The UX of the Nexus 6

I recently traded in my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for a Nexus 6.  I wanted the latest greatest OS from Google.  I could have gotten an iPhone 6 Plus or a Galaxy S6 (or Note 3) or other device, but I chose the Nexus mainly because I wanted to get the latest OS quicker. (Current version is 5.1 Lollipop)  It is the software, not the hardware that interests me the most. One thing to note, I wear a Asus Zenwatch (and love it).

Hardware
The screen is big, duh. 6″. I like having a big phone and 6″ is just about right.  I hate little wimpy phones like the iPhone 4. My fingers need room to roam.  With that said, I don’t feel it is any bigger than the Note 3/4 or even the iPhone 6.  At some point, it’s close enough.

However, there is a flaw in the hardware and it is driving me crazy. There is no HOME button.  WTF? I have tried to press the home button about a thousand times only to realize it is not there.  This is a poor design. There is an ON/OFF button and a volume button on the side, but that’s it.  The rest are “soft buttons”, digital icons once the screen is on. You can’t FEEL where they are, you need to look.

Lollipop 5.1
This is super odd, but I can’t find documentation on the operating system anywhere. There are no docs. Boggle!

Anyway, the OS is progressing and getting better and better. HOWEVER, this device (Nexus 6) ONLY contains the Android OS and not the additional TouchWiz UI that Samsung puts on the device.  This creates an interesting dilemma.

On the one hand, the ability to get quicker OS upgrades is important to me.  On the other hand, TouchWiz actually made the experience better. I am finding all sorts of screwups in the OS that didn’t exist when I had my Note 3.

For example: I wanted to remove an exchange account I put in the settings. For the life of me, I could not find where to do it. I finally found this article on Sprint of how to remove an account. I can describe how I tried to accomplish the task.  I did a tap/hold on the account.  It should have given me some options.

There is a major lacking in Android of this sort of anticipation of the users needs.  Tap/Hold = right-click.  Additionally, there is no universal “context menu” for a screen.  The Note 3 had a spot for that.  It always meant, “Give me options for this screen.”  Nexus, no dice.

Summary
The battery has been acceptable.  The speed is fine. The screen is beautiful. The fact that I have this powerful computer in my pocket is awesome. There is so much right, yet I am still left feeling frustrated.  I want the UI to be smoother. I want it to anticipate my requests. I want more.

Maybe with the next version of Android.

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