For the past few days I’ve been slowly but surely making the Nexus 5X on Project Fi my daily driver. Although perfectly happy with my iPhone 6, part of the reason I sprung for this device was because I felt “out of the loop” when it came to Android. I haven’t ever actually used stock Android Marshmallow on a daily driver, so this would be a relatively new learning experience for me. The last time I used stock Android on a daily driver was sometime around when KitKat was released.
The experience so far has been pleasant. Starting anew on an Android device is much more complex than starting fresh on an iPhone, as there’s so much to do. Android in all of its custom splendor takes a lot more maintenance than iOS to make things look good, so I’ve been spending a fair amount of time trying to get everything situated to my liking. I ended up designing my home screen to look reminiscent of iOS, with all of my favorite apps in a neat orderly grid. The only thing separating my 5X from my iPhone is the placement of a single weather and news widget at the top of my home screen, which officially classifies me a boring adult.
In my unboxing and first impressions article from the other day, I mentioned wanting to experience stock Android on its own before checking out the Android N preview and then eventually getting into rooting and flashing various ROMs, which is what I used to do with my old Android devices. However, the more I use the 5X the more I think I probably won’t end up rooting or flashing anything at all. At least not for a while.
I used to really enjoy rooting my Androids and flashing various ROMs or kernels. Sometimes I would get a phone based on what ROMs were available for it at the time, and I hardly ever intended to keep the stock ROM on the device for long. But the reason I was so into it at the time was because I was so flustered with the problems that Android had. My phones were often slow, laggy, and had less than desirable performance. Rooting allowed me to take a phone with poor performance and turn it into something I was happy with. At the time it felt necessary if I wanted to have a smooth smartphone experience.
I don’t feel that it’s necessary anymore, at least not with the 5X. Part of me a little sad that I don’t have this urge to plug my phone into my computer and delve into the latest ways to hulkify everything like I used to. On the other hand, this frees up a lot of time for me. I can still personalize my phone with different launchers and apps and not worry about how poorly my phone will perform afterwards.
I’m still grateful that the ability to root is (usually) there, and I may take advantage of it again someday as it's still pretty fun once you get started. But for right now, I’m just glad that I no longer feel that it is a necessity in order to enjoy my Android phone.
Readers, do you still root your Android phones, or have you found that they perform well enough on their own without it?