I know a thing or two about compromise — I bought a Nexus 5 a few months ago. It’s not the phone I want, but it’ll do. For now.
It’s been years since I bought something that wasn’t the latest and greatest Nexus model, but this time I think it was the right call. Like other Android fans, I awaited the announcement of the Nexus 6 with every bit as much excitement as the entire world does when it’s new‐iPhone‐time. (Yes, this is a thing people actually do for Nexus devices.)
I found myself utterly underwhelmed by Nexus 6. Price, size, boring, etc. But I knew I needed a new phone, so I immediately ordered the fan‐favorite Nexus 5.
It’s fast. My Galaxy Nexus — a phone from 2011 — didn’t seem that slow, even towards the end, but I’m blown away at how fluidly this thing runs just about everything. (That’s probably the extra RAM talking.) Another RAM‐based plus is that it’s awesome to switch between apps — and even browser tabs — without my seeing persistent background processes dying and restarting. I could have avoided this frustration by simply doing less with my device, but why would I?
Having 32 GB of storage shouldn’t be such a big deal in 2015, but after dealing with two phones that maxed out at 16‐ridiculous‐gigabytes, it feels amazing to not have to think about space, at least for now. Of course it’s still only 32 GB, so I’m not significantly changing the way I use the device to make use of the extra space.
Ick: I find it a little hard to believe that I own a phone with a not‐user‐swappable battery.1 After all, I thought that I object to these on principle. In the end, sigh, the Nexus pluses won out over the other devices I considered. But I feel as if the device comes with a built‐in expiration date.
Speaking of power, I didn’t expect to pick up a wireless Qi charger for this phone, but I did. (Um, two, actually — cheap ones.) I love it. Wireless charging is not only the future of mobile devices, but for those on the Android side of the proverbial aisle, it’s the present.
Well, no shit there’s no physical keyboard. I immediately missed having one when I got my first candybar‐style device in 2010. You’re getting on well with tapping, swiping, voice, autocorrect, whatever? That’s wonderful and I’m so happy for you. I miss having a real keyboard no less today than I did four years ago.
Months after its general availability, I’m still continuing to hold off on applying the Nexus 5 Lollipop upgrade. The same UI flash that got Apple‐enamored design bloggers salivating actually saddens me. Exactly why is probably worth a dedicated post, but after months of using Lollipop on secondary devices, I still can’t see myself putting it on my primary phone (read: the only device that matters to me).
Nexus 5 feels like more of a stopgap than anything else… at least it was pretty inexpensive. It’s clear that the world isn’t turning back to the good stuff from the past (top want: badass Sidekick‐style slider) but there is hope for the future — Nexus 5 just needs to last me until Project Ara is a thing I can actually use.
Someone will make an Ara keyboard module. I can feel it in my hands now.
- I know. There are disassembly guides that show you how to crack open the phone and replace the battery. But that is not the same as having a truly removable battery. For one thing, I can’t just casually carry a second battery to pop in for an instant top‐up. And also, I imagine this complicating factor limits the market demand for replacement batteries, which I fear will limit the battery supply when, down the road, the day comes that I finally need a replacement. Sealed phones are a shitty, disrespectful design decision by which this dude cannot abide. ↩