Earlier this month, Google started rolling out the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to its stable of Nexus smartphones and tablets including last year’s flagship, Nexus 5. After spending a solid week with the Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update, we want to take an in depth look at the software and answer a question that’s on the minds of many Nexus 5 users: Is Android 5.0 Lollipop worth installing?
Last month, Google finally announced several new products including a Nexus 6 smartphone from Motorola, a Nexus 9 tablet from HTC, and an Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and Nexus 5. Google did not outline a specific release date for the Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop roll outs, leaving those announcements for a different date.
That date arrived earlier this month when the company began pushing out Android 5.0 Lollipop updates to the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 Wi-Fi only, and the Nexus 10. A little later on, the company delivered the Nexus 4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update to owners of the aging former flagship.
A week ago, I installed the Android 5.0 Lollipop update on my Nexus 5 for the first time. I’ve been a Nexus 5 user since day one and I, like many of you, was excited to receive the first major update for a device that I consider one of the best smartphones ever made. I couldn’t wait to move from Android 4.4 KitKat to Android 5.0 Lollipop.
After spending a week with the Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update, I want to offer some feedback on my experience. I have several goals. The first is to spark a discussion. I’d love to hear about your own experiences and how the update is treating you. That will not only help me, it will help those who might still be on the fence about installing.
I also want to help you answer this question: Is the Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update worth installing? It’s a question that I’ve gotten several times in the past few days and while I may not be able to answer it for all of you, I hopefully can answer it for most of you.
Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop Review
For a week now, I’ve spent a ton of time with the official, public version of the Nexus 5 Android 50 Lollipop update. Before getting into this detailed review and my impressions, I should note that mileage is going to vary from device to device, person to person. That is to say, I probably don’t have the same apps installed and there’s a chance that I use Google Chrome, play more games, and use my home screen more than you do. So, consider this a general guide as you try to decide whether Lollipop is worth installing on your Nexus 5.
I use a number of applications on my Nexus 5. I typically use the Nexus 5 when I need to use Google’s services because the applications are just so much better on Android. For example, the Gmail experience on iPhone doesn’t even come close to the Gmail experience on a Nexus device. So if I’m using Gmail or Maps or any other app, I use my Nexus 5.
I point that out because apps are essential to my Nexus 5 experience and they’re probably essential to yours. And often times, major updates like Android 5.0 Lollipop can break stock and third-party applications. I’ve heard about some app issues with Android 5.0 Lollipop already, not surprising given that I always hear about app troubles after these roll outs.
So far, my experience with Android 5.0 Lollipop on board has been good. This might actually be the first time I’ve ever uttered those words after a major Android update. In the past, apps have wrecked havoc on my Nexus devices after major Android updates. So, it seems Google, developers, or both are improving.
Chrome’s crashed a few times in the week since installing Android 5.0 Lollipop and I’ve seen a little bit of sluggishness with the official Twitter application but I simply haven’t run into the same kinds of issues that I ran into on Android 4.4. Even Facebook and Netflix, two extremely frustrating applications, are working fine on Android 5.0.
While I don’t have a way of ensuring that your apps behave after installing Android 5.0 Lollipop but I can offer some advice. If you are on Android 5.0 Lollipop already or if you’re thinking about heading there, keep those applications updated. I’ve installed a ton of updates over the past week or so and bug fixes and compatibility updates have ensured a smooth transition for my stable of applications.
If nothing works, reach out to the developer and let them know about your struggles. Developers will often listen to consumer feedback and incorporate fixes into future updates.
Android 5.0 Lollipop Battery Life
As I’ve noted many times, the Nexus 5’s battery life was sub par with Android 4.4 KitKat on board. It’s a big reason why I opted to carry around the iPhone as my daily driver for the past year. I was simply not able to pull down the same kind of battery life that I was getting from my iPhone 5. Kind of sad given that the iPhone 5 is a year older than the Nexus 5.
With Android 5.0 Lollipop on board, I haven’t noticed any abnormal battery drain, slow charging problems, or issues in standby. The device holds a charge very well. After using the device for a week, I can’t say that I’ve noticed a huge increase in battery life but what I will say is that it doesn’t seem to be draining as fast as it was with Android 4.4 KitKat on board. Even if it’s a small uptick, it’s still an uptick and that’s a good thing after a massive update like Android 5.0.
If you are experiencing battery life issues, I suggest taking a look at our Nexus 5 battery life tips. They’re for Android 4.4 KitKat but most of them apply to Android 5.0 Lollipop as well. I also encourage you to use Android 5.0’s battery saver function located in settings. The feature could save you up to 90 minutes of battery life.
Wi-Fi, LTE & Bluetooth
I’ve been hearing about issues with Wi-Fi, LTE, and Bluetooth but thus far, I haven’t experienced any of them. Wi-Fi is working fine on my Nexus 5. I’m able to connect to all types of networks and get fast download and upload speeds. AT&T’s LTE network is working out well, so far, and I haven’t run into any connection problems. Even Bluetooth, a feature that’s been problematic on my Nexus 5, is very stable.
This all comes as a bit of a surprise because these are usually the first features to break after a major Android update. The fact that they remain steady with Android 5.0 Lollipop on board is impressive. Those of you that are dealing with issues and those that simply want to learn more about them before installing are encouraged to head to Google’s Nexus Help Forum for more information and potential fixes.
Bugs & Issues
Android 5.0 Lollipop is full of bugs. That’s pretty apparent. However, many of those bugs are isolated to specific devices or specific users. And that could explain why my Android 5.0 Lollipop experience over the last week has been relatively bug free. The only issue I’ve run into is an inability to send SMS messages. The issue is sporadic and it’s only happened a handful of times since getting the update on board. Other than that, I haven’t seen any bugs jump out at me.
Now, it’s important to note that just because I haven’t spotted any major issues with my software, doesn’t mean that bugs aren’t lurking on board. I’ve done my best to poke around but I simply haven’t run into any debilitating bugs. At least not yet. Often times, and this happened on my Nexus 7 2012 after Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, bugs emerge in the days and weeks after an update’s arrival. So while I’m in the clear at the moment, there’s a good chance I spot something in the near future.
The Nexus 5 has always been fast and the device retains that speed with Android 5.0 Lollipop on board. Animations and transitions are sleek and fluid and I’ve yet to notice any sluggishness when navigating the home screen or when playing a game on the device’s 5-inch display. The software and the processing power are holding up nicely.
Is the Nexus 5 Lollipop Update Worth Installing?
Android 5.0 Lollipop’s performance on my Nexus 5 has been masterful. This, coming from someone who endured torture with bugs on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, watched as the Nexus 7 just died on its own, and who dealt with a number of Android 4.4 KitKat bugs on several Nexus devices. I’ve been a bitter Nexus user for a number of years now but Android 5.0’s performance deserves praise.
Yes, there are bugs but none of them have affected my experience, at least not yet. As I’ve pointed out, many of those issues are isolated or their so obscure that you’re not going to run into them. Of course, I can’t answer this question based on performance alone.
Android 5.0 Lollipop also comes with a number of new features including the Material Design, an improved camera application, battery saver mode, performance enhancements, a brand new lock screen, and more. There is a laundry list of changes that make Android 5.0 Lollipop one of the biggest Android updates to do.
The update’s features are well established so I’ll just focus on a few things. First, the Material Design takes some getting used to but once you get the hangs of the buttons, I think you’re going to like it a lot more than the previous look. Cards are beautiful and the operating system has a flow that just wasn’t apparent in Android 4.4. It no longer feels disjointed.
The Nexus 5’s camera gets a boost thanks to the new camera settings but photos and videos still aren’t going to turn heads. The battery saver mode is probably going to be a life saver and I like the improved lock screen with its new notifications. Android 5.0 Lollipop is a superior update to Android 4.4 KitKat and it helps that my performance has held up on the Nexus 5.
Right now, if you asked me, I’d say that the update is worth installing. If you’re nervous for any reason at all, my suggestion to you is to wait until the smoke completely settles. Google will probably end up rolling out a new Android 5.0 update to help stabilize the software even more. No one is forcing you to install Lollipop but at some point, you’d be wise to get it on board your Nexus 5. It’s Google’s finest update in years.