#128 - Nexus 5, Android 4.4, Battlefield 4

5 minute read


I took a week off. Life happens. I'm going to make this update into 3 short updates in one.

Today I am writing exclusively about Battlefield 4, Android 4.4, and the Nexus 5. I'm going to tackle them in that order. Each will begin with an image and end with a Top 5 Features section. Feel free to skip anything you don't have any interest reading about.

I don't write much about videogames and, truthfully, I don't play them all that often. Both of those things are temporarily changing thanks to Battlefield 4.

A little over 2 years ago Battlefield 3 came out. Since that time, I've played it more than I've played any other single game. I've held it up as the golden standard of videogaming. I always thought it was perfect, and couldn't be improved on in any way. Two days ago, it's sequel came out and proved me wrong.

Battlefield 4 is amazing. It's fantastic. It's been one week since it came out and, at the risk of sounding like a horrible person, I've already played it for 28 hours. I've played it an average of 4.2 hours a day for the past 6 days... and I regret nothing. It's so fun.

Top 5: New Features in Battlefield 4
5. Additional customization options - every time I get in a tank or a boat, a little Android emblem is on the side. Little things like that.
4. Squad based perk system - your perks are directly linked to how well you perform as a squad. It's a huge incentive to play Battlefield the way it was meant to be played - as a team.
3. The Commander - a team leader providing constant support and direction. I have yet to lose a match under the direction of a commander. Basically, when you have a coach, your team plays better. When the iPad and Android Commander application drops, I think we'll see huge improvements on the quality of game play.
2. Levelotion - how you play changes the maps. Bust a levee to flood the map, bring down a skyscraper, each level features some big, level-changing event that the players can trigger.
1. Battlelog integration - the ability to make changes on your phone/tablet/computer and see those changes take place in real time on your gaming console. This feature is changing how I look at the game more than any other.

Google announced Android 4.4 - "Kitkat". The new operating system brings with it a slew on new features and a few visual and functional changes. Overall, it ended up being a much bigger update than most people seemed to anticipate.

The Nexus 4 that I have sitting on a wireless charger right next to me is still running 4.3 and has never felt older. It should get the update within a week or two (probably several days after Melissa's gets it, if the past is any indication).

Top 5: New Features in Android 4.4
5. Visual tweaks - the notification area and soft navigation buttons are now translucent instead of fully opaque. There is a new condensed typeface that is sprinkled throughout the system.
4. Various core app improvements - rather than detail them all (partially because I don't have any of them yet) I'm just going to leave it at that.
3. Revamped homescreen - way back in the day, stock Android had 3 home screens. The middle home screen was your main one and you could fill them as you pleased. If you didn't fill them, they were just left blank. Later, they raised that number to 5, but otherwise it behaved the same way. Now, the number of home screens is determined by the end user and the main home screen is the left-most one.
2. Lower memory requirements - making future "budget phones" more likely to be paired with a more modern version of Android instead of the Android 2.whatever days of yore.
1. Now with more Google Now - the sleeper killer feature of Android 4.2 was the introduction of Google Now. It wasn't much of a big deal at first, but years later turned out to be the thing that update was remembered by. Google Now is more highlighted, easier to get to, and takes a more central role than ever.

New versions of Android have long been announced alongside new pieces of Nexus hardware. "Nexus" devices are the devices Google had made to demonstrate a "pure Android experience". Last year, alongside Android 4.2, the Nexus 4 was announced to much fanfare. This year came the Nexus 5. It 1-ups the Nexus 4 on literally every front - and manages to do so at the same insanely cheap price point.

Again, the Nexus 4 that I have sitting on a wireless charger right next to me has never felt older. Maybe Christmas.

Top 5: New Features in the Nexus 5
5. The big & beautiful display - 4.95" 1080p.
4. Active listening - this feature was HUGE and I was REALLY excited for it until I found out one stipulation. Unlike the Moto X, the screen has to be on for the phone to respond to your voice.
3. LTE - this Nexus actually supports LTE. That's nice!
2. The camera - optical image stabilization for excellent low-light performance capabilities, at least when compared to the Nexus 4. A new HDR+ mode that people seem very impressed by. Overall, the shots I've seen uploaded are much, much better than the phone has been given credit for.
1. The price - just $350 off-contract. I no longer understand any appeal toward phones on contract. There are excellent phones that can be had for cheap without any strings attached.

“It smells like a baby's diaper... but at least it doesnt' smell like pure poop”
- Melissa -