Google Nexus 5 Review
The Google Nexus 5 is an LG manufactured smartphone that’s been branded and heavily subsidised by Google. This means that whilst the specs are great, and the design quality is excellent, the phone is very keenly priced compared to its Android competition.
The Design & Construction
The Nexus 5 gets over it’s budget construction limitations by using matt black plastic and a very conservative design. Even the LG branding is kept to an absolute minimum. Yet as dull as it sounds, the Nexus 5 really is a stylish phone, and the clever choice of materials makes the whole thing feel very solid and well built. This is a phone that feels great in the hand, and its body is very slim and light to hold.
The Nexus also keeps things simple when it comes to removable storage: There isn’t any. You’ll get the choice of a 16GB or 32GB version at the checkout, and that’s it. Hardcore music collectors and film aficionados might find this a little limiting, but like the pop-out SIM tray, this was a choice probably taken to cut construction costs.
The Nexus 5 takes its name from the 5 inch screen size. The screen uses similar IPS technology to the iPhone 5S, and the display is of a similar high quality. It’s a full HD affair, and the pixel density of 445ppi looks sharp and crisp, with a quality that belies its cheap price.
The Google Nexus 5 uses a Snapdragon 800 CPU, which is on a par with the top Android phones of late 2013, and notably faster than the Samsung Galaxy S4. This phone is great for avid gamers, and you certainly won’t feel short changed with the performance.
Sound & Video
As mentioned, the device’s limited storage capacity might hold it back slightly from being a a perfect media player. Likewise, the external speaker isn’t any better than “adequate”. Headphone quality is much better however, and for phone calls, there’s active noise cancellation as well.
Nothing out of the ordinary to report here: The Nexus 5 supports 4G and has all the Bluetooth and wireless connectivity you’d expect from a high end smartphone. There’s one useful addition worth noting though: wireless charging. You’ll have to pay extra for the charging mat itself though.
The Nexus 5’s 2,300mAh battery does limit the phone slightly. Rivals do have a significantly longer duration between charges, and the Nexus 5’s lack of power saving options limits it’s battery life even further. It’s not awful, but certainly not class leading.
A recent update to Android 4.4.2 has given a few performance upgrades to the Nexus 5‘s camera, but at best, its image quality can still be described as “average”. It’s enjoyable to use, but it won’t win any competitions alongside an iPhone or high end Android devices.
The Nexus 5 is a fantastic phone. It’s extremely fast, very well designed and features a really good quality screen. You’re getting a lot of device for the money, and the reduction in your phone insurance premium is going to drop the cost even further. This makes the Nexus 5 the cheapest high end smartphone available right now.
The only letdowns are the mediocre camera performance and slightly lacklustre speaker quality. If you can live with the fixed storage, this is a very strong choice for a new smartphone.
Wendy Lin is an independent author and entrepreneur. She is a technology guru and spends some of her free time testing and reviewing the latest technology.