Finding the perfect first android phone?


I've recently decided that I will need a smartphone for college (currently have my physical keyboard Nokia e63 and iPod Touch 5th Gen).

I was thinking about getting a Blackberry or an android phone however using a friend's low-end android smartphone for a short time I was impressed so I'm going with android.

I do have a couple of concerns:

- How have people found the change from the physical keyboard to a software one? Any keyboards to recommend (I like the predicted text on Apple and apparently it is better on android)?
- Finding a low-mid range smartphone. I have done some research and I think a Nexus 5 would be suitable to me however I don't want my text messages going into hangouts. I was also thinking about Motorola phone. I would like a stock experience as I will be using most of Google's apps (except for hangouts and Google+) and at least 32GB of storage.
- How do people cope with battery life on their phones? I would only using it for podcasts (heavily), music (heavily), texting (heavily), calls, the occasional google search and taking the odd photo.
- Apps. What are the equivalent/best apps for podcasts and music? I've heard slacker is a good option.
- How secure is android, as I won't be rooting the phone and using google play?
- I guess it would be depending on the phone itself but what about updates? Is it worth constantly updating the phone? This is because I have had my nokia e63 for 3 years now and I would like the phone to last a couple of years

Thank you for your help and sorry about the rambling

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