Will Android Oreo save my Nexus 5X?

Last update: 2017–11–12

TLDR: For several months the phone lived well without a freeze. But then it bootlooped and died.

Not long ago I was giving up on my beloved Nexus 5X that was suffering from an issue that made it unsuitable for everyday use.

But last week I installed Android 8.0 and once again I had hope. As I could not find a reliable source for a solution for my problem I’m writing this post to hopefully help others suffering the same faith. I’ll do occasional updates at the end of this post, so give your mouse a mighty scroll to skip the premise →

Gif from https://www.android.com/versions/oreo-8-0/

So what was the problem in the first place?

Unlike most people who were struggling with the device, I never experienced the infamous bootloop bug. Instead I had a bit less severe freezing issue where the device just stops responding (most memorably in really awkward moments).

Did I do any troubleshooting?

Sure did. I factory reset the phone and restored a backup. No go. I factory reset the phone and did not restore a backup. I then started installing my apps one by one every day to see if any specific one was causing the issue. First freeze then happened after I started using Asana to see my task completion unicorns on the go.

https://blog.asana.com/2016/03/new-celebrations/

I quickly removed the app and already started unfairly blaming the people at Asana in my mind. But then the same thing started repeating with other apps, leading to the conclusion that it was not the apps that were the problem. Only later did I learn that the device hardware is to blame and I should return the device. After speaking with LG support and learning that warranty would not cover it because well … the Amazon title of the item was ‘International Version No Warranty’, there I was, knee deep in buyers remorse, mourning the device I overall liked very much.

But then, Forbes happened…

Everything is going to be OK now . . .

2017–08–24: Getting my Oreo on

Right after learning from Forbes that Android 8.0 is ready for Nexus and Pixel devices, I jumped on to Android O Beta Program page and signed up to avoid waiting for the official rollout. Moments later, an update on my device was available and the installation commenced!

2017–08–25: Looking good so far

Just as promised the device startup got faster, the notification drawer got … whiter and notifications themselves became way prettier. I won’t be going into detail as to what is new, but the good people at Android Central have already done a great doing just that.

Most importantly in my case, 0 freezes!

2017–08–30: Is this really working?

Almost a week in a world with Oreo and things are still running smooth. I even dared to install another app! (Vivino in this case, because the “more expensive wine is better, right?” strategy was not really working so well for me).

2017–09–07: Almost no problems yet

Two weeks in, things are definitely starting to change. I have now had Chrome force quit on me several times (in all of those cases while loading Reddit mobile page). Switching between apps has started to slow down. Same when loading the camera app (with the double press on power button shortcut) and you really notice the delay when you are in a moment that requires a quick snap.

But since there’s been no freeze yet, I’ll keep updating the post.

2017–09–21: A surprise update

Four weeks in, I received another update for Oreo. In my experience this would mean I should reset the timer when monitoring whether issues are emerging on Android. But so far so good, no freezes yet.

2017–10–12: Conclusion

So one and a half months in it’s as good as time as any to conclude this topic. So the experience I had before and after installing Oreo was a path towards improvement. I have not yet experienced any cases of my Nexus 5X freezing entirely, which is something new for me and this device. There are times when some apps take their time to load (and again, this is exceptionally frustrating when you want to load the camera to capture something amazing your kid is doing). But since this topic is about the device freezing, we are still good.

So whatever changes in the code resulted in this kind of experience, I am thankful for them as for a little while I will not be thinking about getting a new phone. And that is good! I already started to have my eyes on the new Google Pixel 2 phone. But considering my long time uphill battle with Bluetooth devices (charging and pairing) and the decision to ditch the headphone jack on Pixel 2, I think I was not ready to go there yet. Sure, the jack will go and Bluetooth will prevail, but for now and for me it would be two steps backwards in terms of user experience and convenience.

Hope you found this post useful and don’t hesitate to reach me here or in Twitter if you have any questions.

2017–11–12: Conclusion part 2

So yesterday the phone bootlooped and then died (does not even boot to fastboot). I will not put it into a freezer. I will probably go with a Oneplus instead.

Rest in piece, phone. You did not serve me well.