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Author Topic: Android - Observations from Long Term Use  (Read 1203 times)

wraith808

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Android - Observations from Long Term Use
« on: April 20, 2016, 09:44:06 AM »
I purchased a couple of Android devices, and have been trying to remove myself from the iDevice infrastructure with this being a first step.  I am now back to using my iDevices full time.  How did that happen?  And what went wrong?  I'm just putting this here to get people to chime in.  Many say it's because I got a Samsung device.  But the problems I have are not specific to the interface, but rather intrinsic things in the device.  I'll lay them out, and people can chime in.

cranioscopical

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Re: Android - Observations from Long Term Use
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2016, 11:09:27 AM »
I found my Samsung phone annoying until I rooted it and kicked off some off the junk (a lot of which came from Google, and that seems to be ever increasing).

My Nexus 10 tablet was bought to consume stuff. I don't like laptops and they're too cumbersome for what I need these days. The Nexus 10 meets my needs when I'm away from the desktop but I'm pretty sure that I couldn't use it to produce much. I treat it entirely as a means to entertain (sometimes inform) myself. Samsung made the Nexus 10 btw and I've found nothing inherently bad about Samsung hardware.

Right now I'm wavering between a Surface 4 pro and the larger of the iPad plus models. That's because I'd like a larger screen than 10". I'd grab the iPad in a heartbeat except that I know nothing of Apple devices/operating systems apart from a rather lovely audio-only iPod bought years ago and still going strong.
 

wraith808

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Re: Android - Observations from Long Term Use
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2016, 11:25:44 AM »
First the pros of what I like.  I got a Galaxy S2 Nook Edition, so my observations will be based on that.

The hardware is nicely made- sleek, but sturdy.  The display is awesome- on the level of (or exceeding) my iPad mini and iPad air.  The price was cheaper, though a lot of that was because they had a trade-in event at Barnes and Noble, and a sale going at the same time, so I was able to get it for a little over $300.  I have the iPad mini 3, so the Galaxy s2 actually feels a bit lighter.  It has a bit less space (32GB vs 64GB), but the SD card (sort of) makes up for it.  I do like being able to purchase from the B&N store directly from the device rather than opening up a browser window to do so.  IMO, Apple is killing themselves with their insistence that they want to be a part of everyone's infrastructure on the device.

eleman

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Re: Android - Observations from Long Term Use
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2016, 01:28:43 PM »
I find android devices agreeable, provided that nothing is updated. ever.

Updates (of the os, as well as the apps) seem like serving a single purpose: making the device slower, so that you'll go buy a new one.

4wd

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Re: Android - Observations from Long Term Use
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2016, 07:49:02 PM »
I find android devices agreeable, provided that nothing is updated. ever.

The only problem with that idea is when they update the service to which an app is chained and you have to use the updated app.

Quote
Updates (of the os, as well as the apps) seem like serving a single purpose: making the device slower, so that you'll go buy a new one.

And this is different from computers in what way?

Same as cranioscopical, root the device as soon as you get it and remove everything that's not required, (or flash a ROM that does what you want, not what the manufacturer thinks you want) - makes for a much more pleasant experience.

Target

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Re: Android - Observations from Long Term Use
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2016, 08:08:45 PM »
Quote
Same as cranioscopical, root the device as soon as you get it and remove everything that's not required, (or flash a ROM that does what you want, not what the manufacturer thinks you want) - makes for a much more pleasant experience.

this assumes that you can >:(

I had a Galaxy S2 but upgraded to a winphone.  There was nothing wrong with the S2 per se, but there was something about it that never quite sat with me. 

The S2 sold by my carrier also had slightly different hardware to that sold overseas so finding an alternative ROM proved to be too hard.  Could be that I wasn't interested enough to chase it (I have no real interest in tweaking my phone, it's just a phone for god sake!!), but I still have the handset and would love to do something useful with it, but the lack of ROMS is significant hurdle (FWIW I thinking seriously about a 1sheeld...). 

The android platform also seems to be highly fragmented, such that the hardware lifetime is extremely short (in the manufacturers opinion).  Upgrades are spotty, often months late, and the hardware probably won't get much, if any, support past about 6 -12 mths (MAX!!) from date of release. 

wraith808

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Re: Android - Observations from Long Term Use
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2016, 08:13:05 PM »
Same as cranioscopical, root the device as soon as you get it and remove everything that's not required, (or flash a ROM that does what you want, not what the manufacturer thinks you want) - makes for a much more pleasant experience.

But I want (some of) the other things.  Just not everything.

A couple more pros- the ability to put widgets on the home screen that do varied things, and the ability to position anything anywhere.  I also love having the mini-usb port and the SD card.  I have this cool USB device that has a mini on one end, and a standard on the other end.  Transferring and using files between the tablet and my computer is a breeze!  I had to get a wireless USB device to enable that on my iPad, and the fact that you have to be on its network makes it not as useful.  I can also program for it using Xamarin in C# without having to jump through hoops to get the applications onto it.

So, I told my pros.  My cons.

Battery Life.  Not sure if this is just the battery in general, or some of the settings (I'm thinking it's battery life after a few experiments- I thought it might be gmail being open, but it syncs when I bring it to focus, so not sure that's the case).  I leave my ipad for a week, and do nothing to it... and come back to it with the battery near full.  Do the same with the android device, and it's dead.  That's my use case for the device- I don't use my tablet everyday.  So that's the major complaint I have.

Resolution and responsiveness on the screen.  The screen is very high resolution and looks great.  But what I've found is that unless I zoom in on a standard web page, I can't select elements.  It's always off by a measure (up or down).  Same resolution on the iPad, and it just works.  Also, when I touch next to the edge of the screen (for instance to turn a page, or swipe) it seems to only recognize it sometimes.  This isn't a particular app- it seems that all behave in the same way.

Fingerprints suck.  I enabled it on my iDevice, and though it has its downsides, not having to put in my long password for some things is worth that.  I can't get the bloody device to recognize my fingerprints, no matter how many times I set it up.  It works... at times.  But other times, even putting my finger fully over the sensor, it doesn't get it.

SD Cards.  You have this great facility to add storage- and only some things are able to be put there.  And there seems to be no rhyme or reason to what is able to be put there.  I now only use my SD card for long term storage of items and content.  It's 4 times larger than my internal memory, and I can't put my apps there and have to have them on my 32GB internal using space.

More Pros/Cons as I think of them.


eleman

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Re: Android - Observations from Long Term Use
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2016, 11:21:15 PM »
Updates (of the os, as well as the apps) seem like serving a single purpose: making the device slower, so that you'll go buy a new one.

And this is different from computers in what way?

True point. I still use office 2007 on win7 :) Though technically, you can get more ram or upgrade the cpu in a computer, if you feel like it. That's not an option with android devices.

Battery Life.  Not sure if this is just the battery in general, or some of the settings (I'm thinking it's battery life after a few experiments- I thought it might be gmail being open, but it syncs when I bring it to focus, so not sure that's the case).  I leave my ipad for a week, and do nothing to it... and come back to it with the battery near full.  Do the same with the android device, and it's dead.  That's my use case for the device- I don't use my tablet everyday.  So that's the major complaint I have.

There certainly is a misconfigured app or service involved. But equally certainly, you're not to blame. Some idiot app's default settings is probably calling home or seeking a gps signal or whatever. Android devices need 5 times more tinkering than ios or winmobile devices, and not everyone has the will/time/energy to tinker.


Quote
SD Cards.  You have this great facility to add storage- and only some things are able to be put there.  And there seems to be no rhyme or reason to what is able to be put there.  I now only use my SD card for long term storage of items and content.  It's 4 times larger than my internal memory, and I can't put my apps there and have to have them on my 32GB internal using space.

Again, on the tinkering front, there's a solution (albeit not the prettiest one). But I hear you. Why do we need to find custom solutions (requiring partitioning of the sd card and formatting one of the partitions to ext3) for issues as basic as this one?

4wd

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Re: Android - Observations from Long Term Use
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2016, 01:42:09 AM »
SD Cards.  You have this great facility to add storage- and only some things are able to be put there.  And there seems to be no rhyme or reason to what is able to be put there.  I now only use my SD card for long term storage of items and content.  It's 4 times larger than my internal memory, and I can't put my apps there and have to have them on my 32GB internal using space.

Taken care of in Android 6 via what they call Adoptable Storage - but naturally that introduces other limitations, (like not being able to remove the MicroSD and have the device work properly).

superboyac

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Re: Android - Observations from Long Term Use
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2016, 01:42:29 PM »
i've messed around on android quite a bit and keep coming back to this Rom called Dirty Unicorn.  If you use their stable release, it is quite solid.  even compared to a stock rom, I've noticed it does things just a little better, faster, cleaner.  i'm not a hardcore expert on this stuff, you can go to the extreme and use combos of roms and kernels...but the most annoying part is when it comes to updates.  updating will either break stuff, or the process will be long and tiresome.  what i like about DU is they remove the unnecessary stuff from the stock, which a lot of other roms do also.  But they seem to do a better job as far as stability.
It's still not always easy to do a ROM update, but the stable versions last a good long time.  I prefer using DU over stock, and i prefer it over any advantage of other rom/kernels because of the reliability.  best bang for the buck in my opinion.

to try to answer some of wraith's comments:
if i were choosing a new phone, i'd do it based on the rom i want to run.  I prefer DU, so I make sure the phone can run that.  It runs on most rootable phones, so that should be no problem.
i used to care about the sdcard, removeable battery stuff.  not so much anymore.  i feel like the phone's life will be over by the time you really need to consider expanding storage or removing the battery.  but if you need that stuff, probably the samsungs are the best bet.  if you don't care about that stuff, then i'd go with the nexus line.
battery life...not much you can do about that.  android devices should last a day.  i'm impressed with the new iphones and how long they can go.  i don't think most androids can last as long as iphones, but there are so many models it's hard to say.

regarding updating and the os slowing down over time...this is not always true.  but it depends on what is happening.  if you are using official channels and non-rooted phones, this is more likley to happen.  if you stick to a rom like DU, it will never happen.  i have some old nexus phones that are more responsive than the latest quad core stuff now because of the du rom.  i hate samsung's OS stuff, i would root and remove it immediately.  Samsung's also suffer from weird wifi problems and other odd things...but this is what I've seen on stock samsung phones.  I think if you use custom roms, they go away.  if you get an android phone, i strongly suggest NOT using any official channels for updates and stuff.  don't rely on samsung, or google, or att, or anything.  do it yourself.  they will mess up for sure somewhere during the life of your phone.  that's the headache of android and the fragmented universe.

if you don't want to customize at all, don't get android.  get iphone or windows phone.  if you can get by without ANY customization...not too many extra apps, no keyboard tweaks, no theming, no rooting, the windows phone is actually rock solid.  it will not crash or break and will remain smooth till the end.  updates will be headache free, even more so than apple.  but again, the only limitation there is that you can't really do much extra things.