Stock Android is really the best

Original or modified: Android versus Android

Android is available in many flavors.
Photos: Manufacturer, assembly: If you choose an Apple smartphone, you don't have to worry about the operating system. All iPhones are delivered with the same, most up-to-date system and receive regular updates. Things are a bit different with manufacturers of Android devices such as Samsung, Huawei, Nokia or Google itself. Android is an open source Linux operating system that hardware manufacturers can adapt to their own needs. This has advantages and disadvantages, which we would now like to elaborate on. Potential smartphone buyers should carefully weigh up which of the following factors are particularly important for them in order to enjoy the device for as long as possible. Android is available in many flavors.
Photos: Manufacturer, assembly:

Stock Android

The term "Stock Android" keeps coming up, but many smartphone users can't really imagine much about it. In short: This is an Android operating system "Out Of The Box". As a rule, this means that the user receives an exact image of Android as it was created by Google itself. In other words: There are no optical adjustments by the smartphone manufacturer, in particular no changes to the launcher, the range of functions and no third-party apps. However, Google apps such as G-Mail, the Chrome browser or Google search are preinstalled. Google markets such a variant of the operating system itself or to device manufacturers under the name "Android One". Probably the best-known manufacturer of devices with Android One is currently HMD Global with its Nokia smartphones.

This is a strong selling point for the Finns, so they promise not only quick security updates for all of their devices, but also at least one major version jump. For example, the older model Nokia 3, which was originally delivered with the Android 7 Nougat version, will even receive an update to Android 9 Pie in the first quarter of this year. This is quite remarkable for a smartphone that is now on sale at some electronics chains for around 80 to 90 euros over the counter and is therefore in the lower price segment.

Manufacturers of cheaper devices are usually not very interested in keeping them up to date with software updates. This is simply too time-consuming for them; instead, potential customers should prefer to use a new device. The disadvantages of Stock Android quickly become obvious: On the one hand, there is a comparatively small selection of corresponding devices and these are often even more expensive. In addition, the range of functions is lower or has to be expanded manually by installing third-party apps. This in turn is tedious and annoying for inexperienced users.

Customized Android

On the other hand, there are large manufacturers such as the Samsung and Huawei mentioned above, who use the open source system to differentiate themselves from the competition with their own customized Android versions. In the past, Huawei showed what this could look like with its creation Emotion UI (EMUI). In order to create an "Apple feeling" on their own smartphones, for example, the Chinese have replaced the classic app drawer. Applications were accessed by swipe, as one is used to on iPhones.

The underlying idea is relatively clear: Huawei wanted to encourage Apple users to switch to their own devices. And of course that is easier if you don't have to make significant changes to the operation. However, since this was not intended by Google, Huawei simply developed its own variant of the Android launcher. In addition, there are of course a whole host of other functions, including your own e-mail client, service app, cloud storage, your own wallpaper and designs, and even a flashlight app. So that all these extensions do not have to be installed later, they are already integrated in the manufacturer's Android versions ex works.

However, adapted versions of Android are often not only found on devices from well-known, big brands. Many smaller, unknown manufacturers in online marketplaces also very often use adapted software versions. But it is precisely this that should be viewed particularly critically. In addition to the lack of version and security updates, cheaper China smartphones are particularly noticeable due to the disproportionately frequent installation of bloatware, or worse: the software contains a backdoor through which the device can be spied on. In principle, you should consider carefully whether you want to take such a high security risk, after all, the smartphone is used today for a large number of sensitive applications, such as the use of banking apps, email traffic, messaging or even identification and payment transactions.

Properties of stock Android and manufacturer UI at a glance

Properties of Stock AndroidManufacturer UI properties
Faster updates, version jumpsOften just security updates
The same UI on all devicesLarger range of functions ex works
Often less memory consumptionBloatware / higher memory consumption
Google apps pre-installedGoogle apps preinstalled, often their own solutions
Low hardware availability (e.g. in the Android One program)High hardware availability (e.g. from Huawei, Samsung and other major manufacturers)
Greater selection in the middle and upper price segmentVery wide selection in the lower price segment


In the end, of course, every smartphone user has to decide for himself what is more important to him: fast and reliable updates or a very individual operating system. However, you should always keep in mind that updates are extremely important, because they also guarantee new functions. Every change in the version of Android brings additional features and eliminates bugs.

In many cases, users of various smartphones without Android One are simply left out. In addition, a pure Android of course does not mean that you cannot adapt the smartphone to your own wishes. There are countless apps in the Google Play Store alone with which you can often create the same or similar features as those supplied by the major smartphone manufacturers ex works. In summary, there is a lot to be said for choosing a device with Stock Android right from the start, especially since the devices are now also available in the lower price segment thanks to manufacturers such as HMD Global / Nokia.