Google Nexus 5 review Q&A: we answer your questions

Last week, we asked from you to ask us anything you wanted to know about the newly-launched Google Nexus 5 smartphone, and now, the time has come for us to provide you with some answers. Here we go:

The Google Nexus 5, as all Nexus smartphones before it, represents Android in its purest, most up-to-date form. Its purpose isn't to show off Google's OS as a whole, not to stand out with one or two specific software features. Besides, if a feature isn't part of stock Android, then it doesn't belong on a Nexus device. Of course, you might be able to get the functionality with the help of an app made for the purpose.

The main camera on the Google Nexus 5 performs well when it comes to image quality. It isn't the best out there, of course, but chances are it will beat most smartphones priced similarly, around the $350 mark. The camera UI leaves room for improvement, however. A software update is said to be in the works, meant to improve the Nexus 5 camera to certain extent. As for the battery life, the phone is an average performer at best and heavy users will need to recharge daily. You might want to check our Nexus 5 battery benchmark results for more details. The single speaker on the Nexus 5 is kind of disappointing and it sounds pretty bad on the loudest setting.

We measured the screen on the Google Nexus 5 and it reached 485 nits, which is quite good. In comparison, the LG G2 and the iPhone 5s got us 438 and 587 nits respectively. Our benchmarks page might be worth checking if you want to learn more on the matter.

Don't expect much out of its 2300mAh battery. With moderate use, a Google Nexus 5 will last through a day. It likely won't make it through the second day, however. 

We have not experienced any Wi-Fi issues with any of our Nexus 5 units. 

They are okay. Not as good as the viewing angles on the iPhone 5s or the Galaxy S4, for example, but still more than acceptable.

Same banana. Technically, there could be some improvement, but we don't notice any increase in responsiveness. Not that they are bad. Quite the opposite: the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 are both very responsive to touchscreen input. 

USB on-the-go is supported on the Google Nexus 5. MHL is not available. Instead, the Nexus 5 uses SlimPort for connecting to an HDTV.

Not really. If you take a look at our extensive article on the Google Nexus 5 and its benchmark results, you'll see that it beats the Samsung Galaxy S4 in every category.

We will be testing its charge time in the near future. Keep an eye on our benchmarks page for more information.

No, the home button always takes you to the first home screen – the home screen on the very left. (In stock Android 4.3, the middle screen used to be your home.) Even if there's a 4 by 4 widget on screen, occupying all available space, there is still enough room right under the bottom edge of the widget for one to long press and access the settings menu. And no, you cannot make folders in your app drawer.

Yes, a 32GB Google Nexus 5 model sold via Google Play can be activated on Sprint.

Depends on what one's priorities are. The Google Nexus 5 is the best value-for-money smartphone you can find off contract. Also, timely updates are always guaranteed with a Nexus device. The LG G2 is slightly superior from a technical standpoint, on the other hand, since it has a larger screen, bigger battery, camera with more resolution, and some neat software tweaks. Perhaps you can check out our comparison between the Google Nexus 5 and the LG G2.

Yes, just put in your SIM card and you're good to go.

You will still get your software updates on time even if you're not using the Nexus 5 within the US. HSPA+ connectivity will work, but LTE availability depends on what LTE band is being used by your carrier, and whether the Nexus 5 supports it. The US Google Nexus 5 (model D820) supports LTE bands 1,2,4,5,17,19,25,26, and 41.

Model LG D821: 0.486W/kg at the ear and 0.476W/kg when worn at the body. Model LG D820: 0.810W/kg at the ear and 0.998W/kg when worn at the body.

Google does not like microSD cards and that's nothing new. Just like the Nexus 5, the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus didn't have a slot for microSD cards, and neither do the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. According to Google itself, it is easier for the average user as the experience is less confusing. Also, it is more efficient to have apps and media stored on an internal piece of memory, not on a removable storage card. There's a number of technical reasons as well, ensuring that less things with the OS can go wrong if no microSD card is used for apps and stuff. Sadly, that does make it more expensive to own a smartphone with extra storage. As for your other question, 16GB are enough for some users, and producing such Nexus 5 model is a few bucks cheaper. But yeah, it might have been nice having a 64GB Nexus 5 model as well for those who just can't live without having the Pink Floyd disography available with them at all times.

Yup, lots of questions. Let's start with audio: we'd say it sounds okay, but it depends on what headphones you're using. The Nexus 5 might have troubles shaking a pair of cans effectively. Technically, every phone has a built-in audio amplifier – some are good, others are better. The Nexus 5, in particular, uses a Qualcomm WCD9320 audio codec. As for your other question, it is up to Google to decide what features go into every new Android release. If a Multi Window (or any other) feature would benefit just a negligible number of users, then there's little point in investing time and resources into developing it.

No issues yet. The battery sensor reads 35.9 degrees Celsius after 10 minutes of Asphalt 8 with the charger plugged in. The phone feels a little warm. Not a biggie.

Hardware specifications aren't everything. Software has a key role as well. If a phone's OS is light-weight and runs effectively, then the phone will perform great overall. The iPhone 5s, for example, blows everything away when it comes to browser benchmarks – its software is simply super efficient. Then there's graphics performance. With its 1136 by 640 pixel screen, the GPU on the iPhone 5s has much less pixels to drive than, let's say, the GPU on the Nexus 5, which has to handle more than twice as many pixels. Another factor you have to consider is that the benchmarks don't care how much storage or RAM a smartphone has. They take into account how fast data can be read from and written onto that memory. Ultimately, it is better to pay less attention to benchmarks as they can be misleading. 

Google is selling the Nexus 5 at a low price because it can afford it and because doing so has its benefits in the long run. You see, the smartphone itself is generating little profit. But at the same time, Google is making it easier for anyone, consumers and developers alike, to get their hands on an affordable Android smartphone that is actually really, really good. Note that outside of the US and out of the Play Store, the Nexus 5 is not so cheap. Of course, the fact that the Nexus 5 is made of plastic also helps.

It will resume. We tested it. 

No, the Google Nexus 5 does not have an infra-red emitter (aka IR blaster) so it can't control your TV, air conditioner, or stereo via infrared. 

Related phones

Nexus 5
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2260 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 2300 mAh(17h talk time)



1. NexusPhan

Posts: 632; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

To all of you complaining about battery life: From the review above "With moderate use, a Google Nexus 5 will last through a day" What more do you need from a $349 smart phone? For 90%+ of users out there, moderate use with a full days battery life is more than good enough. If you're in the 10%, get another phone and stop whining. With my light use (1.5-2 hours of screen on time a day) I've been getting through two full days per charge, so far, easily. It's insanely better than the N4. This thing can easily last in standby with LTE on for a week .

3. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

You forget that the average Nexus user is quite a heavy user, not like the iphone, S4... So it should have the battery last thinking on heavy users. But of course, probably price was the problem.

4. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

I don't expect anything out of my phones battery. I carry a 16000 mah backup.

9. anleoflippy

Posts: 596; Member since: Jan 03, 2013

+1 I also do carry a power backup and it is quite helpful.

2. toufic_dergham

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

is it true that xperia z1 and z ultra will get kitkat and skip 4.3, and if the xperia z, zl, zr... get 4.3 first, then how long will it take for kitkat to come out(if it does) toufic dergham

5. Shubham412302

Posts: 576; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

nexus 5 is the only phone supporting the 2600mhz lte band in India so this is my next phone


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Why do people say Google is subsidizing this phone when clearly it cost less than 200.00 to produce. A premium phone like iPhone alledgely cost 215... do the math150.00 profit for anything is huge profit when you talk of 200 cost. Phone sell higher because of greed, and middle men. Google cut out the middle man and still is doiong ok trust me. PA you guys talk about a washed out screen but if you lower the brightness and use different wall paper like the blueish bubble wall paper and a black backgrounf there is no washed out side view. Please try this and you will find out what I found out. Lowering the screens brightness and choosing any wall paper or back ground including black is better, and not washed out at any viewing angle. Black seems to have a dramatic improvement and appears less washed out and all others are vibrant as hell!

10. techfirst101

Posts: 16; Member since: Sep 14, 2013

Your assuming that a phone costs only the sum of its parts. Thats in fact very incorrect since every phone needs to have software developed specifically for its hardware. If you ever try to install android on a device it was not designed for a lot of the hardware will not work (just look at the dev threads on XDA in device sections). So you have the added cost of research and development. Not to mention advertising/marketing the device... and anyone who claims the N5 did not have a marketing campaign is severely mistaken. Those "leaks" leading up to the phones release were hardly accidental. So yea the average cost of the N5 was probably closer to $400 per unit when all is said and done. Google is subsidizing this device at least on some level.

7. raz1mehdi

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 12, 2013

What to do if the Nexus 5 hangs or block, the old School method is to remove the battery...

8. truShtar

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 12, 2013

Is Nexus 5 future proof? Hardware wise... I know software wise it is...I change my phone every 2-3 years..Please help...Planning to buy this

14. tigmd99

Posts: 26; Member since: Nov 12, 2013

Not sure. Qualcomm and Samsung will likely go to ARMv8 instructions next year, which means 64-bit support, apps, etc.. So, once Android goes 64-bit (which is harder than most think), your N5 will be a step below in performance in apps. It is like iPhone 5 users are experiencing less performance in apps that have been optimized for 64-bit (thus for iphone 5S). Future proof or not depends on how fast Android goes 64-bit. On how fast manufacturers (e.g. Samsung, Qualcomm) push for 64-bit, which they have to given how far ahead Apple is in this regard.

16. truShtar

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 12, 2013

thanx man

11. rocking_94

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 12, 2013

does the nexus 5 black have the same back cover as of lumia 620 black or lumia 710 black?

12. rishabh_soft

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 28, 2012

Should Nexus 4 Perform as responsive in all aspects such as Nexus 5 .. want a deep clarification should we upgrade to Nexus 5 ? or Nexus 4 is sufficient as of Now ...???

13. tigmd99

Posts: 26; Member since: Nov 12, 2013

The reason why Apple A7 processor is better than Qualcomm S800 is because Apple went with a modern architecture. A7 is based on ARMv8, which was introduced in 2011 i think. This is a brand new (relatively) design from the ground up by ARM. It is powerful, efficient, and modern. And it requires 64-bit computing, but is very much backward compatible with 32-bit. It is simply a very nice architecture for smartphones. So, A7 is extremely powerful for both 32-bit and 64-bit apps. And it runs at an optimal 1.3-1.4 GHz, instead of needing to rev up to get performance. Qualcomm S800 is based on a 20-year old ARMv7 architecture. Qualcomm (and Samsung) decided to keep using this old design till the cows come home, while Apple went with the new design. S800 runs at 2.3GHz to get max performance. This is the end of the road for ARMv7. Result? You guys can see it. ARMv8 and A7 dominates S800. The only place where S800 comes close is in GPU, which is expected given that Adreno 330 and PowerVR 6 series are neck and neck. Even here though, A7 GPU outbenchmarked Adreno 330 in most tests. Each core of A7 (dual core) is much better designed with modern instructions. It is in a totally different class/league than anything Qualcomm (and Samsung) has currently. --------------------------------------------------​--------------------------------------------------​----------- Quotes from Anandtech iPad Air review regarding A7: With Cyclone Apple is in a completely different league. As far as I can tell, peak issue width of Cyclone is 6 instructions. That’s at least 2x the width of Swift and Krait, and at best more than 3x the width depending on instruction mix. Cyclone appears to be the widest ARM architecture we’ve ever seen at this point. I’m talking wider than Qualcomm’s Krait 400 (S800) and even ARM’s Cortex A15. As Brian found out in his investigation after the iPad event last week all three devices use the exact same silicon with the exact same internal model number: S5L8960X. There are no extra cores, no change in GPU configuration and the biggest one: no increase in memory bandwidth. This is the first Apple SoC that’s able to deliver good amounts of memory bandwidth to all consumers. A single CPU core can use up 8GB/s of bandwidth. I’m still vetting other SoCs, but so far I haven’t come across anyone in the ARM camp that can compete with what Apple has built here. Only Intel is competitive. You can see the 5s throttles back its CPU frequency to about 1GHz after the 2 minute mark. The crazy thing is that until that point the 5s manages to run at full frequency without so much as a hiccup for two full minutes, running an incredibly power hungry task. Given that most iOS apps aren’t this power intensive for such a sustained period of time, iPhone 5s users should almost always see the A7 running at a full 1.3GHz. Pretty crazy. There's definitely a ton of headroom left in the design.

15. Lboogey6

Posts: 281; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

Screw that no SD card?

17. bad_omen

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

As received Here are some ways to improve your battery backup time: 1.The main Feature which consumes Maximum battery is Display, if you keep brightness between 80-100%, then it uses 60% of battery life. Keep the Display Brightness to 20% and the Display still looks very good and bright because of the excellent True HD Display. 2.Under Settings--> Account-->Google, Switch off all Google sync Services except, Gmail, Contacts & Calendar (if you want) because all other Google Services like Google photo, videos takes away huge battery life. 3. Switch off complete Google no Service as this is not something you need, it is only useful if you are Google hangout Pro user for Business Service Location sharing. 4. Under Settings also Change the Location Settings to Battery Saver mode, Default in the phone is set to High accuracy. 5. Switch off the Hot Word detection under Google Services as this consumes high battery and not such useful Feature, I mean why would you want your phone to be active 24/7 to have listened to you all the time. 6. Switch off the Location sharing for FB Messenger unless you want to give your Location Information to everyone while sending Messages on FB. I made the above changes to my phone and my battery life Performance was (for usage of 45min-1hr call, 2hr of Surfing on web and apps, continuous use of whatsapp, 3G Network): -->Before the Settings mentioned above - 13h, 10min --> After the Settings mentioned above - 1day, 15hrs (very impressive, almost 2 times more) Battery life on 4G LTE network. Note: Without any battery saving Settings mentioned above I used my phone on 4G LTE with same usage pattern, my battery lasts only for 7hrs with improvement Settings - 15.5hrs on 4G LTE.

18. mrsriram13

Posts: 5; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

i'm impressed with nexus 5, but i'm very well upset with battery back up i heard from other's, is it true i won't last long? and is it true display time is between 1hour - 1hour 30min???... I'm a heavy user, i use whatsapp and facebook all time like 24hours, will nexus 5 satisy my needs with battery back up or it drain soon for my usage???... please help me out here!!.....

19. Adarsh3600

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

Will the warranty issued for the nexus 5 on bought in google play store in the USA be valid in India.??? pls help

20. systemBuilder

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 16, 2013

I have a Nexus 5 model with 32GB (US Version). I have a wall adapter with a 2.1 Amp (high power, iPad) port and a 1.0 Amp regular port. Yesterday my phone died and when I started to charge it. The charging time (while using the phone) was going to be 8 hours on the 1.0 amp port, and 1:20 on the 2.1 amp port. I hope this helps.

21. systemBuilder

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 16, 2013

I have seen people whining about the Nexus-5 battery, the camera, and the display. I already own an iPhone 5 and frankly, I cannot tell a difference in the display. You might have a viewing angle problem once the 5th person is looking at the phone, but it won't be horrible, just slightly less-perfect than what person #1 is seeing. The screen can be very bright. I keep my phone on 70% backlight, which is extremely bright, and it lasts many (5-8) hours of active web browsing or movie viewing in this mode. I have found that the battery life isn't great with (a) Active wallpapers, such as the 'waterfall' wall paper from the android store, or (b) Using the phone on 100% backlight all the time, or (c) 3D games like deer hunter. Maybe in those situations it only lasts 4 hours of active usage. I love the camera. I have had a great deal of problems with the iPhone 5 camera, that camera is especially bad in low light. Sometimes the iPhone decodes its own photos in a blurry way, which seems to be a bug in the iPhone picture viewer (6.1.3). Sometimes you can solve this by killing and restarting the iPhone picture viewer. The Nexus 5 in HDR mode is basically indistinguishable, or perhaps even a little bit better than the iPhone camera. HDR mode works great in low light, together with the optical image stabilizer. Also, the Nexus 5 in movie mode includes a zoom feature, which I absolutely adore. As for the flash - I took photos of my sons in a pitch black room and the flash on the Nexus 5 is unbelievably bright, and it captured rich vibrant colors and everything was in-focus, before the room went dark again. For me, the only downside of the Nexus 5 is the power button on the right side, which I have hit many, many times by mistake. Also, speech-to-text isn't available everythwere, but it's available everywhere on the iPhone, whenver you have a keyboard and a connection, you can do speech-to-text on the iPhone. Also, this phone is FRAGILE! Buy an excellent case BEFORE you get the phone, there are a lot of people who are crying on the Nexus Forums because they have cracked their screens already!

22. mugdha

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 13, 2014

May I know which is the best earphone suitable for LG google nexus 5?

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