Like any new release, there are pros to upgrading, but cons with what features you leave behind. If you want to make the plunge into Nougat when it’s available for you; it’s important to know about everything both positive, and negative. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the name, but I don’t count that as one of the cons.
Nougat brings plenty of new and interesting choices to the table, but are they worth changing the Android world you’re already used to? If you don’t know what the pros and cons are, want a second opinion, or just want a quick rundown; we’ve listed everything you need to know before making a decision.
The Cons of Android Nougat
I was always taught to start with the negatives of your message first, then end with the positives to clean up the impression of the message. That’s exactly what I’m going to do here, but you’ll be happy to know that Nougat has many more pros than cons at its sweet center.
Nougat isn’t Readily Available Everywhere
Let’s start with the biggest con to Nougat. Aside from the issues in the new version of the OS itself, you can’t even experience those problems if you can’t update! Android Nougat is the latest and greatest version of Android, but it’s only available on a very select amount of Android devices.
Unless you’re on a relatively new Nexus device or a phone like the LG V20 that has Nougat out of the box; you’re out of luck for now. New devices will be rolled out soon that have 7.0 installed, but until then, this is a pretty glaring con against Nougat.
Split-screen Apps Aren’t Perfect
There’s no denying that running two apps in split-screen is a promising feature, and has a lot to offer, but it’s hard to ignore how awkward it is. I’m willing to cut Nougat a little slack since this feature is new, but I can’t go without mentioning it.
Hopefully this is a con that can be completely erased in the future, but for now, split-screening is a sharp double-edged sword. It’s fun to play around with but expect some annoying nicks and cuts until the edges are rounded out.
Seamless Updates Won’t Happen for Everyone
To fragment things even further, seamless updates to new versions of Nougat won’t be possible for every 7.0 enabled device. I’ll cover what seamless updates mean for Nougat in the pros section, but it’s disappointing that not all Nougat devices will have the feature included.
On the flipside of the coin, it’s possible that seamless updates are negative for some users. If you don’t want your phone to update automatically in the background, this is something you’ll want to avoid when on Nougat.
Not Every Nougat Machine is Daydream Ready
If there’s one word that describes the main problem with Android Nougat, it’s fragmentation. Daydream, Google’s VR platform in a major selling point for Nougat ready devices. However, Nougat ready and Daydream ready are two different things. Not all devices that are ready to update to Nougat, or come with Nougat installed can run Daydream.
If you want a device that can run Nougat, make sure you research that it can run every Nougat feature that you want.
The Pros of Android Nougat
Now that the cons are out of the way, we can move onto the pros and help shed some positive light on Android Nougat. It doesn’t have the name I was hoping on, but the features under the hood are then enough for me to push past it.
Split-screen Functionality and Capabilities
I mentioned this before in the cons, but this feature has many more pros that outweigh the negatives. The feature is still in its awkward phases, sure, but eventually, it’s going to reach a point where we’ll look back and wonder how we ever lived without it. Being able to access two apps at once is fantastic, and has an extraordinary amount of possible implications.
I can easily look past a wonky keyboard, or some apps are not performing at their best while using it, because all of that is getting ironed out in the future. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to take note of something on my phone, using an app on my phone, but I have to keep switching back and forth between the two screens.
Split-screen functionality is here to stay, and it’s only going to get better as Nougat improves.
Daydream is on the Way
While not every Nougat capable device is Daydream ready, those that are have a lot to look forward to. If you haven’t heard of it before, Google Daydream is Google’s new VR platform that promises to provide a good venue and application to experience VR with your Android device.
Having a Daydream ready device in your pocket means you’ll be one of the first to experience this new platform and everything it offers. If you don’t have VR machine of your own, or the PC to power it, Google Daydream is going to be a good replacement that uses your Android device in unique ways.
Much Better Notifications
I could spend a good half of the pros section on how Nougat improves notifications, but I’ve got a big list to cover! In short, there are four new and improved ways that 7.0 lets you know that it has something to tell you.
First up, let’s talk about Bundling. In the previous version of Android, notifications would some in stacks if you had multiples of the same type. Bundles are essentially just better stacks. Now, with bundling, you can expand a stack, and interact with individual notifications in the stack, or all of them if you want.
Next, there’s Notification Peeking. This system works alongside bundling to show you the most recent notification on top of a bundled group. You can still expand the bundle and reply to individual notifications as normal.
For this next improvement, let’s talk about Direct Replies. For many apps, it’s possible to drag a notification down from your slider or shade, tap it, and then open up the message or notification. In this new system, it’s possible to keep the notification open for later use if you’re expecting to get another notification like it shortly.
There’s more than can be done with this system, but that’s where Android developers will come in and take control.
Last but not least, let’s talk about Custom Notification Styles and Views. This new system lets developers change the look and style of incoming notifications, which is going to be a great help in differentiating notifications and look fresh.
Notifications are getting better and better with a new version of Android, making these a big pro for Nougat that overshadows some of the cons.
Doze is New and Improved
If you remember Doze, it works with your Android systems to make sure your battery consumption is as optimal as possible. In this new version of Android, Doze is even better. Before, Doze only did its job while your phone was dormant. Now, Doze does its best to optimize your battery while you’re out and about.
Doze doesn’t do anything largely different this time around; it just increases its window of effectiveness. It still only activates when Doze notices your phone hasn’t been used for a little while, and just stops non-essential background processes. This helps you save battery much like it did before, except now it’ll still work while it’s in your pocket.
Project Svelte lets Android Run Faster than Ever
Something that works in conjunction with Doze this time around is Project Svelte. This new project carefully calculates what needs to be currently running in the background, and what doesn’t during normal use. It’s just another way that Android is improving on its own, without the need of outside help to speed up your phone.
Project Svelte isn’t something new, it’s been talked about since KitKat, but in Nougat it’s improved, and clearly here to stay.
Better Booting on Nougat for Secure Users
The next thing I want to talk about is Direct Boot. This has to deal with PINs and patterns to keep your phone secure, and everyone knows what the pros and cons of those are. Let’s say your phone gets rebooted, by your hands or otherwise, if you haven’t signed in since then, you won’t get any notifications. With Direct Boot, this all changes.
In 7.0, if your phone reboots, some of your apps will still receive notifications without needing to sign in or unlock your protected device.
This means you won’t miss out on that important notification again just because your phone died and you forgot to unlock it once it starts charging again.
New Language Preferences
In Android 7.0 you can set multiple language preferences at once, letting you default to one, or fall back to another. This is a huge boon for bilingual users, and can’t be seen as anything but a pro for Nougat in my book. While being able to set multiple languages isn’t new on Android, being able to swap between them with ease is.
If you’ve found yourself needing better language support with your Android device, Nougat is trying its best to fix that issue, and I think it’s working.
More Android TV Support
If you’re familiar with Android TV and have one you use regularly, you’ll be happy to hear that Android Nougat is adding more support for the service. DVR is being added, as well as more control features that help shape your Android TV experience. This is only a pro for Android TV users, but I’m always happy to see more support for a service people use.
Even More New Emoji
I decided to save this for last because of how much of a sticking point emoji are for me. I’ve seen emoji as both a pro and a con for a while now, and Nougat is adding even more of them to the base Android experience.
The pros of this one are pretty obvious, but I’m afraid the cons are going to apply majority to me when my friends find out which emoji annoy me the most. For the people that like adding them to messages, I hope you enjoy all of the new ones, and maybe take it easy on the inbox of people like me.
Nougat isn’t compatible with every device out there yet, but for those with the chance, I recommend you upgrade. Nougat may have a few cons worked into the experience, but the pros shine all throughout the new Android version as a whole.
How do you feel about Nougat so far? We’re interested to hear from you, so please leave a comment below if there’s anything you want to share.