Android 4.4.4 KitKat on Nexus 5 Review

Last week, in a bit of a surprise, Google replaced Android 4.4.3 KitKat with a newer Android 4.4.4 KitKat update. The update, while small, takes the company’s Nexus 4, Nexus 10, Nexus 7, and Nexus 5 to a new version of the Android operating system. With that in mind, we want to take a look at how the new Android 4.4.4 KitKat update is performing on Google’s Nexus 5.

Back in March, we heard the first rumblings about the Android 4.4.3 KitKat update, an update that over time revealed itself to be a massive bug fixer aimed at tackling the problems brought upon Android users by Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Android 4.4.2 KitKat problems were numerous and they plagued Nexus users in particular but it appeared that Android 4.4.3 KitKat would be the remedy that Nexus users had been looking for.

Earlier this month, Google finally pushed out the Android 4.4.3 KitKat update to its stable of Nexus devices including the Nexus 7, Nexus 5, Nexus 10, and Nexus 4. It also helped deliver the update to several Google Play devices, the Moto X, Moto E, and the Moto G. As expected, the Android 4.4.3 KitKat update was aimed at squashing Android 4.4.2 bugs. However, it also introduced some changes to the dialer and to the People application. While the changes were cosmetic, they were welcomed changes nonetheless.

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10 days ago we took a close look at how Android 4.4.3 KitKat was performing on the Nexus 5. I found the software to be reliable and worth the download given how many issues it claimed to fix. I, like many others, figured this would be the last Android 4.4 KitKat update we’d see for awhile. I, like many others, was completely wrong.

At the tail end of last week, Google delivered an Android 4.4.4 KitKat update, a tiny update that replaces Android 4.4.3 KitKat on Google’s Nexus devices. The update has been rolling out since last Thursday and after installing it, we’ve spent some quality time with it on the Nexus 5.

Before I get started, I should preface this by saying that my Nexus 5 is completely stock and I have used stock software since I picked the device up back in November.

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Android 4.4.4 Installation

I’ve installed a lot of Android updates in my day and I almost never run into problems installing them. I’ve heard horror stories revolving around updates stopping midway through the installation process but it’s something I’ve never encountered. So, it came as no surprise that both Android 4.4.3 KitKat and Android 4.4.4 KitKat both installed without issue.

In particular, Android 4.4.4 KitKat was very fast, very efficient. This is an extremely small update, 2.5MB in size, and the download and installation process probably took around 10 minutes or so. In other words, Nexus 5 owners should be able to perform the installation while out on-the-go and think nothing of it. Longer processes should be saved for the home base.

Android 4.4.4 Features

Android 4.4.4 KitKat is not a very big update and it does not come with many features. In fact, the Android 4.4.4 KitKat brings added security to Google’s Nexus devices. Those looking for the full change log can find it here thanks to Funky Android. It’s not extensive but it does fix a potentially dangerous OpenSSL vulnerability.

Android 4.4.4 Performance

When it comes to the performance of incremental updates like Android 4.4.4 KitKat, I like to look at five different areas in particular. Those areas include applications and how they’re performing post update, battery life and whether there is abnormal drain, bugs or hiccups, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular performance, and overall speed. After spending several days with the Android 4.4.4 KitKat for Nexus 5, here is what I’ve found.

Apps

As many of you might know, applications have a tendency to start acting up after installing new software. This goes for major updates like Android 4.4 KitKat and it goes for smaller updates like Android 4.4.4 KitKat. It’s hard to predict and often, it’s hard to single out the applications that are behaving badly after an installation.

Now, I can’t profess to have every single application that you have on your Nexus 5. What I can offer though is some feedback on how some of Android’s more well known applications are performing after the Android 4.4.4 KitKat update.

Nexus 5 front

The short answer is good. The long answer is that Instagram, Amazon, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Spotify are all working normally after the Android 4.4.4 KitKat update. As I mentioned before, Facebook was giving me issues in Android 4.4.2 KitKat but I haven’t seen any problems in Google’s new software.

Those of you that are dealing with issues can boot the Nexus 5 into safe mode. This will allow you to isolate any issues with third-party applications. It’s not guaranteed to work but it’s worth a shot if you think that your applications are acting up after installing Android 4.4.4 on your Nexus 5.

To boot into safe mode, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the Nexus 5 screen is on and then press and hold the Power button.
  2. Touch and hold the Power off option in the box that pops up.
  3. Tap OK in the following dialog to run safe mode.

Battery Life

Nexus 5 battery life has never been amazing and I haven’t seen a sharp increase or decrease after installing Android 4.4.4 KitKat. The battery life is still pretty unpredictable, one day it’ll be good while on another it will be less than ideal, but I’m not seeing any crazy battery drain brought on by Google’s brand new update.

Those that are dealing with severe battery life issues inside Android 4.4.4 KitKat will want to check out our Nexus 5 battery life tips and tricks before resorting to drastic measures.

Bugs

I’ve heard a lot of complaining about bugs found inside Android 4.4.3 KitKat and Android 4.4.4 KitKat but thus far, I haven’t run into any serious issues of my own. As I noted in my Android 4.4.3 review, the only major issue that I was having prior to the arrival of Android 4.4.3 was with the software’s MMS. It was simply unreliable. It’s far more stable inside Android 4.4.3 and Android 4.4.4.

Now, while I can’t say for sure, I have a feeling that a lot of problems come from people who have installed custom ROMs or tweaked the software in some way. This isn’t always the case but in my experience with Android updates, this can be the cause of the instability that Nexus users will often complain about post-upgrade.

Nexus 5 side

If you’ve tweaked your software and you’re experiencing issues, you can try booting into safe mode. However, I recommend wiping the Nexus 5 and performing a fresh install. There is a good chance that this will dislodge most if not all of the lingering issues you’re dealing with. It’s no ideal, I know, but there’s a good chance it will help solve your issues.

It will often take bugs a few days or even weeks to show their face so while I may be running a clean install right now, it’s possible I will run into some problems in the future.

Connectivity

Connectivity is strong on my Nexus 5. That goes for Wi-Fi and GPS. I’ve heard a number of complaints about wonky GPS on the Nexus 5 but it’s something that I’ve never experienced myself. My Wi-Fi connections have always been crisp and stable as well.

Speed

So far, so good when it comes to overall speed. Android 4.4.4 KitKat is fast and I haven’t experienced any annoying nor noticeable slow down since installing the update a few days ago. Android 4.4 has always been fast and so I wasn’t expecting to see any considerable slow down with Android 4.4.4 KitKat being the small bug fixer that it is.

Should You Install Android 4.4.4 KitKat?

If you’re already on Android 4.4.3, I see no reason not to. Android 4.4.4 is performing well enough and it delivers a security upgrade. Security is extremely important on Android smartphones.

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If you’re coming from Android 4.4.2 or below, again, highly recommended. It comes with tons of bug fixes and it doesn’t appear to have brought any catastrophic hero level issues of its own. I’ve heard about the Android 4.4.3 KitKat and Android 4.4.4 KitKat issues but I’ve also heard from other Nexus owners, like me, who are running clean efficient versions of the software.

If you’re on the fence, wait a few more weeks for the dust to settle. But as of right now, Android 4.4.4 KitKat appears to be a much more stable version of Android 4.4.

Comments

  1. Rod Clements says

    Good detailed positive feedback I’m interested to hear about / down here in Godzone / New Zealand still sitting on OTA 4.4.2 SO hopefully might jump to
    4.4,4 or 5. If Google can remember where we are!!
    Not sure either whether Australia has update

  2. meri says

    I find since the update on my nexus 5 WiFi connectivity to be poor. Not the actual signal but if I’m on WiFi for like twenty mins or so it starts taking forever for pages to load and says I’m offline. I have to turn off my WiFi and then turn it back on again. Not the worst thing in the world but annoying none the less.

    • Rakshit PR Vashishta says

      i have a nexus 5 with android 4.4.4 update. The youtube app does not play videos on wifii ,but runs fine on mobile data.If u have a solution kindly reply.I have tried updating ,reinstalling the app…but nothing worked..

  3. Dave says

    All bugs are fixed after I update my Nexus 5 with this latest Android 4.4.4 kitkat version. Its battery too performed well, as after fully charged it once in a day on wireless charger, it runs throughout the day with normal use.

  4. Robin Goodwin says

    Since my Nexus 4 updated from 4.3 to 4.4 my computer does not recognise the phone is connected. Need a fix or a way to revert back.

  5. Mate says

    it still restarting itself in random moments.. the last 2 restart was within 5 minutes while the phone wasn’t used, resting on my desk.. also skype restarts phone during calls.. still a lot to do.

  6. Carey Walker says

    4.4.4 arrived OTA for me in Australia on the nexus 5 last week. Quick update and no issues so far. 4.4.3 a week or so earlier seems to have fixed the issue many of us had with LTE/4G calls not being received.

  7. Gerry says

    Installed 4.4.4 on Nexus 5 two days ago and it appears to be working very well. Phone works much better than it did with 4.4.2 and 4.4.3 – hoping they don’t mess it up again.

  8. Duane Douglas says

    I’m still running 4.4.2 on my Nexus 7 2nd. Although it’s buggy, it’s not a “show stopper”. Thankfully, I haven’t updated to 4.4.3 (given its reported issues). I’ve decided to wait a few weeks until the dust settles before I update to 4.4.4

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