Nexus 5 Review

When it comes to Google's Nexus line of products, you always find that they are an impressive value. Their devices usually come in at a price way under what is common for phones with similar specs. With, the Nexus 5 it is the same story.

I am going to go ahead and list the specs of the Nexus 5: 

  • OS: Android™ 4.4 (KitKat®)
  • Screen: 4.95" 1920x1080 display (445 ppi), Full HD IPS, Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
  • Camera: 1.3 MP front facing & 8 MP rear facing with Optical Image Stabilisation
  • Weight: 4.59 oz (130 g)
  • Battery: 2,300 mAH -- Talk time up to 17 hours, Wireless Charging built-in
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800, 2.26 GHz
  • GPU: Adreno 330, 450 MHz

iPhone 5S - Nexus 5 size comparison

Looking at those specs, you would expect a phone around the average range of $600-$700, which most modern day high-end smartphones cost without a contract. The Nexus 5, however, has a price starting at $350. The device is made of plastic, but still feels more premium than the Galaxy S4 which has a slippery feel to it. The Nexus 5 has a soft-touch plastic

That is the first great feature of the Nexus 5, the price. But it doesn't stop at the price. The screen on the phone is stunning. At 1080p the ppi is so high, that you would have to get a magnifying glass to see a pixel. Colors are clear and vivid and it is an overall great screen. What's more, is that in sunlight, the screen is suprisingly visible. Much more so that my previous phone, the iPhone 5S.

Moving from the screen we can look at the camera, which is good, but not amazing. Photos are really good on the phone, but my personal opinion is that the software is lacking heavily. The camera app has basic settings, which you cannot do much with. The gallery app actually displays photos in a way which makes them look low quality, where the Photos app displays them in a better way.

Yes, there are two photo apps on the phone. One I like, Photos, the other I don't, Gallery. I tended to keep my phone in HDR+ mode, which is actually quite nice. It is not as fast as the iPhone 5S HDR feature, but it produces some dynamic images. Overall, the camera is not amazing, but it's good. I can only think that there will be updates to the software to improve it further.

The battery life of the phone has so far been good. It's a little better than what I was getting with my iPhone 5S, but just by a small amount and it obviously varies day-to-day. Here are some of the battery stats after a full day of usage:

Wireless charging

Again, the phone has wireless charging, which I am a total evangelist for. I love wireless charging and everyphone should support it. Gone are the days of plugging a cord into your phone. Just placing it on a charging plate spoils you. I went from the Nexus 4 (had wireless charging), to the HTC One (no wirless charging), then to the iPhone 5S (no wireless charging), and now finally back to the Nexus 5. I can say that I missed that feature a lot!

Homescreen

Android 4.4 is an incremental update to Android, but it is pushing it in the right direction. The interface is becoming slicker. The opacity on the navigation buttons and notifications bar add an elegance to the homescreen. Swiping over to Google Now is more useful than you would think, and the new SMS integration in Hangouts brings Android one step closer to an iMessage-like app.

The last thing I want to comment on is LTE. Finally, a Nexus phone has LTE! This is a very happy day for me. The Nexus 4 was very slow compared to my other LTE phones, but now the Nexus 5 has very fast data speeds. This was the last piece of the puzzle for Google to find. 

Which brings me to my verdict: the Nexus 5 is the best Android phone you can buy. There may be others with better specs, but the price of the Nexus 5 makes it the most value for the price. That value doesn't mean the phone is a lesser device. It is actually on par with others. So I would suggest anyone coming to an upgrade to think about the Nexus 5. Stick it to the man, don't upgrade, and buy an unlocked Nexus 5. You will be free from a contract and very happy with your new device.