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Android 4.4 KitKat Review

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KitKat really makes a mockery of the idea that iOS 7 is more refined than Android. This version of the platform is impressively fast, with stylish transitions, and an intuitive feel that masks the potential complexity. There’s a paring back of the notification bar, introducing translucency and context awareness, and enabling you to reclaim every pixel of your display for whatever you’re doing.

There are a few new features here, and not all of them are perfect, but, for the most part Google has cherry-picked improvements and refined them. The contrast between the bloated OEM launchers and stock Android could hardly be starker, but there are still a few things that manufacturers like Samsung and LG could teach Google (split-screen apps is an obvious one). The familiar white Google logo, followed by four pulsing colourful circles, still greets you on booting up, but the process has sped up dramatically as the platform has matured. When I checked version 4.1 on a Galaxy Nexus it took 34 seconds. The Nexus 4 running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean clocked in at 19 seconds.

Android 4.4 took 21 seconds to boot up on the Nexus 5 we used for testing. Not quite as fast as the Nexus 4, but when you consider that my Galaxy S3 running version 4.3 of Android took just shy of 40 seconds to boot up, you get a feel for how speedy that is. As the home screen comes into view, you can immediately detect the lighter feel that Google was shooting for. The status bar icons at the top are now white. The custom Roboto font looks like it has been on a diet, which makes it feel that little bit more crisp and elegant. Looking at menu highlights and icons, what once was blue is now generally grey.

 

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