How stable is Android N in daily use? Here is our experience so far.

by: Bogdan PetrovanMarch 22, 2016
1.1K

android n logo

A lot of you have asked us what Android N is like to use on a daily basis. Is it stable enough? Is it ridden with bugs that will ruin your day and make you wish you never bothered? Or is it The Best Thing Ever?

There’s no straight answer: the definition of “stable” and “day-ruining bug” varies from user to user. And we all have different apps and different workflows. So we decided to just recount our experiences using Android N and just let you decide for yourself if running N on your phone is a good idea or not.

Feel free to bring up your own experience. How solid is Android N on your device? Would you recommend others to install it? Any egregious bugs? Let everyone know.

Andrew

I was one of those that was too impatient to wait for the Android Beta program to bring Android N to my device without flashing, and so I had it up and running within the first few hours of release. Since then, I’ve only used it as a “daily driver” for about 48 hours, though I have used it off and on again throughout my day ever since, in tandem with the Galaxy S7 Edge.

During that first 48 hours, I found that the whole experience was relatively smooth. Even things like gaming, media consumption, and browsing worked just fine. Sure, there’s the occasional crashing app, but nothing worse than I experienced when messing around with Android M, and honestly it actually seems a bit more stable. That said, the whole UI (settings, app drawer, homescreens) seems to lag a bit, something I didn’t have a problem with in Android 6.0 and can be attributed to N’s unpolished nature at the moment.

While battery life with Android L was a joke compared to Android 4.4 KitKat, things were much better with the M preview. As for N? Pretty much the same story. I don’t think things are any better than with 6.0, but I’m still averaged about the same kind of screen on-time as always, and standby seems to be pretty close to the same as always.

As for what I like? There are several things, but I’ll only highlight a few.

The new notification shade and the adjusted quick settings are easily the most useful changes in Android N, and bring some welcome changes to the way things work in stock Android. In particular, got to love the Quick Reply in the notification shade.

For those wondering if you could use this as a daily driver? Yes, I’d say so.

Things like multi-window are nice to see, but the implementation is currently worlds apart from what you get with TouchWiz and some of the other Android skins that have their own existing multi-window features. I also have had the opportunity to play around with the freeform window mode a bit and while there’s a lot of promise there, this feature (which has to be turned on using ADB commands) is still extremely experimental.

For those wondering if you could use this as a daily driver? Yes, I’d say so. That said, it’s an early build and things go wrong. If you have a job/social life/whatever that depends deeply on your phone, you’ll want to have a secondary device available if things do crash and burn. So far, it seems unlikely, but it’s probably not worth taking the chance. If you have a secondary device or don’t mind stopping everything to fix something if it goes wrong, go for it.

Day-to-day, you won’t notice a ‘ton’ different from Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but during your free time, there are plenty of changes to play around with just under the surface.

n-preview-heroSee also: Should you install N preview on your main device? Here are some of the known issues with it.13

Jimmy

I’ve been using Android N on my Nexus 6 since the day it was released. Although I’m not using the Nexus 6 as my daily driver at the moment, I’m still using it almost every day to check social networks, surf the web, and more.

All in all, it hasn’t been too buggy for me. I haven’t experienced any more app crashes than I normally do, and overall performance is smooth and snappy. Battery life isn’t all that great, which is the number one reason I haven’t loaded the dev preview on my Nexus 6P. I’m also a little worried that my phone will start messing up the important things like not sounding alarms, but I’ve always been pretty nervous about that kind of thing with dev previews.

Like pretty much everyone else, my favorite feature in Android N is support for multi-window and the improvements with the recent apps screen. Multi-window is very handy and has been working well for me, and I really haven’t found it to be too buggy.

The only thing I really dislike when it comes to the improved recent apps screen is the fact that the cards are much more difficult to swipe away. I’m not sure if this is a bug or if it’s just the way Google implemented it, but it’s been really getting on my nerves.

Cards are much more difficult to swipe away. I’m not sure if this is a bug or if it’s just the way Google implemented it, but it’s been really getting on my nerves.

The new notification shade is great, too. I love the way notifications look now, and I’m a huge fan of bundled notifications. When you’re swiping a notification away, if you don’t complete the full swipe, a settings cog will appear and you can change how important notifications are from that particular app. I don’t think this is a good implementation at all. In previous versions, you’d need to long press on the notification to get this menu, and now it’s just a swipe away. I think it’s much too easy for the average user to accidentally mess something up without knowing it, which is never a good thing.

I’m just nitpicking, really. All in all it’s a very stable build of Android, especially considering it’s a very early dev preview. I can’t wait to see what improvements Google has in store for the next update!

Kris

I’m not using N as a daily driver but in tandem with my primary phone, so both devices go with me everywhere and get used interchangeably. I can’t say I’ve found N to have any serious level of bugs. I’ve heard plenty of stories about crashing apps or apps that simply won’t launch due to library conflicts, but I haven’t really encountered any more app problems than I normally would. I’d say it’s a similar experience to a non-polished ROM.

After a few days on the first release things started to get really laggy and stuttery. To the point that it wasn’t even worth keeping N on my Nexus 6P, but then the first update rolled in and everything went straight back to normal and hasn’t slowed down since. I haven’t checked every app’s responsiveness on this new build but performance wise it could absolutely be my daily driver.

I love the new notifications area – Quick Settings and bundled and expandable notifications, and Quick Reply is a godsend

Battery life is pretty much the same as it was on Marshmallow although Doze isn’t quite as aggressive. I love the new notifications area – Quick Settings and bundled and expandable notifications, and Quick Reply is a godsend – and I appreciate the snippets in the Settings menu. It saves even more time that I initially expected.

But my real favorite thing is multitasking. Double tap to switch apps is the best new Android feature I’ve seen in ages and I love the way the recent apps menu performs now. I know not everyone likes the new card view, but for me it’s a great solution. Split-screen works exceptionally well for a first swing at bat and overall the firmware is really stable and reliable. Other than the occasional app compatibility misstep, Android N could easily be my daily driver.

android n preview logoSee also: Android N features: everything confirmed, rumored and expected261

Bogdan

I’ve been using Android N preview on a Nexus 6P for a little over a week and I have to say I am really impressed with the stability of the update.

I jumped on the opportunity to try Android N without any work thanks to the Beta program, and the OTA notification arrived almost immediately; the update itself was free of any incidents and I particularly appreciated the sped-up app optimization process.

To get acquainted with Android N, I adopted the Nexus 6P as my daily driver, replacing its sibling, the Mate 8. Even as a preview, stock Android N feels so much smoother than Huawei’s OS, though the Mate 8 is still very fast.

While the overall user experience has been largely pain-free, I bumped into a few small issues that I can definitely blame on the N preview. I had a number of apps crash several times, though I didn’t run into any apps that flat-out refused to load. Notably, Talon threw errors and I had to restart the app several times. I ran into similar issues with Google’s own Docs app and with Reddit Sync, but the rest of my apps behaved actually quite well.

While the overall user experience has been largely pain-free, I bumped into a few small issues that I can definitely blame on the N preview.

The new quick settings worked without issues, but I ran into an annoying problem with the Do Not Disturb mode. Basically, the radio buttons for the three DND options (until your turn it off, for a specific interval, or until the next alarm) remained selected when you changed the selection. The issue is persistent (it requires a restart to clear), and combined with the very short time the DND panel is displayed, it made selecting the proper mode a bit of a pain.

And, just as I was writing this, my phone refused to dim or go to sleep, even if the screen off time was set to 30 seconds. Weird.

In terms of performance, I noticed a few hiccups in the notification drawer, and a persistent jankiness in the settings menu. Other than that, the Nexus 6P with Android N preview was really smooth.

I can’t comment too much on battery life, coming from a different device and having only played with the Nexus 6P briefly in the past. Because I sit at my desk all day, my phone sits unused most of the time –  I have to charge the Nexus 6P every other day, which is pretty good, but not a good as the beefier Mate 8’s battery life.

All in all, N preview is good enough to be my daily driver. Would I recommend you install it on your main device? Only if you don’t mind wasting a little time dealing with the occasional crash and if you don’t depend on specific apps (banking, payments, transit, Uber, etc.) to go about your daily life.

Android 6.0 marshmallow logo DSC_0126See also: Android 6.0 Marshmallow updates roundup – March 22, 2016137

Speak up

Let us know your thoughts after using Android N preview!

  • betold

    I installed it on my Nexus 6 and forgotten about it. It was sitting on the table with WIFI, LTE and Sync on for 10 days. As I touched it again it had 4% battery left. Pretty good job DOZE! Now I have been using it more, and its really pretty stable for the first beta build.

    • Lukuh

      But if you have WiFi and LTE both on and considering you had it connected to a stable internet connection wouldn’t it mean the LTE would just turn on as a replacing connection if it couldn’t connect to a WiFi thus meaning it doesn’t matter if you have mobile data on or off if you’re on WiFi? :P

      • Some phone functions still use data even with wifi on

        • Lukuh

          Really, like what? All I can think of is downloading MMS lel. Even my S3 LTE doesn’t use data if it has WiFi otherwise xD

          • on att wifi will not do MMS. My girl turns her data off when on wifi and never recieves her texts, phones updates and a few other features until the data turns on.

          • Lukuh

            Wow, really? We don’t have that here

          • eh, everywhere is different. I remember when we first got her the I6 (it was her first real data plan, I always gave her a jailbroken iphone with no data prior) and she was scared to go over she would turn her data off when home. We couldnt figure out why half her stuff wasnt working. When we called ATT they said oh you need DATA on for that but it uses very little. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuure it does lol.

          • Lukuh

            Wow, what a dick thing to do. I like to have everything turned off on my phone if I don’t need to have it. The need for having the data always turned on would drive me with my ocd mad. Do all carriers do that there?

          • Im honestly not sure. Weve been on ATT forever. Im still have the grandfathered unlimited data or I would have switched to something cheaper. I love the feeling Im lingering like bad gas in ATTs nose just sucking up their bandwitdh for pennies compared to others.

          • Noah Williams

            If you’re in the US, it basically comes down to whether your carrier has WiFi calling or not. If it does, you’re probably in good shape, if it doesn’t, well, sorry Charlie. I’m in Alaska and have GCI, basically a T-Mobile wannabe. Does not offer WiFi calling so you must download MMS over data.

            The one thing that I can say though is that with the amount of compression MMS goes through it really doesn’t consume much data, they’re not lying about that. Unless you are sending a million pictures a day, you shouldn’t worry too much.

      • Omar Đz

        is this included in MM ?

      • betold

        You are right, but my WIFI shuts down during 1am and 7am, so it must have been on LTE at least some hours in the day. Anyway I just wanted to share the amazing standby time I got with the optimized doze feature.

        • Lukuh

          Ah ok I see! Thanks for sharing with us

    • Raisa

      You can now grab the latest Nexus Phones online only at NexusPhoneOffers:com

  • Steven Santinelli

    I’ve been using it since day 1. Had some issues with it (Nexus 6) and Project FI, so went back to Tmobile. The phone wasn’t happy about that till I wiped it completely, and setup again. Then everything seemed fine. Maybe 1 or 2 crash/reboots. Couple of apps that won’t work with it.

    Other than that it has been pretty solid. Wish it had come out for the Nexus 7 (2013), but hopefully that’ll come in Q3…

    • Mail carrier

      Same here, factory reset cured a lot of issues.

  • ericshmerick

    Netflix doesn’t work. Reverted to 6.0.1 (Pixel C). It’s not touching my 6P until the beta.

    • kmdavisjr

      Hnmmm. Netflix seems to work on my Pixel c no problems (even in vertical split screen)

  • Matthew Burr

    I used it as a daily until this last Sunday. Really the only thing that caused me to flash back to Marsh was the lagginess. Specifically with the keyboard. Man there were times when it would take ten seconds per word. There were other little buggy things that didn’t really bother me. I might go back to N late this summer after there have been some updates to it.

  • Bert Gregory

    I ran it on my Nexus 6 (Project Fi) for a week or so. I had a few app crashes but nothing major. The laginess seemed to get worse over time. I switched by to M because of 1. The laginess and 2. Project Fi doesn’t offer support for N yet.

    • Mail carrier

      I factory reset mine and it’s smooth as silk after experiencing similar results. Also it ate my widgets! They were just disappearing.

  • Yashwant Gurbani

    i installed it on my pixel c and it runs pretty smoothly. however, 2 apps which i regularly used to use pretty regularly; polaris office and piano tiles 2 just refuse to open. i just guess that that an update to those apps should solve that problem

  • rmiller1959

    I’ve been using it as my daily driver on my Nexus 6P since its release, and it’s been running acceptably well. All of the apps I use regularly seem to work without an issue. NFL Mobile and Microsoft OneNote will not load, crashing immediately upon startup, and I get an error message when loading Instragram (“Detected problems with app native libraries”), although it seems to load and work correctly after that. Those are the only app problems I’ve detected thus far. Performance is quite good, and while some reported better performance after the recent update, I didn’t notice a change. The battery life is still good, although . We will see how things progress!

  • Any word on how stable Bluetooth connectivity is? I pair with my car, watch, and wireless earbuds at work; all very important to me. I skipped the first M preview because of some troubles with Wear.

    • Mail carrier

      Mines just fine, auto, Bose speaker and headset all three work w no issues.

    • kmdavisjr

      Stable for my Pixel c keyboard and two different sets of wireless headphones.

    • Jon

      Very stable. Bluetooth, wifi, cell.. No issues here, nexus 6. Also paired to my car when driving.

    • Timothy Elliott

      I bought a Nexus 6p and immediately put Android N on it…I’m not able to pair with my car stereo or my bluetooth headset. I’m wondering if it would work if I had paired the devices before upgrading to N. When I try it just says “Pairing” for a minute or so then the device disappears. Is anybody else able to pair new devices?

  • Mail carrier

    Doze rocks on N. A lot of my usage is screen off at work, streaming music and calls on Bluetooth headset. It has doubled my battery life. Screen on is similar to what it is currently. Lots of new features. It’s been on my daily driver for over a week with no issues other than loading webpages it wants to hiccup a bit, occasionally while gaming(like twice in a week).

  • kmdavisjr

    I’ve got it on my Pixel c and while it is a bit buggy (can’t use hidden wifi SSIDs and the split screen feature causes the Gmail exchange client to lose its mind from time to time) on the whole, it is pretty smooth and definitely usable. I really like it on my Pixel c

    • Brian Murray

      My 6P has the same issue for the WIFI hidden SSID. Other then the WIFI issue mine has ran very smooth and I’ve been using it everyday since it was released.

  • Using it on my pixel c and I love it but would not use it on my daily phone

  • droidfan17

    it was a little rough when i first installed it but when google pushed out the first update it was completely different story. working fine for now

  • Abu Ehaan

    I have been using Android N since a week now! The things at times really get frustrating like photos application hang and whilst sharing the screenshot (say for instance) on WhatsApp doesn’t show, except blank black. The battery has reduced by few hours, I was unable to stream on hotstar application and unable to stop the recording/broadcast on mixlr and ended up switching to flight mode. There is at times a slight delay whilst typing on stock keyboard and am unable to delete unread messages from Message application. Even after such a hassle it is indeed a delight to use it and test it, at least evny friends with it…

  • YOTOPRULES .

    I can’t even try it, have a Nexus 5 😩

  • Jon

    Ive been using android n as my daily driver for like 2-3 weeks already (cant recall when i first installed it) so far i can say its pretty much stable, you’d get some app crashes every now and then but it doesnt bother you at all. So far i can say is, im loving it.

  • Robert Johnson

    The Android N release this month is an alpha build which means lots of bugs and crashes in some scenarios. Next month there should be the 1st beta release with far more stability.

    • Total Security

      And I am so looking forward to this! :)

  • Joms

    Day 1 of my experience with Android N and so far running smoothly with very scarce hiccups like leftover windows when switching from regular to non-spit mode. Performance is on par with Android M so far, still checking battery life right now. I love the split mode as it allows me to run youtube video without a pause while browsing on the other window.

  • Total Security

    I installed on my Nexus 9 and the experience was about 10 reboots in 2 days!

    • Joms

      That’s too bad. I’ve never experienced a single lockup or reboot so far.

      • Total Security

        Did you factory reset? I didn’t.

        • Joms

          I did not as well coz I wanna know how the apps I am using will work.

          • Total Security

            Well… You lucky bastard, lol.

  • ichuck7

    I have it installed on my Nexus 6. When using the camera to record video, I have found it crashes. There are a few games that won’t load, but it’s not a big guy. Other than that, it’s a great build. I like it.

  • James Stroud

    I must say, I have been using the preview on my daily driver (Nexus 5X) since the day N was released and I’ve yet to come across any bugs other than removing quick settings causing a UI crash. So far it has been a lot more smooth than I initially expected it to be. I certainly don’t plan on moving back to marshmallow anytime soon. I’m loving the new features that have been implemented, and the way notifications look now is just beautiful. Keep up the great work Google!

  • Samuel Sanchez

    My Android N Beta experience is as follows:
    I was very excited for this new version, so following AA’s updates I downloaded the OTA beta update on my Nexus 6 (I didn’t have to factory reset it).
    And then started everything. I wasn’t able to send emoji’s on WhatsApp. YouTube video’s had a white line on the bottom. And till today I’m not able to share screenshots. I’ve also experienced sudden reboots. Sometimes my keyboard won’t appear.
    After some 20 reboots it fixed, but still has some bugs (you would expect that from a beta), but is not as smooth as before.
    Of course, all the new features compensate the bugs and crashes. By the way, I use this phone as my daily driver.

  • MaliciousVirusexe

    I’ve been using N for about a week now on my nexus 6 for everyday use. The settings menus when first installed were a bit slow and clunky but after about a day seemed to speed up and run smoothly. I’ve experienced no crashes other than on the beta Snapchat app which to fair was extremely buggy (if not even more-so) in marshmallow. As of 4/28/16 the only major isue ive found is if you change the nightmode settings from their defaults, nightmode won’t turn off until you disable the System U.I. settings. Nightmode works well when implemented via the notifications bar though. I’m a busy computer engineering student who is plugged in 24/7, if N is working for me, chances are you’ll like it too for regular use. (Still i would recommend making a full backup of your android before you install it)