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Android Marshmallow review




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Our Score:



  • Doze actually works
  • Now on Tap will be great, it just needs time
  • Updated launcher is a big improvement
  • Much better way of handling permissions
  • Better support for microSD cards


  • Tablets are still left behind
  • Now on Tap often misses the mark

Key Features

  • Now on tap
  • Enhanced privacy controls
  • Doze
  • Manufacturer: Google
  • Review Price: free/subscription

What is Android 6.0 Marshmallow?

It's been a long time coming, but Android Marshmallow is finally starting to make its way to more and more devices. 2016 flagships phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S7, HTC 10, LG G5 and the Huawei P9, all come with the software installed and we've seen updates flying out to older devices like Sony's Xperia Z5.

Following on from last year’s complete overhaul with Lollipop, Android’s sixth major iteration opts for under-the-hood tweaking over design alterations.

A quick scan of the feature list might have you asking why this update simply isn't called Android 5.2. But spend time with a Marshmallow equipped device and the answer becomes obvious.

Now on Tap has the potential to be a killer feature; Doze’s battery optimisations improve standby time no end; and a host of minor tweaks add up to make the once confusing OS into a more inviting and user-friendly place. Lollipop brought the looks, but Marshmallow brings the performance.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow review – Now on Tap

Headlining Android 6.0 Marshmallow is Now on Tap, an extension of Google’s already fantastic Now service that’s been slowly getting better, cleverer and more aware since it was released alongside Jelly Bean.

Related: Google Now on Tap – what is it?

Now on Tap lives everywhere. In Hangouts, on the web, your email, Spotify and so on, and it’s designed to get you to the information you want, faster.

It works like this. From wherever you are in Android 6.0, you can press down on the home button to bring up a sleek animation that glides over the sides. Now on Tap will scan the screen and throw up suggested searches, links and information.

For example, if you’re in a text conversation discussing seeing the new James Bond movie Spectre, a Now on Tap request will bring up information such as cinema times and a link to the trailer on YouTube. It doesn’t stop there, however. Maybe you want to know who directed the latest Bond outing – just say ‘Who directed it?’ and the software will know what film you’re talking about spit out the answer.

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It’s a superb idea, and as yet it has no competition. Clearly, Now on Tap is the start of something huge – but it isn't quite there yet.

There were plenty of times when the most obvious information didn't come up. I suggested meeting at a pub, for example, but it didn't pick up the location and just ask me to create an event without any further info. The feature would be great if it could piece it all together and create a complete calendar event.

Running into the "Nothing on tap" error is far too common, as are the times it just throws up a "no connection" page.

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Having used Now on Tap for a few weeks, it hasn’t yet integrated itself into my daily regime. I've no doubt that will change with time and as the feature itself becomes smarter.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow review – Doze

It hasn’t created quite as much of a buzz in the run up to release as Now on Tap, but for me Doze is the true killer feature in Marshmallow. At last Andoid is able to wave goodbye to its awful standby battery problem, which has plagued the operating system since the very beginning.

If you’ve used an Android phone, you’ll be aware of the extent to which the battery drains when the handset is idle. Before installing Marshmallow, I left a Nexus 6 unplugged overnight to observe this power drain. The battery dropped from 78% to 62% without me even touching it. In the same test, carried out on the same phone, with Marshmallow installed battery power reduced by only 4%. This is because of Doze.

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Doze is like a battery-saver mode, but one that’s always whirring away in the background.

When it senses your phone has been left alone for an extended period of time, it dials down the number of processes running in the background. Don’t worry – you'll still receive notifications of calls and texts, but the system knows which alerts aren’t as important and it’ll stop these coming through.

The best thing is that you don’t have to do anything for these enhancements to happen; just use your Marshmallow device normally and you’ll witness huge battery improvements automatically.

You can dial down further and see if any applications aren’t optimised for Doze – just head into Settings | Battery | Battery Optimisation – but so far the only apps the service isn’t available for is Google Play Services. And this is something you really want running all the time.

With Doze, Android devices can now match the iPhone when it comes to standby time. Rejoice.

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October 27, 2015, 6:31 pm

"...give everyone the option to ditch the skins and have Android the way it was meant to be."
Google already gave us that option when they launched the Nexus range. One reason I choose Samsung devices is because they include all the features which Android "the way it was meant to be" lacks - slit screen, pop-out video, etc. Paradoxically, the very features the want of which you lament a few paragraphs earlier.


October 28, 2015, 2:59 am

I hope you're right, I hope Marshmallow is an improvement on Lollipop because 5 was bloody awful in my opinion. Sure, good things but the bad stank!
Running older Nexus devices I felt like I had been abandoned, the updates were certainly prompt, but unreliable and often worse than that which they replaced! The original Nexus 7 tablet became completely unusable, and the glitches with my 4 handset although better, were still infuriating.
Anyway, I haven't the same regard for Google as I did, not that they care about the individual, but they should.


October 28, 2015, 10:19 am

On my Note 4 Android 5.0.2 was a disaster, with some major apps (mostly from the BBC) not working or behaving strangely. However with the recent (!) upgrade to 5.1.1 all the BBC issues disappeared and I notice that resting memory usage is significantly down - overall much better.

So I will wait and learn from others' experience before jumping in to Android 6.0. The permissions change is the most appealing part to me, but I klnow I will hate having all my apps in one undifferentiated list.


October 28, 2015, 11:37 am

When Samsung finally pulled their finger out and launched Lollipop 5.1.1 on Note 4 a few days after Marshmallow official launching, the update made a difference to performance and battery life. Note 4 is listed to receive Marshmallow, but as Samsung owners know it could be a long wait....


October 28, 2015, 12:58 pm

especially if we wait for 6.1.1, to be on the safe side!


October 28, 2015, 3:34 pm

That's prudent, Toboev. As with all new things, surely better to be patient and wait for a bedding in period. Hardware as well as software. Live and learn.
I just can't believe what a mess Android 5 was. You're right, it did get better eventually, my list of issues on the Nexus 4 was pretty vast, but they gradually improved over time. I had to flash my (2012) Nexus 7 just to get it working again...That was a debacle.
Like you, I'm looking forward to what's to come, doze sounds very useful too...but I'm cautious.


December 3, 2015, 4:34 pm

Finally, case by case permissions
I'm tired of every app askim me to grant permissions to camera and mike and contacts

Divya Barsode

March 3, 2016, 4:36 am

It has reduced the battery life of my handset!
Instead of increasing the battery life, it goes from 80% to 0% overnight!


June 3, 2016, 7:01 am

I have updated to Marshmallow just now in my Lenovo K4 Note. After the update, its not letting me in. I gave the pattern to unlock, but its not unlocking. Help me.

Matt Johnston

June 10, 2016, 2:46 am

I just updated to Marshmallow today on my Note 4. It seems to be working exactly as they say it should, which is pretty damn slick. We'll have to see how well the battery lasts now!

Linda Shuck

June 30, 2016, 8:50 pm

So my husband and I were forced FORCED into downloading lollipop and then marsh mellow. Now, we can not customize our ring tones, even worse they have stolen STOLEN the over 1000 songs we had on our phones and forcing, FORCING us to subscribe and give them a credit card and pay $10.00 a month, seriously $1,200.00 for music.I OFFICIIALLY HATE THIS APP.

Dont Even Bother

August 1, 2016, 4:51 pm

This is the worst Droid OS out to-date. After this slow pile of crap I finally decided to bite the bullet and root my phone and install Cyanogenmod. Thanks you freaking morons.

Solo Meter

August 8, 2016, 11:28 pm

Hi, My music was not deleted. I did need to re-scan for music as it was located on my SD card. Its easy to customise ringtones from many areas on the phone. Do you need training ? let me know, I can help. cheers Neil

Solo Meter

August 8, 2016, 11:29 pm

My Samsung S5 just received the update here in Australia. So far so good. All working .. no noticeable changes except some icons etc.


August 15, 2016, 7:05 pm

I'm worried about updating my software to the 6.0.1... I updated my Nexus 5x to this software and it bricked my phone. I couldn't make any phone calls or texts, my data service was all messed up, to the point where Google had to send me a replacement phone.

BVLM Pismanovski

September 3, 2016, 9:53 pm

Hi everybody,
I have a samsung s5 and I recently upgraded it to marshmallow. Everything is ok so far except one thing,I cannot use screen mirroring anymore on my samsung tv. My wife has the same phone but she hasn't upgraded it to marshmallow yet and her phone connects with the tv no problem. Can anybody help me how to activate this function again?
Thanks. Bob

Alex B

September 15, 2016, 8:21 am

I have a galaxy S5, updated to android 6 and after startup, I cannot use fingerprint but must instead use password. Not happy, android 6 suxs, will do hard reset and stick to version 4. If 5 you could use finger scan after startup, what good is 6??
Finger scan works only after startup password used. Everytime you re boot phone, you have to use password. Very inconvenient...

Alex B

September 20, 2016, 4:42 am

5 days after the update, my battery life has gotten considerably shorter than the previous android version. No help from samsung support too. Hard reset and back to the factory version 4 seems only way to go

Syed Zahid Umar Shah

September 29, 2016, 11:57 am

After upgrading (Read Degrading) my Sony Xperia Z2 to this Marshmellow piece of crap, I am not audible to the people on call and have to scream my lungs out to be heard..is this why you guys ask people to upgrade to latest of your crap every now and then?

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