I’m a big Microsoft products user and I’ve used Windows for many years. I started using Microsoft OS based phones in the Windows Mobile 5 era. The Windows Phone platform is beautiful and some features are unmatched so far (live tiles, Continuum, and Windows Hello).
However, for an application ecosystem to appeal to consumers, it must have a head (the big apps) and a tail (that one app that a small subset of users needs). The Windows Store has thousands of applications and all the big names are present (Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, etc.). Unfortunately, the small apps are not there (local banks, for example).
Moreover, even the existing applications are not as high-quality as their versions for other platforms. Just like the apps ecosystem, the applications have the head but not the tail features. For example, the Facebook application doesn’t have support for managing pages.
That made me decide to change the platform. I had two options: Android or iOS. I’m not a big Apple fan because of their lack of interoperability (software not available for other platforms), so I picked Android.
Since I also wanted to switch to Google Fi, I had 3 phone choices: Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, or Nexus 6P. I picked the first because of the smaller screen even though I would have preferred the better specs of the 6P. (Why are manufacturers making smaller screen phones less performant?)
I’m not going to write a classic review. If you want to learn about the basics of Nexus 5X, here’s a great review. Instead, I’ll focus on how I find it compared to Windows Phone, and what I personally (dis)like.
No live tiles
When you switch from Windows Phone to Android, the first thing you’ll notice is the lack of live tiles. The tiles are the best part of Microsoft’s phone OS. While Android allows you to add widgets on the start screen, there’s no consistency between them: some are interactive, some not; some show lots of information; some not; some use system colors, some not; some can be resized, some not; you get the point.
The camera in Nexus takes beautiful pictures both in daylight and night. It also has a HDR mode which improves the quality even more. Words can’t describe the quality, so here are a few pictures that I took these days:
The pictures come out beautiful… when the software works. The camera software is absolute crap: it takes ages to start, it crashes a lot, and after using it for a while the entire OS becomes slow.
Not sure if this is camera or accelerometer related but you can hear something moving in the phone if you shake it in a quiet place. I’ve tried this with 3 different Nexus 5Xs and they all make that noise. It’s not easily noticeable, but once you hear it, you cannot unhear it.
The fingerprint reader is amazing! I was worried about it being on the back of the phone but it actually makes it very easy to use. I made a habit of placing the phone upside down in my pocket, so I can place the finger on the fingerprint reader as I take it out. By the time I see the screen, it’s already unlocked.
The performance is good overall. All applications that I’ve tried, including Civilization Revolution work great. However, there are moments when the phone feels very slow, especially when using the camera. It might be related to the issues I mentioned before. The longer you use the camera, the worse it gets.
I listen to about 1 hour of podcasts every day, the Wifi and Bluetooth are always on, and I check my phone at least 4 times per hour. Based on that usage, the battery lasts from when I wake up (6-7 am) to when I get to go to bed (around 10-11pm). Usually, at 11 pm there’s 5-6% left.
The Android version running on the Nexus is as pure as Android can be, but even so it has some applications that can’t be removed or disabled. Every manufacturer does that (Microsoft, for example, has Skype embedded in the OS), but it would be nice if you could disable things like Play Music, Drive, or Gmail.
Coming from Windows Phone, I found the behaviour of the back button confusing. I believe this is a deeper developer guidelines issue, but I’ve noticed that some applications don’t use internal states so you can go back in the app. Sometimes, the back button simply exits the application.
Overall, I’m happy with my Nexus 5X. It’s not perfect, but compared to the Samsung Galaxy 4S that I had before for a week, it’s a major improvement.
The operating system is not as great as Windows Phone, but the apps make up for that.
If you want to get a Nexus 5X and feel like supporting this website, use this Amazon referral link to order it.