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4 December 2014

Have you all been craving for the taste of Lollipop ? Are you bored of KitKat ? If yes, then you are at the right place. You'll find a lot about Lollipop right here right now...
Well I was waiting for Lollipop eagerly, I didn't have a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 2013 so I couldn't get my hands on the Developer Preview but I have a Nexus 7 2012 and the wait was killing me. But luckily Google uploaded the Factory Images for the Nexus lineup and that included the Nexus 7 WiFi 2012. I was excited, I was willing to loose all my data, I couldn't wait anymore and my Nexus 7 was too damn sluggish, So I downloaded the factory image and I flashed it....

Flashing Lollipop on my Nexus 7 2012 Wifi
The flashing process took 169.971 seconds and then came the message "REBOOTING"
The screen of my Nexus 7 flashed and I was damn excited. The boot animation started and it continued for 10 minutes, I got scared for a moment and I though I might have screwed up the flashing process. But as I was having this thought in my mind the screen flashed again and the welcome screen appeared and I was relieved. 

The Welcome Screen.. It's so colorful :) 
The setup process was a lot different, it was much more colorful and lively. The colors popped up and it had the much needed change, android felt alive for the first time...


Love the background 
The Tap & Go feature makes it easier to migrate

Almost ready !
The owner info screen !
I was introduced to the keyboard with light material design (the official build) and all I can say about it is that it's minimal and has the much needed change, the Holo themed google keyboard looked boring and dull when compared to the material themed keyboard. I also loved the way the back navigation buttons would change the direction when the keyboard would pop up.


Take a look at the way the back navigation button has changed its direction.. 

 The setup process took approximately 2 minutes and I reached my heaven, Lollipop was ready and I jumped right in. The homescreen looked beautiful, it was simple, plain, minimal and had a analog clock widget. I know some of you don't like the new navigation buttons but I guess it's personal preference, I like it and I guess those navigation buttons needed change and change is welcome.


Homescreen
One thing that I noticed is that when I opened the app drawer the background was black and looked a lot like the app drawer in kitkat. Even the folders had a black background. I wanted the white app drawer and the animations.
    

    


So I downloaded the Google Now Launcher and I finally had the white background and I was happy. The icons looked beautiful and they felt real..
Here's what the homescreen looked after applying the Google Now Launcher:
 

The animations looked great and felt great. A simple tap on the app drawer would allow the white ball to increase it's radius and finally turn into the apps section that you see above. It looked like a PokeBall and I literally tapped it again and again just to see the animations.
Now a simple swipe down from the top of the screen would bring the notifications, and another swipe down would bring the quick toggles. This time you have only a main notification menu, you don't have 2 different sections (left=notifications & right=quick toggles) like you had in KitKat.



A single swipe down brings the notifications
The quick toggles
The quick toggles include options such as WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode, auto rotation, location and cast screen. The brightness changing bar is directly available and when u tap it to change the brightness, the other toggles disappear and you can see the change that you will bring by tweaking the brightness, it's similar to iOS and it's great. You further have options to switch between users, you can select a Guest Mode if you are handing your device over to someone and they won't be able to access your profile and data without your password. The battery percentage, shortcut to jump to the main settings are available right beside the user selection screen.

You can change and even add users !
Tapping the volume rockers up/down brings up the ringer volume control and options to snooze your notifications, you are greeted with 3 options : None, Priority and All.
Knows as Interruptions...
These options act as a filter for your notifications, as the name suggests ALL allows all your notifications to show up, Priority allows only important notifications such as alarms and all to come through and you can choose the duration for which you want the priority mode to work and None allows no notifications at all. So that's that and now let's head to the 

Settings menu.... 

The settings menu is categorized into:
1) Wireless & Networks 
2) Device
3) Personal 
4) System 


1) Wireless &  networks: 

includes WiFi settings,  Bluetooth,  Data usage and more such as aeroplane mode, NFC, Android beam and VPN settings.  
You have a switch to turn On/Off wifi, Bluetooth,  aeroplane mode,  not etc.  
When you have your Bluetooth turned On you will notice that you are granted with a message that says " Nexus 7 is visible to nearby devices while Bluetooth Setting is open".  Now this is interesting,  you no longer need to worry about the visibility of you device.  You have options for Trusted Devices.  Trusted Devices is really interesting,  it allows your device to bypass the lock i.e.  It allows your device to stay unlocked whenever you are connected to a Bluetooth device that you have added to the trusted list,  eg: your car Bluetooth, headphones,  speakers etc. 
*This is very handy,  I use it all the time.  TRUSTED DEVICES is a great feature! *

Moving on to 

2) DEVICE :

you have options such as Home,  display, sounds and notifications,  storage,  battery,  apps and users. 
Home allows you to choose different launchers (I'm using the Google now Launcher).  
The Display section has options such as brightness level,  adaptive brightness (previously known as Auto brightness) , wallpapers,  daydream,  font size,  orientations and finally cast screen which allows you to cast your display to a TV or a screen..  
What I like in the display section is that when you tap on the brightness level option, a bar floats on the top of the screen and you can change the brightness level by moving the pointer over the meter and you can notice the change in the brightness level.  This allows you to see what actual change in brightness you are about to bring when you set the brightness at that level (this is handy and feely a little bit iOS styled)..

Sounds and notification gives you options such as media volume, alarm volume,  notification volume,  notification ringtone,  other sounds and Interruptions.
This Interruptions option is another new feature,  it allows you to choose what happens when a notification arrives,  it allows you to choose options such as always interrupt, allow only priority interruptions and the last option to stop all the notifications and that's Don't interrupt.  You can further set what you think should be considered as a priority and you should be interrupted whenever that type of notification arrives (super handy for my college life). This section even allows you to decide which notifications should be shown on the lock screen when the device is locked.

Storage, well it's exactly similar to the way it was earlier but it has a new lighter color to it and it shows the storage usage of each user.

The Battery section is interesting, the graph is based on real time usage and projects the time remaining before the device shuts down. Plus whenever you plug in the device, you can see the estimated time remaining for the charge to complete (This is great, helps me set an alarm to unplug my device).


You have a new power saving mode, which reduces your performance, stops the animations and transition effects and turn the notification bar and the bottom to ORANGE color to show that the device is running on POWER SAVING mode. I did notice considerable difference when I had the power saving mode on.


Rest everything is similar to an older android version.

The Apps section has 3 tabs, Downloaded, Running and All. The Downloaded tab shows you the apps you have have downloaded and installed onto your device, the space they use etc. The All tab shows all the apps and processes that you have on your devices, including the bloat (if any). The Running tab has a little bit of change to it, it now not only shows you the apps and processes that are running but it also shows you how much RAM is being used by the system processes, apps and how much RAM is free. This is in my view way better than the bar at the bottom that was available on older android versions.



The Users section allows you to switch between user profiles or add users to the device.



Creating profiles is a great way to keep your personal settings, apps and data safe from another user.

3) Personal: 

This section in the setting menu, basically deals with locations access, security, the accounts connected to the device, language & input methods, options to backup or reset the device.
Most of the stuff is similar to that on KitKat but what's new here, is something in Security.

Smart Lock is something that interests me, it's basically just the same old Face Unlock but with tons of improvements. Face unlock was mostly a hit or a miss but Smart lock is way better, the facial recognition has improved a lot, it's faster and more accurate. Smart lock works in the background, suppose you have some notifications on your lockscreen and you are viewing them, smart lock recognizes your face and unlocks the device while you are viewing the screen and as soon as you tap the notification or try to unlock your device, you are taken to the app or the homescreen respectively.
So smart lock is like bio-metric scanning for android, it's good to show off, iOS uses fingerprint scanning, android uses bio-metric to unlock your device... It's fun and adds an additional layer of security to your device.

4) System: 

 This section consists of  Data & Time, accessibility, printing and last but not the least, the about tablet section. We have a new Easter egg, it's not the desert case this time, it's a flappy bird styled game and it's really tough..

 

This section has nothing new, it's just as it was with the earlier android version,


Overall Experience: 

I've been using Lollipop on my Nexus 7 2012 for quite some time now. I have to say it's mixed. It's not the best nor the worst, it's like middle ground.
Lollipop itself is great, it has a ton of new features like interrupts, smart-lock, users, trusted bluetooth devices etc but that's it, rest almost everything is the same. It's full of material design and animations, it feels like Lollipop is basically meant a visual change just for change's sake. In one word lollipop is animations and if your device is powerful enough to handle those animations then you'll love lollipop. But if you have a device that is about 2 years old and doesn't have the best hardware then you'll be having views similar to that of mine.

As you all know the Nexus 7 2012 is famous for it's lag and sluggishness. On KitKat 4.4.4 my device had slowed down, it was so slow that I kept it on the table and wouldn't use it. Opening apps took a lot of time, multitasking was a disaster. My device was almost dead but lollipop gave it a new life.

After flashing Lollipop, the flashing process took only 4-5 minutes but the 1st boot took approximately 15 minutes. But when the device booted and the setup process began, the scrolling, opening up of the keyboard and the typing was fine, it was smooth. Then the homescreen took a minute to load and the device was stable, scrolling was smooth, rotation worked fine, the apps worked fine, everything was fine. But soon the device started struggling, it couldn't handle the animations lollipop threw at it. Apps started crashing, the device restarted itself, it would hang while playing videos, opening apps was delayed by 4-5 seconds and it felt slow and sluggish.

But sometimes the device would work just fine, it would scroll through apps, settings etc easily. Apps would run fine, multitasking was possible and the device worked perfectly. It was as if somebody threw some magic dust on my device and it started working fine. Oh and yeah I forgot to mention I love the way the new multitasking tray looks like, but yeah it takes up some time to load (it's full of animations)

 

I did encounter a few problems though, whenever I tried rotating my device it would get stuck for a few seconds, entering the password to unlock the device would allows some flickering at the bottom i.e. near the navigation buttons. My device would not change it's orientation until I restarted it a few times, Switching between users would slow it down a bit. YouTube won't open without a 5-7 seconds delay or sometimes it won't open at all.. But keeping the background processes minimum allowed it to stabilize itself and eventually I got used to it. One more way by which I was able to improve the performance of my device was by turning the animations down and forcing the GPU use for 2D rendering in the Developers Setting. I do hope Google would release an update to fix some bugs and maybe boost the performance a little.

So Lollipop is great, if your hardware is capable, it's the best looking android OS till date. It's colorful, full of animations, it feels alive. It has some great features. Every tap on the screen gives birth to an animation, you can now see that when you tap this this happens, when you drag this then this disappears. It's as if you can feel that you are interacting with your device, it's as if the physical barrier is no longer there. Now animations make a lot of sense, it's not like they pop up from anywhere of the blue everything feels right now and android looks more beautiful than ever now..

Here are all the screenshots for you to enjoy:
 
  
 

 

 

 

 

 



What are your thoughts about lollipop ? Are you excited ?
Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.
I hope you liked my review plz feel free to +1, share and
Enjoy !!! 



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