Google Nexus 5 Review, Premium Android Experience

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High Quality Industrial Design

The Nexus 5's build, materials and worksmanship are top-notch. The front of the phone is strapped in Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which is pretty common these day.  The backside of the new Nexus is sheathed in a matte finish, soft touch, high density plastic that feels decidedly more premium in the hand versus rival devices like the Samsung Galaxy S 4, for example.
Google Nexus 5 back view
The Nexus 5's casing does attract fingerprints, as do most designs these days, though the device is a little tougher to wipe down, as it seemingly absorbs the smudges, making them appear to collect a bit more between wipe-downs. Button placement on the device is pretty standard with a volume rocker and microSIM slot on one edge and power button on the other.  Speaker placement is on the bottom of the Nexus 5, leaving the ports open mostly when the device is cradled in your hand.  Sound quality, on the other hand, is, as is typical with most smartphones, not great. 

On the bottom edge is the standard placement of the USB synch/charge port as well.  And of course there's the Nexus 5's 8MP rear-facing camera here on the back, with an LED flash.  The etched Nexus logo also offers a nice premium style to the backing of the Nexus 5, but other than that it's a fairly minimalistic approach and we don't mind that at all, actually.

Though the back casing of the Nexus 5 isn't necessarily a work of engineering magnificence, its 5-inch 1080p display may just be one of the best we've laid eyes on in a long while. We've always been fans of LG displays and the Google-LG team did a great job of balancing the Nexus 5's color and contrast.  It's technically a 4.95-inch display at 445ppi pixel density, which does look super crisp with nice wide viewing angles as well. The Nexus 5's display is really easy on the eyes.  If only those on-screen menu buttons were translucent on every screen and not just the home screen and Google Now.

Android Kit Kat - How Sweet It Is

Android 4.4 Kit Kat is a nice upgrade to Google's handset OS and though some are criticizing it for being a little more plain or drab, to us it just feels cleaner and better organized.

Google is taking better advantage of larger screen devices with Kit Kat and app icons are just a touch larger and easier to pick out of a crowded cluster of apps.  There's also a tighter version of Google's Roboto font in Kit Kat and again, the new UI just cleans things up for easier reading and navigation.

Instead of black or dark gray menu backgrounds, Kit Kat has a lighter gray palette that helps with contrast.  Again, these aren't glaring changes.  Android 4.4 isn't a jarring transition for the user, but rather subtle tweaks and optimizations that add up to a refreshing, iterative kicker.

Kit Kat is also now equipped with a native printing feature that allows you to discover available printers nearby, change paper sizes etc., and print from any print-enabled app.  Google has rolled out an API to allow developers to add print services to apps as well.

And let's not forget QuickOffice.  Google recently started bundling the light-duty office tools suite in with Android 4.4 and it's a great way to get some quick work done on the fly.  Let's face it, you're not going to pen the follow-up to War and Peace, banging away on your 5-inch display, but QuickOffice allows you to open Word docs, Excel spreadsheets and the like, make some quick edits and send something on its way.  Nice.

Underneath the UI, Google has trimmed Kit Kat down in terms of resource utilization as well.  Overall, it has a lighter memory footprint and better memory management than previous versions.  The new OS is designed to run on devices with as little as 512MB of RAM, so the Nexus 5 clips along nicely with headroom to spare.  We only wish Google gave us an easier more elegant way to quit an app, rather than leaving it running in the background as most users likely will. Regardless, in combination with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 SoC, the entire experience with the Nexus 5 is snappy and satisfying.

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Dave_HH one year ago

I really like what Google did with Kit Kat. I think we'll likely see more than the usual handset roll outs of this version of the OS in terms of OTA updates. It's that good.

SmogHog one year ago

So Far So Good

Have a Nexus 5 32GB(821) since Nov 5th.

Waiting for the right case and good screen protectors in my region.

Have a Nexus Orb wireless charger that charges the phone quickly.

The battery lasts me a day and a half or more using the Dalvic runtime but using ART runtime I get less battery time.

USB OTG works when different apps installed depending on whether the phone is rooted or not using a micro USB cable or USB flash drives that have micro USB connectors built in.

I didn't root yet so I'm using Nexus Media Importer. for my USB OTG.

Miss not having the removable battery and micro SD card slot I had with my Note 2

Dave_HH one year ago

Thanks for reporting in SH. Agreed, those are the two omissions that would have been nice to see built into this phone. That's crazy good battery life. What are you doing during that day and a half? Light use?

SmogHog one year ago

The ART runtime is very fast but Google needs to do a lot more work if they want to use it exclusively so there's no patent problems with Java owner Oracle

This large ART speed gain comes with down sides , such as larger apps hence longer installation times, but the ART experiment seems ripe to replace Dalvik in some of the next major Android versions.

Oracle sued Google and lost resulting in being ordered to pay Google's legal costs.

dc7 one year ago

What is it with Google and the lack of micro SD support on it's products?

Dave_HH one year ago

Agreed. It is one of the few omissions on this device and others. Good thing a 32GB N5 is reasonably priced.

jra716 one year ago

This would be my phone if it was on Verizon, but no. Moto X is a good alternative at least.

BigKihd one year ago

Nice, I prefer the 7 but this is still nice

damien90 11 months ago

better than the galaxy s4

LandamNaresh 4 months ago

I have been using this mobile for 4 months and its one of its kind. It is an excellent device, with stunning display, nice graphics and awesome power. And it offers pure Android experience and I even installed the Android L developers version which runs perfectly on my device. The only problem I faced with device is about setting custom ringtone. I found the procedure about how to set ringtone in this link and it worked perfectly,

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