Almost a month ago, I wrote a raving review on Android 4.2. In the post, I commented on how important it is for Android to have these incremental updates and even praised the bunch of features introduced in the new iteration of Jelly Bean. However, after a month of using 4.2 as a daily driver, I am afraid I can’t say the same about it today.
In fact, I was already annoyed by a few bugs 2 weeks ago but had been preoccupied with a lot of stuff, so I didn’t find enough reason to roll back to 4.1. Plus doing a fresh install is always a painful experience for me. I typically have about 100+ apps installed on my device at any time and re-installing and re-configuring the majority of them is extremely tedious.
Of course, I’d like to point out that what I mention in this post is by no means conclusive and the issues may be device-specific or even subjective. Or maybe not.
1. Battery Issues
2. Screen of Deaths and crashes
3. Less responsive than 4.1
This is a deal-breaker for most people, I am sure. But I am not one who blindly complains about battery life while doing everything wrong with charging and maintaining. By “battery issues”, I don’t just mean poorer battery life but the fuel gauge is completely messed up. This is no baseless gripe. I always practice the habit of keeping the battery level between 40-80% and only charge it fully once or twice a week. In Android 4.2, the battery fuel gauge acts up no matter how much I’ve conditioned the battery. In extreme cases, the device would auto-reboot and the battery % would drop all the way down to 8% from initially 60+ % or so before the reboot. I am sure this is nothing new to the community of Android flashers. Such a thing doesn’t really happen when I was using Android 4.1.2, except once or twice when I really mis-calibrated the battery. Also, battery drain is humongous. To put things into perspective, same number of apps, same usage, same kernel, I get 10 hours of standby + at least 2 hours of screen time on Android 4.1. On 4.2? 7 hours of standby + 1.5 hour of screen time if I am lucky. The standby drain is far too obvious and do I even need to mention the screen-on drain?
Screen of Deaths and Crashes
This part annoys me to no end. Really. Imagine scrolling through your contacts, whatsapp conversations, tweets, and the screen just went ice cold. There are also stability issues with the camera and gallery app that have no proper fixes. Although much later builds are claimed to have the problem fixed, I have been more annoyed than impressed to give 4.2 another shot. Also as I mentioned earlier, those random reboots could also mess up the battery %, making it very difficult to get a clear picture of realistically how much % is left.
This is purely from a user-experience standpoint. I am very very particular about device performance especially in terms of responsiveness. Not that I am saying I must have a ROM that is lag-free but that if there’s a lag, even a very minor one, I notice immediately without fail. On numerous occasions, 4.2 gave me lags while switching from one app to another, while typing, while launching apps. This wasn’t really a deal breaker for me when I was using 4.2 for over 3 weeks but when I rolled back to 4.1.2 last night, the difference was almost striking.
To sum up, again I am by no means bashing Android 4.2 or the work developers have put into the Cyanogenmod project to make it possible for us to get a taste of 4.2 so early. Quite the opposite actually; I have tremendous respect for the devs who put in time and effort to make it work for us, even when they have no proper support, such as source code or documentation whatsoever to work with from the official channels. I am just saying that I’ve had a much better experience using Android 4.1.2 than 4.2 and that I won’t likely return to 4.2 anytime soon. If you have a different experience or if you have any advice on how to make 4.2 work perfectly for you (especially in performance and battery departments), please kindly do share!