.media - Media Storage (media scanner); PhoenixOS still has a media scanner, but it works just fine without overusing CPU/storage resources. Moreover, RemixOS won't respect "pm hide android.process.media" command. It won't disable the lagging app. What's interesting, in PhoenixOS this command is useless too, but in Phoenix, u can Disable any app you want in settings, in Remix you don't.
- RemixOS has better performance in 3D like @Yoswin Chance reported, but PhoenixOS starts and runs all other apps way better then Remix; it can easily compete with Windows 8.1 on my Asus T100TA (2GB RAM, Atom Z3740)
- RemixOS mounts all drives live with no 3rd party apps; PhoenixOS opposite - To make things clear: PhoenixOS will output video to an external monitor just fine, but it will display it only on the external device and only if you plug it in before booting
For now, I fully agree with @Yoswin Chance.
- PhoenixOS has far better windows system, start menu and notification area making the system more friendly and intuitive; feels much more complete then the RemixOS
- RemixOS right now is only better at games and overall feels like more like an alpha build
UPDATE: I've just tested RemixOS 32bit on my Asus T100TA (32bit UEFI) and it's super fast, but of course I had to get rid of android.process.media app in order to get the performance reliable.
There is a useful and detailed comparison of Phoenix, Remix, and plain Android-x86 from August 2016 here: http://apcmag.com/371021.htm/