Hello all out there on the interwebs! For the next couple of months I have the very exciting opportunity to spend some time with you all and blog about the Nexus 6. Get ready for today’s huge wall of text…so much to cover.
By now I'm sure you all are aware that Google's newest pure Android experience flagship device, manufactured by Motorola, is the most impressive to date. If not I encourage you to brush up on the Nexus device history by reading the Wikipedia article: Comparison of Google Nexus smartphones. Also if you haven't had the opportunity to read Ninja_CJ's blog posting in regard to the dual front speakers and, to paraphrase, their awesomeness. Then please direct your attention to his post titled: Sprint Product Ambassadors nexus 6 sound is big -dont believe me just listen, personally I read this and thought nothing more of it; until I accidently started playing a playlist from Play Music meaning to cast to my Chromecast. I was shocked at the sound quality, as I have come to expect phone (and TV manufactures for that matter) to just toss in some speakers because they have to.
Ok now that we are all caught up and on the same page let's talk about some of my first week practical/typical usages and what I have noticed thus far.
Nexus ONE -> Nexus S -> Galaxy Nexus -> Nexus 4 -> Nexus 5 -> Nexus 6
Background with Nexus:
As a long time user of HTC Sense devices and Samsung Touch wiz devices, I have struggled in adapting to the "Pure Stock Android" experience. I played around with and tried to use the Galaxy Nexus (running Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS)) back in the day, although I just couldn’t get into it despite my persistent attempts. To be fair and honest, I can't really recall all of the quirks I didn't enjoy when compared to, at that time, the HTC EVO 3D and EVO LTE running SenseUI. I knew the major advantages included some important things for me such as: Nexus' get updates ASAP...and back then, well let's just say waiting for the updates to be integrated with SenseUI and then pushed to the devices was like waiting in line at the DMV. I really just wanted a device direct from the source with cool little Android people baked in...I'm sure there were other reasons at the time but those escape me. None the less, I gave up and went back to my comfort zone.
When the Nexus 6 was announced I read the specs/first reviews, and my intrigue and desires to give it another whirl grew exponentially by the day. I would've done an unboxing video, but by the time I got my device I was so excited I tore it open so quickly the remints look as if my dog got ahold of it.
So here we are, one week into using the Nexus 6. A lot has changed since the Galaxy Nexus. Android, now on Lollipop, has come a long way since ICS. As one of approx. 3% of Android users privileged to be on the new version of Android (Cnet article from March 4th 2015) and its new beautiful material design visuals I can attest that whatever issues persisted for me back in 2012, have for the most part been eliminated.
Trying to stay stock as much as possible and use the stock Google apps for everything I have only found two items that stick out as frustrating.
1) The stock Clock app, used for an alarm clock, doesn't do it for me. I'm a huge fan of the snooze button, and I have no problems completely dismissing the alarm all together...but this is not a good thing, and it's way to easy for me to accomplish this without thought or hesitation in the Clock app...so I have since downloaded my ole pal Alarm Clock Xtreme (ACX). See with ACX I require myself to complete "hard" math problems to put my phone on snooze, my snooze time decreases by a minute each time it cycles through (starting at 5 minutes). In order to just dismiss the alarm all together I have to answer 2 math problems and input a CAPTCHA, or as I have done regularly in the past remove the battery and call it a day so a side benefit of having the Nexus 6 is that I cannot remove the battery.
2) The other thing that still gets my gears grinding on the Pure Android Experience is the dialer/contacts app...Although the bigger issue is Google/Gmail’s not so easy or pleasant way of managing contacts.
• Gmail saves every single email address you have sent/received email from as "contact." Unless you are on top of your game you may have alot of merging of contacts to do...multiply this by the 5 Gmail accounts installed on my device.
A personal, a shared with the wife for eBills, one for my sons baseball team I coach, another for "Junk signups" and lastly one for emails dedicated to a local non-profit organization for which I am a board member of. Then add in my Exchange account, which now is managed by the same app and not a separate app, and that equals A LOT of contacts without numbers (also LinkedIN and some other ones too).
My issue is that as of now there is not a settings option within Contacts to only show contacts with a phone number, something that can be fixed with a third party dialer/contacts app - but I've yet to find one I love. But to me this is something largely overlooked by Google, every other manufacture UI I've used as this built in.
But all in all that's it for the frustrations, all can be fixed with the help of an app.
Those frustrations mean nothing though in the grand scheme of things.
1) Because I am on the latest version of Android. With 5.1 being rumored as a maintenance release and coming soon, I know I won't have to wait to get it on my device. Plus according to Androidpolice.com the contacts app is supposedly getting some treatment, so maybe we can cross off one of those frustrations soon!!
2) In addition I have the ability to use Google Now from any screen I want to just by saying "OK Google," which with the increase in hands free laws that went into effect here in Austin and Central Texas Jan. 1, this is a HUGE NEED for me.
• I can launch Maps, have texts read to me and reply and not have to look and fiddle with my phone to make sure I'm somewhere specific to do those things.
3) Battery life though is ridiculously good, primarily due to the AMOLED LCD and the way it produces blacks and lacks backlights because the display itself is the light source. So although it is a 5.96" screen, if you use a darker backdrop you feel the crisp material design colors popping off the screen, all while using minimal power.
• I get about 4.5 hours of screen on time, with ambient display on and brightness set to adjust automatically. For me 4.5 is awesome compared to the 2.8-3ish I got on the Note 3.
4) In addition the Turbo Charger/functionality is nothing short of brilliant. I doubt I can ever go back to a device that does not have this capability.
Battery in the wild:
Screen on time numbers are fun to look at but let me give you a real life example.
I coach my son's travel baseball team. I use iScorecast to "keep the book" during games, it also connects to a website for my account and game casts the game.
Shows pitch by pitch in real time what is happening, just like on ESPN.com. Which is great for grandparents, and other family members who can't make it every weekend to wherever we are playing to keep up with the games.
In addition it tweets out scoring updates in real time so you can also follow us @TripleThreat11U
On Saturday’s we play 2 games to determine the seeding for the single elimination bracket played on Sunday. On my Note 3 I would need to hook up my external Tylt Power Plant to get me through that second game. With the Nexus 6 I was able to get through both games and still have 40% battery life. Games last a minimum of an hour and a half on Saturdays.
So in summary there is so much that this device has and is capable of, not just on paper, but in real life. Add to it the fact that it's how Google intended Android to function, and that for me is a recipe as close to perfection as I have seen thus far.
Later I will blog about the Phablet abilities compared to the Note lineup...but I think you can tell based on my rather lengthy post today, I have a lot to say about the Nexus 6, and it’s still organizing it's self within my brain.
Until next time, safe travels.
PRODUCT AMBASSADOR DISCLAIMER
Disclaimer: The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee.