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Google Nexus 5 Review

Google Nexus 5 9.5

Google Nexus 5 Review

Google Nexus 5 Review
Google Nexus 5 Review
Google Nexus 5 Review
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

Google Nexus 5 Review
Google Nexus 5 Review
Google Nexus 5 Review
Google Nexus 5 Review
Google Nexus 5 Review

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.

Google Nexus 5
5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches
137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)

Google Nexus 5

Samsung Galaxy S4
5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4

5.45 x 2.79 x 0.35 inches
138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)


5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches
137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)


To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


Google Nexus 5 Review
Google Nexus 5 Review
With this year’s model, its display increases 0.3-inches over its predecessor, blessing it with an admirable sized 5-inch display. Now, the beauty in it lies in how the bezels on the left and right sides of the display are minimized, similar to the LG G2’s display, so that the handset feels snug in the hand – as opposed to being grossly out of proportion. In addition, the Nexus 5’s display comes with an advanced in-cell touch technology, which means that the touch panel is closer to the surface – giving it a “floating” appearance.

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
LG G2 438
HTC One 460
View all

Google Nexus 5 360-Degrees View

  • Options

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 07:06 7

1. apple4never (Posts: 1064; Member since: 08 May 2013)

would it be hard to give a perfect 10 for this beast or am i missing something ?

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 07:10 57

2. AliNSiddiqui (Posts: 382; Member since: 19 Sep 2012)

Battery Life should have been better

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 07:11 18

3. YuLeven (Posts: 50; 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.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 07:12 2

4. Ninetysix (Posts: 2575; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)

Battery life.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 07:12 1

5. remtothemax (Posts: 260; 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.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 07:26 9

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

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 07:28

16. apple4never (Posts: 1064; 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 ?

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 07:53 18

30. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

There's many things that could always be better.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 08:25 10

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.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 08:30 2

44. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

What the hell could you be doing that causes the battery to not last all day?

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 08:31

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).

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 08:37 16

48. troutsy (Posts: 317; 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.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 08:42 3

49. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

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.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 08:43

50. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

iPhone doesn't need expandable storage.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 08:56 3

56. troutsy (Posts: 317; Member since: 17 Feb 2012)

Trying to turn it into a debate on which is better, Android vs. iOS. You must be hungry today.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 09:01 3

59. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

You took the potshot up above by saying Android can do more. So if anything you must be hungry.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 09:05 12

60. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5498; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)

100 Things iPhone 5S - 5C Can't do Android Phones Can:

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 09:07 12

61. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1635; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)

no because why have expandable storage when you can pay $100 extra for 16Gb more!!!

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 09:35

68. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 408; 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.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 09:52

72. sniper1087 (Posts: 531; 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.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 10:10

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.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 10:11 5

81. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 812; 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

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 10:12 3

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

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 10:33 6

97. boosook (Posts: 1442; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)

Consider the price and tell me what else you can get for $/EUR 349.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 10:42

98. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 259; 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

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 11:08 2

105. monkeytown (Posts: 125; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)

a 10 would mean that it´s the PERFECT phone, which will NEVER happen....

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 12:13 2

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!

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 12:19

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!

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 12:39 2

111. rd_nest (Posts: 1654; 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.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 12:47

117. rd_nest (Posts: 1654; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)

Camera quality isn't tht good either. Many people in verge forum have also mentioned uncomfortable ergonomics.

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Google Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5

OS: Android 6.0 5.1 5.0 4.4.4 4.4.2 4.4
view full specs
Display5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (445 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera8 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2260 MHz, Krait 400 processor
Size5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches
(137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm)
4.59 oz  (130 g)
Battery2300 mAh, 17 hours talk time

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