I haven’t mentioned this but I was able to upgrade to a 128GB version of the Nexus 6P phone because Noel Leemings had it on special along with a free case and earphones from Huawei. There was also a special with WordPress so I’ve moved to a custom domain primarily because it gives me more control and the cost is so minuscule although I still have my throw away account that I use for forums – the dividing line between my public persona and my forum persona which is just using a bog standard gmail account. So things are actually going really well especially with Android being rock solid, the ASB Bank application has had a lot of refinement where as before it the UI was pretty rudimentary.
Why did I go for a Nexus 6P over other brands (HTC, Samsung, LG, Huawei etc)? I decided to go with the Nexus 6P because I wanted a consistent bloat free experience with updates coming direct from Google rather than the mess of a system that exists today where updates are delayed, upgrades are delayed not to mention the doubling up of bundled applications on Samsung phones for indiscernible reason not to mention that when upgrades do finally arrive it appears that New Zealand consumers end up being stuck with being one of the last countries to receive the update.
The balance between the various areas are superb – good camera, great bloat free software, the hardware build quality feels great in the hand and feel durable in that you aren’t worried that it is fragile and the screen quality is delightful. Unfortunately for many of the smart phones out there you tend to find that they’ll be great at one or two things but then you’re let down in all the other places. For example, Samsung had the best camera results but in the process of gaining that you deal with a bloated Android installation where everything is doubled up then combined with a butchered Android which results in added delays to any updates that come through. This can be applied for the other brands; incredibly strong in one area and mediocre in the rest resulting in a lop sided phone that reminds me of the days of the PC’s with 4Ghz CPU’s but crappy slow hard disk, hardly any memory and a sub par video card.
Reliability when compared to iOS? Maybe it is just me but I find that the overall experience is a lot smoother especially when it comes to applying updates, I can download large updates using my data connection where as with iOS it wouldn’t allow me – I have 7.5GB worth of data that I can use thanks to roll over data so I might as well take advantage of it before I end up losing it all. The updates are now regularly coming through on a monthly basis that is reminiscent of the monthly update schedule that Microsoft runs on. Something that has attracted me back to Windows (I’ll post my ‘Surface Book’ review within the next month or so) because rather than hoping that fixes will come then suddenly appearing out no where, there is a regular scheduled set of updates that come out and updates occurring on a regular basis rather than just spontaneously occurring but as a result breaking things left, right and centre. The software also is able to get updated in a timely manner so when things do move forward with Android that developers can quickly submit bug fixes without having to wait wages before Apple finally allows an update to make its way onto the AppStore – one of the benefits regarding the model that Google employs for its own store.
What are Google services like when compared to what Apple has to offer? The Google services at least for me are far superior – the Google maps is actually accurate and regularly updated where as in the case of Apple there are features that exist in the United States (public transportation information etc) which are simply not available on Apple Maps in New Zealand but are readily available on Google Maps. When it comes to Hangouts and SMS capabilities, I like how Google has focused on developing their own service but also working together with various players in the establishment of the Rich Communication Services (RCS) of which Apple has been more concerned about developing further its own proprietary technology which wouldn’t be so bad if Apple actually developed the service for more than just their own phones. The choice being industry standard platform agnostic technologies or having Apple by your short and curlies. GMail I’ve found is more reliable especially when using it on my phone and the implementation on Windows 10 Pro with the bundled Mail and Calendar with the results have been pretty good although I’d prefer it if Microsoft used the RESTful based API for mail synchronisation which Google has documented but I guess it is a situation of whether the average punter would notice the difference. Over all I’ve just found the experience on a whole a lot more reliable – I guess that is a byproduct of ones business model where as with Google it is the core of their business to provide web services where as in the case of Apple it is more about it being the icing on the cake rather than the cake itself (the cake itself being iOS devices and Macs).
Conclusion: I still decided to go with the Nexus 6P 128GB because it is the most balanced device in the Android ecosystem – the balance of hardware that is good enough for the vast majority of people coupled with great software means you get a great phone that’ll last a good while. Although Google only guarantees 18 months of updates one has to keep in mind what the reality has been now that they’ve standardised on Qualcomm which means that the ability to support it for a long period of time is helped significantly due to Qualcomm’s close relationship with Google and the Linux kernel development team which means the code will be in the kernel rather than relying on binary blobs and praying on the good will of the respective SoC business.