If you want pure Android goodness, it is right here, in front of you. I present to you ladies and gentlemen, the Google/LG Nexus 5! If you have been following me around on Twitter, you would’ve noticed that I have a lot of good things to say about the Nexus 5 and in this review, I will be reiterating all that in detail!
Unboxing the Nexus 5
As this is a review, we will start from the beginning of unboxing the Nexus 5. Nothing special about this unboxing though, no fancy bells or whistles, just the device, cables and documentation that come in a blue slide-out box. In fact this is the norm that comes with nearly every phone you can get your hands on these days, moving on…
Because the battery is built-in to the Nexus 5, I did not have to fumble around trying to put the battery in the device, wasting precious seconds getting to my first impressions! Upon holding it in my hand, the first thing I noticed was that the back had a nice matte finish, so it was not slippery, plus since it’s a matte back, it was less fingerprint-prone than other device’s back. I probably couldn’t say the same for the front of the screen though!
The thickness of the device was slightly bulkier (at 8.59mm thin/thick) than the HTC One M7, or even the Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 (I know, that is an old phone I still had!), but surprisingly it didn’t feel that heavy weighing in at a mere 130 grams, probably because it didn’t have a metal back.
Holding down the on button of the Nexus 5, I was lucky enough to get a response, meaning there was still juice left in this bad boy! I was greeted with a animated GIF-like logo of Google and then taken straight to the setup menu where every new Android device will present you with. Because this is the pure Android device, means there was a minimal amount of setup required; just a Google account login and some terms and conditions to accept, not to mention the WiFI setup and voila I was done! No TouchWiz or Sense UI on this!
The Nexus 5 has a 4.95″ Full HD IPS display with a resolution of 1920×1080 and a ppi (pixels-per-inch) of 445.
I actually quite enjoyed the screen of the Nexus 5. It has good clarity, color and it was also easily visible in broad daylight. A huge thumbs up to LG for the great display!
As mentioned before, the screen of the Nexus 5 was prone to fingerprints, and even though it also has Corning Gorilla Glass 3, I always seem to manage to get a few small scratches (can only be seen in the light, or if you look very carefully) on the screen itself. In fact this has been a huge problem of mine that I have. I always make sure not to have anything in the same pocket as the phone as well, but it always seems to accumulate some small scratches either way. Corning Gorilla Glass does not seem to help in this retrospect.
Did I mention it also has a notification LED at the bottom-center of the screen as well? Not that it’s a huge thing to be happy about, but for some people it is a nice addition to see if they have messages waiting without even having to turn on the screen of the device. Nevertheless, it could get quite bright in your bedroom at night!
The Nexus 5 sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU with a clock speed of 2.26GHz, and an Adreno 330 GPU with a clock speed of 450MHz.
In my Twitter ramblings, I mentioned that, in my opinion, the Nexus 5 “was a no-brainer to get” because it had the best performance in comparable smartphones across the range. Scrolling from screen-to-screen, page-to-page, top-to bottom in webpages were a snap. Literally. This was probably helped by the pure Android OS installed on the Nexus 5, without additional (and maybe even unnecessary) custom UI by manufacturers. This meant there was no bloatware (a.k.a crap) on the device that you could not uninstall unless you rooted the device. I guess that’s one of the things that made the Google Nexus line so famous and popular!
I have the 16GB model here, with 2GB of RAM.
Did I mention that the UI has not lagged or frozen on me yet? Touch wood…
There seem to be two speakers at the bottom of the Nexus 5, one on the left and one on the right. But when I play audio out of it (or when I try to), the sound only seems to be coming out of the left speaker, because when I cover it, the sound is nearly silenced completely. So I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong to it, or the right thing at the bottom of the phone is not a speaker. Either way the volume was pretty loud on these things!
I was so engrossed in the other features of the review I almost forgot the most important part of the device! The speaker is just a tiny circle at the top of the screen and I was surprised that the sound was actually pretty good for a speaker that small and circular! Most current modern smartphones these days all have superb call quality, but the same, usual suspects can be blamed for poor call quality. These include but are not limited to: the location you are in, whether it has good coverage or not, or if you are in a busy place. And if your ISP has HD Voice for example, it could improve the call quality a bit as well. Therefore, I will have to let you guys make the assumption whether the call quality is any good.
The Nexus 5 has a 1.3MP front facing camera for those selfies, or video calls, and on the rear-facing end it sports an 8MP camera with Optical Image Stabilization for clearer photos when zooming up on an object.
I noticed that the camera lens is slightly protruding out from the rest of the phone at the back, so you could feel a bump around there. This is possibly because of the Optical Image Stabilization added on.
Because of a recent issue with the camera app, Google have now made Google Camera the default camera app in a recent update.
You can decide for yourself whether the Nexus 5 camera is any good with some sample shots that I took below:
The Nexus 5 has no special/fancy bells or whistles like a fingerprint scanner or a heart-rate monitor, but it does have wireless charging built-in. So if you buy a compatible wireless charger pad, you can just place the device on the charging pad and it should charge wirelessly (by induction)!
Another thing I thought I should mention is that this phone is running Android 4.4 KitKat straight out of the box, and because it is a Nexus device, it will get all the latest updates in a very timely manner by Google. Not to mention, you can already get a beta developer’s version of Google’s newest Android operating system Android L on your Nexus 5!
Other “features” of the Nexus 5 include Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4G/5G) 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, the usual stuff, NFC with Android Beam and Bluetooth 4.0.
4G/LTE is also supported.
The battery life on the Nexus 5 is one of the best out there that I have ever used on a phone. Even after spending the morning watching the FIFA World Cup 2014 on 3G/4G and using the phone normally throughout the day, I still managed to have 50% battery left at around 5PM that night. Total on-screen time I got was around 3 hours before the battery died on me. Other phones’ max on-screen time that I have tested out have gone to a max of around 2 hours, so extending that on-screen time by as much as 60 minutes made a huge difference.
Nevertheless, I hardly worry about battery life (or having a removeable battery as one of my must-haves anymore because of a portable battery pack/charger that I now carry around with me, that I bought from Amazon. The New Trent powerpack that I have is now no longer sold, but still does the job find for charging a couple of my mates’ phones and as well as mine and I still get home with juice left in that as well! Plus I can fit it in my pocket easily as well.
In conclusion, the Nexus 5 is one of the best Android phones currently on offer (wait on for the Nexus 6 if one is coming!) just because of the pure Android OS that is loaded on. This means that there is literally no additional bloatware hogging up RAM space, or even storage space and less is usually better for the performance of the phone! I mean that is what you want a smartphone for right? Simple and Easy to Use! The camera is generally good, but could do with some work in low-light situations. The built-in battery life is also superb on this phone. Basically, if you want a very good Android phone, the Nexus 5 is a no-brainer to choose from at the moment!
You can purchase a Google/LG Nexus 5 from 2degrees or from certain retailers around NZ for a pretty good price!