Nexus 7 Lollipop Review

The Nexus 7 Lollipop update delivers a completely new look to the Nexus 7, reviving the year old Nexus 7 2013 that remained one of the most popular Android tablets of the last year. Google delivered the Android 5.0 Lollipop update in November and just recently released Android 5.0.1 on the Nexus 7.

This is our Nexus 7 Lollipop review, for the 2013 Nexus 7 running Android 5.0.1. We will share our impressions on the performance of  the update and the new Android 5.0 features that Google includes with Lollipop specifically on the Nexus 7 tablet.

Hopefully this will help you answer the question, “Is the Nexus 7 Android 5.0 update worth installing?”

Over the past several weeks nexus 7 users ran into a variety of Android 5.0 problems. Android 5.0.1 fixes some of these and for the most part, Lollipop is running smoothly on our Nexus 7. We are enjoying the new Material Design, enhanced Notifications, lock screen improvements and other great features.

Read our Nexus 7 Lollipop review.

Read our Nexus 7 Lollipop review.

Our Nexus 7 Lollipop update did not arrive until this week, but after spending a week using the Android 5.0.1 update on the Nexus 7 there are some small problems that we encountered at the start which are no longer a problem thanks to app updates or simply things starting to work again.

The overall goal of this Nexus 7 Android 5.0 Lollipop review is to provide you with the information you need to decide if you should install this update on  your Nexus 7 2013.

Nexus 7 Lollipop Review

I’ve been using the Nexus 7 Lollipop update heavily for the last week, switching this tablet into my daily use more than normal, in place of an iPad Air. The overall Nexus 7 Android 5.0 experience will vary from user to user, depending on the apps and overall usage patterns.

I connect Gmail to the Nexus 7, use Chrome for browsing and play a few games, but I am not using the Nexus 7 2013 with an Exchange account nor do I use any specialized apps for work, outside of those found on Google Play. This is a general guide to how the Android 5.0 Lollipop update handles on the Nexus 7 2013. Your overall experience may vary depending on the apps you use with your Nexus 7.

Apps

Thanks to testing various Android apps I keep nearly 100 apps on the Nexus 7. Of those, I regularly use 30 or so apps for entertainment, light productivity and other activities. The core Android apps from Google and many entertainment apps are used every day, while others less so.

After a rocky start to some of the Android 5.0 apps, including Google Play Movies crashing with an unexplained error, the Nexus 7 apps are running smoothly. I am now able to use the tablet to watch movies over Google Play, including streaming Gravity on WiFi.

Using Gmail, Calendar and Hangouts to plan and communicate for work was a breeze with no crashes or hang ups. Google Play music streamed from my library without any problems and third-party apps like Netflix and multiple games performed well.

I ran into an app icon problem right after updating, but after replacing the home screen app shortcuts everything is working as it should.

If you have problems with apps on Android 5.0 or Android 5.0.1 you should make sure that all of your apps are up to date. You may get a new design, and most of the time you will get multiple bug fixes that improve performance of the apps.

Apps and overall performance are good on the Nexus 7 2013 Lollipop update.

Apps and overall performance are good on the Nexus 7 2013 Lollipop update.

Android Lollipop Battery Life

The Nexus 7 2013 battery life is very good on Android 5.0.1. Over the past year I’ve complained about the standby battery performance of the Nexus 7 and other Nexus devices. Unlike the iPad, if I leave a Nexus device running Android 4.4 sit for a few days the battery is often dead.

After updating the Nexus 7 to Android 5.0 Lollipop the battery life is better in standby. During use I can still watch a movie and play a game with plenty of battery life to spare and there is no fast battery drain. The Nexus 7 charges at a normal speed after the update as well.

If you are sick of poor standby battery life on the Nexus 7, this is an essential update.

WiFi & Bluetooth

Connectivity works great on our Nexus 7 2013.

Connectivity works great on our Nexus 7 2013.

With every update there is a chance that WiFi and Bluetooth will break, that is not a problem with my Nexus 7 2013. The WiFi signal connects fine to my home network, to a personal hotspot and to networks outside of my home. The device maintains the connection while watching videos and streaming music.

The Nexus 7 Bluetooth support is also working as expected. The Nexus 7 pairs easily to Bluetooth headphones and maintains the connection. This is not a LTE model, so I cannot test that connectivity or the ability to use the Nexus 7 as a personal hotspot.

Bugs & Issues

My Nexus 7 Lollipop update experience is very smooth, but there are many users complaining about Nexus 7 Android 5.0 problems on the Google forums. While my experience is good and many other users are not reporting problems, it is clear that Google still has work to do. The Android 5.o.1 update fixes some bugs, but there are still problems.

Some users experience problems installing Android 5.0.1 on the Nexus 7, and there are a scattering of other issues. None of these are present on my Nexus 7, but again these tend to be hit or miss.

Speed

The Nexus 7 Lollipop update is rock solid on speed. There is no slow down from Android 4.4 KitKat and in some places the tablet feels even a little bit smoother. This may be a side effect of a better looking design tricking me into thinking it is new, or the animations simply being faster. Whatever the cause I am not experiencing any slow downs or hang ups with the Nexus 7 2013 on Android 5.0.1.

Is the Nexus 7 Lollipop Update Worth Installing Now?

For most users, the Nexus 7 Lollipop update is worth installing.

For most users, the Nexus 7 Lollipop update is worth installing.

If you have the Nexus 7 2013 and are already on Android 5.0, then you should definitely install the Android 5.0.1 update.

For users coming from KitKat to Lollipop on the Nexus 7 2013 this is a bigger decision to make. Based on my experience with Android 5.0.1 on the Nexus 7 this an update that is worth installing and one that I would install again. There are some problems impacting other users, so keep that in mind and if you aren’t comfortable, wait another week to see if any major problems emerge as part of a wider trend impacting users or to see if Google offers an Android 5.0.2 update.

I am still waiting for the update to arrive on the Nexus 7 2012, so I cannot weigh in on updating that older model yet.

Android 5.0 vs Android 4.4 Walkthrough: What’s New in Lollipop

Android 5.0 vs Android 4.4 - Lockscreen

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Android 5.0 vs Android 4.4 - Lockscreen

 With Android 5.0 Lollipop Google has slightly improved the lockscreen. There's now a shortcut to the dialer by swiping left to right, and notifications are more useful and interactive. Shown right on the lockscreen they can be swiped away, slide down to expand, or double tap to instantly unlock right into that app or notification. Everything is simple and smooth, and we still have full-screen album artwork on the lockscreen while playing music.

The quick shortcuts and improved notifications will come in handy for all users.

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