LARGE, ROUND and FEELS SO GOOD in your hand: Yes! It's a Nexus 6

Software – THAT's what'll sell it


RAW images at last

The other big usability change comes in the notification screen. This will show easily clickable links to whatever is happening with applications when you're not using the phone – think Windows Phone tiles in linear form. Thankfully this data stream can be managed so only important apps get to display, but it takes some time to sort out.

Gmail has also had an extensive overhaul so that it looks prettier, although it's arguable if the change shows more information or less. Users of Google's new Inbox app will see where the design is going, and expect the two to be merged in the medium term.

Despite the changes this is still easy to use for existing Android users and other applications have been refined, rather than altered. The voice recognition system seems to be much better, and Maps certainly benefits from the bigger screen and faster processor.

In terms of camera functionality Google has made some serious advances in its image management software, and Lollipop users does at last give access to RAW files. Windows has been the pioneer in this regard, and Apple the laggard, but Android's shift will be welcomed by many smartphone snappers.

But the biggest improvement in the new Android build is without a doubt battery life. Cutting down on battery use has been a key goal of the new build and Google started Project Volta to see where power could be saved.

The results are impressive. Battery life is pretty good for a Nexus and there are much better tools for both monitoring consumption and a battery saving mode that can really extend the lifetime of operations - perhaps not on a par with Samsung in the latter capability, but pretty close.

On the security side you'll need to lock down the handset pretty quickly, and encryption is easy to activate, much to the fury of some law enforcement officials. Lollipop also allows you to turn on the phone in the presence of a trusted device, such as a smartwatch.

Overall, the new build of Android is undoubtedly Google's best to date and will reward those people who use a Chocolate Factory persona. There's nothing killer to woo over huge numbers of customers but existing users will love it and Apple or Windows Phone users could well be tempted.

Next page: The Reg verdict

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