Android Lollipop on Google’ Nexus 5: Long term user experiences
The Android Lollipop 5.0 was promised as the most significant and revolutionary update in Google’s Android series. Including better under the hood performance, better battery conservation, a revamped user interface called the material design, and a host of new security and reliability features. Like every Nexus 5 user, I was holding my breath in anticipation towards the new update. The Nexus 5 was always a good phone and is still a top notch performer in today’s ever evolving world of specifications and technology. And Kitkat was no less a formidable OS, and proved to be an able companion to the nexus 5 hardware but there is always something magical about the idea that, in the space of a few minutes, your Smartphone can look dramatically different and do some cool new things.
Like a 7 year old waiting for Christmas, I too waited for Google to push the lollipop update to my phone. But the much anticipated release day came and went, i still did not have my present, even the OS images were not uploaded. There were talks that Google found out a major bug and were fixing it and the release would be delayed by a week. After a week, I woke up to online chatter that the lollipop OS has been pushed to some devices. The excitement in me reignited. But people familiar with the Google system for software OTA updates and long time users of the Nexus lineup might know that there is no specific time period for getting an update, you might get the update on the same day as the release date or it might even take a month to be delivered to your phone.
I was one of the few fortunate ones to get the update within two days of the release. The first major change that I discovered was the new Material design UI, the shadows and the fade colors which were simple and wonderful to look at. Another significant observation at the onset were the soft key buttons at the bottom, there was a complete revamp with the back button replaced by a simple triangle, the home button replaced by a circle and the multitask button replaced by the new “overview” square button.
Another awesome and significant change is the lock screen notification which, allows you to see events without having to actually unlock your device. Emails, appointments and text messages all appear on your lock screen, and a tap is all that is required to open that app and start doing your work.
Google has also helped you to deal with those annoying interruptions like calls, texts or emails while you are playing your favorite game or watching a movie. The notification now pops-in at the top of the screen for a brief moment, allowing you to ignore or respond without totally intruding on your current activity.
Another change you observe at the onset is the priority modes, where you can set which notifications you want to see, with varying degree of importance, you can set it to no notifications or some notifications of your choice or all notifications and set it for a particular duration, this is your own personal “Do Not Disturb” feature.
The one significant problem with nexus devices has been the battery life, Google promised to fix this issue in lollipop with the help of project Volta, which makes the app use as little juice as possible and comes with a built in power saver, that disables everything including background data when the battery power is too low, this has proved to be beneficial, giving that extra half hour of battery life, when it matters.
Screen Pinning and Profiles and encryption
Google has started taking privacy issues seriously, and has introduced three features namely screen pinning, user profiles and encryption. Screen pinning helps you lock your screen to a particular app, such as the Google chrome or your phones dialer, so that those pesky friends who ask your phone for making a call and end up going through your messages and photos can be handled. The profile system creates a different brand new OS partition where you could install your own apps and use them. The encryption feature encrypts your data so that it cannot be misused the event you misplace your phone.
What I did not like
- Like my previous article had mentioned the lollipop update on Nexus 5 has its fair share of bug’s snags, the battery and the Wi-Fi bugs were the ones that I encountered on my phone. The battery life in spite of all the revolutionary changes is still the same; there are signs of rapid drain where the battery life goes from 80% to 15% within the span of 3 hours
- The Wi-FI connectivity also seems a bit stubborn, at times not connecting to a network in spite of repeated tries
- A change I actually didn’t like is the absence of gallery app, all Android OS came with a gallery to view your photos and videos, but in the lollipop OS the gallery is replaced with Google Photos, which does not offer the same functionality as the gallery app
Google’s Android lollipop has changed the game big-time. Google promised a lot of things with the Lollipop and has managed to meet the expectations. Lollipop brings more intuitive notifications, improvements to performance and battery life, clever security features and developer tools for better apps. The Material design brings it on par with iOS in terms of appearance and also introduced a host of new features such as screen pinning, smart locks etc making it the OS to beat the next couple of years.