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Android Jelly Bean review

Android 4.1 and Android 4.2 combine to make the ultimate Jelly Bean

Our Verdict

Android 4.1 and then Android 4.2 has made Jelly Bean a thing of beauty. You'll definitely want to give Jelly Bean a look.

For

  • Silky-smooth performance
  • Improved notifications
  • Chrome as default
  • Resizable widgets

Against

  • Google Now is limited
  • Slow roll out
  • Few tablet-friendly apps
  • No built-in lost device security

For us, the biggest improvement to Android Jelly Bean is also the least obvious – that is, until you actually start using a device running the OS.

Announced at Google IO 2012 as the curiously named "Project Butter," the engineers behind Jelly Bean have made a concerted effort to finally shake the lag and general lack of responsiveness Android has historically been known for.

These claims are not just empty promises: For perhaps the first time ever, moving around within Android is just as smooth as iOS, whether it's from the smaller display of the Nexus 4, the seven inches of the Nexus 7 or on the larger Nexus 10.

Android Jelly Bean review

Google used a variety of methods to accomplish this feat, ranging from "vsync timing" (ensuring a consistent frame rate across all screen drawing and animation) to triple buffering, which appears to be the key component which results in an overall smoother feel across the user interface.

However, it's not just improved frame rates and faster gesturing that makes Jelly Bean fly – it also synchronizes the very touch of your finger to its vsync timing, attempting to anticipate where you'll want to go next.

Finally, the software steps on the gas at just the right time, offering a boost in processing power at the next touch event to cut down on any remaining latency.

None of this tech jargon is going to mean much to end users – all they'll know is that the system is more responsive to their touch, allowing faster browsing, faster searching and faster access to their media content.

Check out our Project Butter video test (on Android 4.1) using the Google Nexus 7 tablet below.

Tech Specs

Product TypeOperating System
Brand NameAndroid
Software Sub TypeClient
Platform SupportedHandheld
Features Restricted profiles for tablets:
  • You can now limit access to apps and content at home and work
  • For parents, this means you can create parental controls and for retailers, you can turn their tablet into a kiosk

Bluetooth Smart support:

  • Bluetooth Smart minimizes power use while measuring and transmitting data for fitness sensors like Fitbit, Runtastic and other devices, making your phone or tablet more power efficient

Dial pad autocomplete:

  • Just start touching numbers or letters and the dial pad will automatically suggest numbers or names
Improved support for Hebrew and Arabic:
  • We've added more support for Hebrew and Arabic speakers with new builds for right­ to ­left layouts
Even more features:
  • For those of you looking to go deeper, here's an exhaustive list of all the updates found in Android 4.3, categorized for quick access to the changes
ManufacturerAndroid USA
Product NameJelly Bean v.4.3
Software NameJelly Bean v.4.3
Manufacturer Part Numberjelly-bean4.3
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.android-usa.com
Marketing InformationAn even sweeter Jelly Bean