My Nokia X10 upgraded to Android 12 - And we check

Updated: April 1, 2022

Every once in a while, my Nokia X10 phone will tell me to reboot so it can apply an update. When I saw a notification for this action a few days back I did not suspect my phone would bump its operating system by a whole integer. But bump it did, and the first indicator something was new was the absolutely huge clock applet on the lock screen. After a moment of mild shock, I figured what had transpired and started testing.

Of course, you don't really need me to tell you about Android. I'm not a phone person, and my usage patterns are so completely different from the common swiper. Even so, if you're in a mood for some light entertainment, then let me tell how I feel about Android 12. Follow me.

The privacy checklist

My very first order of the day with any "modern" system update is to check if my privacy and security baseline has been changed. The random change-of-the-day issue wasn't the case about a decade back, but the new operating systems are "designed" to tweak random stuff around and reset the baseline to however the vendor imagines things ought to be, i.e., more permissive and more profitable. And we won't be having any of that low-IQ stuff.

Privacy 1 Privacy 2

What the hell is Private Compute Core? Don't want.

Keyboard Shared data

More stupid things that I don't want or need. I don't need recommendations or suggestions.

Delete & reset ad ID

Bluetooth

App links Links, more

Look at that Instant apps thing. Eh, what? I had to do so much cleanup.

Media recommendations

App suggestions

Default assistant Confusing Assistant setting

Assistant app 1 Assistant app 2

Assistant, general option Assistant nudges

It just never ends. Also, let's ignore the completely different style for this new set of Assistant settings.

Edit quick actions Quick actions sorted

Look & feel

Now that we've neutered nonsense, we can talk about the visual and ergonomic side of things of the new Android. On one hand, it is more appealing - nicer colors, more mature styling and all that.

New look 1 New look 2

I find the occasional transparency of the three-button navigation panel annoying - but I guess that's what happens when you push for gestures to the wider chimp populace and not test things through well enough. Look at some of the screenshots above, and you will see that some menus do not show anything under the navigation bar (like Privacy), while others do. Consistency FTW.

On the other, things are decidedly too big on the screen. This isn't bad per se, but when you could see six quick-action buttons in the home screen overlay (whatever happens when you swipe down), but now you can see only four, then that's a usability penalty, ergo more taps and whatnot.

Home Overlay

New stuff (that I care about)

Not much really. There's a battery super saver, which sounds nice. Other than that, it's pretty much the same thing. Now, I'm not complaining. I hate when operating systems change for no good reason, and so boring, predictable stability is good. Unfortunately, as you can see, you get a lot of sizzling action in having to go through the settings and making sure you're not being peddled around to the lowest bidder.

Super saver

Annoyances

There are some. The big one - screenshots. You take a screenshot, there will always be sound AND a three-second screenshot edit overlay, which you cannot disable. This wasn't possible in Android 11 and it still isn't in Android 12. Absolute trash of a functionality. Also, here and there, notice the pointless, low-res "dark" theme, even though my system is set to use the light theme all the time. More consistency.

Screenshot overlay

The new lock screen does not tell you for when your alarm clock is set. This is shown under the Clock widget on the home screen (provided you use something other than the default app). Things get even more interesting if you decide to disable the Google app, which means a bunch of inert pixels screen equity that you can't use, like the pointless search bar and the original clock widget, which then become totally inactive and unclickable. Furthermore, this also disables the weather widget, so you get a symbolic, frozen-icon weather indicator on the lock screen, but nothing on your home screen. Whatever.

Lock screen, clock, weather Two clocks

If you disable Google (app), then the Search box and the "top" clock/date widget become unusable, and you can't access weather. The lock screen shows the stupidly aligned two-row digital clock, plus a generic weather icon that never changes nor does it reflect the actual weather in any way. I see no reason whatsoever why the use of the Google app slash search bar on the home screen (also cannot be moved) should in any way be tied to the clock or weather functionality. So utterly meaningless.

And I think on that happy note, it's time to call it a day ...

Conclusion

There you have it. My depressing little review. Android 12 does have some visual merits, but they come bundled with inefficiencies, more taps, and if you care about privacy, you need to spend time undoing the default nonsense that the new version brings. The overall interface feels a bit too big, and I loathe the screenshot functionality. I also don't like the swipe wobble - the app grid shakes ever so slightly when you swipe hard, as though the app icons are pasted on an elastic sheet rather than a rigid canvas. This will probably make someone excited, but rule no.1 in UI design is that you don't make things change unless necessary, and this isn't necessary.

Yes, it works, yes the color scheme is nicer, yes things are stable, and yes, after you're done purging the nonsense from your phone, you have a decent privacy-oriented baseline. But the whole exercise feels cheap, dirty, and I'm just too jaded for this so-called modern world of mobile phone technology. Or any would-be new technology for that matter, it seems. Because it's not about usability, it's all about the tiniest of margins on profits, and it feels like a cattle market, and I'm not a sheep, nor do I like being fleeced.

Finally, I don't really get any choice. My phone upgraded itself, I don't get any say in this. But if I look at the various Android phones in my possession, with versions set at 4 through 12, it seems Android 10 is probably the nicest around (every version since the beginning was an improvement till then), but with the newer ones, it's all a bit meh. Now, Android has matured nicely, but there's only so much you can do with a piece of plastic and glass designed to be used with a finger. Anyway, enough ranting. This is an operating system review, if you want to call it that. In the end, I had to do some tweaking, I lost some basic efficiency, got some cooler colors, and the world moves on. Bye bye now.

Cheers.

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