Tuesday, November 07, 2017

The Nexus Experiment

So at the start of the year we had managed to snag ourself a second-hand Nexus 5 to play about with the Android OS, because we've always been curious to experience the OS. You would think given the number of phones out there running all manner of Android, getting a cheap low-end phone just to play about with would be easy, but it's been quite the headache because:
1. Our preference to experience stock Android and not some skinned version;
2. All the talk on specs makes us wonder how badly certain apps (especially games) would perform on a lower end phone;
3. Which version of Android will it be running, considering that it may get updates to the newer versions of Android (probably be stuck at Marshmallow);
4. How cheap is cheap compared to what we want from points 1 and 2.

So it was a stroke of luck when we came across a second-hand section at DirectD PJ, and so thought, why not? We'll try it for a couple of months and then if we get freaked out by how Google tracks everything we'll stop using the phone. We're also not replacing our iPhone with the Nexus, but using it as a secondary phone, because we're too tied into the Apple ecosystem. Universal apps and iCloud Photos syncing on all our devices meant photo editing and music creation for choir work is a breeze, so it isn't as easy to 

Side note: Maxis's Multi-Sim 1 Line isn't as it used to be anymore, where you can choose which phone to receive calls and texts and switch at any time using a hash code, now there's just a primary phone that receive calls and texts, while all sims have access to data. Well making data calls would still work, but we find it slightly limits the purpose of having multiple sims.


  • We like Google Now and the suggested cards of articles to read. Tried using one of the popular launchers available only to find ourself going back to the Google Now launcher.
  • We're made more away on how Google tracks our locations (because notifications pop up to confirm if we've been to a place), even when we have the Google Maps app closed.
  • Google Assistant's voice recognition is super.
  • Because spec-wise it isn't that great, we rarely use the camera and Google Photos (which we also rarely upload personal stuff). Our surprise seeing a loading bar (that isn't part of the app UI) whenever we start Ascension also puts a dampener at using it to play games.
  • It's great for Google Maps and Uber because we save battery on our main iPhone.
  • We think because it's a Nexus running stock Android, it still runs smoothly (again, never tried more intensive apps).
  • Material Design is nice, but the way text gets cramped in Google Maps when there's a long name is a bit jarring.
We suppose why it didn't see more use than we'd expect is because the apps we do use (Pixelmator, ForScore, Notion) are already paid for from the App Store, we don't use Google Photos (the privacy issue), and because Whatsapp only works on one device at a time, the silly bugger. Also likely because when we use Google's stuff (GMail, Docs) it's on a desktop.

This Nexus phone is also quite unfortunate somewhat - to keep it handy we did not get a casing for it, only to have it fall to the ground twice. Once on a laminated floor screen first, resulting in a long line across the screen, and once more on the asphalt causing it to be a bit more beat up than usual.

After 10+ months we're finally ending the Nexus Experiment, we're calling it off. We're switching the sim over to our old iPhone 5, because iOS 11 has been horrible on battery life so a second device for battery-intensive stuff right now is a good idea still.

1 comment:

Aik Yong said...

eerrr... so verdict? Still Apple ecosystem??

p.s. usage of 'Maxis' and 'Sim' in the same sentence may cause temporary confusion with Maxis' The Sims. :P