Tag Archives: nexus

Nexus 5

My old first generation Samsung Galaxy S is at the end of its life, it is so slow that it becomes unusable. I have been waiting for the new Nexus 5 since rumors shows up in the summer. The Nexus 5 exactly fit my need. a no-frill unlock phone at a very reasonable price. The hardware specification of Nexus 5 is comparable to flagship phone from Samsung, HTC or Sony, but it’s almost $200 cheaper. The best of all, I know I will always have the latest Android OS update.

When Google announced Nexus 5 on Halloween, I ordered it once it is available on the Play Store. I believe my order is one of the first shipment. I got my Nexus 5 last Friday. Before I had my new phone, I already read tons of review on the web, so nothing comes up as surprise since I know exactly what to expect. The phone has the fastest CPU in the market, it runs very fast compare to my old Captivate, but I couldn’t tell much speed difference from my Nexus 7.

The battery capacity is not as big as Samsung or HTC, but good enough. On the first day after I got the phone, I unplugged it at 7am and it runs out of juice around 6pm after of a full day almost non-stop use. Today is a normal work day, I left the WiFi and LTE enabled, made a few phone calls, go online a little bit during breaks, and I still 70% of battery at the end of the day. No bad.

The major disadvantage of Nexus 5 is the camera. It is good, but not great. Definitely not as good as other flagship photos. The optical image stabilizer works well when you are taking still photos and try to hold your hand steady, but it not so useful if you are taking action shot. The auto-focus is very slow, can’t really capture my son’s movement fast enough. I read on the web it is a software problem, so hopefully it will be fixed in the next update.

I don’t see any special feature of Android 4.4 KitKat. Google changed the home screen again, and make it fully integrated with Google Now. I can say “OK Google” to the phone under home screen and it will start Google Now automatically, no need to press any button. I think it is more like a gimmick and it only works on English(US), not even English(Canada). Does “OK Google” sounds very different in Canada compare to the States? I really miss the customization enhancement of the Cyanogenmod, I am so used to the short cut icons on the lock screen and configurable docks screen in the launcher. The true gem of Android 4.4 is the ART compiler hidden under developer features, which runs much faster than the Dalvik pre-compiler in other Android. Too bad that it crashes WhatsApp, so I can’t turn it on until WhatsApp fix the problem.

The lack of a SD-card slot is always a sore point in Nexus line of devices. But base on my previous experience with my old Captivate, which has support SD-card, I probably won’t miss it that much given that I ordered the 32GB model. The internal memory is more than enough for photos and mp3. After 3 years of use, I didn’t even fill up the internal 16GB of memory of my old phone. The external SD-card ends up being used as a dump for mp3s that I rarely listen and too lazy to delete. The only scenario I would ever need more storage space is storing movies during flight, but I can always solve the problem by using an OTG-USB SD card reader.

Overall, I am very happy with my new Nexus 5, but it is not a phone for everyone. It lacks the bells and whistles of Samsung or HTC, it is not an exciting phone, it is just a plain work horse phone. It totally does not make sense to get a subsidize Nexus 5 from the carrier and lock yourself into a 2 years contract. The last bit of dilemma of owning a Nexus 5 is about to flash or not to flash, that is the question. Since I am always getting the new OS upgrade, I don’t have a need to flash the phone. On the other hand, I do miss the enhancement of other customer ROM. I guess I just need to find a way to install launcher and lock slider from Cyanogenmod without replacing the OS. I tried install the launcher from CM10.2, which is based on Android 4.3, but it does not work well, it crash when I tried to configure the screen size.  I guess I have to wait until CM11 is released and try again.

Nexus 7 (2013)


Finally the wait is over, I bought my first tablet. I’ve been waiting for the right one for over a year, I want a tablet with powerful specification and yet at a reasonable price. The iPad is way over my budget, and I don’t like the gimmicky line-up from Samsung. The first Nexus 7 almost meet my requirements, but I want a better display and a more powerful CPU.

The new Nexus 7 is just the right answer. It has higher pixel density than Apple’s retina display, the same resolution as my 24″ monitor. The CPU is top of the line quad core Qualcomm processor, on par with the flag ship smartphones like Galaxy s4 or HTC one. I bought the 16G model since the 32G model is not yet available in Canada, and lack of a micro slot is probably the biggest down side of the nexus 7. I intend to use it mostly at home, where I can stream files directly from my computer, so I am not very concern about the storage size. When I am traveling, I am get an USB cable and use external thumb drive, it is not very elegant but it works fine.

I pre-order my Nexus 7 from Bestbuy.ca and I got my tablet delivered right on July 30th, the first day that the Nexus 7 is on sale. (It already sold out, for now) I ready have an Android phone, so setting up the Nexus 7 is pretty straight forward. Log into my Google account and all my existing apps are downloaded and installed automatically. The tablet is up and running within 10 minutes. It feels just like my old phone, except it runs much smoother and has a bigger screen. I can’t tell anything real different in the new Android 4. , in fact I miss those little handy customization of Cyanogenmod 10.1, such as lock screen shortcuts, scrollable dock bar, etc.

The Nexus 7 lacks the wow factor, when I show it off to my colleagues, their comment is yet another Android tablet. My wife is not impressed by its relatively small size, she thinks only a 10″ iPad is a real tablet. It seems the only person fascinated by the Nexus 7 is baby Marcus, he prefer it over my old Android phone and mom’s iPhone 5, probably just because the Nexus 7 is bigger. I am quite happy with my new tablet, I don’t have to sit in front of the computer to surf the web or watch video. I am actually writing this blog using the tablet lying on the sofa. Typing with the on screen keyboard is not as fast as using a real keyboard, but good enough for light usage.

I am looking for a few accessories for my Nexus 7. First I need case and cover if I want to carry it with me outside of the house. Then I need to get a Bluetooth keyboard, so I can replace my laptop for simple note taking or writing tasks. Last I want to get a USB docking station to charge the tablet on my desk.