Sunday, 11 January 2015

Don't Buy Day 1 Products!

That statement has served me pretty well in recent years. As with most things in my life, this largely refers to technology, but I realised that it works well for most things in life.

I bought my Nexus 7 (2013) around 18 months ago, i.e. within a fortnight of it being becoming available for purchase in the USA. At the time it seemed like a great idea; even now, the Nexus 7 is still a great purchase. However, as with many Day 1 purchases, many serious issues awaited...

As you may know from my previous post on Android 5.0 Lollipop on the Nexus 7, my tablet suffered from the infamous touchscreen issues which plagued early models. These issues, for me, mainly come in two variants; namely ghost touches and unresponsive areas. Ghost touches are where the screen registers touches that I don't make, and the unresponsive areas are the opposite, where touches are not registered at all.

That was just one example of one product; there are countless examples all over the tech world. Apple's iPhones, for instance, have been notorious for Day 1 problems, so much so that some problems got their own names; (Antenna-Gate or Bend-Gate anyone?). On the Android front, HTC's Nexus 9 tablet suffered from light-bleed (see Explanation of Terms) and poor tactile feel on the hardware power and volume keys. 

It's not just hardware either. Software also tends to be full of Day 1 bugs. Sticking with Apple, their latest version of iOS, iOS 8, was so problematic, between its installation and in-use issues, that some tech sites specifically advised against updating immediately, and to wait until the patch build, 8.0.1 was released. The same thing happened with Android 5.0 Lollipop, with 5.0.1 being released within a few weeks of the original update, patching various issues including video playback on devices such as the Nexus 7 (2013).

TL;DR? Just wait at least a month before purchasing a product you've been eyeing. This will give the manufacturers time to fix the wares, so that you don't potentially end up buying a dud product.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Quick Review: Android 5.0 Lollipop @ Nexus 7

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'll cover the tablet-specific aspects of Lollipop, and Android in general, in this post.

Before I go any further into this review, I'd like to make something clear. I own an Asus Nexus 7 (2013) which was bought within a week of its announcement in August 2013. As I will elaborate further on in another post that's in the pipeline, you should never buy Day 1 products. 

My tablet has serious touchscreen sensitivity issues, where it will register ghost touches or not register it at all when I tap something. As a result, I don't use it as much as I would like to. Regardless, I will write up what I've personally noticed, but be warned that it won't be as complete as I would like.

How It Looks...

Over the years, Android's tablet UI has undergone some pretty drastic changes. In 3.x Honeycomb, the Holo design language was introduced, and a very Tron-esque look prevailed. This was pared back in 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and gradually phased out in favour of Material Design in 5.0.

Up until recently, Android tablets had a dual-panel settings layout, where you could scroll through the settings on the left and interact with individual settings on the right. This is gone in Lollipop, replaced by full-screen menus. 

Some people might lament this change, others welcome it. I've yet to fully make my mind up about it. It was definitely the better option for tablets such as the Nexus 7, but I'm not so sure about larger tablets.

How It Feels...

I could say "smoooth", but that isn't quite true. There are definitely a good few instances when I'm using my Nexus 7 that it slows down a bit, or is quite jerky. However, Lollipop has definitely improved some things, such as the Recents menu opening speed. Before, there would be a good 2 second delay between my tapping the icon and it opening, and it now happens virtually instantly.

How It Disappoints...

I had a set of things I was disappointed with long before Lollipop arrived on the scene. My list is largely unchanged, with only one or two minor annoyances scratched off the list, such as the Recents menu speed boost.

No, the bigger problem is that my device is not as good as it should be, and that, I'm afraid, is not something that I can do anything at all about.

Should I Upgrade...?

Yes, without a doubt. Now that Android 5.0.1 has begun to roll out, there is absolutely no reason not to upgrade. My issues have more to do with me not being a smart buyer rather than any specific fault of Lollipop or the Nexus 7 in general.