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.
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.
Should you install N preview on your main device? Here are some of the known issues with it.
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!
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 features: everything confirmed, rumored and expected
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 updates roundup – March 22, 2016
Let us know your thoughts after using Android N preview!