Google Play Edition devices

September 08, 2015

Some people, mostly developers, prefer Nexus devices because they have an authentic Android experience. These devices, though, don’t always have the best specs. Which is okay for developers who want an extra device to test their apps on and isn’t very expensive. Google decided to release Nexus devices so that they could be affordable but still efficient, at the expense of high-end specs. Now there is a way to combine the two, an authentic Android experience and the high-end specs of OEM companies, Google Play Edition devices.

This started with the Samsung Galaxy S4 which was released on April 2013 and then the Google Play edition version 2 months later. Right now in the market, there are 5 devices with this edition, and people seem to like them.

Take the Galaxy S4, for example, later in the year 2013 LG’s Nexus 5 was released which was pretty decent but was beaten hands down by the S4. They both have great displays and processors, but the S4 has a better camera plus all the goodies Samsung has to offer like the in-built pedometer.

If you’re really focused on the Android experience, you wouldn’t have to compromise on specs just to get it. Instead the S4 Google Play edition would be the appropriate fallback. In the same year we saw the HTC one’s release which was a very good-looking device being made from aluminium all-round. Nexus devices are plastic and don’t feel as premium, again in order to reduce price, but with the HTC’s Google Play Edition, you get the best of both worlds.

Now, would I recommend a Google Play edition device to someone? Absolutely, and here’s why:

  • Latest updates – 2013 devices like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One probably won’t get Android Marshmallow, their GPe counterparts may get the update
  • Reduced bloatware – OEMs add some of their own software, which sometimes is amazing like HTC’s Zoe. Other times, it’s just a nuisance like Samsung’s S-Voice which I doubt anyone uses when Google Now is available.
  • Pure android interface – avoid Samsung’s TouchWiz of HTC’s Sense and experience the actual Android home screen and icons

Whose device is this?

Basically, GPe devices are meant for the pure Android enthusiast with a thing for specs. And although more expensive than Nexus devices, they strike the balance between the two aspects, plus offer the assurance of Android updates.

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