Niall’s virtual diary archives – Sunday 11th February 2018

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Sunday 11th February 2018: 4.10am. Link shared:

My Nexus 6P - bought October or November 2015 - was a great phone, despite me cracking its screen in its first two weeks (my fault). Long battery life, excellent stereo speakers, superb AMOLED display, and kept exploit and virus free by timely Android updates from Google. Camera could be excellent, really its only major downside was that it's too big, five inches is as big as any phone ought to be given the size of my hands. I was sufficiently impressed with the 6P that I bought Megan one Christmas 2016, and again, apart from the too big size, she seems pretty happy with it. In many ways, the Nexus 6P represents the pinnacle of affordable, high spec phones. All others which came after it rose a lot in unlocked no-network purchase cost for very, very little gain in specification.

Alas, my 6P is dying! It loses cellular connectivity quite frequently now, requiring multiple reboots to persuade it to see a signal again. Its battery is on the way out, I barely get six hours before it turns itself off. Both these issues are widely known by 6P owners, it's very much a question of when they'll occur, not if. The cause is poor manufacturing by Huawei. Some devices lasted a year, some last three years before they become unusable as a daily phone, though not entirely dead. Huawei, who made them, hadn't entirely mastered high end phones by 2015. Here's hoping that Megan's phone, being manufactured much later than most, is free of such defects.

I of course now need a new phone, and seeing as phones have barely improved since 2015, there is no point in spending good money on getting a brand new phone. After extensive research and pondering, I settled on the 2016 HTC 10, a long term review of which is linked.

The 2016 HTC 10 is just one generation newer than the 2015 6P, the last time there was a major jump forwards in performance per battery watt. It's smaller, a good thing, and slightly improves on back camera and hugely on selfie camera which has become important since I had children. It has the same two stereo excellent speakers of the 6P, and HTC specifically allow you to install alternative community editions of Android, same as the 6P and very unlike most mobile phone manufacturers. It does not come with Samsung's rightly famed QHD AMOLED display like the 6P, but it does come with the best QHD panel that Sharp can make which is none too bad. It's also currently cheap on eBay, my new 32Gb HTC 10 came in at €300 new sealed in factory box including delivery to Ireland which is an absolute bargain for 80% of everything a 2018 phone has, but at one third the cost.

Now, despite that HTC are shipping Android 8.0 to the HTC 10, I'm not going to be running that. Now I'm no longer on Nexus devices because Google axed the affordable Nexus line for the stupid priced Pixel line (none of which quite work right despite the hideous cost), I no longer see any reason why I should give my metadata to Google free of cost in exchange for a cheap device. So I'm going to be running microG (, a community created edition of Android free of the Google spyware sending back everything you do to Google for them to monetise.

I've never used microG before, it's actually only a few months old in the sense that the community thinks it mature enough for us plebs to use. So I'm going to give it a whirl and see how it goes. I don't doubt that some apps will break, but to be honest if they do, who really cares? Worst comes to worst, I revert to LineageOS. Let's see how it goes!

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