First impressions of Android 5.1 on the Google Nexus 6

Android Lollipop2Android 5.1 is finally here! Released initially only for the Nexus 5 by LG, Nexus 10 by Samsung, and the 2012 Nexus 7 by ASUS, it is now starting to make its appearance on even more devices. OTAs have been cropping up for a few more devices, including the Nexus 6 by Motorola, although most factory images still aren’t posted (as of publication, Google has only made factory images available for the Nexus 5, 10, and 2012 Nexus 7).

In any case, I was able to download the OTA zip, courtesy of the awesome folks over at xda-developers, and install it for myself in recovery on my Nexus 6. (See, there’s still a use for XDA, even when you’re unrooted, like me!) I’ve been running it just since last night, but so far here are my impressions of Android 5.1 on the Nexus 6:

  • It’s a lot smoother than before. Even though I have chosen to keep encryption enabled, and that does take a toll on overall device performance, the Nexus 6 remains speedy. I’ve only run into a few stutters when doing some intensive memory-hogging activities, like playing certain games.
  • I can confirm that VoLTE is included and active on the Nexus 6! It is grand. I love it that my phone now stays on LTE when in a call, whereas before it would drop down to HSPA+ and sometimes take quite a while to jump back to LTE.
  • Speaking of LTE, band 12 is now active in this update, as well. I don’t live in a band 12 area, but people who do are reporting fantastic LTE coverage now.
  • Even though my area is still served with just band 4 LTE, I have noticed a huge increase in signal quality. My LTE signal in my basement is much stronger, and no longer drops down to HSPA+ or even EDGE in certain places, like it did before. Overall, I’m really impressed with the radio updates.
  • Even though the Nexus 6 was already compatible with T-Mobile’s HD voice, a cool HD icon appears when you’re actually in an HD call. This way, you can tell for sure that HD is active.

There are a few other nifty features, like the ability to join WiFi networks or connect to Bluetooth devices from the Quick Settings menu. And there is still more, I’m sure, that I will discover in subsequent digging.

So far, it’s a great update. Thanks, Google!

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.