For all the Google purists looking for that perfect blend between value and performance, look no further than the new Google Nexus 5 from LG. The new Nexus 5 features a beautiful 5-inch 1080p screen along with the new KitKat 4.4 Android operating system. Check out my full Google Nexus 5 review below to see if this Nexus is the right choice for you.
Nexus 5 Hardware and Design:
Build & Colors – The ultra-thin design and light weight of the Nexus 5 makes this phone easy to handle and pocket friendly. Google has outfitted the Nexus 5 with ceramic volume and power buttons, which tend to be sharp against the skin, but are easy to operate. When you first look at the Nexus 5 it appears as just one slab of glass and plastic with virtually no bezel. The rounded corners along with slim profile give the Nexus 5 a futuristic and minimal sort of look. The phone comes in both black and white. It is the best looking Nexus phone in my opinion – by far.
Screen – The Nexus delivers an amazing picture with this 1080P screen. This 4.95-inch screen looks big, yet fits the hand perfectly. It delivers a 1920 x 1080 display, which provides a nice 445 pixel per inch display. In comparison, the famous 4-inch retina display found on the iPhone 5S is only 326ppi.
Camera – Google has opted for a 8MP snapper for the Nexus 5 rather than going after the likes of the Galaxy S4 and Xperia Z with their 13MP sensors. The Nexus 5 packs a 1/3.2″ image sensor and optical image stabilization which produces accurate and clear shots. My biggest gripe with the camera is the actual camera app or viewfinder. The camera app is not easy to use. Coming from an Xperia Z, which delivers an easier to operate UI and feature set, I feel the camera app is just over simplified. Overall the camera on the Nexus 5 isn’t the worst camera I have used, but not the best either. It proves to be a solid 8MP camera that provides decent performance in both low-light and bright settings.
(camera shots taken with the Nexus 5)
(video taken with Nexus 5)
Battery Life – One of the biggest complaints about the nexus 5 at launch was the small 2300mAh Li-Ion battery. Google/LG rates the battery to last up to 17 hours of 3G talk time with 300 hours of standby time. During my Google Nexus 5 review I didn’t nearly need to charge my phone as much as I do when using both my Sony Xperia Z or iPhone 5S. Do I wish the battery were bigger? Yes. Can I live with charging twice a day? Yes. Overall I think the battery life and performance are acceptable considering how powerful and big the device is.
Google Nexus 5 Software and Features:
KitKat 4.4 – The latest operating system from Google provides a new look and polish to the Android Operating System. The icons are a bit bigger and the font is slightly thinner. This new minimalistic design brings a sense of refinement and polish to the operating system. New voice actions through Google Now (see below) give you instant access to a variety of tasks. When it comes to looks and layout the alarm app, app drawer, and quick settings pulldown have all been upgraded. So far I love KitKat 4.4 and hope it makes its way to my other Android devices ASAP.
Google Now – Google Now has developed since it was first introduce back on Android 4.1 The feature is accessible two different ways. With one quick swipe left, you will be presented with your commute home, weather, sport scores and a variety of thing you wish to add. The second way to access Google Now (the coolest too) is to simply say “Ok, Google Now” when you are on your home screen. Google Now has added voice action, which offers a variety of new commands to play with. Google Now will handle stuff like sending messages (SMS or email), initiating a voice call, asking for directions, translating, taking notes or browsing the web.
Nexus 5 Pricing and Availability:
When it comes to pricing, the Nexus 5 represents the best bang for the buck across any smartphone platform or model. Starting at $349 for the 16Gb model, it cost almost half as much as a Galaxy S4 or Apple iPhone 5S ($649). Remember this $349 price tag is unlocked, which means there is no contract involved. Unlocked competing smartphones with the same specs start at $500-$600.
If you want to grab a Nexus 5, the best place to head is to the Google Play Store. You will find both the 16GB and 32GB options in both black and white color choices. For those of you who want to purchase through your carrier, Sprint and T-Mobile are your only options. Although the phone will support AT&T, it will not be offered from them directly with a contract. Sprint users can grab the phone for only $50 with a 2-year contract starting today. T-Mobile can grab the phone today through their EIP (equipment installment plans) program with a down payment of $42 and 24 monthly payments of $17. This adds up to $449, which ends up costing you $100 more. Verizon users are left out as they have once again opted out of the Nexus lineup of phones.
Having owned the HTC Nexus One, the Samsung Nexus S and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, I decided to pass on last years LG Nexus 4. The reason why I passed was simple: the phone had lackluster hardware and I was honestly just not a fan of LG handsets. This year however everything has changed. LG has stepped up their game with both the LG G2 and new Nexus 5. The beautiful hardware from LG challenges the likes of the Xperia Z/Z1, iPhone 5S and HTC One in terms of sheer eye appeal. Throw Google’s latest operating system into the mix and what you get is the new king of Android devices. For only $349 you can have a future-proof beast of a smartphone that offers stellar hardware and the best Android experience around. At the end of the day the Nexus 5 from Google and LG has raised the bar when comes to blending value and performance in a smartphone.