Nexus 5 initial impressions from an iPhone 5 user
Background: Ever since I switched from AT$T to T-Mobile last month, my iPhone 5's battery life has taken a huge
nosedive for the worst, to where it can easily lose 1% every 2-3 minutes, Wi-Fi on or off, and even if airplane mode is on but Wi-Fi is on (Apple Store won't replace it since it's 60 days out of warranty, and a new battery honestly probably won't help since the capacity and other diagnostic readings are showing signs of a normal battery). Popping my AT$T SIM back in, I immediately get much better numbers. Either T-Mobile's network sucks the crap out of batteries, or the phone has yet to be optimized for the network. I'm thinking it's the latter, because I've used other T-Mobile phones, such as the LG Optimus L9, and battery life was really good. Since the Nexus 5 is a very affordable off-contract device, I decided to give it a try.
I understand that the battery life is itself questionable for the Nexus 5, but it supposedly gets better as time goes on.
My white 16GB Nexus 5 arrived yesterday (ordered it on the 6th when it said it'll ship between 3-4 weeks). Using a ghetto paper-based mold for my nano-SIM, it worked just fine in the N5's micro-SIM slot.
It took a number of hours to eventually get things the way I like it, but here's my current setup (the icon and folder setups are nearly identical to how I had them on my iPhone 5, and every third-party (App Store) app I had there was also available on Android, or at least a good alternative was available):
Overall, I'm very happy with Android 4.4 and its general performance on the N5.
So, some complaints.
First, LTE. On my morning commute, I noticed it completely lost a signal (no bars, just an outline) three
times in areas where my iPhone 5 would have at least 2 bars (dots) of LTE. I would at least expect it to drop to HSPA+, but it didn't do that... In the building I'm in, I always
got at least 3 bars of LTE on my iPhone 5. My Nexus 5 can't seem to hook onto it, even after flicking airplane mode on and off a few times. It's instead connected to HSPA+ (fluctuating between that and 3G when idling, as expected). Yes, HSPA+ works, but I want LTE if I have access to it, which I do. EDIT:
Changing the data network from LTE to 2G, then back to LTE brought LTE back. EDIT 2:
Well, where I've been at for the past 10 minutes, I get a full signal of LTE. It randomly decided to drop to full HSPA+/3G.
I always also hoping that general compatibility with T-Mobile was better. The raw decibel signal readings do seem to be in my favor, but the LTE problems and prior signal drops are hopefully things that won't happen again.
Next, battery life. Yes, as mentioned, I know that it's supposed to get better. To be honest, my initial battery life numbers don't seem too bad. Here are some of my initial numbers (N5 came out of the box at around 80% battery, used it down to 5% before charging it all night):
At that screen on rate, I'd estimate about 5.75 hours of total screen on usage, and 9 hours of total standby. That's much
better than some of my recent iPhone 5 numbers, and I hope that they can increase. Battery life is really the deciding factor if I keep the N5 and sell my iPhone 5 or not.
I've already gone through all of the battery saving tips (turning Wi-Fi auto search off, battery saving location mode, disabling OK Google, etc.). My usage isn't too
heavy, but I do leave Wi-fi OFF (yes, off), get hundreds of texts, checking and replying to them, using Twitter (Tweetings), listening to music through headphones (PowerAmp), checking email automatically every 15 minutes via K9, dealing with those from time to time, and opening some pages with Chrome.
Next, the speaker. I was expecting it to be loud, louder than my iPhone 5, but it's noticeably quieter. I guess there's a hardware hack for it, but I'd rather avoid that, should I end up returning the thing. It sounds clear, and seems louder in certain apps than others (even if the volume is up all the way). Not sure if it needs to be broken in first.
I just noticed that music through headphones doesn't get very loud either, even with things turned up to their maximum values in PowerAmp.
I've yet to take a picture with the camera, and I heard it could be better (and probably will with a software update).
Speaking of software updates, I imagine Google could easily improve on almost all of these areas, including battery life?
One of my concerns was whether or not I can deal with the larger phone for one-handed operation. And really, I haven't had any complaints there.
Overall, I'm very
satisfied with it. Just anxious to see what my battery life numbers will be as time goes on.