Google Nexus 5 Review


Over the previous few months It’s been extremely tough to log onto a tech site or online forum without hearing about Google’s fabled 2015 Nexus 5. Inning accordance with market rumblings the 2015 Nexus 5 will be built by LG, the very same company that developed the initial 2013 Nexus 5.


Quad-core 2.27 GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU
16/32GB storage
5-inch 1080p IPS screen
Android 4.4
8-megapixel video camera with flash and OIS
Producer: LG
Evaluation Price: ₤ 299.99.


If true, this will be now bad thing. While the 2013 Nexus 5 wasn’t perfect, key issues being its a little buggy software and absence of expandable storage, it was seriously good value for cash. With rates beginning at ₤ 299 for the 16GB design, the original Nexus 5 featured requirements typically only seen on handsets near twice its price.

As an outcome, while Google no longer officially stocks the 2013 Nexus 5, it remains fascinating as it offers a number of hints about what LG may have prepared for its 2015 follow up.


There’s no doubt there were some serious problems with the software on the Nexus 5 when it first introduced. In December 2013, Google updated the Nexus 5, bumping it as much as Android 4.4.2. It has tried to resolve a few of the most typical and major issues with the phone– mainly centred around the cam. At release, it was slow, had autofocus dependability issues, along with exposure metering issues.

The Android 4.4.2 update tries its best to fix these grievances. The core photographic abilities of the Nexus 5 haven’t altered– it still has an 8-megapixel electronic camera twinned with an f/2.5 lens. Nevertheless, other components have improved considerably.

Essential of the lot is speed. The Nexus 5 cam is a lot more usable since it’s not incredibly slow and cumbersome.

The tone of the images has actually changed a little too, with greater contrast and amped-up colours. Images ‘pop’ more, although some tones can look a mite oversaturated in some shots. When you’ve accepted that the Nexus 5 cam is never going to be a photographic superstar, however, it’s a fair compromise.

For more on the camera updates, have a look at the devoted Nexus 5 camera page of this review. Nevertheless, continue reading our initial evaluation below to learn more about what the Nexus 5 is like.

Nevertheless, the upcoming Android 5.0 Lollipop upgrade must offer more improvements.


Google likes to use different makers to make it’s series of Nexus items. The Nexus 5 is made by LG, whereas the Nexus 7 is by Asus and the Nexus 10 by Samsung. You probably would not understand LG make it unless you spot the little logo on the back, however. It has none of the eccentric design components of the LG G2, which is no bad thing.

This is a deeply pragmatic phone in many respects, because Google was clearly out to make a mobile that looks and feels fantastic, with no of the fancy, budget-busting little bits of a ₤ 600 phone like the iPhone 5S. The Google Nexus 5 is perhaps much more conservative, design-wise, than the Nexus 4 it replaces.

The Nexus 5 is made from soft touch matt black plastic. It does not sound as excellent as the aluminium of the HTC One, however the response from the TrustedReviews group was unanimous– it feels great.

Its back is lightly curved, contributing to the hand-friendliness of the silky smooth surface. The Nexus 5 looks good, too. Every part of the phone bar the LED flash is black (a white variation is also offered), and the lack of any recognisable gaudy bonus beyond the over-sized video camera lens housing make it rather a ‘pure’ style.

It discovers as a far more confident phone than the Nexus 4, with its ‘jazz hands’ spangly surface and glass rear.

The one concern of such a simple-looking phone is that front-on, it’s not that simple to casually inform which way around it is. All navigation keys belong to the screen, so the only indicators are the deeply low-key earpiece speaker and front video camera. It’s a little bit of a phone ninja.

The lack of any flashiness is clear in its building, too. Although the Nexus 5 does not have a removable back– there’s no battery gain access to and no surprise memory card slot– this is not a unibody phone. The back plate and the plastic sides of the phone are two different bits, and there’s a clear seam between them.

We imagine this makes the phone easier to build, and much easier to repair. But to pedantic eyes, it’s something that shows this phone hasn’t been built on an unlimited spending

However, handling-wise it’s one the nicest phones in its class– beaten only by the somewhat smaller HTC One. LG has actually put a great deal of effort into making the Nexus 5 as narrow as possible, making it less of a handful, and it’s slim too.

The Nexus 5 is 69mm large and 8.6 mm thick. That’s 0.5 mm narrower, and 0.7 mm thicker than, the Samsung Galaxy S4. Being a budget-conscious phone hasn’t resulted in a remotely chunky body, and in-use it leaves the impression of being nearly ‘all screen’ thanks to its super-slim screen bezel. LG has done a great job as manufacturing partner here.

Like any 5-inch phone, however, reaching from one end of the screen to the other with a thumb is a little a stretch. If you have small hands, we suggest trying before purchasing. You might find the likes of the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact with its 4.3-inch screen more workable.

In common with lots of phones with non-removable rear panels, the Google Nexus 5 uses a pop-out SIM tray. It takes microSIM cards– now the most commonly used enter high-end phones.

Another hardware function worth a nod is the well-executed notification LED. It’s a multi-colour LED whose light is diffracted somewhat to offer it a ‘radiance’ effect, and it sits dead centre below the screen. Its subtle design suits completely with the phone’s self-assured subtle design. Thus numerous elements of this phone, it’s easy, and it google-nexus-5-reviewreadies.

The Nexus 5 isn’t a phone that caters all the needs of the hardcore tech geek brigade, however. There’s no dedicated video output (extremely unusual these days) and no other way to expand upon the 16GB or 32GB of internal memory. We do not believe these are significant disadvantages unless you’re looking for a video jukebox phone, however.


As the phone’s name recommends, the Google Nexus 5’s screen is 5-inches (4.95 inches to be exact), up from the 4.7-inches of the Google Nexus 4. It is among the most pleasant mobile screens around at present, and likely the best you can get for ₤ 300.

Like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, the Google Nexus 5 has a Complete HD screen of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Spread throughout the phone’s 5-inches that gets you pixel density of 445 ppi.

Increases in pixel density figures end up being a case of decreasing returns most of the times once you get above the 326ppi ‘Retina’ basic Apple popularised with the iPhone 4 back in 2010. However nevertheless, the Nexus 5 display screen is immaculately sharp. Obviously, the primary advantage of a screen like this is not truly sharpness, however smoothness– the curves of little characters are not remotely jagged, making them a lot easier on the eyes.

Individuals frequently think high-res screens work for gaming and movie-watching foremost, however they are really simply as important for web browsing.

The Nexus 5 uses an IPS display, the same type seen in the iPhone 5S. Viewing angles are ideal, and there’s an immediacy to the display screen that marks it out as a true top-end screen. Lower-end screens have the tendency to appear a little ‘recessed’, featuring more discrete screen layers, lowering contrast and image pop.

What we’re most happy about, though, is how much better colour recreation is in the Nexus 5, compared to the Nexus 4. LG has actually plainly been dealing with its screen calibration abilities because that phone, due to the fact that colours are better-saturated, and with no of the oversaturated reds that are often apparent in AMOLED-type screens.

Outdoors visibility is solid, too. The exact same high-end screen architecture that makes images look super-lively inside your home makes them avoid becoming too washed out outdoors. Top brightness is good rather than truly exceptional, however in real use we had no grievances with what the screen is capable of. It’s a corker.

There’s just one small grievance. the Nexus 5’s screen doesn’t have insanely quick refresh rates. Moving quickly up and down Android 4.4’s menus does leave a tiny trail. The impact is very minor, though.


The Google Nexus 5 is the first phone to release with Android 4.4 KitKat. It’s also one of simply a couple of devices that will provide the software as Google planned. Nearly every other phone these days has custom user interface that adds a lot of features and changes, in a handful of small ways, what the phone seems like to use.

It’s a genuine pity, since in its pure type, Android 4.4 is a very meaningful, user friendly system. Nowadays it doesn’t actually have much more potentially-confusing dangling bits than the most recent version of the iPhone software application, iOS 7.

Like iOS 7, Android 4.4 KitKat makes the system appearance somewhat more friendly and, at a push, cartoony. A few of the last remnants of visual stuffiness– unneeded borders and stiff lines that aren’t actually reliable visual punctuation– have gone. More menus are hidden up until you need them, making Android feel less cluttered than ever.

These are comparable modifications HTC made in its own Sense 5.0 UI, introduced in the excellent HTC One.

There’s not as much customisation as you get with some other Android phones, however. For example, you can’t choose between different screen shifts, or how long these animations take. Is that an unneeded extra? Most likely.

Google has fine-tuned the alternatives it provides, consisting of just those that are truly beneficial in the Nexus 5. A fine example is font size– You can select five sizes in between ‘little’ and ‘huge’, and it impacts fonts throughout the phone’s UI– in some phones it only affects the menus, not the home screen.

Android 4.4 is a revitalizing, pared-back approach to Android. And we believe it is the right technique.

The method you engage with Android hasn’t changed either, indicating you can add in lots of the missing customisation with third-party apps if you feel the need.


Other than a somewhat makeover, the Nexus 5’s Android 4.4 software likewise sees Google begin to crush together a few of its mobile and desktop services/apps. The most obvious of these is Hangouts.

Google Hangouts is a chat interface for Google Plus on a computer system, but in the Nexus 5 it’s likewise where all your SMS messages end up. Excellent old made text and mobile internet-powered web chats are virtually the very same thing in the Nexus 5.

It’s Google’s way to try and make people use its own services all the more– however it’s carried out merely enough to stop it being complicated, beyond the brand-new name. You can also change the default SMS app in the Settings menu (more are available from Google Play) if you truly do not get on with Hangouts.

The majority of Google’s other core Android apps are likely familiar to you– Maps, Mail, Calendar and Drive are all reputable bits of software that will fit like well-worn shoes if you’ve used Android in the past.

There are a couple of much more recent additions, however. Google Keep was introduced in March 2013, and is a simple note-taking tool that stashes all your post-its on your Drive account. It lets you attach audio clips and images too, and its user interface is perfectly simple. It’s created for the everyday user, not the hardcore note-taking compulsive, however makes a good Evernote-replacer for most people.

What’s more fascinating is the inclusion of QuickOffice, a certain stab at Microsoft and its addition of Office in Windows Phone. It’s an office suite that lets you produce and edit text files, spreadsheets and discussions directly from the Nexus 5– and save them directly to Google Drive, or the internal memory. Google is providing a direct competitor for the mobile variations of Word, Excel and Powerpoint here. And while still a tiny bit fiddly on a phone, they are– like much of Android 4.4– pretty intuitive.

The Nexus 5’s Android 4.4 also tries to push Google Now. It’s a service that pre-empts information you might ask for, such as weather condition where you live, and the routes back home from where you are.

This is the only phone that lets you zoom directly to Google Now simply by saying ‘Ok Google’ from the home screen. However, it’s not a feature we could get to work, in spite of having actually offline acknowledgment set up. Oh well.

New optimisations aside, the Nexus 5 offers all the apps and games scope of any other Android phone. You get complete access to the Google Play app shop, and both the 16GB and 32GB models provide you space for loads material. However, this will soon get consumed if you install lots of data-heavy 3D games, or fill the phone up with films. Unlike a Samsung Galaxy S4, you cannot increase internal memory here.


General efficiency of the Nexus 5 is outstanding. Navigation is super-quick, with lag-free transitions thanks to both the optimisations of Android 4.4 and the power of the Nexus 5. We did experience a couple of little glitches in our testing, but these related mainly to third-party apps (inevitable) and the camera app (likely to be ironed out in consecutive updates).

The Google Nexus 5 uses a Snapdragon 800 CPU, on par with the top new Android phones of late 2013, and significantly faster than the Galaxy S4.

The Snapdragon 800 used here is a quad-core 2.27 GHz processor with 2GB of RAM. Provided the ₤ 300 asking price of the Nexus 5, that’s a cracking specification, matching the Sony Xperia Z1 and LG G2.

We tried a host of high-end 3D action games to see if the Nexus 5 would trip up, however it did not. Real Racing 3, Dead Trigger 2 and Legendary Citadel all ran completely. If an existing game does not run well, it’s because of poor optimisation on the developer’s part, not a stopping working of the Nexus 5.

Standards as soon as again show that the new Nexus uses excellent worth for money. With 17,757 in the 3D Mark Unlimited test, 2,715 in Geekbench (907 single-core), 803ms in Sunspider and 801 in the Peacekeeper test, the Nexus 5 deals efficiency extremely near the Xperia Z1 – a phone that costs ₤ 200 more.

It’s not as effective as an iPhone FIVE, but for the time being you can’t get a more powerful Android phone with excellent game developer assistance. The latest Intel Atom mobile processors are a good deal quicker, however as they’re hardly used in any phones, developers do not tend to optimise for them specifically.

In other words, the Nexus 5 leader for video gaming.


Morris T. Parson, Tech Support

Leading specialist in electronics and engineering. Author of dozens of articles on various topics from the world of hi-tech. Sound independent analysis of products, exploring new niches and global trends is his special passion.

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