Why I love and hate my Nexus 5

Let’s get this straight from the outset. I absolutely LOVE the blinding, kick-butt speed of my Google/LG Nexus 5 smart phone. It handles with aplomb the gigantic contact list (over 4,000) that makes my slower phone choke. And, I love its user-friendly price. But also… I don’t like having a new user interface paradigm shoved up my ass… Unless it feels good of course. And from my view no such shoving could possibly feel good. And apparently Google has hired some inexperienced out-of-the-box politically correct feminist free thinkers to design the user interface. And shove it up my ass. So, naturally I don’t like it.

My first android experience came in the form of 2.3 on my Galaxy SII several years ago. I enjoyed a shallow learning curve because it operated intuitively. I touched the message icon to send a message, my contacts icon to mess with contacts, the phone icon to make a call, and the world icon to browse the web.

Google changed all that with KitKat (Android 4.4) on the snappy Nexus 5 I just bought to replace my sluggish SII.

Now I have no contacts icon and Google forced the hangouts icon and service on me in place of my simpler message icon and interface. Now when I tap the phone, I get a screen that shows a confusing display of contacts. I can’t tell whether they are favorite contacts or my call log because Google designers have stupidly mixed them together while NOT making their usage intuitively obvious. At the top I get the Google Now line with the search icon at one end and the microphone at the other. When I say somebody’s name from my contacts, Google Now might guess the contact correctly from my speech and it might not. If it does not find the contact, it displays that name from the web WITHOUT telling me or beeping me that it could not find the contact in my database.

With a 5″ screen available, designers could and should have identified the sections of info and made context sensitive help for the clueless, timid, or confused.

Another big gripe. When I clidk on the gray head that symbolizes a picture of a contact, I get a screen that shows he name of the contact, the photo, and the phone number, to the right of which it displays a little message icon. It shows menu at the top.

Designers did not make the purpose and function of this screen obvious. The menu icon show some options like edit share delete set ringtone, calls to voice mail, and place on home screen.

Do you see the problem here? I started by clicking the phone icon because I wanted to place a call, and now I’m trying to figure out what to do with the contact and related info. When I tap the phone, I want to make a call, not diddle with contacts. And this spells instant distraction for interrupt driven and inquisitive people like me. Some of us get easily led on a rabbit hunt when we ventured into the woods to harvest logs. THAT’s a major problem with kitkat.

I liked my old android mapping of dialpad keys to favorite contacts. I knew if pressed and held 2 the phone would call my wife. But I have not found a means to that end in KitKat. Grrr. Now my wife will think I don’t love her just because I don’t want to face the nightmare user interface of kitkat.

The Nexus 5 does show me some nice alerts, which I love. For example, it showed me that tomorrow is Donna Lee’s birthday. Okay, I want to send her a card tomorrow AND call her right now (interrupt driven, you know) to become one of the first to wish her happy birthday early. Would you believe KitKat gives me know way to do either? Now I have to slog through the contact search paradigm in order to find Donna Lee’s number when the Calendar has already shown me her name. Where’s the paradigm when I need it? Do you see how stupid this seems?

I absolutely love the visual voicemail feature. For several years my answering machine greeting warned callers not to leave me a voicemail because I won’t listen to it anyway. Unfortunately when someone calls me from within a government agency or a big corporation switchboard, I have no idea who called UNLESS I listen to voicemail. Grrrr. So visual voicemail has made it easy to select which messages to hear and which to ignore.

This morning I listened to visual voicemail for some unknown caller and heard a telemarketing message from someone wanting to con me into a service or product I don’t need or want. I wanted to add that number to the call reject list, and I couldn’t find a way to do it. Why doesn’t KitKat offer that option in the call log like Android Used to?

Oh, and WHERE IS the call log now? I see no button for it. Oh, I get it. The clock, representing history. Really. A clock represents time, as in time of day, right now, not history. Does the designer hope to change the meaning of the clock icon by forcing users to accept it as “history” symbol? Not on my watch. Why not use the word “Log?” This thing does speak English, doesn’t it? Or SHOW a symbol that looks like a log of wood? Well I would suppose that when I tap my phone icon on the home screen, that mismash of contacts that appears IS the call log. Or is it a list of most recently called? How would know?

RTFM? ROTFL! Anyway, GTFOH! I RAN a software corporation and I don’t read user interface manuals. I FIRE ding-dong, smartass designers who make BAD user interfaces.

Anyway, I tap the clock and the “history” screen comes up showing the word “History” at the top. Really. Why didn’t the designer put another clock face there? Because the designer KNEW the user would not intuitively cognite to its meaning. And at the history screen I should be able to see a dozen or more log entries at a glance. I see only six. I consider this an abusive waste of screen real estate. White space sells in ads. It annoys in data lists.

I hate the lack of a 64G microsd socket. I hate the lack of access to the battery so I can replace it with spares easily. And I hate the protective transparent plastic sheet the factory put over the screen. It says NEXUS on it in translucent letters, and that distracts me.

I love the feel of my Nexus 5. The volume and on/off buttons are PERFECT. The screen size is perfect. The black back has a classy look, and the camera functions PERFECTLY, taking PERFECT photos easily and intuitively. I love Google Now’s integration with the phone’s function as a data finder and answer provider. I love the way it calculates math and arithmetic when I talk equations to it, and finds places and people, and gives up simple facts from google search. I love the new google earth function of google maps. I love the integration of google drive and google docs.

I love the TYLTed wireless charger and cradle T-Mobile provided to me for the phone. It charges my phone through proximity alone, without any physical contact. I just lay the phone on the cradle and it charges. The cradle lets me see, tap, and swipe phone screen without straining my neck.

I bought an edge protector rubberized case for the phone. It came with a sticky-side-down plastic sheet to protect the glass on the Nexus 5 screen. I replaced the factory installed protector with it. But sadly, the screen or sticky side got little dust flecks on it and that created bubbles between the screen and sheet once laid in place. I cannot get the bubbles out. My Brighthouse support rep suggested putting a drop of dish detergent in a glass with some water, then dripping some drops of that solution on the on the screen and applying the screen protector. Then, she said, I could use the edge of a credit card to squeegee out the bubbles. I have yet to try that little trick. Some LG and Samsung will make phone cases and circuitry of ultra-hard graphene that will make protective cases and covers unnecessary. Meanwhile, I have dumped my screen protector altogether. I cannot stand the annoyance of its bubbles.

And even though I haven’t installed it yet, I love the way UBUNTU will run side by side with KitKat. I love the idea of having my desktop computer in my shirt pocket.

And last but not least, I LOVE THE PRICE of the Nexus 5. it has ALL the important features of a $600 phone, and the $16G version (also available in 32G) costs only $321 cash from T-Mobile. I could have bought a used 32G version through Craigslist for $280, but Wifey didn’t like the idea and reasoned that the few bucks better price didn’t justify the potential heartache of purchasing from an unknown source.

Before you consider me just too critical to tolerate, I should admit a few truths.

I admit that most of the things I hate about the Nexus 5 have to do wih Google’s implementation of KitKat. I understand Google’s chintzy refusal to provide a memory card slot as a means of gouging worried customers out of another hundred bucks for the 32G version. I also recognize that as a way to give bargain hunters like me a path to obtaining the 16G version of this snazzy phone for less than $350, and unheard-of value. And who says I need more than that? Nobody, yet. I admit that my 32G Sandisk Ultra Microsd card doubled as a UBUNTU boot device if and when I needed to use someone else’s computer without accessing their hard drive. I could insert the card in a USB adapter, jam that into the computer’s USB hole, and boot the world’s most popular, pristine, virus-free desktop linux OS from it. I can still do that, but I have to carry it on my keychain instead of in my phone.

My advice to Google’s Android KitKat user experience designers: learn some lessons from Google’s smart phone marketers and price setters. THEY know WTF they’re doing. You DON’T.

Whoever knows the email addresses of those fools in the User Interface department, please send them this message… if by some miracle Google still employs them.

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Author: bobhurt

See http://bobhurt.com

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