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What do you think of Lollipop and the latest Nexus devices?

For this week's Friday Debate we share our thoughts on the latest Nexus devices and Android 5.0 Lollipop.
October 17, 2014
Nexus-6 9 lollipop

Google finally unveiled the latest members of the Nexus family this week, alongside news of the final release of Android L, now officially known as Android 5.0 Lollipop. For Nexus and Android fans everywhere, it’s been a pretty crazy week.

For this Friday Debate we discuss our impressions of the latest Nexus devices, as well as Android 5.0. Love what you saw, disappointed by the pricing? Let us know!

Jonathan Feist

Truth is, I haven’t fully formed my opinions on Android 5.0 and the new Nexus devices just yet. Starting with Android 5.0 Lollipop, I had fully expected a release for the end of October, like last year. Moving the announcement to the middle of the month got my hopes up, and crushed, now back to waiting for the OTA.

Now, I am very much looking forward to getting Lollipop on my devices. Not to say that I have any urge to get off of KitKat, 4.4.4 has been good to me. Truth is, my urge for Lollipop is only one of wanting the new stuff because it’s new and shiny. If not for full and proper ART support and only a handful of the new Material Design animations, I likely would not seek out the Lollipop update, if it wasn’t already coming to me.

Perhaps it is a self defense mechanism to not desire Lollipop just yet. Actually, I’m pretty sure it is, the day I see that the update is available on my devices I’ll be jumping up and down with excitement, just like I did for the KitKat(4.4.4), and KitKat(4.4.3) and, well, KitKat(4.4.2) updates before it.

What about those new devices? Again, I am just not 100% on this yet. Don’t get me wrong, I see before me some spectacular devices, not only that, but they are about perfect for my needs right now. Both Nexus units are well equipped devices, I like the size of the Nexus 6, but I still don’t like a 9-inch tablet. Thing is, the Nexus 9 does not look portable to me, and I like to carry my Nexus 7 around with me, so you know I am not just being a pain.

To me, the size of the Nexus 9 takes the ‘mobility’ out of it, and a mobile product that isn’t mobile sounds like a bad idea. Perhaps I underestimate the number of people that desire a tablet for their coffee table, bedside or business needs, which is what I would use it for, I guess we’ll see.

Back to that Nexus 6. I get it, I do, a premium device with a premium price makes perfect business sense, especially now that Android as a whole doesn’t have to prove itself anymore. But I know many that now refuse to tie themselves to a carrier for two years, myself included.

Hello, my name is Jonathan and I’ve been contract free for 5 years and one month.

Being carrier free is a move to save some money, which is the same reason I probably won’t be purchasing the Nexus 6. Don’t get me wrong, the Nexus 6 appears to about the best bang for the buck when comparing the top of the high end devices out there, but it is a little rich for most people.

I would like to remind Google of something now – many of the other ‘premium’ device out there come with a premium customer service experience as well. There is a dedicated Samsung specialist posted in every Best Buy across the U.S. My personal experience with support directly through Google Play has been successful, but not without some serious headaches.

I don’t want to go into this, but sometimes I think Android Silver is a better move than continuing with Nexus devices. You know, if it has to be one or the other. In a perfect world we can have both. My current daily driver is a GPE device, I suspect I would go Silver, were it an option.

What else is there? App updates, cool, I’ll take it. Nexus Player – I am completely ready to update from my Chromecast to the Android TV powered Nexus Player, but one thing holds me back, I don’t have a Nexus 5, when does non-root full device mirroring roll out again?

Maybe it just hasn’t sunk in yet, but a part of me feels like Android 5.0 Lollipop and the new Nexus devices are still just rumors. On the bright side, they are all official and they look awesome. I can’t wait to try them all out.

Gary Sims

Google has certainly given us a lot to think about, 3 new devices and a new version of Android. It will be a little while yet before we can start to make definite statements about all the new releases. There will need to be some significant testing and real life usage before we can hail these new offerings as a success (or failure). However I do have an initial reaction.

First Android 5.0 Lollipop. There is just one word. Brilliant. Google has shown time and time again that Android is in good hands. There are functional improvements, there is the new Material Design, and there is support for 64-bits. Not only that, but it looks like Google is doing a good job of getting Android 5 onto some of its older Nexus devices. I have a Nexus 7 (2012) which is just itching for an upgrade!

As for the devices, I will start with what I don’t like – the Nexus 6. Frankly it is just too big and too expensive. I have reviewed dozens of devices for Android Authority including the THL T200. It is a full HD, 6 inch device with 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage, etc. It costs under $300. That is half the price of the Nexus 6. OK, I understand the display on the Nexus 6 is better, the camera has optical image stabilization, and it is a 4G device, etc. But is all that worth an extra $300?

And then there is the size. The THL T200 is almost the same size as the Nexus 6 (in fact the T200 is thinner) and a 6 inch phone is just too big for practical use. Don’t get me wrong, you can accommodate it, you can alter how you carry your phone, you can even buy trousers with bigger pockets, but I thought the phone was meant to be controlled by me, not I by the phone! This is of course a personal preference. A 5 inch, maybe 5.5 inch phone is the maximum for me. The Nexus 6 is just way too big. From that point of view I am pleased that Google is keeping the Nexus 5 around for a while.

The Nexus 9 looks simply wonderful. The specs look great and if the Tegra K1 performs (in terms of battery and speed) as promised, then it looks like a real winner. Since the Nexus 9 is the first official 64-bit device, it will come under a lot of scrutiny. If it proves itself true then it will be a winner. If it puts 64-bit Android into a bad light or fails to deliver the goods, then it will be a giant flop. The pricing is reasonable but not spectacular, the inclusion of a 4G model is a great plus.

Finally, the Nexus Player has left me undecided. I have an Android media box and the whole family uses it all the time. Also the Chromecast has proven to be a very successful (and cheap) media device. I am not yet convinced what the Nexus Player brings to the table. However the pricing is good and if Android TV proves to be easy to use then I can see people buying it rather than an ordinary Android media box.

Overall, well done Google, but please update the Nexus 5 for those who don’t want such a large phone.

Andrew Grush

As someone who installed Android L Developer the first day it was out and kept it until just last week (went back to KitKat because I ran into some issues with L and my new Moto 360), I’ve been dying for Android 5.0 Lollipop’s final debut for a while now. In fact, I’m debating whether or not to install the last preview images ahead of the final launch but part of me thinks I’m better waiting for the final release.

While Lollipop doesn’t seem to add to much new to the table compared to the preview, I certainly welcome all the bug fixes and polish that will come with it. As for comparing it to KitKat? Night and day. I love the new notifications, quick settings, searchable settings and so much more. Battery conservation mode is pretty slick too. It really leaves Android 4.4 in the dust, at least in my opinion.

As for the latest Nexus devices? I’m actually interested in the Nexus Player. Price isn’t too bad and could make a nice psuedo-gamesystem for the kids too. Unfortunately, that’s where my interest in the latest Nexus family ends. I’m not a tablet guy, though I admit the Nexus 9 looks nice. I also am not so fond of super-massive smarphones like the Nexus 6 and my cut off would be probably 5.2 to 5.5-inches I’d wager, and so I’m sticking with my Nexus 5 for a while.

Again, I really think both the Nexus 6 and 9 are nice devices, just not for me. Also I’m a pretty big cheapskate I’ll admit, so there’s that. Like Gary, I hold out hope that Google will eventually release a revamped Nexus 5 of sorts in 2015, but for now it’s a hell of a device and I see no need to replace it.

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