Google Nexus 5 vs Google Nexus 4
For the past two years LG's flagship announcement has carried some extra weight, because while last year’s Optimus G and this year’s G2 were wonderful phones in their own right, they were also the starting point for the year’s Nexus phone. With increasingly good internals, a rock bottom price point and the promise of a new version of Android, Google is quickly making the Nexus one of the most anticipated devices. Last year’s Nexus 4 was met with critical and user acclaim alike, but there were some shortcomings such as the camera and battery. Can the Nexus 5 put these criticisms to rest, and is the latest Nexus device worth the upgrade from a Nexus 4 that still has a lot of life left in it? Read on to find out...
While the footprint may have been different, the Nexus 4 is a very obvious variant of the LG Optimus G. The back is a dead give away, employing LG’s Crystal Reflective Process which gives the glass a holographic, almost 3D look when the light catches it. It is a very striking design element and really set the Optimus G and Nexus 4 apart from other devices on the market. The sides are coated in soft touch to add grip, and they slope sharply towards the back to give the Nexus 4 better ergonomics in the hand. The button and port layout is fairly standard, as is the camera and speaker placement on the back of the device. The Nexus 4 brought back a premium feel to the Nexus line that went missing in the Samsung days. There was a very obvious focus on the design and the materials of the device, and the Nexus 4 is still a wonderful device to hold and use.
While they share internals, the Nexus 5 takes a very different aesthetic approach than the G2. The latest Nexus has a smaller 5” screen (5.2” for the LG) but opts for a traditional button layout and uses different materials. LG turned to glossy plastic housing with the G2, and while the Nexus 5 also features plastic throughout it is coated in a soft touch finish. The finish on the black version feels just rubbery enough with plenty of grip, while the white is more akin to the “silky” description Google used and leaves a bit to be desired. Both look modest compared to the Nexus 4 and other rival flagship phones, however, build quality is excellent and there are no creaks to be found here.
The liberal use of plastic makes the Nexus 5 noticeably lighter in the hand than the Nexus 4, despite the slightly larger dimensions. It feels very good in the hands and is a comfortable device to hold and use. Another welcome change is the speaker placement, which is now on the bottom of the phone making it less likely to be covered.
A perplexing issue with the Nexus 4 was that the 4.7” 720p display was just not as bright or vibrant as the same one on the Optimus G. The Nexus 5 does not share a display with the G2, opting for a slightly smaller 4.95” 1080p panel that thankfully is every bit as crisp and vibrant as the excellent G2. Another notable difference is that the Nexus 5 is using Gorilla Glass 3, whereas the Nexus 4 uses iteration 2 of Corning’s glass. The side bezels on both Nexus phones are very slim, but the gentle rounding along the edges of the Nexus 4 display unfortunately do not carry over to the latest Nexus.
The Nexus 5 is a clear winner in this category, as the display is simply better all around. In addition to being more vibrant, the bump in resolution coupled with only a slight bump in size gives the Nexus 5 a ppi advantage of 318 to 445. Both displays panels are IPS, giving excellent viewing angles and making them fairly easy to read in most any lighting conditions. Simply put, the Nexus 5 has outdone the Nexus 4 in the display category.