Category Archives: Gadgets

Why I switched from Nexus to Huawei Mate

I have always been an android admirer and after my initial misadventures with some android phones I adopted Google Nexus phones. I liked that fact that the android versions that google phone came with were  the latest and also if there was a new release it would be mostly rolled on to a Nexus before it was seen on others.

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My Initial craze for Nexus gradually faded when the feeling of being a guinea pig for all those experimental features crept in. The phone memory mostly insufficient for all those memory hungry new apps would stall the phone and the phones would usually get very hot .Recurring updates now became more a pain than something to be happy about.  I consider the Nexus 5 to be the best form factor and the right choice for people who like to experiment with it , may be root it etc., I even like it as display device for my Raspberry Pi. I still use my Nexus 5 (2 of them) as home devices with no sim but connected to my home wifi it serves as a alarm clock, music player (Google Music). I use my Nexus 7 (2 of them) for my social media needs like Facebook, news, Flipboard or occasionally use to play snooker.

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I have recently become a fan of Huawei. The first one  I bought was Mate 8, The phone felt awesome in more than one ways. The battery life was exemplary with charge lasting more than 2 days at times even after heavy usage. It came with the octo-core processors which would let dozens of application run simultaneously effortlessly.  I have to mention the camera which had now become my second camera (Along with my Canon DSLR). There were times when I would not miss my DSLR and be happy with my Mate 8 photographs. With my DSLR i could only shoot others but it comes to selfies its the best.

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When Huawei Mate 9 was released this November, 2016 I did not wait to grab it when it was available on stores. Unlike the Nexus phones which I retained while buying a new phone I swapped my Huawei Mate 8 to get the new Mate 9. The Mate 9 to me is undeniably  “the best smartphone” in market. I don’t want to bore you with the specs but would like to share my personal experience with the phone. Mate 9 even though is large it still is convenient to handle. The Mate 9 comes packed with more power than its predecessor and feels better in hand. The finger print recognition is amazingly fast and accurate. Mate 9 comes with the new EMUI 5 and Nougat (Android 7). The Smart controller allows me to use it as a remote control for home Television, Set Top Box and also for my Canon as remote. The Huawei comes with a dual rear Leica camera which is better than the Mate 8.

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Age no bar for this Lollipop

Screenshot_2014-11-06-00-24-42I am very patient in general but when it comes to gadgets my enthusiasm reaches a new level. Its like i am a twin personality. When Google first released the Android L Developer preview (During Google I/O early this year) my impatient me took control over the normal me and I downloaded it immediately. There’s a downside to this process, though: All data and previously installed apps are wiped out. But since the photos, data, contacts and installed app details are there in the cloud once the installation is done the device starts to sync itself which is a time & bandwidth consuming task, this is one risk work taking. I flashed it onto my Nexus 7 (2013) WiFi and finding the new design so attractive I also updated my Nexus 5. There were some initial glitches as expected in any developer preview but it did not deter me from using it. A few weeks back when Google had planned its Android Lollipop release it had provided the links to the Android L final beta. The Android L final beta was far better than the developer preview and was more stable with lots of applications and was kind with the battery and processor.

Google still has not initiated the OTA in this part of the world but the factory images are available here. I downloaded the images for Nexus 7 and Nexus 5 yesterday (Nov 13) and flashed all my devices. The following is what I have observed so far.

Screenshot_2014-11-14-12-57-26This time Google had allowed my sync my accounts from any other nexus device I have so the initial sync was far more simpler and took less time and internet bandwidth.

IMG_20140628_203341There is a major overhaul in the design area which seems to be neat and simple with not much cluttering as promised by Google during their I/O event.

  • Floating notifications,
  • carousal type stacking of running applications,
  • beautiful icons and color coordination for various applications are to name a few.
  • The animation when you click any app or exit from it is eye pleasing.

The touch seems more responsive (may be its only me feeling so). It might be the material design that is making me feel so.

Some of the issues that I have seen earlier were with battery, camera and WiFi. The Battery seems to be well optimized with providing more time in the full charge. The charge lasts more than a day with general use. The Camera issue seems to have been corrected and device does not get over heated during operation which was the case earlier. The camera seems to be more stable as well.Screenshot_2014-11-14-12-57-02

I had this weird issue with my Nexus 7 (2012) where the WiFi would not be recognized sometimes and the only option would be to power off and start again. This is now gone and the WiFi is not wonky.

The Blue tooth has some new features that allows you to define trusted devices which allows you to auto unlock the nexus device when in proximity. A really cool feature as my phones remains unlocked when I enter my car and its connected to the Bluetooth.

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The long press of the power button used to show power off, airplane mode etc., but now it just does the power off.

One good feature which was available with some other application is the flashlight which now Google seems to have provided by default. This is shown along with the WiFi, Bluetooth, airplane mode, auto-rotate, location and cast screen when you swipe from top. The smart lock also incorporates the trusted face (Face recognition) for unlocking device.

IMG_20141114_113431Sound and notification has a new option called interruption which allows you to control notifications (both visual and sound) based on priorities that you define and an downtime which allows you to silence it for a predetermined time. The interruptions allow some notification based on priorities like (Anyone, Starred contacts and Contacts only) a very important feature for the phone. I usually put my phone in silent mode and sometime forget it or there are times when i wished i could only silence unwanted/unknown calls and be alerted for those whom I know.

Multiple users is something that had been allowed in tablet during KitKat but now this is a feature in the nexus 5 phone as well.

The new android Lollipop sure does breaths some life into the otherwise dull Nexus 7 (2012). This device has seen the lights of Jellybean , KitKat and now the Lollypop. I flashed my old Nexus 7 (2012) with the lollipop and like it so far. (Will update this post with my findings there soon)

I still feel the Nexus 7 and Nexus 5 the best Tablet and Phone when it comes to price vs performance and form factor. Whats your thought ?

Android L (Laddoo, Lassi,….?)

Google I/O 2014, the annual developers conference for Google, introduced a plethora of new goodness. From Android Gear to Android Car to Android TV, it was quite the showcase. But the one common theme among the reveals?Android. Google also gave us the first true look at Android L. I wish they give this version an Indian dessert name like “Laddoo” or “Lassi“. Just in case Sunder Pichai (@sundarpichai) really wants to capture Indian market with a catchy Indian name. Luckily for owners of the Nexus 5 and the 2013-edition Wi-Fi Nexus 7, Google has made the developer previews available for download and installation. I installed the latest version in my Nexus 7 Tablet  using the steps mentioned in the post here. The fist impression is that its good so far. Main notable changes are as follows : Daydream14 - 4 Change in the initial animation floating color balls Navigation bar swipe down – The swipe down navigation in the top right corner has been changed in looks and it now includes the recent notifications and shortcuts for setting, battery etc., 14 - 5 Change in the notification messages – Notification messages are shown in the locked state as well but you need to unlock to view the detailed message. The notifications appear as floating.   14 - 7 Keypad – A flat design with less cluttering and it seems easy on the fingers with the spaced out look. The personalization option might be something like the swype key.       Calculator –  The calculator seems to have undergone some changes for look and feel with the material designing kicking in. 14 - 2     Power switch – The power switch hard press now displays only the power off option and not the “Airplane mode” , “Volume options”.   Carousal for recent apps – The Navigation bar with the recent apps now displays as carousal. IMG_20140628_203341 Change in the Settings – The settings application to have undergone an overhaul with a complete redesign. 14 - 1 Change in the lockout screen. The unlocking mechanism needs to be swiped up to display the pattern or unlock details.. Increased Battery backup – Need to confirm this and will get back to you all tomorrow after checking how it fared with one full charge. Smoother Touch – The touch screens seems more responsive as if it were more smooth in operation. Have been over excited and have been playing around with the newly installed Android L in my Nexus 7 2013 Tablet and cant wait until I upgrade my Nexus 5 and to see whats new out there in the mobile LTE Nexus.   Update : — Upgraded my Nexus 5 to Android L now… 14 - 2 14 - 1 14 - 3               The preliminary observations are the changes in the phone dialer. The design is soothing and thanks to material design. Lot of applications still not working, either crashing or not working in Nexus 5 when compared to the installation in Nexus 7 Tablet. I find Gallery missing as of now.. So all the photos I take are directly going to Google Photos only. Observations: Positives : Great look and feel. Somehow seems very stable than KitKat Issues: As of now the only observation I have is that Twitter is not working in Android L and crashes as soon as its opened. The designing and cosmetic changes seems very promising am sure that soon we would see a lot of developers utilizing this along with the other APIs in this new version to create some awesome applications. One interesting thing to see would be how app developers plan to use Android L to create great apps for the Android Wear.