Home Android Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop Review: Is It Worth Installing?

Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop Review: Is It Worth Installing?

Earlier this month, Google started rolling out the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to its stable of Nexus smartphones and tablets including last year’s flagship, Nexus 5. After spending a solid week with the Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update, we want to take an in depth look at the software and answer a question that’s on the minds of many Nexus 5 users: Is Android 5.0 Lollipop worth installing?

Last month, Google finally announced several new products including a Nexus 6 smartphone from Motorola, a Nexus 9 tablet from HTC, and an Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and Nexus 5. Google did not outline a specific release date for the Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop roll outs, leaving those announcements for a different date.

That date arrived earlier this month when the company began pushing out Android 5.0 Lollipop updates to the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 Wi-Fi only, and the Nexus 10. A little later on, the company delivered the Nexus 4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update to owners of the aging former flagship.

Nexus 5-Best-Cheap-Phone-June 2014

A week ago, I installed the Android 5.0 Lollipop update on my Nexus 5 for the first time. I’ve been a Nexus 5 user since day one and I, like many of you, was excited to receive the first major update for a device that I consider one of the best smartphones ever made. I couldn’t wait to move from Android 4.4 KitKat to Android 5.0 Lollipop.

After spending a week with the Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update, I want to offer some feedback on my experience. I have several goals. The first is to spark a discussion. I’d love to hear about your own experiences and how the update is treating you. That will not only help me, it will help those who might still be on the fence about installing.

I also want to help you answer this question: Is the Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update worth installing? It’s a question that I’ve gotten several times in the past few days and while I may not be able to answer it for all of you, I hopefully can answer it for most of you.

Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop Review

For a week now, I’ve spent a ton of time with the official, public version of the Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update. Before getting into this detailed review and my impressions, I should note that mileage is going to vary from device to device, person to person. That is to say, I probably don’t have the same apps installed and there’s a chance that I use Google Chrome, play more games, and use my home screen more than you do. So, consider this a general guide as you try to decide whether Lollipop is worth installing on your Nexus 5.

Apps

I use a number of applications on my Nexus 5. I typically use the Nexus 5 when I need to use Google’s services because the applications are just so much better on Android. For example, the Gmail experience on iPhone doesn’t even come close to the Gmail experience on a Nexus device. So if I’m using Gmail or Maps or any other app, I use my Nexus 5.

I point that out because apps are essential to my Nexus 5 experience and they’re probably essential to yours. And often times, major updates like Android 5.0 Lollipop can break stock and third-party applications. I’ve heard about some app issues with Android 5.0 Lollipop already, not surprising given that I always hear about app troubles after these roll outs.

G3-Nexus5

So far, my experience with Android 5.0 Lollipop on board has been good. This might actually be the first time I’ve ever uttered those words after a major Android update. In the past, apps have wrecked havoc on my Nexus devices after major Android updates. So, it seems Google, developers, or both are improving.

Chrome’s crashed a few times in the week since installing Android 5.0 Lollipop and I’ve seen a little bit of sluggishness with the official Twitter application but I simply haven’t run into the same kinds of issues that I ran into on Android 4.4. Even Facebook and Netflix, two extremely frustrating applications, are working fine on Android 5.0.

Nexus5-Android5-6

While I don’t have a way of ensuring that your apps behave after installing Android 5.0 Lollipop but I can offer some advice. If you are on Android 5.0 Lollipop already or if you’re thinking about heading there, keep those applications updated. I’ve installed a ton of updates over the past week or so and bug fixes and compatibility updates have ensured a smooth transition for my stable of applications.

If nothing works, reach out to the developer and let them know about your struggles. Developers will often listen to consumer feedback and incorporate fixes into future updates.

Android 5.0 Lollipop Battery Life

As I’ve noted many times, the Nexus 5’s battery life was sub par with Android 4.4 KitKat on board. It’s a big reason why I opted to carry around the iPhone as my daily driver for the past year. I was simply not able to pull down the same kind of battery life that I was getting from my iPhone 5. Kind of sad given that the iPhone 5 is a year older than the Nexus 5.

With Android 5.0 Lollipop on board, I haven’t noticed any abnormal battery drain, slow charging problems, or issues in standby. The device holds a charge very well. After using the device for a week, I can’t say that I’ve noticed a huge increase in battery life but what I will say is that it doesn’t seem to be draining as fast as it was with Android 4.4 KitKat on board. Even if it’s a small uptick, it’s still an uptick and that’s a good thing after a massive update like Android 5.0.

G3-vs-Nexus5

If you are experiencing battery life issues, I suggest taking a look at our Nexus 5 battery life tips. They’re for Android 4.4 KitKat but most of them apply to Android 5.0 Lollipop as well. I also encourage you to use Android 5.0’s battery saver function located in settings. The feature could save you up to 90 minutes of battery life.

Wi-Fi, LTE & Bluetooth

I’ve been hearing about issues with Wi-Fi, LTE, and Bluetooth but thus far, I haven’t experienced any of them. Wi-Fi is working fine on my Nexus 5. I’m able to connect to all types of networks and get fast download and upload speeds. AT&T’s LTE network is working out well, so far, and I haven’t run into any connection problems. Even Bluetooth, a feature that’s been problematic on my Nexus 5, is very stable.

This all comes as a bit of a surprise because these are usually the first features to break after a major Android update. The fact that they remain steady with Android 5.0 Lollipop on board is impressive. Those of you that are dealing with issues and those that simply want to learn more about them before installing are encouraged to head to Google’s Nexus Help Forum for more information and potential fixes.

Bugs & Issues

Android 5.0 Lollipop is full of bugs. That’s pretty apparent. However, many of those bugs are isolated to specific devices or specific users. And that could explain why my Android 5.0 Lollipop experience over the last week has been relatively bug free. The only issue I’ve run into is an inability to send SMS messages. The issue is sporadic and it’s only happened a handful of times since getting the update on board. Other than that, I haven’t seen any bugs jump out at me.

Now, it’s important to note that just because I haven’t spotted any major issues with my software, doesn’t mean that bugs aren’t lurking on board. I’ve done my best to poke around but I simply haven’t run into any debilitating bugs. At least not yet. Often times, and this happened on my Nexus 7 2012 after Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, bugs emerge in the days and weeks after an update’s arrival. So while I’m in the clear at the moment, there’s a good chance I spot something in the near future.

Nexus5-more

If you’re concerned about issues, have a look at our Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop release tips. They will help you prepare for the update and hopefully, mitigate your chance of encountering an issue.

Speed

The Nexus 5 has always been fast and the device retains that speed with Android 5.0 Lollipop on board. Animations and transitions are sleek and fluid and I’ve yet to notice any sluggishness when navigating the home screen or when playing a game on the device’s 5-inch display. The software and the processing power are holding up nicely.

Is the Nexus 5 Lollipop Update Worth Installing?

Android 5.0 Lollipop’s performance on my Nexus 5 has been masterful. This, coming from someone who endured torture with bugs on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, watched as the Nexus 7 just died on its own, and who dealt with a number of Android 4.4 KitKat bugs on several Nexus devices. I’ve been a bitter Nexus user for a number of years now but Android 5.0’s performance deserves praise.

Yes, there are bugs but none of them have affected my experience, at least not yet. As I’ve pointed out, many of those issues are isolated or their so obscure that you’re not going to run into them. Of course, I can’t answer this question based on performance alone.

Android 5.0 Lollipop also comes with a number of new features including the Material Design, an improved camera application, battery saver mode, performance enhancements, a brand new lock screen, and more. There is a laundry list of changes that make Android 5.0 Lollipop one of the biggest Android updates to do.

Nexus6vsN5-3

The update’s features are well established so I’ll just focus on a few things. First, the Material Design takes some getting used to but once you get the hangs of the buttons, I think you’re going to like it a lot more than the previous look. Cards are beautiful and the operating system has a flow that just wasn’t apparent in Android 4.4. It no longer feels disjointed.

The Nexus 5’s camera gets a boost thanks to the new camera settings but photos and videos still aren’t going to turn heads. The battery saver mode is probably going to be a life saver and I like the improved lock screen with its new notifications. Android 5.0 Lollipop is a superior update to Android 4.4 KitKat and it helps that my performance has held up on the Nexus 5.

Right now, if you asked me, I’d say that the update is worth installing. If you’re nervous for any reason at all, my suggestion to you is to wait until the smoke completely settles. Google will probably end up rolling out a new Android 5.0 update to help stabilize the software even more. No one is forcing you to install Lollipop but at some point, you’d be wise to get it on board your Nexus 5. It’s Google’s finest update in years.

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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26 Comments

  1. matt

    11/25/2014 at 2:48 pm

    Self indulgent waffling nonsense

    Reply

    • Pete

      11/27/2014 at 11:00 pm

      Bizarre comment. Practical, real world review for me.

      Reply

  2. Steelo

    11/25/2014 at 5:33 pm

    I’m yet to have a single issue with Lollipop on my Nexus 5. I did a clean install via the factory images though. I updated my girlfriends by sideloading the OTA and she’s had a big of lag with some apps, but that’s about it. The moral of the story? Do a completely clean install to avoid issues. Also if you have an older device, expect it to slow down. Stop complaining cause that’s how progress works…

    Reply

    • Bruce

      11/26/2014 at 5:33 pm

      OK Consider my goat got!
      I wouldn’t normally respond to this sort of crass, thoughtless, self-aggrandizing, arrogant rubbish but it’s sufficiently riled me – so here goes! Well done you for doing a clean install and sidealong OTA blah-blah. What you obviously ignored is that tablets and other devices are not sold with a pre-requisite of an IT or computer science based qualification before you can have one! There is an objective to engage with everyone; business model 101. You should not NEED to don your tin-foil hat and whip out the coding equivalent of a soldering iron to do an upgrade. If when you do, it kills your device, leaving only geeks able to recover it, this is generally considered bad form! Oh and people who take the I’m alright Jack selfish stance tend to be the ones with the newest devices but the tune often changes when their shiny toy suddenly becomes the laggard.
      Next we come to progress. Progress these days is measured by the amount of money that can be raked in through forced obsolescence. Progress is the battlecry of bloatware and crapware developers because they are lazy; they get increasing power so they don’t have to be as efficient in their code and develop increasingly complex systems just because they can. They don’t stop to think if they should. This type of progress is stifling the real gains that could be had if we could align improvements in computer processing output with improvements in hardware capability a la moore’s law. This is theoretically possible but first we need to stop the current practice of amortizing microprocessor advancements with bloated software. We want microprocessor performance to double every 18 months, but not software complexity.

      Unfortunately, we are also now locked into what amounts to a legalized extortion racket! It is increasingly difficult to engage effectively in society without access to a computing device. but we can’t expect it just to continue to work like, for example, our car or washing machine; instead we are forced to continually upgrade it to keep it functioning…. and so begins the cynical cash generation treadmill. Every expensive application needs to be re-coded or patched to accommodate the changes and new versions sold at generally increased prices. But that’s not all, we must eventually replace it because that’s the only way to retain access. All because some lazy developer somewhere can’t be bothered to optimize his code! So yes I complain when “aging” systems slow down when there is no need for it to happen and poor design and testing leads to bad user experience. BTW I have an IT degree and project manage complex IT and infrastructure development.

      Rant over…

      Reply

  3. Greg Knieriemen (@Knieriemen)

    11/25/2014 at 5:51 pm

    You missed one of the biggest problems that business users have with Lollipop: Google removed the default email application and forced Gmail as the default email application. Most enterprise business users don’t want to use Gmail with their Exchange Email systems for a variety of security, technical and practical reasons. As a consequence, I purchased Nine so my email and calendaring could be managed in a dedicated app built to use Exchange. The changes to notifications are a pain too.

    Reply

  4. Eric

    11/25/2014 at 7:01 pm

    But did you have to spend half the article getting ready to tell us what you were going to tell us? Good grief this article could’ve been 1/3rd the length

    Reply

  5. curtis

    11/25/2014 at 7:41 pm

    What happen to editors? This is horribly written.

    Reply

  6. omar

    11/26/2014 at 1:00 am

    Hi,
    It is my worst day when I updated my nexus 5 to lollipop, I lost many application not working with this stupid version of android especially my best app to contact USA and Canada ( magic jack app). I tried to contact the seller and LG company in KSA without any help. I wish if i can downgrade back to android 4.4.4 which used to function perfect.
    Believe me do not try to update your mobile because you will miss many app with this crab version.

    Reply

  7. NerillDP

    11/26/2014 at 5:33 am

    I’m rooted with a recovery suite installed and haven’t “upgraded” yet: I generally wait for version ##.01. But I do have a question. While I like the white backgrounds of ver. 5.0, my understanding is that black backgrounds tends to use less power (battery). So, is there a way to set the default background to black? Would it matter?

    Reply

  8. Bruce

    11/26/2014 at 3:54 pm

    My experience of lollipop on a Nexus 7 appears to be entirely contrary! It has killed the performance, crippled stability (significantly more crashes and not just individual apps but the entire system) and I HATE the new UI! Awful keyboard, dire volume controls, horrid colours; I don’t even like the new unlock mechanism. Absolutely woeful! I would unequivocally wish to return to kit-kat!

    Reply

    • Cliff Phillips

      11/28/2014 at 8:53 am

      Had exact same experience with my wife’s 2012 Nexus 7. I also agree the “improvements” are simple, plain and ugly.

      Reply

  9. neethu

    11/27/2014 at 12:04 am

    How can I manage my other official email separately like before. With latest version of android I am forced to use gmail app for my other official email accounts too.

    Reply

  10. Misty

    11/27/2014 at 9:09 am

    I downloaded the Lollipop update over a week ago, and so far I have a very strong distaste to the update. For one, the update is constantly crashing my apps like Facebook and some apps I can’t even access, like music downloading apps. My phone battery empties at a much quicker rate than when I had the KitKat 4.4. I’ve done research as to how to remove the update, but that would totally wipe out my phones memory ( and all my 400+ songs) & is there really any guarantee that the music downloading apps would work after that? I regret applying this update immensely.

    Reply

  11. sue

    11/27/2014 at 1:30 pm

    I am older and not overly familiar with all the “apps” and such with these new phones,,,,,,,,I went from a flip phone to the nexus 5 android to try to make life a little easier………I drive and dispatch for a designated driver company at night,,,,,,,before I downloaded the new “upgrade” (which I thought was like a computer, that you had no choice but to download) I was accustomed to playing a game at night on my phone between customers,,,,,,,,,,the phone would ring while I was playing,,,,,,,,,,i would hit answer, take the callers info, dispatch, and then continue with the game………’
    since installing the upgrade, will not let me answer, have to go through all the time consuming crap of closing all and getting back to front screen, only then will it allow me to answer my call………..
    Also, before the upgrade i could hit the contact app and my list would come up as I placed them . sorted by friends, family, clients, etc……….that is no longer available with this new upgrade, all is now one neverending list which one has to scroll through every time i want a number…………….totally frustrating………..
    My question is,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,how to I undo this download and get my phone back to the well functioning machine it used to be ??

    Reply

  12. Harish

    11/28/2014 at 3:58 am

    My experience with lollipop has not been that pleasant, after upgrading to this version my phone hanged for the first time in 10 months and it continue to do so until I restart the device. I play few high graphic games such as kill shot….whenever I use my phone after playing this game it starts showing lags, and if I try to hard (press few more keys) it pain fully hangs again. So all in all my experience was not so great with this update and I’m eagerly waiting for the next bug fix update from Google.

    Reply

  13. Nancy

    11/29/2014 at 12:17 am

    Hey guys..the following is my experience with Android 5!
    I was really excited to get the OTA update of Lollipop in my Nexus 5 like many people. But since the day I installed it, Android 5 isn’t working too well for me.
    1. Major battery life problem!!! With KitKat battery life in my phone was 9-12 hours(max) but with Lollipop it has drained out to just 3-5 hours. Also this is the maximum I am talking about. I have to charge my phone twice!!
    2. Apps are crashing!! Apps like Instagram and many others are crashing again and again.
    3. Games hang more now as compared to KitKat. I lose in the game everytime it hangs!
    4. There is a major sluggishness now in Lollipop as compared to when I installed the update. It takes more time to respond than KitKat. Also a glitch while scrolling!
    5. Rest are all personal preference based issues. First,the lock screen is inconvenient to use with camera,dialer and unlock options which wants you to swipe in a particular direction. Second, in recent tabs now if you tap at home screen while recent tabs are displayed it would not take you to the home screen(a little problematic). Third, I loved how Nexus 5 locked earlier with a line in middle. It is drab now. Again these are just my preferences!
    The update by Google is no doubt the biggest and most successful of all. There are many good aspects to it as well like the new keypad, notification panel and new OK Google settings. In all it would work just perfect if the notified problems get resolved because i loved the speed and fluidity of KitKat. I hope that the developers fix these issues asap!

    Reply

  14. Satyan Sarath

    11/29/2014 at 3:31 am

    I have downloaded and installed the android 5 L to my nexus 5 and the best and most satisfying feature had been the battery performance. I have tested using the battery saver mode after a full charges and it lasts for almost one and half days on normal usage.

    Reply

  15. varun

    11/29/2014 at 1:54 pm

    According to me lollipop update is crap and I’ll tell the reasons why:

    1) the only thing that has changed for good is the look and feel of the system. In terms of functionality there’s a huge downside. More on this in points to come.

    2) email attachments (PDF, excel) files don’t open on my Nexus 5 any more. Says ” no app available to open …….” Which used to happen by default out of the box in KitKat.

    3) people talk of “better” notifications management in lollipop. Trust me it’s crap. Either you have notifications on the home screen for the world to see even if your phone is locked else you need to unlock your screen just to see what notifications you have.

    4) again as per the so called “experts” and reviewers of lollipop there are shortcuts on the locked screen itself. For example, one can right swipe on the locked screen, enter combination and lands directly on the dialer. I want to ask is there a difference in right swiping first and then putting in combination and reaching dialer vis a vis putting in combination first and then making just one click to reach the dialer. Essentially number of steps remain the same ie 2. Still wondering what shortcuts are being referred to.

    5) talking of shortcuts, there are a few more things that have made life miserable especially for business users. Earlier it was easy to make calls / send SMS to numbers which had been recently contacted. One just had to tap the call option and tap on the number in the “recent” to make a call or just tap on the small icon next to the number to draft a SMS. Try doing that on lollipop, a painful process. Tap on the number, tap on details and then call the number. Slow and dumb. Same goes with many other functions where earlier few clicks would do the task but not anymore.

    6) network connectivity issues with my carrier’s 3G network. The only time I am able to use Internet on my phone is when I am connected to a WiFi network. Sadly my car doesn’t have 1.

    7) the best part, I can’t access my photos till the time I don’t enable Google+ on lollipop. This kind of puts me in agreement with Bruce here who says something about legalized extortion. After all its my device and I should be able to use it the way I want.

    My conclusion, lollipop as of now is junk. Stay away or regret after you have updated.

    Also, to all of us Nexus 4/5 and all other nexus device users. Google sold these devices for cheap because they wanted a test ground of guinea pigs across the globe to test out their terrible software updates which is costing probably millions of bucks in productivity loss. Shame on you Google, you are not the same company any more and I am saying this based on my experience with your products let it be software updates, AdWords (as an advertiser), hardware just to name a few.

    Reply

  16. Brian

    11/29/2014 at 6:45 pm

    I have noticed that my Nexus 5 battery life is much shorter ever since I installed the update. Also, the Facebook app has suddenly stopped working on several different occasions.

    Reply

  17. Manoj

    12/01/2014 at 3:26 am

    Not happy, so many issues. If you lock your mobile and by mistake that power off things came on screen, you cant cancel it, surely this will turn off the mobile. Even i am not able to silent my phone like i used to do in previuos version. Please update me with the power off bug how can i eliminate that. This is happened so many times with me

    Reply

  18. guille

    12/02/2014 at 2:25 pm

    folks, my nexus 5 was very unstable as well. I turned off ‘treat tabs as independent apps’ in chrome and it now runs flawesly (ram to usual levels, no app crashes, no slugginess).

    i hope it helps!

    Reply

  19. sam

    12/06/2014 at 5:14 am

    Who can you contact if the upgrade causes the device (tablet) to be unable to start up? I can’t even get into recovery mode.

    Reply

  20. Phenon

    12/08/2014 at 7:51 am

    This is why I wait for any updates, patches, and/or “improvements” for anything, especially related to my Nexus 5. I don’t QA any company’s crap when I am already paying hard earned money to them to provide what should be great products and services (GOOGLE). I’ll wait till next year. I’m good with my rooted KK Nexus 5, for now.

    Reply

  21. Phenon

    12/08/2014 at 7:54 am

    Oh, this was a completely biased and poorly written article. Talk about beating around the bush with complete lack of honesty.

    Reply

  22. Wudz

    12/08/2014 at 2:00 pm

    • varun

      04/04/2015 at 11:36 am

      Still as shity as before. PDFs still don’t open, same with excel files. Only email attachments that open are .doc files. Very recently Google has also removed Ad blocker apps from the playstore without giving any valid reason at all. Now it’s my device, my data charges but Google’s ad revenue. Time to go back to Blackberry, it seems…………

      Reply

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