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Android 4.2 on Nexus 7 Review: Jelly Bean Revisited

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Back in November, the Nexus 7, Google’s 7-inch tablet, was outfitted with the latest Android update from Google, Android 4.2. A few weeks later, Google released the first update to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Android 4.2.1 which was a relatively small update but fixed an annoying bug in the People application. Now, a few weeks later, it’s time to revisit Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and look at it further.

Read: Android 4.2 on Nexus 7 Review: Final Impressions and Performance.

Almost immediately after Google released Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and a short time after I reviewed it, tons of Nexus 7 owners started to complain about a host of issues that evidently came on board the software. This is something that generally happens with Nexus updates as they are the first to Google’s big Android updates. Sometimes people forget, they are developer devices, the Nexus 7 included.

Screenshot_2012-11-30-08-52-31

Android 4.2.1. Jelly Bean is the latest from Google.

Problem is, the bugs were more prevalent, more annoying than usual. Nexus 7 owners in particular were left dealing with a host of issues ranging from random reboots, to lengthy charging times to terrible battery life to a sluggish UI. That just scratches the surface too. One other bug that was on board was one that did away with the month of December in the People application. Google has since fixed that bug with a swift 2MB update, Android 4.2.1.

Read: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Bugs Plaguing Nexus Users.

When I first reviewed the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update I didn’t encounter any of these bugs. And that’s how it sometimes goes. Software bugs often take a bit to unmask themselves. Lately though, I’ve run into two in particular that I’ll detail later.

I also want to revisit the software and discuss what features I’ve been using the most, one of which even surprised me. Here now we revisit Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on Google’s Nexus tablet, the Nexus 7.

Nexus 7 Bugs I’ve Seen

When I first reviewed Android 4.2, I didn’t run into any major issues. Since then, there is one issue that I’ve run into that’s been driving me absolutely nuts and two others that are relatively minor.

Slow Charging

While I didn’t encounter this at first, over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a sharp increase in the amount of time that it takes to charge my Nexus 7. Earlier today, around 11AM PST, I put my Nexus 7, which I purposely drained down to 0%, on my charger. Right now, at 3PM PST, my Nexus 7 has charged to 13%. Unless I’m crazy, that’s not normal for the Nexus 7 or really, any device in recent memory.

It’s an annoying issue to be sure and one that lots of Nexus 7 owners are complaining about. Sadly, Android 4.2.1 didn’t fix it which means that I’ll likely have to wait for Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean which may not even end up solving the problem.

Auto-Brightness Bug

The other bug I’ve seen is the auto-brightness bug that plenty of Nexus owners have seen. On my Nexus 7, if you head into Quick Settings and turn auto-brightness on, the screen of the Nexus 7 starts to flicker. It’s more than annoying when trying to read something on the web and it basically has killed the feature for me.

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Other users are reporting that their device will automatically turn the display down, even it’s not necessary, but I have yet to see that issue arise with my Nexus 7′s software or display.

Bluetooth Issues

I am not a huge Bluetooth owner so this bug doesn’t affect me on a daily basis but it’s still there. I have had poor Bluetooth connections with my Nexus 7 ever since I installed Android 4.2. It often loses a connection when I try and connect it to a Bluetooth-enabled device. This would frustrate me more if there actually was a Nike+ FuelBand Android application but since there isn’t, it has yet to cause me to sprout any gray hairs.

Bugs That Haven’t Seen

So those are the bugs that I’ve seen. But what about the major ones that haven’t seen? Here is a list of Nexus 7 issues that owners have reported but that have yet to take place on my Nexus 7.

Random Reboots

Some Nexus 7 owners are reporting that their Nexus 7 has started to randomly reboot after installing Android 4.2. While this has happened on my iPhone 5, I have not experienced it on my Nexus 7.

UI Sluggishness

The Android 4.2 Jelly Bean user interface is still buttery for me. I haven’t experienced any hiccups, even when I have a ton of stuff going on at the same time.

Read: How to Fix Nexus 7 Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Lag Issues.

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The only time I experienced a hang up was right after I started using Multiple User Accounts and since then, everything has been smooth. Fortunately, for those that are experiencing issues, there is a fix. Google Currents may be to blame and by disabling it or at least some of its functionality, things might return to normal.

Poor Battery Life

Nexus 7 owners have reported terrible battery life after installing the update. While my battery takes close to a decade to charge, I haven’t experienced any sort of abnormal battery drain once I take it off the charger rocking 100%. I get about eight to nine hours when I am using it normally and a little less than that when I am using it for a few minutes every hour throughout the day.

My Nexus 7 battery life has never been amazing but I haven’t seen a significant drop after installing Android 4.2.

Android 4.2 Features That I Love

After using Android 4.2 Jelly Bean in the early days, I fell in love with the operating system as it brought several useful features to a mobile operating system that was already Google’s best. But do I still use them still? Yes and no. First, here are the features of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean that I use on a daily basis.

Quick Settings

I don’t know what I’d do without Quick Settings, the nifty little function that is situated in the Notification Bar. I have swiped down from the right hand side of the Notification Bar hundreds of times to change settings like W-Fi, check my battery life, and go into Airplane Mode when I am up in the air.

Screenshot_2012-12-07-15-32-30

It’s a lifesaver, a time saver and one of my favorite features of not only Android 4.2 Jelly Bean but of Android as a whole.

Google Now

A few weeks ago, I was just starting to buy into Google Now. Now, I can’t get enough of it. As someone who gets a lot of packages, it has been a lifesaver as it brings up cards that let me know when packages have been shipped or when they’ve arrived. I’ve also used it to fill me in on my flight times which came in handy just a few short days ago when there were a bunch of delays.

It’s a work in progress as it will take it a bit to learn my habits but I really think this is an underrated feature and one that more people should be talking about. I honestly can’t believe I didn’t use it right off the bat.

Multiple User Accounts

This feature, which is for tablets only, has been amazing. My girlfriend and I have seamlessly made the transition into sharing the Nexus 7 at night for things like reading, light web browsing and checking email. I also got her to set up her own home screens so she doesn’t disturb mine.

Features That I Don’t Use

There are two features of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean that I still don’t use much. One of them was one I was really excited about at first and the other, well, the other is to be expected I think.

Lock Screen Widgets

I think the addition of Lock Screen Widgets was a nice idea but the problem is, there just aren’t enough official widgets for me to play around with to make it worth my while. At first I like the appearance of Gmail on my home screen but now I just blow right past it and on into the actual Gmail application, which by the way, is fantastic in Jelly Bean.

The other widgets, like the one where it can track down a song, just haven’t been useful to me. Here’s to hoping Google adds a bunch of free ones (I know I could pay for them on the Play Store but I won’t) in an upcoming update.

Daydream

Incredibly useless.

Android 4.2.2 Would Be Nice

So, for the most part, Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean is a great update. My mind hasn’t changed. Those with the Nexus 7 should certainly think about installing it as it boasts some significant upgrades over Android 4.1 including Quick Settings and the Multiple User feature. I don’t blame those who might be second guessing as there are lots of issues plaguing the software.

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However, know that there are users like me that have come out relatively unscathed. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want Android 4.2.2 to come far down the road. In fact, I’d love for it to roll out soon, if to only fix that pesky charging bug.

In any event, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and really Jelly Bean as a whole have motivated me to use my Nexus 7 a whole lot more and they both have me excited about what’s to come from Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie.

31 Comments

  1. amygreene

    12/07/2012 at 8:42 pm

    The worst aspect of Jelly Bean is that it removed the speed dial function. You can no longer assign keys to your frequent contacts and easily dial them with one touch. This is a safety feature that needs to return.

  2. Tony

    12/07/2012 at 9:51 pm

    Checking the battery, in settings, its been running on battery for 3 hours now, unused. 90% of the use has been “Android OS”, which is what i’d expect for not being used. Unfortunately in 3 hours of non-use since unplugging, it’s drained 60% of my battery. That never happened before the update, but is common now. I have to reboot to get it to stop draining.

  3. Tony

    12/07/2012 at 9:54 pm

    Oh, and the touch screen responsiveness bug is back that was fixed in the previous update, and I’ve had a couple of random reboots. And I’m plagued with the flickering brightness. Very disappointed with the update.

  4. Glenn

    12/08/2012 at 2:25 am

    Also experienced (and still do experience) lag issues, but disabling’currents’does nothing to stop this. What I Have found is that by installing’clean master’and running it when experiencing lag , it completely solves the problem.

  5. libssd

    12/08/2012 at 5:42 am

    With a Nexus 7, I have not encountered slowdown, or unusual battery issues, but the random reboots and bluetooth stuttering are extremely annoying. I’ve basically stopped using the NX7 to stream music to bluetooth speakers, and when the restart occurs when I’m in the middle of doing something, I have to start all over.

    Multi-user accounts is a wonderful feature, because I can now share the device with my wife.

    I have considered wiping the device, and doing a factory restore, but I’m still hoping for an update from Google.

  6. Ann Geiger

    12/08/2012 at 7:10 am

    Great review. The update has completely paralyzed my Bluetooth functions. I’ve been spared the stuttering problems because Bluetooth is simply not working.I am a big Bluetooth user, who had essentially replaces my laptop with a Nexus 7 and ZAGG keyboard. Now all I have is a glorified Kindle. The most frustrating thing of all is the lack of acknowledgement of this serious problem by Google.

  7. Glenn

    12/08/2012 at 7:51 am

    My problems are with the change in the font/kerning that has completely screwed up my favorite game (WordHero). And that stupid, gawdawful clock. I wish I could just go back to 4.1 which worked perfectly fine for me.

    • libssd

      12/08/2012 at 8:15 am

      To get rid of the ugly clock on the lock screen, tap and hold, then drag when the X Remove appears. Other widgets are available, and if you use a non-Google widget package, like HD Widgets, you can set one of them for the lock screen.

      You can also have multiple “pages” for the lock screen, including widgets for Gmail, Calendar, etc, but the widget on the home lock screen is the one that always comes up after sleep. In fact, the fleeting rectangle that appears to the left side of the screen is caused by this multi-page mechanism, and if you have multiple pages, it will do a “rotate” animation as you flip between them.

  8. Google helper

    12/08/2012 at 3:22 pm

    I have a solution for the Bluetooth issues, but you must give me credit, go to your list of apps find “Bluetooth share” then uninstall updates and disable, Bluetooth should work if you try to turn it on.

    • libssd

      12/08/2012 at 4:19 pm

      I would love to give you credit, but there is no “Bluetooth share” app.

      • Google helper

        12/13/2012 at 5:28 pm

        Yes there is, settings, apps, slide over to all, then click Bluetooth share

        • libssd

          12/17/2012 at 3:30 pm

          Found it. However, on my Nexus 7 there are no Bluetooth Share updates to uninstall, and Disable is grayed out.

    • WaKKaWaKKa

      12/17/2012 at 11:07 am

      You, sir, have figured out an issue that all “developers” and such all over the net have not. My G-Nexus finally recognizes my car’s hands-free BT. Much obliged.

  9. NickT

    12/08/2012 at 4:50 pm

    I’ve had many of the issues listed here, particularly the random reboots. Very frustrating. However, I read a single comment on a forum somewhere that mentioned HD Widgets.. I uninstalled it, and haven’t had a reboot since. Would be interesting to know if this works for others.

    I completely killed my Nexus 7 when downloading some songs from bigpondmusic.com a couple of weeks ago. 149 songs to download, in small batches, and the Nexus couldn’t handle it. Serious lag, crashes, reboots etc. Was not a buttery smooth experience at all.

  10. Frank

    12/09/2012 at 4:34 am

    I have experienced a few random reboots. Also, my battery % is incorrect – it stays at 100% for hours on end. Then it starts decreasing but obviously the % is wrong so the tablet cuts out when it allegedly has 30% battery remaining, so frustrating. If Samsung release a note 7, this nexus is getting ditched.

    • glynnuat

      02/07/2013 at 3:43 am

      Ah, Yes I have seen this too. Thought the N7 had AMAZING battery life for a short time but then figured, like most things, it was just too good to be true.

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  12. Coyote

    12/10/2012 at 8:41 am

    Only a few bugs here. Most notably when i enabled multi user it slowed the ui so much it was unusable. Oh and the charging, but I’ve noticed that it takes much longer when drained completely so I try not to allow it to get below 30%.

    As for daydream I love it. The beautiful widgets clock /weather makes a great dock display.

    • Coyote

      01/02/2013 at 6:58 am

      As a followup, the battery issues have only gotten worse. It seems 4.2 doesn’t know when to switch apps to background processing. If I open a game, then switch the screen off the unit obviously still runs it at full speed. The fact that the nexus heats up to a noticeable level and doesn’t cool down even when on standby was my first clue.

      May install CM now that it seems stable on 4.2 to see if that fixes the problem.

  13. Reinaldo

    12/27/2012 at 4:47 pm

    The battery drains a lot faster with 4.2 and it takes 4ever to charge

  14. billy

    12/29/2012 at 12:34 am

    My Nexus 7 on Android 4.2.1 automatically turns off at 16% battery. This was never solved even if I performed factory reset. I also got a static screen and sound for about 2 seconds before it turned off.

  15. Bill

    01/02/2013 at 8:47 pm

    I have a problem with video buffering. YouTube. It is constely buffering. No prob with Razor, Nootbook, iPhone 4s,or ipad.

  16. waan

    01/06/2013 at 6:09 pm

    Nexus 7 specs and review at

    http://nexus7inch.blogspot.com/

  17. Clare

    01/13/2013 at 9:02 am

    My 2 day old 4.2 Nexus 7 wants me to install a system update. What do you advise?

    • Ari

      01/14/2013 at 3:33 am

      Install the update …

  18. jon skomp (@microskomp)

    01/14/2013 at 8:54 pm

    is there any type of patch or “fix” out yet for the nexus 7 / android 4.2 bluetooth problem? my bluetooth audio was never that great before the big update, but now it is unusable because of “stuttering”…

  19. Bluey

    01/16/2013 at 11:49 am

    OK my 7 battery life was great before the update, then it all want down took night to charge and only lasted maybe 4/5 hours I was so wild and started to hate my nexus then I read a thread were a guy said if you do factory reset this would fix the problem, OK I saved my data and took screen shots of my screens, I did the reset and wow problem fixed charge time back to normal and getting 10 to15 hours battery use and one big thing I have noticed it will not use any battery power for a week or more if on stand bye, try it I am very happy with my nexus again ;-)

  20. Chess

    03/03/2013 at 8:31 pm

    Nexus 7 WiFi model – For battery issues you might try turning off the battery saver in the WiFi settings as it can (on some APs) cause constant disconnects and reconnects resulting in the system use for apps syncing to be higher than the screen. Mine increased from 1 day back to about 5 days.

  21. sandi

    03/20/2013 at 12:54 am

    I am not happy that my device does not support flash player 11 as I cannot play some of the games I love without it !!!!

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