Google Nexus 5 Review
The Nexus. Those who follow the mobile sphere surely know what the word means, as it’s the name given time-after-time to Google’s line of pure Android smartphones. Ever since the first model, the Google Nexus One, it’s been the company’s way of showcasing its latest version of the Android platform. At the same time, it’s meant to buck the usual trend in how consumers purchase a smartphone, so instead of going through the usual on-contract route, it’s meant to be picked up outright – without one.
Last year’s Google Nexus 4 stood out primarily for its impressive low cost, which at $300 outright, gave other smartphones at the time something to worry about. Like seriously, how can you not be intrigued by that? Quite frankly, the evolution of the Nexus line has been a peculiar one, so it’s nice to see that Google is yet again aggressively trying to reach the same results with the latest in the line – the Google Nexus 5.
As expected, this pure Android smartphone is endowed with the most cutting edge hardware – while featuring the latest version of the platform, Android 4.4 “KitKat.” Thankfully this time around, it’s now outfitted with 4G LTE connectivity too, which was one of the sore points of the Nexus 4. All told, there’s something amazing brewing here, since the Nexus 5 itself is stickered with another impressive cost of $349 for the base model. This year alone, we’ve been bombarded with several flagship phones, especially from the Android front. Knowing that, can the Google Nexus 5 really overtake everyone and actually become that one device to instill inspiration and awe into users who grab it?
The package contains:
- micro cable
- Wall charger
- SIM Removal Tool
- Get Started Guides
Yet again, LG has been commissioned to design and manufacture this year’s Nexus smartphone. Whereas its predecessor in the Nexus 4 flaunted a subtle premium construction, thanks to its glass rear casing, the Nexus 5 is more subdued with its overall design. Out of all the Nexus smartphones to come out, we’ll say that the Nexus 5 has the least presence with its design – so it’s more cookie cutter than anything else, as opposed to bearing a distinctive or more daring design to stand out. The more we look at it, we can’t help but draw comparisons to the recently outed Google Nexus 7, as the two share many commonalities. Heck, it just seems as though the Nexus 5 is a smaller version of the Nexus 7.The Nexus 5 is constructed entirely out of polycarbonate plastic, which has a soft touch matte finish to it. Naturally, it helps in giving it a lightweight (130 grams / 4.59 oz) feel in the hand, but we wouldn’t say that its construction is as solid when compared to the polycarbonate plastics used by Nokia’s line of Lumia smartphones. Holding it, we’ll admit that it feels pretty good in the hand – without it feeling too obtrusive or massive. In fact, its overall size is almost identical to its predecessor, which says a lot knowing it’s packing a larger screen. For the most part, the Nexus 5 is a clean and minimalist looking smartphone. Around the back, however, we find the “Nexus” name proudly etched into it, although, to tell you the truth, we would’ve preferred it to be smaller.
So yeah, the design is undoubtedly more modest this time around. Unlike its predecessors, the design of the Nexus 5 isn’t particularly something we’d proclaim as being an impressive feat. Don’t get us wrong, we know that there are certain limitations, especially when it’s aiming for such a low cost. Regardless, we’re at least comforted to know that it gets more love than most other similarly priced phones on the market.
All the usual suspect are found littered around the handset’s trim, so they consist of the 3.5mm headset jack, power button, volume controller, micro SIM slot, noise cancelling microphone, standard mic, speaker grill, and microUSB port. With its set of physical buttons, the power and volume ones, they’re distinctive to the touch and offer great responses when pressed – not to mention, they’re positioned in locations that we’re familiar finding them in. At first glance, it appears as though it’s packing along two speakers, evident by the two sets of holed grills along the bottom edge, but one is actually for the speaker and the other for its mic.
Although it’s hard to notice, there’s actually an LED notification light below the display – dead smack in the middle, it pulsates different colors according to the type of notification. Indeed, it’s something that we appreciate, plus, it’s wonderful that it’s a discrete way of knowing that something needs our attention. Meanwhile, above the display, we spot its peculiar shaped earpiece, light & proximity sensors, and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera.
Reminding us about its close ties to the Nexus 7, there’s a huge border surrounding the 8-megapixel auto-focus camera of the Nexus 5, which feature an LED flash, 1080p video recording, optical image stabilization, backside illuminated sensor, and an f2.4 aperture lens. With a healthy set of gear in tow, it’ll be interesting to see how the Nexus 5 can rival some of the greats in the space.
A common practice nowadays, it’s yet again a closed design with the Nexus 5, which means that there’s no access to its battery, or features expandable storage. Nevertheless, it’s available in both 16GB and 32GB configurations.
137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)
138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)
137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)
Staring at the 5-inch 1080x1920 IPS LCD display of the Nexus 5, it’s a very familiar thing we’ve seen countless times on other flagships. Indeed, there are several pleasant qualities about it, like how it’s able to produce sharp details with its 445 ppi pixel density and offers better-than-average outdoor visibility, but as a whole, it’s nothing particularly fresh in the space. Colors are punchy enough to catch our attention when it’s viewed straight on – though, it’s undoubtedly on the yellowish side.
By now, 1080p displays have become commonplace, especially for flagship smartphones. In the back of our minds, though, we can’t help but feel relieved to find one here on the Nexus 5 – even more when we think about its low price point yet again.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Google Nexus 5||485
|Samsung Galaxy S4||289
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S4||58.5%
|Google Nexus 5||85.6%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
Drag the picture or use the keyboard arrows to rotate the phone.
Double click or press keyboard Space to zoom in/out
1. apple4never (Posts: 974; Member since: 08 May 2013)
would it be hard to give a perfect 10 for this beast or am i missing something ?
30. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 4138; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
There's many things that could always be better.
41. DanielBeaver (Posts: 4; Member since: 09 May 2012)
But battery life is a very big deal. I can't expect to get through a day of heavy usage, which is a dealbreaker.
44. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 4138; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
What the hell could you be doing that causes the battery to not last all day?
48. troutsy (Posts: 282; Member since: 17 Feb 2012)
You can do a lot more on Android phones. It's actually quite easy to run through the battery with all the extra capabilities that we enjoy.
49. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 4138; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
Just because you can do more doesn't mean you should, subtle unfunny potshot aside.
Those widgets you all love so much, they eat battery life. The dynamic live backgrounds, they eat battery life.
A lot more isn't better than just working.
56. troutsy (Posts: 282; Member since: 17 Feb 2012)
Trying to turn it into a debate on which is better, Android vs. iOS. You must be hungry today.
59. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 4138; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
You took the potshot up above by saying Android can do more. So if anything you must be hungry.
60. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
100 Things iPhone 5S - 5C Can't do Android Phones Can:
80. marbovo (Posts: 658; Member since: 16 May 2013)
You can always buy a nokia 3310 with no feature at all and be very happy.
150. DanielBeaver (Posts: 4; Member since: 09 May 2012)
I use maps and email heavily, syncs a lot during the day. Believe it or not, I actually use my phone for real work - and the Note 2 was the first android phone that was able to carry me through the entire day. I would much rather be using a stock android device than have to put up with Samsung's crapware and shoddy, plasticy hardware, but at least the phone lasts 18 hours without dying.
160. JC557 (Posts: 1161; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)
This is just proof you don't use an Android device. My Droid Razr M can go 2 days moderate usage (2 1/2 screen use) and thats with widgets working in the background (weather, transit, data, battery, social media). Even the widget heavy HTC One can go more than a day with moderate usage and Sense is very widget heavy.
169. 9thWonderful (Posts: 232; Member since: 24 Jan 2013)
2 days on a Razr M huh. so either that's not at all true or you hv the only Razr M in history that will ever go for two days before hving to recharge. based off of the battery performance i've seen on the Razr M...i'd give your claim 25% truth behind it.
142. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
It would have scored 10/10 then insyead of 9.5
149. osaFromJava (Posts: 34; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
Its not that bad.. look at the custom script battery test. Nexus 5 is slightly worse than iphone 5s (5 hours 2 mnts),, but much better than iphone 5 (4h 22min) or SGS III (4h 8min)
3. YuLeven (Posts: 49; Member since: 14 May 2013)
I think that 9.5 is quite generous. It's a great phone, but not a perfect one. Specially for it's battery life.
11. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
That's the only obvious flaw i think this phone has. Score is actually right given the price of this phone. Ow i forgot expandable storage. But hey, iphone. Hahaha
61. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1635; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)
no because why have expandable storage when you can pay $100 extra for 16Gb more!!!
72. sniper1087 (Posts: 408; Member since: 31 Dec 2011)
Only flaw? Nope, speakers are lower than those available on the Z1 is almost impossible to hear in a loud environment. And well developers still haven't updated apps to work well with kit Kat, so whatsapp, fiber and line just to name a few constantly crash, viber and line you cannot register because everytim you try it crashes, it might not be the phone but that is a deciding factor for a lot of people when they want to use certain apps and they just don't work.
117. rd_nest (Posts: 822; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)
Camera quality isn't tht good either. Many people in verge forum have also mentioned uncomfortable ergonomics.
83. marbovo (Posts: 658; Member since: 16 May 2013)
PA should stop focusing on price. This site is viewed from people all around the globe, and you know that Google Play sell the nexus phone in quite a few countries. So this argument is not valid for us
97. boosook (Posts: 1085; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)
Consider the price and tell me what else you can get for $/EUR 349.
106. miket247 (Posts: 81; Member since: 16 Apr 2013)
Lets wait for GSM Arena to do a full test to get the battery life details. It looks no better or worse than an iPhone 5s though, but I wish it was at the front of the pack, instead of the middle!
5. remtothemax (Posts: 239; Member since: 02 May 2012)
I don't know, maybe underwhelming battery performance might be part of that?
there is no swappable battery and this thing performs batterywise like it's 2007. I personally think that is a pretty big flaw as enormous batteries become more and more common across the market.
16. apple4never (Posts: 974; Member since: 08 May 2013)
you know what i didnt see the last page, but with the easy ifix it or whatever their called score cant you remove the battery and swap in a beefier battery ?
45. DanielBeaver (Posts: 4; Member since: 09 May 2012)
It wouldn't be as trivial as just swapping a battery. A higher capacity battery would be physically larger, and so you would need a modified case with a new layout for the antennas (which are integrated into the bottom case).
68. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 400; Member since: 24 May 2011)
Battery life could have been better. On a side note. Why is the review over at verge shows the Nexus 5 as ok-ish and phonearena rates it amazing here. I rather think phonearena's is more acurate.
81. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 664; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)
Only battery life.. Other than that it is something which everyone will crave for. only $350 and you get everything great.
Apple told the world that these kinda touchscreen phones can only be purchased by rich, leaving middle class & poor only dream about any such devices.
I'm so thankful to Google that it has given people like me (who cant afford such high pricing $700) so much at such low costs. Not only the Nexus, but people can afford to have Android devices at as low as $50-$100.....
Keep it up Google... God Bless u
107. miket247 (Posts: 81; Member since: 16 Apr 2013)
+1 Buddy! Even though most in North America don't think about cost, in many parts of the world, people have to buy their phones before they can get a cell plan. So Google has done something that no other company can claim --- bring a flagship phone to all people of the world, at a honest price! Thats a champion move on there part!
120. rd_nest (Posts: 822; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)
Nexus is not available in most countries. You must be new to Android, else this should be very obvious to you. Apart from handful (8-10) 1st world countries, nexus is not available through google-channel. Infact in many places its available at much higher prices. Just an example - China and India hardly gets any Nexus love. These 2 countries have 1/3rd of total world population. India stlil doesn't have N7 (2013) or N10. N5 will sell close to $500 in India with almost ZERO aftersales support.
90% of the countries doesn;t have "proper" access to Nexus devices. Some people get ot through Grey market without any warranty or useless dealer warranty.
So, you are wrong when you say google is bringing Neus to all people in the world. Google is simply selling nexus in the parts of world which is already very rich and can afford any smartphone.
162. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 664; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)
You are full of negetivity. I'm not taking about Nexus only. If you read my comment, I'm thanking Google for making an open source OS which is available @$50-100-150. Isn't it good on part of Google. Can you think of Apple ever reducing their prices? Their target is rich only.
BTW I'm from India and nexus tablet is available . not the 2013 one but it has started. Soon it will be available in developing countries as well.
If Google only wanted to sell only in rich countries, it would have tried to sell it @ prices equal to iPhones coz they can afford any smartphone...!!!!
163. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 664; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)
I'm just being positive about future
176. HordeQ (Posts: 5; Member since: 21 Nov 2013)
A lot of those areas, like China for example, use a proprietary network system. You need a 3rd model to be designed or more per area. They already have to design one for America and one for everywhere else.
It really doesn't make any marketing sense to design a top end phone for places that (as you said) can't afford it. That'd be like opening a designer jet retailer in the middle of India... wtf would be the point?
This whole 'rich country' nonsense really bothers me. I can barely afford upgrades...thank god my service allows free/discounted upgrades every year. Not everyone in America uses $100 bills for toilet paper. Half the people (at least) that buy iPhones for $700 finance them.
155. mrblah (Posts: 549; Member since: 22 Jan 2013)
It's called get a contract and a lower cost.
98. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 258; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
It's a good review. If you don't consider the money factor would be an 8...sadly value/price is the most important thing so 9.5 is fair...if its battery was in graphite and lasted 2 days then 10.
Anyway, The Verge: awful camera; Rest of the world (6-7 sites, yt comparisons) above average/good. Oh I love that site
105. monkeytown (Posts: 108; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
a 10 would mean that it´s the PERFECT phone, which will NEVER happen....
111. rd_nest (Posts: 822; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)
It's not even that good. 9.5 is too much for it considering what it does. Nexus 4 was also hyped by media. I got it, and now I am suffering from it.
143. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
Lost 0.5 for absence of the fruit tattoo on the back.
6. dratomic (Posts: 476; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)
whoa 9.5 so generous but fanboish. don't get me wrong. I like android. but for me nexus is not pinpoint of it. note 3 is.
12. NexusPhan (Posts: 537; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)
Absolutely not. TouchWiz is atrocious. It's ugly. It's bloated. It's gimmicky. It's slow. Note 3 should score a 2 for it's software and build quality. It's amazing screen, camera and battery are the only things making it worth looking at.
15. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4108; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
Some of the S-Pen features are pretty useful, but other than, Touchwiz is hideous and horribly bloated.
22. NexusPhan (Posts: 537; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)
Unfortunately the overall terrible-ness of TouchWiz overshadows any of the positives.
25. YuLeven (Posts: 49; Member since: 14 May 2013)
Well, I quite enjoy TouchWiz. It's not perfect, but I really don't 'pure' Android being better in what matters for me: functionality.
It may look better, it may be smoother, but if I can't do more I hardly can't see it as better.
And well, multitasking is wonderful on the Note. I really miss it on other phones.
28. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4108; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
I do recognize the productivity and functionality of Touchwiz (primarily the Note), but I personally can't put it ahead of stock Android just for that. Hell, even HTC managed to get Sense right after being the most heavy skin around; they optimized Sense 5 pretty much perfectly while still giving it a great new look and some very useful features. Samsung just slaps features on an ugly UI without bothering to optimize it, and they compensate by putting 3 GB of RAM in there.
109. miket247 (Posts: 81; Member since: 16 Apr 2013)
You sound a little critical. The Note3 is the best multi-tasking phone in the market at present, and it has great hardware and features in general, so why so mean.
121. rd_nest (Posts: 822; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)
Optimizing it? You have no clue buddy..
How can you say google optimize the software when they have the worst batterylife among all devices? What sort of 'optimization' is that? If that is optimization, I hate it.
How can Nexus 4 suffer because of thermal throttling when all other phones using same SOC run just fine? read before you comment. Do you want me to show you proof of thermal throttling of N4?
84. dratomic (Posts: 476; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)
same as me. I prefer TW to other launchers because oc usability. if I wanted smoothness and no functionality I would have adopted whinpho or ios. but I want functionality and TW has things just LG can offer.
43. Klamba92 (Posts: 206; Member since: 25 Jun 2012)
Have to agree I would agree with you, touchwiz is still too bloated and looks pre ICS like, note 3 is a beast of a phone and has some very cool features but many are gimmicks and are mainly half thought out, The nexus 5 is in every way as much as much as a beast too with IMO a much better software and ui experience! Plus quick updates and cheap price if you are in a Google play area. On top of that the note 3 is a phablet whereas the nexus 5 is a phone!
69. cripton805 (Posts: 995; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)
Slow???? Obviously, its going to use up a little more power, but to say its slow is a lie. It's 2013 now. None of the high end phones are slow anymore even with their skins.
76. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8920; Member since: 14 May 2012)
I totally disagree completely... TouchWiz UX 2.0 is beautiful, not gmicky and definitely not slow.
90. dratomic (Posts: 476; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)
a little gimmick but not as much as everybody is complaining. is swipe to call or text on a contacts name gimmick? ofcourse not. TW is functional and is the main reason why I dont switch to sony or nexus
114. rd_nest (Posts: 822; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)
What is a phone without screen, batterylife and camera?
Is colour of UI more important to you than batterylife? One has to be a dork to give priority to UI colour than batterylife.
If Nexus is not-bloated, why does it have such pathetic batterylife?
123. papss (unregistered)
I disagree... Actually I find stock awful looking. I had the n4 and returned it due to my dislike of the on screen buttons and bland OS. I currently own a L1020 and a note 3.
158. gentleman559 (Posts: 22; Member since: 08 Aug 2013)
Nah, Note 3 is a F***ing beast. But there again so is the Nexus 5. I have both and they both are capable of giving me a phonegasm. Different strokes for different folks.
|Display||5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (445 ppi) IPS LCD|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Quad core, 2260 MHz, Krait 400 processor
2048 MB RAM
|Size||5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches|
(137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm)
4.59 oz (130 g)
|Battery||2300 mAh, 17 hours talk time|