Nexus 5 Fix List
I went off contract with AT&T in autumn of 2013 and decided to purchase a Nexus 5 directly from Google, which is unlocked to any particular mobile service provider. This allows me to purchase a sim card from any service provider and potentially pay a cheaper monthly cell phone bill than I have historically paid AT&T.
The Nexus 5 (N5) cell phone is reported to be one of the top phone on the market. My most recent smartphone was an Android-based Samsung Galaxy S2 (SGS2). The N5 has the newest and greatest version of the Android phone operating system (Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat), but I’ve found that there are certain things that are rather awkward. I have been keeping my “fix list” that I have been hoping to share for a while, in case Google is paying attention to the blogosphere when it comes to product development.
Left-handed use (in landscape mode) soft buttons
The Nexus 5 was supposedly designed for efficient use with a single hand. Great! Well, I often browse my phone while laying down. Sometimes, I am on my back (typically using my right hand, sometimes my left). Sometimes, I lay on my left side (holding my phone with my right hand, as my left is not very accessible). Sometimes, I lay on my right side and then prefer to use my left hand. Well, while on the phone in landscape mode and using my left hand to hold the device, the soft buttons (button images under the touch screen, which always move to the side of the device that would be held by your right hand (depending upon the screen orientation). There is the problem. When I hold the phone with my left hand in landscape mode, the soft buttons (Home, Back, Open Applications) are not easily accessible with my left hand. I have to do “digit gymnastics” to push any of the soft buttons, or I need to pull out my right hand to touch the button (which is not efficient, nor is it “one-handed use”). I’d love to see a setting that allows me to quickly swap the location of the soft buttons.
Custom Notification Settings
This phone has a single ringtone for all phone calls (or you can customize by caller) and then it has another Notification sound setting. Therefore, it has a single sound type for email notification, text notification, and other push notifications. The Google Voice app does allow me to select specific ring tones for its notifications, but it seems that Google might make it a little more customizable out of the box.
Continuous scroll through home pages
My SGS2 would allow me to scroll continuously through my various home pages. The N5 allows me to scroll through my 5 homepages, but to get from #1 to #5, I have to switch directions and scroll through 5 pages. I would prefer to scroll directly from #1 to #5, by continuing to scroll to the left.
Pinch to minimize websites
My SGS2 allowed me to pinch to minimize websites so that I could select other open website tabs. The N5 requires that I push a button to accomplish this task.
Double tap to zoom into website text
My SGS2 allowed me to double tap on a paragraph and it would automatically zoom to the width of the paragraph. The N5 does not do this out of the box (using chrome).
One touch setting toggle
The N5 allows a two-finger downward swipe from the top of the device to access a quick settings panel, however, if I touch the wifi button, it opens the wifi setting page.
I’d rather it just toggle the wifi on or off. Same with airplane mode, brightness, bluetooth, or location settings. SGS2 functioned perfectly well in this regard. I figured out that if you tap and hold the icon, it will toggle these settings on and off directly. Okay, that’s fixed.
Bookmark button in Chrome
There is no bookmark button in chrome on the N5. Sure I can click the “settings” button, then click “bookmarks”, and then open the appropriate folder for my bookmarks, but that means I have to use a minimum of 4 clicks to get to a bookmarked site. On my SGS2, it was a two click task. Bookmark button. Touch the bookmark.
In the end
I’m happy with my Nexus 5, but I would like to see Google address some of these simple “usability” issues with the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system on the Nexus 5. The N5 is their flagship phone and this simple functionality or lack there of, makes the operating system feel awkward. I know that I could install various “Launchers” and the N5 is designed to allow me to switch Launchers easily, but I’d rather it just work. If I use a launcher, I am not certain that the phone will get the same frequent updates that I will otherwise look forward to on the Nexus. I’ll look into the use of launchers, but I look forward to the day that Google finds this post and repairs the items on my Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat fix list. What do you think? Are there other software issues that you’d like to see addressed? Comment below.…