Friday, November 20, 2015

Nexus 5X

Thought on my Nexus 5X

I have been using the Nexus 5X for over 3 weeks now as my only mobile device. My experience with this device is just that, MY EXPERIENCE. My opinion of this device is just that, MY OPINION. Experiences and opinions vary from person to person. Before using the Nexus 5X I was using an iPhone 6 Plus and I also had the smaller iPhone 6 that I would use sometimes as well. My experience is coming from an iPhone to a Nexus 5X, so when I compare it another device it has to be the iPhone because that is what I used for the last year before this device. Some people want to debate iPhone versus Android, this review is not about that. It is about my experience with this Nexus 5X as a piece of hardware and I won’t go too much into the software aspect of the 5X, but I will touch on Android and some of the third-party apps a bit.

Nexus 5X Buttons

The fell of the buttons on mobiles devices are very important to me. I had the Nexus 6 for about a month and returned it because the volume buttons kept getting stuck inside the phone when I would press them. Motorola decided to use cheap buttons on its flagship device, the result was a terrible user experience. The buttons on the 5X are not cheap, they feel study, no issues with them so far. Well, as far as the quality goes anyway. They are a plastic button, but a hard plastic and honestly I have zero complaints about the build quality of them.

Button Placement

I hate the placement of the buttons, the volume rocker in the middle of the phone feels awkward. When I’m using the phone as an actual phone I hold it with my right hand which leads to accidental presses of the volume buttons and makes me hold the phone in my left hand while talking. I’m constantly hitting the buttons on accident because the middle of the phone is a spot I naturally have my hand while holding the device. I feel the upper left side of the phone is a better feel. It also makes taking a screenshot easier to manage and just feels more natural. Not to mention the fact that you could take a screenshot one handed with that button layout. As it is now taking a screenshot is really awkward feeling.

It also feels awkward if you have an app that uses the volume button as a shutter button in a camera app. Because now you are placing your in the middle of the phone. If you are using your left hand with your left pointer finger to press the volume button for the shutter you have to worry about your pinky finger hanging down over the lens, yes it happened to me! Of course this is only the case if you have the volume button on top versus using the volume button on the bottom. Just a small annoyance for me personally, not a deal breaker by any stretch!

Fingerprint Scanner

Not a button in the traditional sense but sort of like a button since its round. I’m only teasing about that! At first I didn’t like the placement of the scanner as I was used to using the fingerprint scanner on the front of the device (iPhone 6) but after a few days I actually prefer the back scanner placement. My only real issue is I wished they had moved the scanner higher, preferably to where the camera lens is. The only issue with that is that the actual camera lens is there. Do away with the camera? Nah! The first few days I was placing my finger over the camera lens but I learned after using the 5X for a few days to feel for the hump. It was just something I had to build memory muscle for. Now when I play with my iPhone 6 Plus using my thumb feels really awkward and having to actually press the button to get the scan to work feels even more awkward. I am not sure when I prefer though, button or no button?

I feel the scanner on the Nexus 5X works fantastically and every bit as good as the experience I had with my iPhone 6 Plus, maybe even better. I’d say I’ve had about a 98% success rate with the Nexus 5X. Throughout each day I have maybe had 1 scan that gives me the error message, so in other words, a very high success rate. Color me impressed!

Soft Menu Buttons

This is Android related but I still prefer physical buttons for some task, the 5X is missing those buttons so... The software button is not a real button, but is an onscreen button. I’m still getting used to not having a Home Button and having to use the onscreen menus to navigate around the device, while I’m not totally new to Android, I have been conditioned to use a physical button to get back to my home screen. The software buttons work fine but I sort of wished I could dismiss them when I am using the onscreen keyboard. I can’t tell you how many times I have been typing and go to press the space bar and have accidentally hit the Home button or app switcher button. Sort of annoying. This is an Android thing and no a Nexus 5X thing so I can’t really fault the Nexus 5X for using stock Android since that is the reason to buy a Nexus device in the first place.

I plan to write more about the experience of switching from iOS to Android in another post. I will continue this in that post.

The Camera

The image quality is terrific. I have almost zero complaints and the complaints I do have are probably more software based than hardware. The 4K mode when shooting video is fantastic and the quality looks amazing considering it came from a smartphone, a Nexus smartphone at that. In my opinion the Nexus 5X image quality is every bit as good as what I was getting on my iPhone 6 Plus and in certain situations it might output even better quality photos.

I shoot more video than I do still images with my phones and the 5X having 4K is a huge win for me. The 6 Plus does not shoot in 4K but it does have optical image stabilization which means it does a better job at keeping the video stable if I am moving while shooting video. So I am giving up something but gaining some else. I can always use a tripod for certain videos if I want, and I normally do use a Joby Gorillapod with a Studio Neat Glif anyway. Overall I am very happy with what the Nexus 5X gives me in terms of video and photo quality.

The camera app is not terrific in Android 6.0, it is slow and buggy at times. Rendering images, especially those taken with HRD+ on are extremely slow. This might be something that can be addressed with a software update but I don’t consider it a deal breaker. I’d still say the experience is on par with that of my iPhone 6 Plus.

One of my favorite camera features is being able to double press the home button to easily access the camera. Pressing the power button twice automatically launches the camera app, normally in around 1 second or so, from my short time of playing with the Nexus 5X it works really well.

Battery Life

The battery life on the LG Nexus 5X is horrible! I have read plenty of reviews online and watched plenty of YouTube reviews of the device that have proclaimed that the battery life was decent and could get you through the day, but I am calling bullshit on that! I have been using the device for over 3 weeks now and I am lucky to get 4 hours of normal to heavy usage out of the device. Matter of fact, I can open Google+ with 100% of battery life and after 10 minutes I am already at about 92% of battery life. Launched YouTube and watch 10 minutes of video you might be at under 80% of battery life. Forget about launching Google Maps, 10 minutes of maps and you are looking for a gas station to charge your Nexus 5X. Oh yeah, charge while you drive. Good luck! LG opted to not include a USB-C to USB-A cable so you could plug into a charger in your car. That $0.36 it probably would have costed LG to include the cable would have cut into their bottom line. So fuck the customer, LG needs that $0.36!

As you can tell I am not extremely happy with the battery life results I have gotten. I didn’t expect them to be as great as my iPhone 6 Plus but I did expect battery life to be much better than what is. I will admit that I am relatively speaking a noob when it comes to all things Android so I might just need to tweak some settings to get the most out of my battery. I have tried adjusting a few settings to extend battery life, some of which have improved the usage I get but overall my battery life is more like battery death. If you buy this phone, make sure you order a couple of cables and a car charger from Amazon. Here is the charger I ordered that works really well with the Fast Charing on the 5X.

Bluetooth Woes

One big gripe I do have, the bluetooth in this phone is not great. Bluetooth in general is a headache for a lot of people but I have noticed that my 5X doesn’t connect to certain devices. No matter what I do, no matter how many times I try to discover another device via bluetooth it just doesn’t make a connection. I have tried all the tricks; rebooting the phone, rebooting the device, refreshing the discover feature on the phone, etc. Nothing has worked! The same device I can’t connect to with the 5X all my other devices will connect to it , those devices include; iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone, 6, and even an old Nexus 4. So this is clearly an issue with the phone, maybe I just have a bad phone? With that said, it does connect to some other bluetooth devices that I have tried including the built-in bluetooth in my truck.

I haven’t researched online to see if others are having issues connecting the 5X to bluetooth devices. If you are having an issue or know of some sort of fix for it, let me know!


This is something else I have noticed, this 5X has a weaker connection to my cell service, AT&T. Now before I rip the 5X to shreds I want to admit that my service at my house is spotty. In certain areas of my home I can normally get 2 bars with my iPhone 6 Plus. On the Nexus 5X I have yet to get a single bar of service. I assume the software showing the connection is different on the iPhone than it is on Android and really my connection might not be as good as my iPhone says it is. Even when I am in an area where I should have a full 5 bars it seems that I am only getting 3 or maybe 4. I have also noticed more drop calls that I noticed on my 6 Plus. But since I rarely use that actual phone part of the device it is not a huge deal. Do people even use their smartphones to make phone calls any longer?


The speakers on the Nexus 5X are mediocre. They do not get really loud, even when I have headphones plugged into them. The volume output is probably the worst of any phone I have used in quite a while. They are loud enough that I can listen to music or watch a video on YouTube and not have to worry that I missed something, they are just not as loud as I’d like or as I am used to. I am coming from a 6 Plus, which doesn’t have the best speakers either, but it does get pretty loud or a lot louder than this 5X. Define “a lot louder” however you want!


The one thing I have hated is the fact that I cannot find a single USB-C to USB-A cable locally, nor can I find a car charger with a USB-C connection. Even the Play Store is out of order for the C to A cable, and they do not sell a car charger for Type-C USB, at least not yet anyway.

I know I briefly mentioned the cables that I am using above, if you are buying different USB-C cables on Amazon then you might consider checking this Google+ post about the different USB-C cables and if they meet the requirements for your Nexus 5X. The post was written by a Google Engineer and I used that when ordering the cables and charger above.

Build Quality

Plastic! Does it feel cheap? Not really in my opinion, it just feels different if you are coming from an iPhone 6 Plus or another metal/glass smartphone. It is very light but never once have I thought that it felt cheap. It doesn’t feel as high quality as the Nexus 4, which was my favorite Nexus device of all the Nexus device I have owned (Nexus 1, Nexus 4, Nexus 6, Nexus 7) but it doesn’t feel like less of a device because it uses plastic. I honestly prefer the thinness and lightness of the Nexus 5X. I also feel the screen size is perfect. Some people like really large phone and others like smaller sized phone. I prefer something that falls into the middle of big or small screen size and this is where the Nexus 5X lands. In my opinion it is the prefect size! The screen size is also the reason I chose the Nexus 5X over the Nexus 6P.

Would I Recommend the Nexus 5X?

Would I recommend switching from the iPhone 6 Plus to the Nexus 5X? NO! No, I would not. The Nexus 5X is not an upgrade in terms of hardware, it does not do anything better. The build quality is not anywhere near as good as to what the iPhone 6 Plus is. The camera is not much better, although it is on par overall. Yes, the Nexus 5X shoots 4K video but you can download apps for the iPhone 6 Plus that do as well, in theory anyhow.

Would I recommend the Nexus 5X to anyone who is interested in an Android device? YES! Yes, I would highly recommend it! Is there a better Android device or Nexus device? Yes! The Nexus 6P is better on paper and also has a better build quality, probably more inline with the iPhone 6 Plus / 6s Plus. But if you don’t care about a plastic phone or a smaller screen size then the Nexus 5X is your best bet for the money. Especially when you consider that the 5X has the same great camera sensor as the 6P.

My experience has been very good with the 5X, for the few complaints that I do have the experience of what Google gives me with stock Android far outweighs any of the cons. If you are wanting a terrific Google experience then buy a Nexus line phone. I have had issues with third party apps crashing constantly, but I have not experienced that with any of the stock apps or any of the Google apps. I really can’t blame the phone for apps built by a third party. Although I can’t help but think that if this phone had 3GB of RAM vs. 2GB or a better processor that the apps my fair better. But who know? For the ultimate Google experience this is by far the best way to go. I love what Google is doing with Google Now, Now makes owning this Nexus phone well worth my purchase price! Lately i’ve considered purchasing a 6P to see if my issues are hardware related or if the third-party apps on Android are just not as good as they are on iOS? Either way the Nexus 5X is a great device and I am extremely happy with my purchase. The fact that I have not went back to my iPhone 6 Plus should be a clear indicator of that!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Google Drive Pro Tip

If you are wanting to upgrade your Google storage to 100gb then upgrade on an iOS device. As far as I can tell, Android works the same way it does on the desktop which is monthly and $1.99 per month. On an iOS device you pay cheaper and you pay yearly instead of monthly.

The odd thing is you cannot do this on an Android device. I tried to purchase more Drive storage via the Drive app on my Nexus 5X and it kicks me out the browser and opens the same Drive upgrade page as using a browser on the desktop. Clearly this is a move to get iOS users to start using Drive on their devices, saving $5 or getting 2 months free is a good start in my opinion. This is an IAP on iOS and the money comes from your Apple account so buy an iTunes Gift Card and start using more storage on Google Drive.

To access the upgrade in Drive:
  • Tap the settings gear on the lower left of Drive (next to your email address)
  • Tap Storage
  • Upgrade Your Storage

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Apple Pencil just keeps getting more ridiculous

"The adapter (pictured above) will allow users to charge the accessory with a standard USB Lightning cable. This means that users will be able to charge the Apple Pencil via a wall adapter, computer’s USB port, or any other power source that can be used to charge up an iPhone or iPad. The dot that can be seen in the image of the adapter indicates the correct orientation needed for the adapter to function correctly. "

via; 9to5 Mac

Now I can have the pencil sticking out ten inches from the wall... lol.

Yes, I know it only takes a few minutes to charge, that is not the point. Just make a fucking cable that connects to the back of my iMac or even the iPad Pro so I can leave it on the desk and if I forget about it. I won't look stupid and the fucking atrocity sticking out from my wall or iPad won't look stupid either.

Making the iPhone a dream Android phone

First the title to this article doesn't make much sense. Using Google services doesn't make an iPhone turn into an Android device. Just like using Google Chrome or Gmail doesn't make your MacBook Pro a Pixel, so that analogy is just wrong in my opinion. Nothing more than a sensational article title to get clicks.

Thankfully, switching over to iOS hasn’t meant giving up the best parts of Android since most of the best Google mobile apps are also available on Apple’s smartphone as well

While it's nice using the Google apps on iOS, it is nowhere near as good a user experience as it is on Android. Also the apps Google offers on iOS is about half of what they offer on Android, also the usefulness of those apps is about half on iOS as well. That is just the way iOS works, coupled with the Google apps being poorly designed for iOS devices. So I don't blame Apple for the way iOS works in much of the way I don't blame Google for the way they are trying to make their iOS apps look like Android apps. It is just a hampered user-experience. Anyone who has followed me on Google+ or Twitter knows that I am devout Apple fan when it comes to the iPad and OS X, up until recently I was an iPhone fan as well. Switching to Android and using Android 6.0 has changed my view on Android as a platform. Especially when it comes to using what Google offers which is a big ball of greatness! Sure you can use Google services on iOS and get an overall great experience, but that experience is not the way Google envisions you using their services. To get the best out of Google Now for example you really need an Android device, a pure Android device, what you need is a Nexus device!

If you have used iTunes on a Windows computer, think about how horrible that experience is. While it works and you can access your iTunes content the experience is not only hampered but is pretty horrible in comparison to iTunes on a Mac. That is what you can expect from Google on iOS. It works, your content is there, but it isn't as good for the user as it is on the OS designed by the company offering the services.

If you want to live in a Google world then it requires you jump in head first, sticking your toe in the water only gives you a sense of what that pool feels like, it does not let you enjoy all the pool has to offer!