Goodbye Nexus 5

2022-01-23 - Louis-Philippe Véronneau

I've blogged a few times already about my Nexus 5, the Android device I have/had been using for 8 years. Sadly, it died a few weeks ago, when the WiFi chip stopped working. I could probably have attempted a mainboard swap, but at this point, getting a new device seemed like the best choice.

In a world where most Android devices are EOL after less than 3 years, it is amazing I was able to keep this device for so long, always running the latest Android version with the latest security patch. The Nexus 5 originally shipped with Android 4.4 and when it broke, I was running Android 11, with the November security patch! I'm very grateful to the FOSS Android community that made this possible, especially the LineageOS community.

I've replaced my Nexus 5 by a used Pixel 3a, mostly because of the similar form factor, relatively affordable price and the presence of a headphone jack. Google also makes flashing a custom ROM easy, although I had more trouble with this than I first expected.

The first Pixel 3a I bought on eBay was a scam: I ordered an "Open Box" phone and it arrived all scratched1 and with a broken rear camera. The second one I got (from the Amazon Renewed program) arrived in perfect condition, but happened to be a Verizon model. As I found out, Verizon locks the bootloader on their phones, making it impossible to install LineageOS2. The vendor was kind enough to let me return it.

As they say, third time's the charm. This time around, I explicitly bought a phone on eBay listed with a unlocked bootloader. I'm very satisfied with my purchase, but all in all, dealing with all the returns and the shipping was exhausting.

Hopefully this phone will last as long as my Nexus 5!

  1. There was literally a whole layer missing at the back, as if someone had sanded the phone... 

  2. Apparently, an "Unlocked phone" means it is "SIM unlocked", i.e. you can use it with any carrier. What I should have been looking for is a "Factory Unlocked phone", one where the bootloader isn't locked :L