A Love Letter to Nexus (Not Mine)

Title Card from Video

Android Authority pumps out YouTube videos like nobody’s business. The content is sometimes a bit iffy but the quality of the videos uploaded by each member of their team look uniformly slick.

This past week they outdid themselves, with a superb retrospective of Nexus phones and tablets narrated by new presenter Ash Tailor. If you’re a Nexus fan and can spare the 26 minutes or so to watch it I highly recommend that you do.

And here it is!

This fond remembrance of Nexuses past ultimately brings me back to this Nexus 6 that I’ve got sitting on my desk, on loan from Howard. Maybe I don’t despise the very idea of it as much as I once did, but it’s certainly not my cup of tea, either.

A big part of the problem is the software. I stand by my earlier assertion that Android Lollipop, at least in stock form, has nothing to offer me that I can’t already get with custom KitKat ROMs.

With regards to homebrew firmware for Android L, I’ve had a play with the following ROMs so far:

CyanogenMod 12 nightlies
Chroma
SlimLP Alpha 1 Weekly
Paranoid Android 5.0 Alpha 1

While it’s great to see Lollipop ROM development jumping out of the gate so quickly, the defining features of these ROMs haven’t been fully implemented yet. I suspect that by the summer this will be an entirely different story. At the very least they seem to have addressed the brightness issue that Howard mentioned in his review.

Speaking of the screen, the QHD display on the Moto Nexus is certainly nice to look at. And the front-facing speakers, though not at all up to the BoomSound standards of HTC, are certainly a vast improvement over the dreary mono speaker on my old Nexus 5. On the back it’s a different story—the soft-touch plastic is every bit as slippery as the metal finish on the HTC M8. It can be addressed with a case, but a case is going to make the thing even more unwieldy than it already is.

I haven’t tried the camera yet.

Were it not for the OnePlus One this fan of unlockable bootloaders would have no other option than to dig deep and pony up the big bucks for a shamu to make my own. For the same money I’d certainly be tempted to get a Note 4 instead, but futzing around with different radios, region-locking and such would probably not end well for me. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m glad there’s a choice. Hopefully Android’s future will see more SIM-unlocked and bootloader-unlockable phones.

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