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strausd
Sep 30, 2013, 09:11 PM
In preparation of a likely underwhelming Nexus 5 release, I have been considering other phones, specifically the G2 and the Moto X. Obviously the biggest selling point of a Nexus is stock Android, but is that even worth it anymore?

If you don't like the launcher that comes with your phone, download Nova to simulate the stock launcher. If you don't like the lock screen, download WidgetLocker. And now you can even get the stock Google Keyboard from the Play Store along with just about every Google app.

And many third party alternatives are better than their stock Android counterparts. One example that comes to mind is the Messaging app. Get a third party messaging app and you can avoid using SMS/MMS and you can get convenient popups.

After seeing what some manufacturers have put into Android, it makes me wonder if stock Android is all that special. It almost seems kind of boring to me now.

I have never used a non-Nexus Android phone, and I am curious to get other opinions on this. So what have been your experiences in terms of stock Android vs manufacturer skin? Do you often disable bloatware apps that you do not use? Is it just as easy to disable those apps as it is to disable downloaded apps from the Play Store on a Nexus? I know a lot of people root and flash custom ROMs on their non-Nexus phones, but I am trying to not factor that into my decision at the moment.



onthecouchagain
Sep 30, 2013, 09:22 PM
Agree to some extent.

It only seems to get frustrating when you don't get the latest software updates. But even that, one might argue, is acceptable.

These days, OEMs are updating faster than ever, and these days, Android's at a point where the OS is so stable and so well tuned that any new features the latest stock Android brings may not even be a big deal and/or may not even compare to features that OEM skins bring.

: shrug : It's debatable.

The beauty is there's choice. Choice is the only reason we're able to even have this discussion. :)

Sensamic
Sep 30, 2013, 09:25 PM
I'd say the biggest selling point of the Nexus line is not stock android anymore, rather than timely and guaranteed updates.

Any phone or tablet can be changed to look like stock with another launcher plus the stock Google apps that Google has made available on the Play store: stock keyboard, calendar app, etc.

Now it's all about updates.

I agree stock is now kind of boring. My Nexus 10 is proof of it.

Besides, the Nexus also come with a lot of bugs and problems: bad camera and battery on the Nexus 4, freezes and reboots with the Nexus 10 and lightbleeding, touch problems with the Nexus 7, etc.

Only problem is still how long Samsung, HTC and so on take for updates.

I mean, HTC One has just gotten 4.2 + 4.3 now, more than half a year later, and my SGS3 got 4.1 4 months later and since then nothing more... It's been a year since then and now we are supposed to get 4.3.

It's not about stock. It's about the updates.

TacticalDesire
Sep 30, 2013, 09:25 PM
I can take barebones Android, and make it mine. I can build up on it where as if I were to get an OEM's skinned phone I'd be removing things. I also like the look of pure android. And the performance can't be beat. My nexus 4 is still running like it did when I got it 9-10 months ago. It's amazing.

THE JUICEMAN
Sep 30, 2013, 09:27 PM
Couch said it. Updates. That's huge for those that don't want to root and flash.

My take is that stock can be looked at like a blank canvass if you want and then you can add to it what you prefer. If you go the manufacturer skin it's opposite. You start with a whole lot of stuff then you have to remove what you don't want. I'd think starting and then adding would be easier.

But I use a simple setup. Today my coworker said "oh you haven't setup much yet" while looking at my moto x. But what she didn't realize is that I had pretty much setup all that I needed and wanted. :-)

strausd
Sep 30, 2013, 09:32 PM
Good discussion so far. In relation to updates, I have a Nexus 7. It has downloaded and installed an "Android 4.3" update about 3 times. Haven't noticed a difference yet.

In relation to building up as opposed to skimming down, it makes sense. Without being rooted, realistically how much of a manufacturers skin can you disable? Is it just limited to apps that you disable in settings?

T5BRICK
Sep 30, 2013, 09:37 PM
The beauty is there's choice. Choice is the only reason we're able to even have this discussion. :)

This right here. :)

I've tried probably a dozen different ROMs on my HTC One ranging from essentially stock Sense 5.0 with a few tweaks, all the way to a customized Cyanogenmod variant. My favorite so far is HyperDroidAOXP, but the Google Edition ROM are a very close second.

I'm one of the folks who doesn't really care about updates because I can just flash whatever I want. The leaked versions of recently released version of Android usually show up within a few days of release anyway.

THE JUICEMAN
Sep 30, 2013, 09:38 PM
Good discussion so far. In relation to updates, I have a Nexus 7. It has downloaded and installed an "Android 4.3" update about 3 times. Haven't noticed a difference yet.

In relation to building up as opposed to skimming down, it makes sense. Without being rooted, realistically how much of a manufacturers skin can you disable? Is it just limited to apps that you disable in settings?

I would say it depends on not only the manufacturer but also the carrier. Some carriers let you disable apps on certain phones but not others. It's weird.

Manufacturers let you disable a lot of the extra features but I'm im not so sure about turning off the "skin" per say. For example I don't think you can disable the toggles in a lot of the skins. But you can usually change icons though.

T5BRICK
Sep 30, 2013, 09:40 PM
In relation to building up as opposed to skimming down, it makes sense. Without being rooted, realistically how much of a manufacturers skin can you disable? Is it just limited to apps that you disable in settings?

Nova launcher can give you what amounts to a "stock Android" look and feel.

onthecouchagain
Sep 30, 2013, 10:13 PM
We really need to take a moment to appreciate Nova Launcher. It's such an incredibly app, being able to bring a stock-like experience to the table, and all for free, too. Heck, I even use Nova on my Nexus 7. It just offers even more flexibility than the already highly customizable stock Android.

So, let that say what you will about stock Android! ;)

Back to discussion...

strausd
Sep 30, 2013, 10:29 PM
I would say it depends on not only the manufacturer but also the carrier. Some carriers let you disable apps on certain phones but not others. It's weird.

Manufacturers let you disable a lot of the extra features but I'm im not so sure about turning off the "skin" per say. For example I don't think you can disable the toggles in a lot of the skins. But you can usually change icons though.

The notification area is probably one of my biggest concerns. I like keeping it as clean and minimalistic as possible. On my Nexus 4, all I have is power toggles. I have two rows, but using a two finger swipe can hide/show the second row. Other than that, it is completely clean. Looking at the G2, I would HATE to have all that crap in my notification area at all times. If I were to get a non-Nexus smartphone and I couldn't delete everything from the notification area, I would probably return it.

As for the lock screen, I can easily install WidgetLocker to get a stock feel. And Nova for a stock homescreen feel. But the notifications is an area that would only be touched by the ROM.

sarcosis
Sep 30, 2013, 10:40 PM
The notification area is probably one of my biggest concerns. I like keeping it as clean and minimalistic as possible. On my Nexus 4, all I have is power toggles. I have two rows, but using a two finger swipe can hide/show the second row. Other than that, it is completely clean. Looking at the G2, I would HATE to have all that crap in my notification area at all times. If I were to get a non-Nexus smartphone and I couldn't delete everything from the notification area, I would probably return it.

As for the lock screen, I can easily install WidgetLocker to get a stock feel. And Nova for a stock homescreen feel. But the notifications is an area that would only be touched by the ROM.

+1. That's the worst part for me about skins. Most things I can get rid of, but the notification area, can't change that in most skins. LG and Samsung are the worst. So much crap there you can't even see the notifications that you want.

onthecouchagain
Sep 30, 2013, 10:44 PM
I guess TouchWiz has a lot of features they feel you need to know is on or off.

Doesn't stuff get added to the status bar of stock Android if you turn it on, too? Say WiFi and Bluetooth, etc? I guess TW just has more stuff to turn on/off?

Not a TW user so I don't really know.

strausd
Sep 30, 2013, 11:04 PM
I guess TouchWiz has a lot of features they feel you need to know is on or off.

Doesn't stuff get added to the status bar of stock Android if you turn it on, too? Say WiFi and Bluetooth, etc? I guess TW just has more stuff to turn on/off?

Not a TW user so I don't really know.

I'm talking mainly about the notification area, not the status bar. In terms of wifi and bluetooth, ya that shows up on the status bar, but I don't constantly have a notification that I can't clear off. On TW and LG's skin, you have multiple things in the notification area you can't clear off, and from the sound of it you can't disable those things either.

gotluck
Sep 30, 2013, 11:07 PM
Updates are the real reason stock is best. Generally better performance is nice although I suppose that can be subjective.
I view the moto x essentially as stock, but reliable updates have yet to be seen, though the first update is a good sign.
I think I'm going to remain happy with my gs4 Google edition for a time to come. Looking forward to kitkat.

Saturn1217
Sep 30, 2013, 11:11 PM
I didn't take time to read other comments so I'm probably repeating others but the advantages of Nexus devices go beyond stock android.

Reasons I prefer the whole "Nexus" experience (strictly from a software perspective)

- you have no carrier interference - this means free tethering with the stock tethering app which works great.
- this also means there are no carrier specific surprises (No you can't remove that AT&T logo, on this phone on this carrier these toggles aren't available etc.)
- getting prompt updates while sometimes a little too bleeding edge for me does give me confidence that if major security issues hit android (has happened in the past) I will be covered and likely won't be targeted because it is more likely for hackers to target android devices that can't get security updates quickly.
-No Carrier IQ (google it)
-Even though Nexus devices don't sell in large numbers app developers will almost always target your phone because it is the reference device. I suspect the proportion of developers who own a nexus is much higher than the general population and this means you get great support.
-You know with 100% certainty that your device won't be forgotten 6 months later which used to be a major concern. Not as much of an issue now but the security is still nice.

As for stock android per se? I appreciate how clean the notification area is. I hate for example how few notifications you can view in touchwiz or the new LG skin. There are some great 3rd party toggles that work (and look) exactly like they were built in (I use Extended settings) which I much prefer to any implementation that OEMs have come up with.

I also like the software keys. They provide the flexibility to support legacy apps that still use the menu button while preserving the much better system in newer apps of only showing the overflow button when there are actually more options. Since a 4.3 inch screen is all I really require for usability on a phone I couldn't care less how much screen real estate they take up.

I do wish Google worked harder at improving built in android apps that aren't tied to their google services. Gmail, Youtube, Maps etc are all wonderful. But calendar? the calculator, the camera? Crappy apps that are both too simple and also try to be too creative instead of being functional and user friendly.

onthecouchagain
Sep 30, 2013, 11:18 PM
You know what I'd consider another knock on stock Android and Nexus devices in general?

You're really the beta testers of each new release. There are guaranteed bugs with any major software release. As a Nexus user, you're the first in line.

Pluses and minuses, I guess.

gotluck
Sep 30, 2013, 11:18 PM
You know what I'd consider another knock on stock Android and Nexus devices in general?

You're really the beta testers of each new release. There are guaranteed bugs with any major software release. As a Nexus user, you're the first in line.

Pluses and minuses, I guess.

Kinda like .0 iOS releases :p

onthecouchagain
Sep 30, 2013, 11:19 PM
Kinda like .0 iOS releases :p

Yeah. On the Android side, in some ways, at least a lot of users are "protected" against buggy first software pushes. Heh. ;)

For what it's worth, the recent HTC 4.3 update to the One is, as far as I know, completely bug-free! Kudos to them.

gotluck
Sep 30, 2013, 11:21 PM
Yeah. On the Android side, in some ways, at least a lot of users are "protected" against buggy first software pushes. Heh. ;)

Hey now let's not legitimize delayed updates here :D

And yes kudos to HTC.

onthecouchagain
Sep 30, 2013, 11:23 PM
Hey now let's not legitimize delayed updates here :D


Yeah. Good point!

onthecouchagain
Sep 30, 2013, 11:37 PM
The funny thing is, this thread has got me excited all over again for KitKat. :D

----------

Another interesting thing to consider is that Google updates all their stock apps individually, independent of OS version or OS updates.

This cannot be understated.

And recently, they've been on a tear, updating YouTube, Gmail, Chrome and Chrome Beta, Keyboard, Maps, Hangouts, Translate, Wallet, Music, Google+, and even the Play Store a while back during late summer.

More is to come with Hangouts in particular. Looks like they're going to add statuses and "moods": http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/09/30/apk-teardown-code-within-hangouts-1-2-indicates-rich-statuses-including-activities-and-moods-are-coming/

Anyway, let that factor into your opinions about the validity and/or need of stock Android, too.

viskon
Sep 30, 2013, 11:37 PM
I love stock Android + customizability of custom ROMs like CM. Stock Android is a bit limiting to me.

Not a fan of the manufacturer skins though.

tbayrgs
Sep 30, 2013, 11:40 PM
The notification area is probably one of my biggest concerns. I like keeping it as clean and minimalistic as possible. On my Nexus 4, all I have is power toggles. I have two rows, but using a two finger swipe can hide/show the second row. Other than that, it is completely clean. Looking at the G2, I would HATE to have all that crap in my notification area at all times. If I were to get a non-Nexus smartphone and I couldn't delete everything from the notification area, I would probably return it.

As for the lock screen, I can easily install WidgetLocker to get a stock feel. And Nova for a stock homescreen feel. But the notifications is an area that would only be touched by the ROM.

Another +1 for this. A launcher allows for a more 'stock' feeling/appearance on your home screens but doesn't touch either the settings or the Notification panel. I'd wager that we probably spend more time looking at the notification panel (at least I do) than anything else. This is the predominant source of my disgust with TouchWiz, and why I'm avoiding LG's skin as well. Yes, it's a pain to wade though configuring all of the extra functionality and bloat in TW but once you've done it, you generally don't deal with it anymore. However I pull done and interact with notifications dozens of times per day and the oversized text and cartoonish appearance of the TW notification panel drove me nuts.

Jibbajabba
Oct 1, 2013, 12:10 AM
I'd say the biggest selling point of the Nexus line is not stock android anymore, rather than timely and guaranteed updates.

Any phone or tablet can be changed to look like stock with another launcher plus the stock Google apps that Google has made available on the Play store: stock keyboard, calendar app, etc.

Now it's all about updates..

and price ... the Nexus was darn cheap compared to other unlocked devices.

Technarchy
Oct 1, 2013, 12:17 AM
Not a fan of stock android.

Already been down that road with a couple of Nexus devices in the past and was not impressed.

Ever since the GS2, I've liked what Touchwiz has to offer. It's currently my favorite flavor of android.

Sensamic
Oct 1, 2013, 02:22 AM
There's one problem no one seems to be commenting.

Sometimes manufacturers skins don't have features that stock android comes with:

- Multiple widgets on the lockscreen on the HTC One. With the 4.2 update HTC only allows one widget in the lockscreen. Completely stupid decision.

- User accounts are not present in 4.2 Samsung tablets. Again why?

- Swype up to delete icons on the home screen is not present in any Samsung smartphone or tablet. This feature came with 4.1.

All this may be another reason to go with stock Android.

adder7712
Oct 1, 2013, 02:43 AM
I like stock Android because on how lightweight it is. It literally flies on my old S II and I rarely report instances of lag while running a AOSP ROM on that phone.

Savor
Oct 1, 2013, 04:12 AM
Not as much as it used to be.

Nexus phones is pretty bland as is without many proprietary features. You can pretty much change many things on it rooted of not, stock or not.

Many OEM's will likely release a KitKat flagship only 4 months after the latest Nexus gets released. S4 pretty much got 4.2 less than five months after Nexus 4 was released with it.

The only appeal with the Nexus line is price point and it receives faster updates. Nexus 4 packed the best bang for your buck performance for a phone. Still with a cheaper price point comes compromise. Nexus phones were never great with taking photos or battery life. And they removed the memory slot after the Nexus One and removable battery since the Nexus 4.

Stock Android with faster updates and price from the Google Play Store is its only marketing mantra. And at least you get a fairly different external design every year unlike iPhones.

Sounds Good
Oct 1, 2013, 06:23 AM
- you have no carrier interference - this means free tethering with the stock tethering app...
Is this true? If so, can someone please explain in greater detail how and why this works?

Thanks in advance....

Phil A.
Oct 1, 2013, 06:38 AM
I think there are two issues that get conflated with non nexus devices:
Manufacturer's add-ons and carrier add-ons

I always buy my devices sim-free to avoid any possibility of carrier bloat and don't have a problem with my S4 out of the box. Yeah, there are some features I don't really use (such as the eye scrolling), but I just switch them off and they don't really get in the way. IMO, the big problem comes when carriers get their hands on the devices and start adding stuff: Not only does it introduce another delay in getting updates, they can really mess things up.

The last time I bought a subsidised phone was a Windows CE device from Orange: they removed MSN messenger to try and force people to use SMS (this is in the days before unlimited SMS and it was a pretty good money spinner for them). After that, I decided I'd rather pay full price for my phones and get them as the manufacturer intended!

I've got an S4 and a Nexus 7 and comparing the two, I'd say the Samsung modified android experience is better in the following areas:

1) Email - the stock android email is far better than it used to be, but so is Samsung's email program on the S4 and I really like it now
2) Camera - The S4 adds a lot of functionality to the camera over stock Android
3) Quick toggles - yeah, they can be a bit overwhelming, but I really like the way Samsung have implemented them
4) Contacts - nothing wrong with the stock android People app, but I prefer Samsung's implementation


Things I think Stock android does better
1) Keyboard (a bit of a moot point as it can be easily changed and I have the Google keyboard on my S4) - I much prefer the stock Google keyboard to Samsung's, not least for the auto-correct
2) Folder handling - Touchwiz has too much animation when opening folders which slows things down for folders with a lot of stuff in them. Also, creating folders is more intuitive on stock
3) Lock screen - The fact you can't add widgets to a pin locked screen on the S4 is very frustrating!

I also think Touchwiz adds some useful features to stock android such as blocking mode, smart rotate, S voice, etc.

Saturn1217
Oct 1, 2013, 06:46 AM
Is this true? If so, can someone please explain in greater detail how and why this works?

Thanks in advance....

Wifi hotspot is built into stock android. On my Gnex turning on tethering is as easy as turning on wifi.

Now your carrier might be able to detect if you are tethering via detecting the user agent of your browser. But you can use hacks on your computer to change your user agent so this isn't detected. I'm on T-mobile and grandfathered into one of their older plans (before they started caring). I've never had an issue with tethering but I also don't abuse it (I never go over my 5gb data limit).

I hate that most carrier completely remove this tethering feature and only have tethering through their special app (atleast on t-mobile this is how it is). This means I can't set up a quick tethering shortcut with a 3rd party app in the notification shade which is how I prefer to turn on tethering so I can use my wifi Nexus 7 on the go with minimal hassle.

KentuckyHouse
Oct 1, 2013, 07:23 AM
I can take barebones Android, and make it mine. I can build up on it where as if I were to get an OEM's skinned phone I'd be removing things. I also like the look of pure android. And the performance can't be beat. My nexus 4 is still running like it did when I got it 9-10 months ago. It's amazing.

This.

The lure of a Nexus device is threefold...

Stock Android that allows you to do pretty much anything your heart desires

Timely, fast updates to the latest firmware

And the comfort to know you can flash just about anything without having to worry about bricking your phone (I've yet to see a Nexus that wasn't recoverable).

While I understand people saying "but I can just flash a custom ROM to my S4/G2/blahblahblah", yes you can. But you're still restricted on a lot of points (see the S4 for Verizon and AT&T). Or, your phone is region-locked (see the Note 3). The beauty of a Nexus is that I can take it anywhere in the world, pop in a local SIM, and I'm good to go.

With a Nexus, the key word is freedom.

onthecouchagain
Oct 1, 2013, 07:24 AM
I think there are two issues that get conflated with non nexus devices:
Manufacturer's add-ons and carrier add-ons

I always buy my devices sim-free to avoid any possibility of carrier bloat and don't have a problem with my S4 out of the box. Yeah, there are some features I don't really use (such as the eye scrolling), but I just switch them off and they don't really get in the way. IMO, the big problem comes when carriers get their hands on the devices and start adding stuff: Not only does it introduce another delay in getting updates, they can really mess things up.

The last time I bought a subsidised phone was a Windows CE device from Orange: they removed MSN messenger to try and force people to use SMS (this is in the days before unlimited SMS and it was a pretty good money spinner for them). After that, I decided I'd rather pay full price for my phones and get them as the manufacturer intended!

I've got an S4 and a Nexus 7 and comparing the two, I'd say the Samsung modified android experience is better in the following areas:

1) Email - the stock android email is far better than it used to be, but so is Samsung's email program on the S4 and I really like it now
2) Camera - The S4 adds a lot of functionality to the camera over stock Android
3) Quick toggles - yeah, they can be a bit overwhelming, but I really like the way Samsung have implemented them
4) Contacts - nothing wrong with the stock android People app, but I prefer Samsung's implementation


Things I think Stock android does better
1) Keyboard (a bit of a moot point as it can be easily changed and I have the Google keyboard on my S4) - I much prefer the stock Google keyboard to Samsung's, not least for the auto-correct
2) Folder handling - Touchwiz has too much animation when opening folders which slows things down for folders with a lot of stuff in them. Also, creating folders is more intuitive on stock
3) Lock screen - The fact you can't add widgets to a pin locked screen on the S4 is very frustrating!

I also think Touchwiz adds some useful features to stock android such as blocking mode, smart rotate, S voice, etc.

I hope you know you can download the Google Keyboard for free:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.inputmethod.latin&hl=en

If you like the stock keyboard, I'd suggest trying out Kii Keyboard first. It's also free. Think of it as Google Keyboard Plus:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zl.inputmethod.latin&hl=en

Once you put the "Ice Cream Sandwich" skin, it looks exactly the same as the Google stock keyboard, but is even more customizable (keyboard sizes, key sizes, etc).

Happy typing :)

Phil A.
Oct 1, 2013, 07:41 AM
I hope you know you can download the Google Keyboard for free:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.inputmethod.latin&hl=en

If you like the stock keyboard, I'd suggest trying out Kii Keyboard first. It's also free. Think of it as Google Keyboard Plus:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zl.inputmethod.latin&hl=en

Once you put the "Ice Cream Sandwich" skin, it looks exactly the same as the Google stock keyboard, but is even more customizable (keyboard sizes, key sizes, etc).

Happy typing :)

Yeah, I've already got the Google keyboard on my S4. I've looked at the Kii keyboard, but I'm more than happy with the Google keyboard at the moment. May look again in the future though :)

zbarvian
Oct 1, 2013, 07:51 AM
I really don't see the value in any OEM add-on. And the Koreans seem to hire visual designers right out of preschool. Timely updates, reliability, and plain Googleness make the Nexus line the best Android phones in my opinion.

Sounds Good
Oct 1, 2013, 07:59 AM
Wifi hotspot is built into stock android. On my Gnex turning on tethering is as easy as turning on wifi.

Now your carrier might be able to detect if you are tethering via detecting the user agent of your browser.
Hmmmmm... Any idea if this would work with AT&T? I don't need to tether very often (which is why I don't wanna pay the monthly fees) but to be able to tether every once in a while sure would be nice. Might even sway me to buy a Nexus 7.

Stooby Mcdoobie
Oct 1, 2013, 10:18 AM
Works perfectly on AT&T.

http://imgur.com/nM3lnJ7.jpg

And just to show I am on unlimited data, so I don't have a tethering plan.

http://imgur.com/nG9d8SZ.jpg

Just use it sparingly and you won't get caught. I've been doing this for years and have never received a warning from AT&T.

Sounds Good
Oct 1, 2013, 10:25 AM
Very interesting. Thanks for that.

Yeah, I would use it very sparingly (hardly at all). I'm also still on the old Unlimited data plan as well -- although it isn't really unlimited, as we all know! :)

Question: how many minutes per month (on average) do you tend to use this "feature"?

Thanks again.

Stooby Mcdoobie
Oct 1, 2013, 10:45 AM
Very interesting. Thanks for that.

Yeah, I would use it very sparingly (hardly at all). I'm also still on the old Unlimited data plan as well -- although it isn't really unlimited, as we all know! :)

Haha can't speak to that as I average around 3-4GB/mo, but I've heard they're being more lax with LTE plans.

Question: how many minutes per month (on average) do you tend to use this "feature"?

Thanks again.

I don't use it every month so it's hard to say. I save it for when I'm traveling and don't have access to WiFi. When I do use it, it's mainly to VPN into work to check email and that doesn't use a lot of data. I'd estimate a few hundred megabytes at most.

gotluck
Oct 1, 2013, 10:57 AM
Hmmmmm... Any idea if this would work with AT&T? I don't need to tether very often (which is why I don't wanna pay the monthly fees) but to be able to tether every once in a while sure would be nice. Might even sway me to buy a Nexus 7.

I use the stock tethering on my S4 Google Edition as well. Currently I'm on an ATT MVNO, but switching to ATT Gophone later this week. Tethering is not permitted on GoPhone, but stock android (on an unlocked non ATT branded device of course) lets you anyway.

Sounds Good
Oct 1, 2013, 11:06 AM
Duh. I just realized that I can't do what I was thinking about doing. I was thinking about keeping my current iPhone and picking up a Nexus 7 tablet. But it just hit me that I'd need a stock android phone to do what you guys are talking about -- not the other way around. Duh. :o

Stooby Mcdoobie
Oct 1, 2013, 12:15 PM
Duh. I just realized that I can't do what I was thinking about doing. I was thinking about keeping my current iPhone and picking up a Nexus 7 tablet. But it just hit me that I'd need a stock android phone to do what you guys are talking about -- not the other way around. Duh. :o

Lol, that's correct. Unfortunately the only way to tether without a plan on an iPhone is to use one of the tethering apps from Cydia, which requires you to have a jailbroken device.

Stuntman06
Oct 1, 2013, 03:42 PM
The notification area is probably one of my biggest concerns. I like keeping it as clean and minimalistic as possible. On my Nexus 4, all I have is power toggles. I have two rows, but using a two finger swipe can hide/show the second row. Other than that, it is completely clean. Looking at the G2, I would HATE to have all that crap in my notification area at all times. If I were to get a non-Nexus smartphone and I couldn't delete everything from the notification area, I would probably return it.

I have the GS3 and I actually like the power toggles. I use the auto-rotate toggle a lot. On my phone, I only have one row of power toggles. I don't find it to take too much space in the notification screen.

I haven't used a Nexus device, but I have looked at my friend's before. I found that stock Android feels more bare bones than my HTC or Samsung phones. I showed my friend some of the widgets I had on my HTC phone. He couldn't find it on his. So far, I do find that some the extra add ons I find on both Sense and TouchWiz are quite useful and I do like having them.

I do use Nova Launcher on my SGS3. The reason is that I don't like the dock on the bottom of home screens. I got rid of it. I configure my home screens to have 6 rows without the dock, so I can make better use of the screen real estate. This configuration allows me to have fewer home screens.

kasakka
Oct 1, 2013, 03:57 PM
My biggest beef with the S4 TouchWiz is the undeletable apps that it ships with. I don't need Flipboard, Knox or the various Samsung apps. Right now I'm running rooted TouchWiz with all the bloatware removed. Unfortunately in the process I lost a few features (like being able to yell commands at the camera to take pictures) plus OTA updates so when the 4.3 update becomes available I'll probably start from the beginning and be more careful what I remove.

In my experience on the current flagship phones there is no performance gain to be had with stock Android vs manufacturer skinned versions as long as you set the animation speeds the same.

strausd
Oct 1, 2013, 05:12 PM
I have the GS3 and I actually like the power toggles. I use the auto-rotate toggle a lot. On my phone, I only have one row of power toggles. I don't find it to take too much space in the notification screen.

Power toggles is the only thing I have in my notification area because it provides easy access to commonly used things while taking up almost no space. And like I said previously, you can have 2 rows and easily hide the second one.

But the problem is that many stock manufacturer skins come with too much crap in this area you can't get rid of. So the amount of real notifications you can see is far less.

Stuntman06
Oct 2, 2013, 01:00 PM
My biggest beef with the S4 TouchWiz is the undeletable apps that it ships with. I don't need Flipboard, Knox or the various Samsung apps. Right now I'm running rooted TouchWiz with all the bloatware removed. Unfortunately in the process I lost a few features (like being able to yell commands at the camera to take pictures) plus OTA updates so when the 4.3 update becomes available I'll probably start from the beginning and be more careful what I remove.

The unremovable apps don't bother me. I just don't put them on my home screen. I rarely go into the app list as 99% of what I need to do every day, I can do so from the home screen. Also, I have a 32GB phone, so they don't take a significant amount of space on my phone.

Dr McKay
Oct 3, 2013, 09:27 AM
My main hate with touch wiz, because its an area I see often, and using a launcher doesn't change it. Is the notification area. Seriously, its jammed up with so much rubbish. Its an area to show notifications. I don't think Samsung realise this.

jeffe
Oct 3, 2013, 09:54 PM
I usually find myself wanting to be on Cyanogen or an AOSP alternative rather than touchwiz. They're usually not so trouble free so this is why I prefer a nexus device as it provides me a better experience. Having said that, I still have to like the nexus device (screen size, battery, camera, etc...) and it has to be offered on my carrier.

strausd
Oct 3, 2013, 10:31 PM
I usually find myself wanting to be on Cyanogen or an AOSP alternative rather than touchwiz. They're usually not so trouble free so this is why I prefer a nexus device as it provides me a better experience. Having said that, I still have to like the nexus device (screen size, battery, camera, etc...) and it has to be offered on my carrier.

I've tried stock ROM, AOKP, Paranoid Android, PacMan, and Cyanogen. I always keep going back to Cyanogen. Just haven't liked any others quite as much.

Shanghaichica
Oct 3, 2013, 11:07 PM
I much prefer touch wiz

strausd
Oct 3, 2013, 11:16 PM
I much prefer touch wiz

What aspects of TW make you prefer it specifically?

Shanghaichica
Oct 4, 2013, 09:17 AM
What aspects of TW make you prefer it specifically?

Visual appearance
Gestures like swipe to call/text, palm swipe,
Features like pop up video/multi window
Customisable toggle bar

paulsalter
Oct 4, 2013, 09:23 AM
I used to be a fan of stock Android but over the last few months I am starting to prefer the Samsung layout

Mainly due to the look of the apps, I hate the over bearing white that Google are now using and not giving options with things and I am not really enjoying the card interface apps are using

I like to have my data stored at Google as it covers almost everything, but Google's apps for me are going downhill very quickly (not just the Android side of them)

Jibbajabba
Oct 4, 2013, 09:47 AM
Visual appearance
Gestures like swipe to call/text, palm swipe,
Features like pop up video/multi window
Customisable toggle bar

It has changed with the Google Edition - but another downside previously was the lack of MHL compatibility ... You had to have TW in order to use it.

tigert07
Oct 4, 2013, 10:13 AM
In my opinion, stock android isn't worth the hype. I do understand why others will prefer stock over a skinned android though. I'm currently using a HTC One and it's pretty minimalistic. It's the closest thing to stock and I believe it's the best OEM skin thus far. It's really up to preference. Updates is the reason to go stock android. I'm still stuck on 4.1.2 on my AT&T one so what do I know.

sarcosis
Oct 4, 2013, 10:39 AM
I've tried stock ROM, AOKP, Paranoid Android, PacMan, and Cyanogen. I always keep going back to Cyanogen. Just haven't liked any others quite as much.

Same here. CM just has everything that I want put in a nice package that works. I never had as much luck stability wise with AOKP or PA. I do have to say though, I do love me the features on PA.

JoeG4
Oct 8, 2013, 10:53 PM
Oh I think stock android is still a wonderful thing. My first Android phone was a T-Mobile G2 - it was sold as a phone that ran "almost entirely stock" froyo and was quickly updated to gingerbread.

I didn't understand the comments around here about bloatware at all - the only apps I considered bloat were a couple of t-mobile apps that never did anything.

That was, until I bought a Galaxy Note 2. Holy bloatware batman! On the very first power up, it advertised dropbox (or box.net, I forgot), it advertised samsung's cloud syncing service, I think it advertised kies, and then it dumped me to the launcher - touchwiz gives you a ton of hints and feedback "Drag this here to unlock! Check here if you don't want to see this hint again"

...

And then it had like 40 icons on the launcher screens.

Compared to the G2 there were at least 20 apps that were completely worthless junk to me.

So yeah, phones with "stock android" have an out of the box experience pretty similar to an iPhone. Phones that use a custom rom, well, who knows.

bmac4
Oct 9, 2013, 12:37 PM
Stock android is becoming less important because of the way android is updating their framework services, and apps individualy. But I still prefer the stock look over something like TW. I think HTC did a great job with sense 5, but that is about the only skin I can stand. Samsung just tries to do too much with TW. If HTC can keep it up. Then stock android for me will keep being less important, but if HTC goes away because they go under. It will be right back to stock again.

I will always keep a nexus device because I want the updates first, and see what Google has to offer. But Sense 5 is good enough for me to be happy without stock.

gotluck
Oct 9, 2013, 12:46 PM
I get annoyed when people try a touchwiz device and then write off android in general based on that experience like they know what they are talking about.

bmac4
Oct 9, 2013, 01:57 PM
I get annoyed when people try a touchwiz device and then write off android in general based on that experience like they know what they are talking about.

Yea it is a shame, but some people don't know any better. Not all of them know anything other commercials on tv. If you want to blame anything. Blame Samsung for a terrible skin.

Sensamic
Oct 9, 2013, 04:15 PM
Well, after one day with my new Nexus 7 I changed my mind: yes, stock android is that great and important, at least on tablets.

Before buying it I tried the Note 8.0 and Tab 3 8.0 and they performed much worse than the Nexus 7. This one is just so fast and fluid that everything else seems worst.

MacRumorUser
Oct 9, 2013, 05:06 PM
Hey now let's not legitimize delayed updates here :D

And yes kudos to HTC.

I hope Samsung don't mess up 4.3 on the S4. Stock android 4.3 on the S4 GE has many bugs that I hope are not on the touchwiz version when it arrives.

rillrill
Oct 9, 2013, 05:07 PM
I hope Samsung don't mess up 4.3 on the S4. Stock android 4.3 on the S4 GE has many bugs that I hope are not on the touchwiz version when it arrives.

wait. what bugs? my s4 ge arrives this week....

gotluck
Oct 9, 2013, 05:42 PM
I hope Samsung don't mess up 4.3 on the S4. Stock android 4.3 on the S4 GE has many bugs that I hope are not on the touchwiz version when it arrives.

wait. what bugs? my s4 ge arrives this week....

I believe he's referring to the relatively broken support of SD cards in stock android. 4.3 brought changes to a particular permission required for write access in some apps. TLDR root is required for full SD card support, however its a very simple text edit change in a system file.

As far as the other bugs I'm not sure. I've read that the SD card change was intentional, if it is, that's BS, but I can believe it. I am loving my rooted stock GS4 GE though.

The GE roms for i9505 appear to have issues, I've read about inconsistent battery life. A full conversion to i9505g is still not possible so the experience between a flashed S4 and actual GE is likely different.

Dr McKay
Oct 9, 2013, 05:45 PM
This is why I like stock. Launchers can only do so much.

rillrill
Oct 9, 2013, 05:57 PM
I believe he's referring to the relatively broken support of SD cards in stock android. 4.3 brought changes to a particular permission required for write access in some apps. TLDR root is required for full SD card support, however its a very simple text edit change in a system file.

As far as the other bugs I'm not sure. I've read that the SD card change was intentional, if it is, that's BS, but I can believe it. I am loving my rooted stock GS4 GE though.

The GE roms for i9505 appear to have issues, I've read about inconsistent battery life. A full conversion to i9505g is still not possible so the experience between a flashed S4 and actual GE is likely different.

ah. thanks. yeah, i don't use sd cards. though i might for photos. i'll have to research this. but google doesn't support sd cards anyway, right?

as for stock - other than the icons that need an update - it's cleaner looking and there's little bloat. i do think there are too many redundant google apps on it, but mostly it's a useful os and still customizable.

Lava Lamp Freak
Oct 9, 2013, 06:07 PM
This is why I like stock. Launchers can only do so much.

Exactly! I wish that the notification dropdown was just an app that could be easily replaced with the stock one. Maybe in the future...

mellofello
Oct 9, 2013, 07:50 PM
Meh. Has there been any must have feature in any recent android releases. Not really. With android being so customizable it's not as big a deal as ios. Even if there is some new wiz bang feature that your device doesn't support, give it 2 weeks and there will be a crack, or app for it.

I would get a nexus if I was on a budget, and thats about it.

Sensamic
Oct 9, 2013, 10:06 PM
Exactly! I wish that the notification dropdown was just an app that could be easily replaced with the stock one. Maybe in the future...

If Google keeps bringing new features for customization of more and more areas then this would be AMAZING. Maybe in the next updates they will allow customization of the notification center and all.

In 4.2 they allowed certain lockscreen customization with widgets. You can add weather, calendar, remote TV control, etc.

There was a rumor about themes coming in 4.4, so that could add more customization layers.

MacRumorUser
Oct 10, 2013, 05:11 AM
I believe he's referring to the relatively broken support of SD cards in stock android. 4.3 brought changes to a particular permission required for write access in some apps. TLDR root is required for full SD card support, however its a very simple text edit change in a system file.

As far as the other bugs I'm not sure.

Sim lock often not working

HDR and other special camera modes not working with a broken / touch to focus in the camera

etc....

cuzo
Oct 10, 2013, 06:54 AM
To tell you the truth I don't really know what the "true google experience" is. I see the same apps on Nexus and non-Nexus android powered phones. I just see a stock version of android that basically any themed android powered phone can get with a root and a rom.

I never got into the Nexus hype, not to mention themed versions usually have better battery life.

No offense to Nexus fans but a GS4 > Nexus by a mile imo

More useful features for day to day use
better battery life
better software for the camera

It's not really a contest, I think the Nexus is a developers phone for a small percent of android fans.

For the majority, it's not really a wise move. Sense-Touchwiz and even LG's crappy skin > Nexus

I think the G2 will destroy the Nexus 5 overall.

Don't bash, just imo

Savor
Oct 10, 2013, 07:13 AM
I think Nexus phone make a great secondary phone if hardware is your emphasis. If software is your emphasis, then Nexus as the primary Android.

The prob is software can be fixed. Harder to fix or change hardware. If batt sucks, it sucks. If camera sucks, you are stuck with it and it will generally continue to suck.

Nexus phones are cheap though. They still have usefulness depending if software is mainly your thing. And I hate carrier branding/logos/bloatware. Buying a Nexus in the Google Play Store gets rid of that.

The rumored camera on the Nexus 5 sounds pretty cool. Just hope it takes decent shots and not just fast shots. There is not alot of hardware advantages from a Nexus phone. Many compromises to keep the price low.

Best bang for your buck when it comes to performance. But it truly is the vanilla ice cream or cheese pizza of the Android family without the toppings to give it that extra kick.

THE JUICEMAN
Oct 10, 2013, 07:56 AM
For those who don't want to root or hack AND want the latest and greatest from google then unfortunately Nexus is just about the only choice. I think it will be a great choice this year with few compromises.
Also, for those who want to buy off contract the Nexus is one of the best choices out there.

onthecouchagain
Oct 10, 2013, 01:38 PM
For those who don't want to root or hack AND want the latest and greatest from google then unfortunately Nexus is just about the only choice. I think it will be a great choice this year with few compromises.
Also, for those who want to buy off contract the Nexus is one of the best choices out there.

Also the Google Play Editions of the HTC One and the S4.

THE JUICEMAN
Oct 10, 2013, 01:42 PM
Also the Google Play Editions of the HTC One and the S4.

Oh yeah. Almost forgot about those.

gotluck
Oct 10, 2013, 01:56 PM
Sim lock often not working

HDR and other special camera modes not working with a broken / touch to focus in the camera

etc....

Interesting, do you have a source on these? I can't find anything googling this aside from the SD card issue.

Sim lock may very well have an issue, never touched it.

I can be ignorant on cameras, but all the modes appear to be working, panorama, photosphere, touch to focus, hdr appears to work (the option is at least able to be enabled)..I installed the moto X camera as well and the special modes there don't appear to work (touch to focus may be a little weird here, but seems to work when enabled), for whatever that is worth. Touchwiz camera is certainly best of the bunch.

This is all news to me :)

If anyone asks me, the main pain in the ass about the S4 GE is SD card support, but hey, at least there is sd card support.

MacRumorUser
Oct 10, 2013, 05:08 PM
Interesting, do you have a source on these? I can't find anything googling this aside from the SD card issue.

Sim lock may very well have an issue, never touched it.

I can be ignorant on cameras, but all the modes appear to be working, panorama, photosphere, touch to focus, hdr appears to work (the option is at least able to be enabled)..I installed the moto X camera as well and the special modes there don't appear to work (touch to focus may be a little weird here, but seems to work when enabled), for whatever that is worth. Touchwiz camera is certainly best of the bunch.

This is all news to me :)

If anyone asks me, the main pain in the ass about the S4 GE is SD card support, but hey, at least there is sd card support.

You can enable the modes but when you tap to focus it (the focus ring) doesn't do the normal thing of going red to green (or is it green to red) it just goes straight to supposedly focussed but it doesn't adjust anything. You can still take HDR shots but they have a tendency to have a higher chance of blurred shots.

Same for the other modes.

Its reported a lot in XDA forums regarding 4.3 roms and can't be fixed as its in the actual 4.3 stock rom. 4.2.2 didn't have the issue.

gotluck
Oct 10, 2013, 06:20 PM
You can enable the modes but when you tap to focus it (the focus ring) doesn't do the normal thing of going red to green (or is it green to red) it just goes straight to supposedly focussed but it doesn't adjust anything. You can still take HDR shots but they have a tendency to have a higher chance of blurred shots.

Same for the other modes.

Its reported a lot in XDA forums regarding 4.3 roms and can't be fixed as its in the actual 4.3 stock rom. 4.2.2 didn't have the issue.
Interesting, I've never seen that mentioned in the i9505g forums. Admittidtly I Dont read much of the other variant forums. Are you saying that I shouldnt be getting a green ring after tap to focus? It will stay red in certain conditions but I can definitely get it to go green and the image appears to focus. It never occurred to me that there was a problem.

There are definitely problems that exist on GE Roms that Dont seem to show on real i9505g, I'm not saying such is the case here as I am no expert on the camera software but I found this guys comment interesting.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=46296360&postcount=25

F123D
Oct 15, 2013, 08:36 PM
While I love the Note 3. There's just so much crap on the device from Samsung and AT&T. Stuff that you can't even disable. Planning on giving the Nexus 5 a try when it comes out to see if stock is something I'd consider.