Design : The Nexus 5 is incredibly well balanced to hold, and feels lighter than the Apple iPhone 5s even though it isn't (and I confirmed it in our lab; it weighs 4.6 ounces, versus 3.9 for the iPhone 5). The Nexus 5 measures 5.43 by 2.72 by 0.34 inches (HWD). It's encased entirely in a comfortable, rubberized soft touch housing. The left panel holds the volume rocker switch, on the top edge, there's a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the right side houses the Power button at the top, with a micro-SIM slot below it. The bottom edge holds a microphone and the mono speaker, which is a bit of a disappointment compared with the HTC One Google Play Edition, with its far superior stereo speakers.
The back panel features a large Nexus logo, a small LG logo, and curiously, a raised half-inch circle for the camera sensor, with an LED flash below it. The raised portion just looks strange; it appears durable, with a thin plastic ring around the edge, so I'm not convinced it will scratch easily. It's just not a particularly clean design. That's the only blemish, though, on what's an otherwise attractive device from a hardware standpoint. Plus, you can get one in white or black; our black test unit looks very sleek, if somewhat anonymous.
Display : It's difficult to find many major beefs with a 1080p display, especially when it comes on a 5-inch phone and offers a stunning pixel density of 445 pixels per inch. And so it is with the Nexus 5's IPS panel, which represents a significant improvement over the Nexus 4 in both resolution and quality. All told, it delivers fantastic viewing angles and above-average outdoor visibility. It's incredibly sharp, and the new Roboto font on Android 4.4 is a great fit for high-res displays. The panel really is quite beautiful, but if you were to set it next to an LG G2 or Samsung Galaxy S 4,
you'd notice that the colors aren't quite as rich on the Nexus; the whites aren't as white, the blacks aren't as black and colors generally aren't as vibrant. That said, if you think saturated colors are overrated anyway, you're going to love the display here.
Performance : We have known for months that the Nexus 5 is a beast on paper, and it lives up to the hype.
Key specs include a quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, Adreno 330 graphics and 2GB of RAM, and they combine with other elements to create an extremely fluid user experience. Jumping from app to app is a breeze, video playback is always smooth, scrolling rarely sticks and the user experience in general is a great one.
Everything is fast and responsive — it’s hard to believe Google’s $349 phone is more fluid than some $600-plus phones, but that’s the price we pay with some vendors’ user interface layers.
Camera : The 8-megapixel rear facing camera offers optical image stabilization and autofocus, plus a new HDR+ mode that snaps a series of burst photos and combines them for an improved single photo. Camera performance is good, but not great. Several photos outdoors on a partly cloudy day had lower contrast. Indoor photos had some noise and lacked detail.
A more serious issue is speed, both in focusing and snapping photos; the Nexus 5 wasted or missed a surprising number of shots. Recorded 1080p video plays smoothly at 30 frames per second indoors and out, but again the focusing comes into play; one entire test video was lost because it never focused properly from start to finish.
There's also a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies and video chats; test photos and 720p videos from it looked somewhat fuzzy, and about halfway between VGA and a top-of-the-pack front-facing camera like that on the Nokia Lumia 1020.
Multimedia : On 32GB Nexus 5, there's 26.42GB of free internal storage out of the box. Music tracks sounded clear through Plantronics BackBeat Go Bluetooth earphones and Klipsch Image X7i wired earphones. Videos up to 1080p played smoothly and looked sharp and vibrant in full screen mode. Xvid files wouldn't play, but there was no problem with any other format. I do like the new full screen album art on the lock screen. In addition to third-party options like Spotify and Pandora, Google's Play Store gives you access to millions of downloadable songs, plus thousands of movies and TV shows, all of which follows you from device to device as it's stored in the cloud.
Listening to music and watching movies with headphones plugged in was an absolute joy; sound was not only loud, but full as well, offering a good balance of bass and treble with the additional opportunity to tweak the EQ as necessary. Audio quality on calls was very clear, although we would have wanted the earpiece to be a little more powerful. Finally, the external speakers at the bottom of the device just left us wanting more. We constantly found ourselves trying to turn up the volume when watching movies, only to realize that it was already cranked to the max. To be clear, the speaker works great in quiet spaces, but we can't say the same thing when outside or in noisy rooms.
Battery: I knew that a 2300 mAh battery capacity would yield much lower battery life than 3200 mAh or 3300 ones mAh – this is obvious. For example, streaming one hour of video took out 20% of the battery, while playing from a local file shed 16%. This means that we have a maximum video playback time of 6.25hrs (local) and it can go as low as 5hrs (streaming over WiFi). This is about 30% less than what a G2 would get, and this is pretty much proportional to the battery capacity. Outside of gaming, the display is the single biggest source of power draw, so reading and moderate web browsing should be relatively comparable to playing video, with a plus/minus 1.5 hour margin. Since the battery is not replaceable, heavy users should take notice, but regular users should not have a particular issue with this.
Android KitKat 4.4 :
In true Google fashion, the latest Nexus device predictably comes preloaded with brand new Android firmware: version 4.4, or KitKat if you prefer calling it by its dessert-themed codename. Make no mistake, this is the most significant update we've seen to Google's mobile OS since Project Butter was released a year and a half ago. Like most huge refreshes, there's a rather lengthy laundry list of enhancements, new features and APIs. Even though we'd love to discuss every single one at length, we're going to stick with the features that we think will be the most impactful.
Wireless Charging : The Nexus 5 comes with wireless charging built-in, but does not come with the charging pad. This is great because that has been offered as an option on other recent phones. On the Galaxy S4, the kit costs about $100 which includes the cover and a pad. The cover itself is probably worth $35. With the Nexus 5, you don’t need to get a cover and any Qi Wireless charging pad will be compatible. Tried with the Samsung pad and things worked great.
Price: $349 USD
LG Nexus 5 Specifications:
|2G Network||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - all versions|
|CDMA 800 / 1900 - North America version|
|3G Network||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 / 900 - North America version|
|HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100|
|4G Network||LTE 700 / 800 / 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600 - North America version|
|LTE 800 / 850 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600|
|Status||Available. Released 2013, November|
|Dimensions||137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6 mm (5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 in)|
|Weight||130 g (4.59 oz)|
|Type||True HD IPS Plus capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||1080 x 1920 pixels, 4.95 inches (~445 ppi pixel density)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|Alert types||Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones|
|Internal||16/32 GB, 2 GB RAM|
|GPRS||Class 12 (4+1/3+2/2+3/1+4 slots), 32 - 48 kbps|
|Speed||DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot|
|Bluetooth||Yes, v4.0 with A2DP|
|USB||Yes, microUSB (SlimPort) v2.0|
|Primary||8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, optical image stabilization, LED flash|
|Features||Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, photo sphere|
|Secondary||Yes, 1.3 MP|
|OS||Android OS, v4.4 (KitKat)|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800|
|CPU||Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
|Messaging||SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS|
|Java||Yes, via Java MIDP emulator|
|- Wireless charging|
- SNS integration
- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- MP4/H.264/H.263 player
- MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3 player
- Image/video editor
- Document editor
- Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa
- Voice memo/dial/commands
- Predictive text input
|Non-removable Li-Po 2300 mAh battery|
|Stand-by||(2G) / Up to 300 h (3G)|
|Talk time||(2G) / Up to 17 h (3G)|
If you plan to buy a Nexus 5, I recommend you purchase the black model. The white one looks attractive with the black front, but the glossy sides, funky white handset speaker grille, and slippery white plastic back take away from the hardware design. With a soft touch back, matte finish edges and a black speaker cover I think the black one is the preferred option.