Review: Android 5.0 (Lollipop)

Review: Android 5.0 (Lollipop)

Since its debut six years ago, Android has made a number of major visual upgrades. The clearest change in Lollipop is the fresh design visual, called Material. It changes nearly every single thing about Android looks, from the setup menu, app drawer and notification shade to animations, icons the onscreen back, home and also recent app buttons.

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Notifications have always played a big role in Android. Each alert appears as a card that can be swiped down on to expand the message. You can also swipe to clear it away or tap it to interact it with it, which will open the corresponding app after you unlock the screen. You also have the new Priority mode, which you can turn on with your device’s volume rocker or in settings, only shows the most important notifications.

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Lollipop adds a new Battery Saver mode, which clocks down the CPU, limits vibrations, reduces the ambient light and turns off background data when your device needs a little extra juice that can be turned on by hand or program it to turn on automatically when your battery drops too low, and Google claims it can add up to 90 minutes of extra life.

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Lollipop comes with an updated Calendar app that incorporates with your Gmail service so that flight reservations, concert tickets and other confirmation emails get automatically turned into calendar events

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When you turn your device on, Lollipop shows you the current time and date in the center of the lock screen along with pending notifications if any immediately below that — in rectangular cards.

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Other updates:

  • “OK, Google” voice command works when the screen is off on the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9.
  • A faster setup process for a new device, using NFC to migrate your accounts over by tapping your new phone against your old one.
  • Improved multimedia performance
  • Professional photography features, including support for raw images; control settings for the camera lens, sensor and flash; and capturing full-resolution frames at 30 frames per second.
  • Easier switching between tap-and-pay NFC payment apps.
  • Support for more than 68 languages. Google added Basque, Bengali, Burmese, Chinese (Hong Kong), Galician, Icelandic, Kannada, Kyrgyz, Macedonian, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Sinhala, Tamil and Telugu in this release.

 

PROS

  • Gorgeous redesign
  • Notifications are much better
  • Support for multiple user accounts
  • Better performance
  • Smart Lock

CONS

  • Some UI elements can be confusing
  • Limited multi-pane support in landscape mode, and no split-screen multitasking

Lollipop is the biggest Android update yet, featuring a pleasant new design and loads of clever features that enhance the user experience.