Nexus 5 assessment: one of the best telephone $350 should buy

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

Once you’re purchasing for a smartphone, what do you anticipate to get for lower than $four hundred with no contract? Definitely not a prime-of-the-line system, proper? Till lately, that type of worth has been reserved for units that have been mid-vary at greatest, or entry-degree at worst. Ever because the beautiful and highly effective Nexus four got here out final yr for $300 on the Play Retailer, nevertheless, it has been clear Google is making an attempt to provide the excessive-finish, $600-plus Android flagships a run for his or her cash. Now the corporate’s again with the Nexus 5, an influence consumer’s dream that sells for $350 and options a few of the similar specs you’d anticipate to see in a prime-shelf gadget.

That’s, when you may even get your palms on one. The system bought out in lower than two hours, and new orders will not get fulfilled for at the least a couple of weeks. However what’s so intriguing concerning the Nexus 5 that it is inflicting such a ruckus on the Play Retailer? It is a $350 flagship telephone with the serenity of a pure Android expertise and all of the trimmings, that is what. The query is, are you able to survive the estimated three to 5 week ready time?

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Nexus 5 evaluate

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Google (LG)

Nexus 5

Execs

  • Lovely 1080p show
  • Quad-core processor delivers prime efficiency
  • Superb worth and worth
  • Android four.four brings welcome software program enhancements

Cons

  • Battery life could possibly be higher
  • Does not work on Verizon
  • Does not supply international LTE

Abstract

The Nexus 5 provides the perfect bang on your buck, with superb specs and the newest OS for a really affordable worth.

Hardware

The Nexus four swept us off of our ft when it arrived final yr. And for good purpose: It was an aggressively priced smartphone with a chic design and specs that have been, on the time, fairly excessive-finish specs. It delivered nice efficiency, a wonderful show and the perfect of what Android four.2 needed to supply, nevertheless it additionally had a couple of shortcomings, together with subpar battery life and no LTE. Additionally, it solely launched in black, with a white model not arriving till mid-2013. Furthermore, its baseline mannequin was fairly restricted in storage capability. For all of its perks, there was nonetheless loads of room for enchancment.

Fortuitously, the Nexus 5 improves upon final yr’s mannequin in almost each attainable method: It options the most effective show, one of the best processor, a good quantity of space for storing and it additionally launched in each black and white, so clients are getting a selection from the very starting. Oh, and it consists of LTE, though there is a catch, as we’ll clarify momentarily.

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

After taking a design danger on the N4, LG opted to play it protected this time round. The top result’s a strong telephone constructed with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass three on the entrance and polycarbonate plastic on the again. The feel of the telephone’s again is barely totally different with every shade; the black has a matte, delicate-contact end that appears and feels nice (so long as you do not contact it with greasy palms, that’s). The white model, in the meantime, is extra according to Google’s description of “silky,” providing a clean texture that is not in any respect shiny or shiny. In fact, that makes it a bit harder to grip, so you will need to go together with black if unintentional drops are a priority.

No matter which you select, the Nexus 5 is far more minimalistic than final yr’s mannequin, however with its extra simplistic design, it simply does not include eye-catching parts like different flagship smartphones we have performed with just lately, thanks partially to the absence of a glittery sample on the again (just like the Nexus four). Nonetheless, it isn’t with out some visible thrives. Look intently and you will discover a porthole-formed earpiece on the entrance that matches the system’s general colour. In the meantime, the digital camera lens on the again is raised ever so barely above the remainder of the telephone’s physique, and the Nexus emblem — which is etched into the again — stretches from backside to prime. The system is not ugly, however there is not a lot about it that is hanging, both.

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

We will not say how nicely it should maintain up in excessive sturdiness exams — we anticipate to see loads of drop exams present up on YouTube as early adopters obtain their shipments from the Play Retailer — however suffice to say the Nexus 5 is sturdily constructed. Furthermore, it gives loads of factors of friction, decreasing the probabilities it’s going to slip out of your hand. The display has even been redesigned in order that the glass is barely recessed, permitting a small quantity of safety from drops at sure angles. In distinction, the glass on the Nexus four was raised above the edges and was subsequently extra weak — no matter the way you dropped it.

The brand new Nexus measures 137.9mm (5.forty three inch) tall, sixty nine.2mm (2.seventy two inch) vast and eight.6mm (zero.34 inch) skinny. It is imperceptibly wider than the Nexus four because of the bigger display, however LG’s additionally trimmed down the bezels a bit, so the additional width should not make it any much less snug to carry. What you may discover, nevertheless, is that the flat edges prolong outward at an angle to satisfy the gently curved again plate. That new form makes this telephone simpler to grip than the Nexus four, however the probably awkward angle at which the edges and again meet make the telephone rather less snug.

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

Whereas we’re taking a tour of the edges, there’s an fascinating element concerning the Nexus 5 lock button and quantity rocker: They’re ceramic, a cloth we do not typically see utilized in telephones. Granted, this selection of construct materials might not have an effect on the gadget’s general sturdiness, however it’s a pleasant contact — buttons are often one space the place producers minimize corners, so we’re completely satisfied to see LG and Google throw in a bit of additional TLC the place we usually would not anticipate it.

Persevering with across the edges, the speaker grille is now on the underside subsequent to the micro-USB port, not that that is a lot of a shock. For those who recall, the Nexus four’s grille was poorly positioned on the decrease-proper part of the again, which led to muffled sound till LG quietly up to date the handset with a tiny piece of plastic that protruded from the again of the system, enabling the sound to get out. This design selection can also be featured on LG’s flagship G2, in addition to a number of different telephones (such because the iPhone 5 and 5s). The one disadvantage now’s that it’s a must to be certain that your finger does not block the grille whenever you’re holding the telephone in panorama mode. Lastly, there is a micro-SIM slot subsequent to the lock button on the proper, a headphone jack and microphone on prime and a quantity rocker on the left.

Over on the entrance, there is a notification indicator on the backside. It usually glows white, though you possibly can set up third-get together apps like Mild Move to vary the colour. Up prime you will see the 1.three-megapixel entrance-dealing with digital camera, sensors and that porthole-formed earpiece we talked about earlier. It is barely noticeable on the black mannequin, nevertheless it undoubtedly stands out on the white one. We might’ve favored to see all-white bezels match the remainder of the gadget; the corporate’s finished it a number of occasions earlier than, however we have been advised by individuals near the state of affairs that the Nexus was created with Google’s design philosophy in thoughts whereas being based mostly on LG’s hardware platform.

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

The Nexus 5 helps the Qi wi-fi charging commonplace, identical to final yr’s mannequin. There does not look like any bizarre compatibility points this time round; we have been simply capable of cost the telephone utilizing each Energizer and Samsung pads, in addition to the Nokia Fatboy. Google’s additionally popping out with a separate charging pad that we’re advised might be obtainable within the Play Retailer quickly (pricing hasn’t been introduced). As for connectivity, the Nexus 5 consists of twin-band 802.11ac WiFi, in addition to Bluetooth four.zero, NFC (for Google Pockets and Android Beam), SlimPort, DLNA and USB OTG for accessing flash drives and utilizing keyboards.

Now, about that catch we talked about earlier. We’re happy that Google and LG included LTE this time round, however we’re not glad with the implementation right here. The N5 is available in two totally different configurations. There’s the D820 for North America with 9-band LTE (bands half/four/5/17/19/25/26/forty one, which presents help for Dash, T-Cellular and AT&T, in addition to Canada and some random networks in Asia, Africa and South America). It additionally provides quad-band GSM/EDGE, CDMA 800/1900 and 7-band DC-HSPA+ (bands half/four/5/6/eight/19, which primarily cowl a majority of networks outdoors North America).

Then there’s the second mannequin, the D821, which comes with six-band LTE (bands 1/three/5/7/eight/20), quad-band GSM/EDGE and 6-band DC-HSPA+ (bands 1/2/four/5/6/eight). Whereas most of your knowledge wants may be addressed by one or the opposite, anybody hoping to benefit from LTE whereas touring overseas will discover that neither model works in all places.

Nexus 5 Nexus four Pricing $349 (16GB), $399 (32GB) $299 (8GB), $349 (16GB) Dimensions 137.9 x sixty nine.2 x eight.6 mm (5.forty three x 2.seventy two x zero.34 in) 133.9 x sixty eight.7 x 9.1 mm (5.27 x 2.70 x zero.36 in) Weight four.fifty nine oz. (130g) four.9 oz. (139g) Display measurement four.ninety five inches four.7 inches Display decision 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (445 ppi) 1,280 x 768 pixels (318 ppi) Display sort IPS IPS Battery 2,300mAh 2,100mAh Inner storage sixteen/32GB eight/16GB Exterior storage None None Rear digital camera 8MP, OIS, AF, LED flash, three.97mm focal size, aperture f/2.5 (common) 8MP, AF, LED flash, four.5mm focal size Entrance-dealing with cam 1.3MP 1.3MP Video seize 1080p 1080p NFC Sure Sure Radios

D820 (North America): GSM 850/900/1800/1900; CDMA 800/1900; DC-HSPA+ (forty two Mbps) bands 1/2/four/5/6/eight/19, LTE Cat three bands half/four/5/17/19/25/26/forty one

D821 (remainder of the world): GSM 850/900/1800/1900; DC-HSPA+ (forty two Mbps) 850/900/1700/1900/2100; LTE Cat three, Bands 1/three/5/7/eight/20

DC-HSPA+ (42Mbps)/UMTS: 850/900/1700/1900/2100; GSM/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 Bluetooth model four.zero model four.zero SoC 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974), Adreno 330 GPU 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Professional (APQ8064), Adreno 320 GPU RAM 2GB 2GB Leisure DLNA, SlimPort, USB OTG DLNA, SlimPort WiFi twin-band 802.11a/ac/b/g/n twin-band 802.11a/b/g/n Working system Android four.four KitKat Android four.three Jelly Bean (initially four.2)

Show

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

It is troublesome to seek out many main beefs with a 1080p show, particularly when it comes on a 5-inch telephone and provides a shocking pixel density of 445 pixels per inch. And so it’s with the Nexus 5’s IPS panel, which represents a big enchancment over the Nexus four in each decision and high quality. All informed, it delivers implausible viewing angles and above-common outside visibility. It is extremely sharp, and the brand new Roboto font on Android four.four is a superb match for top-res shows. The panel actually is sort of lovely, however when you have been to set it subsequent to an LG G2 or Samsung Galaxy S four, you’d discover that the colours aren’t fairly as wealthy on the Nexus; the whites aren’t as white, the blacks aren’t as black and colours usually aren’t as vibrant. That stated, in case you assume saturated colours are overrated anyway, you are going to love the show right here.

Android four.four

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

In true Google style, the newest Nexus system predictably comes preloaded with model new Android firmware: model four.four, or KitKat in the event you favor calling it by its dessert-themed codename. Make no mistake, that is probably the most vital replace we have seen to Google’s cellular OS since Undertaking Butter was launched a yr and a half in the past. Like most large refreshes, there is a slightly prolonged laundry listing of enhancements, new options and APIs. Regardless that we might love to debate each single one at size, we will keep on with the options that we expect would be the most impactful.

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Android four.four KitKat screenshots

Venture Svelte

Google refers to KitKat internally as Undertaking Svelte, and for good cause: Efficiency optimization is the secret, and certainly, the working system and preloaded apps have been trimmed down considerably in measurement. Android is leaner and meaner, and efficiency is faster, making Android four.four extra environment friendly for decrease-finish units that do not have the identical highly effective internals as flagship units. Particularly, KitKat is supposed for units with a minimum of 512MB of RAM onboard.

Builders can tweak their apps with a couple of strains of code to detect when a low-powered gadget is getting used; when this occurs, the app may be programmed to make use of fewer graphics and reduce down on animations, transitions and different elements that have a tendency to tug down the app’s efficiency. That is all a part of Google’s mission to deliver Android to the “subsequent billion units” — i.e., customers in rising markets.

Curiously, this newfound give attention to the low-finish a part of the market solely appears to serve producers who’re engaged on new telephones which have but to be launched; most present units with 512MB of RAM do not get listed as candidates for receiving Android four.four. We might like to see how some older (and now irrelevant) units would fare on the brand new OS, however we’ll merely have to attend for somebody to discover a approach to make it occur.

Consumer interface

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

After booting up KitKat for the primary time, you will discover the house display nonetheless looks like the identical previous Android we all know and love. However it is not utterly similar. The icons have been made a bit bigger to accommodate the extra display actual property on greater smartphones (though we observed that many third-social gathering app icons are a bit fuzzy consequently). Google has additionally chosen to make use of a condensed model of Roboto for the house display and app menu fonts. It matches in fairly properly right here, however we doubt it will look nearly as good built-in into different elements of the consumer expertise.

You begin off with just one residence panel, however it may be expanded to incorporate as many panels as you need — we made it to 22 earlier than giving up. Go into the app menu and you will discover a pair drastic variations: There’s wallpaper beneath the grid of icons now, somewhat than a pure black background, and the widget part is totally MIA. You will discover the latter by doing an extended-press of the house display, which now takes you to a display the place you’ll be able to rearrange panels and alter wallpaper along with satisfying your want for widgets.

It might be so delicate that you do not even understand it at first, however the standing bar and navigation bar are not strong black on the house display and app menu — they’re translucent, clearly displaying off the wallpaper beneath. That is a part of Google’s new firmware design technique: KitKat allows builders to utterly disguise these two bars, in order that customers can take full benefit of the additional display area. We consider this might be extremely helpful in video games and e-ebook apps, however that is solely a small variety of attainable use instances.

The lock display is essentially the identical as Android four.three, however there are a number of enhancements to the lock display widgets. Most notable, nevertheless, is the brand new digital camera button on the decrease-proper nook of the display; drag this up and to the left, and also you’re instantly into your digital camera app. We will not say that that is an enchancment during the last model, since all we’ve got to do on four.three is swipe to the left of the lock display to entry the viewfinder. Unusually, the button is positioned in the identical location as it’s on iOS. Coincidence? You be the decide.

Google Now

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

Google Now was launched with the primary Jelly Bean replace as a part of Venture Butter, and it is grown significantly ever since. There’s numerous momentum pushing it ahead, and Android four.four solely serves to extend its usefulness exponentially. A type of areas by which it is grow to be extra useful is its integration into the Google Expertise Launcher. Flip the Google Now function on and you will be whisked into the usual Google Now panel as quickly as you swipe to the appropriate from the primary house panel.

Despite the fact that Google insists that Motorola nonetheless acts as its personal firm, it clearly did not have any qualms about utilizing the flagship Moto X for inspiration. Particularly, the Nexus 5 has been bestowed with touchless controls: From the house display or Google Now launcher, say “OK Google” and also you’re prompted to talk voice instructions, starting from making telephone calls to sending messages to setting your alarm, amongst different choices. (We extremely advocate that you simply inform Google to make you a sandwich.) This would possibly not be displaying up on each Android four.four gadget, so it is solely obtainable on the Nexus 5 for now. There’s additionally one different vital drawback with it — you’ll be able to’t activate it when the display is locked or turned off. Or if you’re in the midst of one other app. For what it is value, Google has claimed an enormous enchancment to its voice-recognition software program. Certainly, we had only a few issues with the system transcribing our instructions.

Hangouts, telephone and E-mail

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

A number of apps acquired a lot-wanted overhauls with KitKat. The most important one is arguably Hangouts, which lastly integrates SMS and MMS messages into the app. It is nice to have the ability to have all your conversations lastly displaying up in a single place, nevertheless it’s nonetheless not potential to merge textual content messages and Hangout conversations collectively into one thread, so it was too commonplace for us to by accident ship what was meant to be a textual content message to a Hangout related to the identical individual’s e-mail tackle. This can be a essential function that may possible present up in a future model of Android, however no less than Google appears to have full convergence as an finish aim. Thankfully, if this is not fairly your factor, or in the event you’re ready for Hangouts to mature a bit, Google’s added the choice to vary your default messaging app to a 3rd-social gathering service.

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

Google additionally revamped the telephone app. The dialer is actually the identical, however the primary display additionally encompasses a record of these individuals you speak to probably the most (no matter who’s making the calls and who’s receiving them). The telephone app additionally provides new search capabilities that allow you to lookup companies, contacts and different individuals inside your Google Apps domains. It even consists of Caller ID, which exhibits the identify of companies once they name you.

The usual E-mail shopper has additionally acquired a facelift — a lot in order that in the event you’re not wanting intently you may mistake it for the Gmail app. The 2 now look strikingly comparable, proper right down to the avatar bins and slide-to-delete gestures. And that is not all: Now you can delete or archive an e mail instantly from the notification menu, somewhat than being pressured to enter the app. General, this can be a big enchancment — we could not stand the consumer expertise on this app previous to KitKat.

NFC

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

Slip an AT&T SIM within the Nexus 5 and hearth up the preloaded Google Pockets app whenever you get the prospect. Shock — Pockets truly works. With Android four.four, Google’s able to go over the heads of carriers that insist on solely supporting particular cellular cost companions (AT&T, for example, is tied to Isis), by merely including software program options that get rid of the necessity for any service involvement.

How is that this attainable? Google has added one thing referred to as Host Card Emulation, which permits any app on any gadget to emulate an NFC sensible card, with no service-provisioned safe factor required (although you’ll be able to nonetheless use them in case you want). In different phrases, your whole faucet-to-pay transactions can undergo whichever service you select, no matter which cellular operator you are utilizing. The one factor your telephone must make this occur is an NFC controller.

Miscellaneous options

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

Google can also be closely emphasizing doc sharing and expanded connectivity choices. KitKat marks the debut of QuickOffice as a pre-loaded app (we have seen it present up on different Android units earlier than, however simply not on telephones operating the inventory model of Android). As well as, KitKat ushers in new connectivity options like constructed-in wi-fi printing capabilities. The downloads app can also be redesigned. We do should marvel, although, what objective QuickOffice serves on a platform that already comes with Google Drive, which provides an analogous function set. Maybe we’ll ultimately see a convergence between the 2 apps, however for now that is at the least a welcome addition to the record of ordinary apps.

Display recording is one other new function made potential by means of KitKat, nevertheless it’s not for the on a regular basis consumer; the telephone (in our case, the Nexus 5) must be related to your pc. We cannot define the precise steps right here, however we’ll hyperlink to a publish that talks you thru the method. What’s extra, the complete clip (which is restricted to 3 minute segments, no less than for now) is saved in your telephone as an MP4 file till you are able to share it or switch it again to your pc. The power to make movies based mostly on what’s being displayed on the display is a large win for YouTubers and builders interested by doing a walkthrough of their app or recreation.

KitKat additionally features a method referred to as sensor batching, which is analogous to some of the options provided by Apple’s M7 movement-monitoring coprocessor. The thought behind sensor batching is to scale back the quantity of energy taken up by actions which might be continuously utilizing sensor knowledge, resembling location monitoring, health and different apps. One specific use case is step detection and step counting; sure, your Android smartphone can now turn out to be a glorified pedometer. This seems to be unique to the Nexus 5 for now, because it’s conditional upon having the required hardware, however Google guarantees that it is working with chip makers to make sure the function is obtainable in additional telephones going ahead.

Lastly, Android four.four brings different extremely particular options to your telephone, comparable to Closed Captioning, IR blaster help, two new Bluetooth profiles (HOGP and MAP), a brand new Location Settings tile within the Fast Settings pull-down menu and a constructed-in Gadget Supervisor.

Digital camera

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

Smartphone cameras have advanced fairly a bit even within the yr because the Nexus four got here out, and so have our expectations about what makes a superb imaging expertise. We already felt final yr’s Nexus digital camera was mediocre, so how will this yr’s model maintain up towards the ever-enhancing competitors? The Nexus 5 comes with a digital camera that gives the identical eight-megapixel decision as its predecessor, and whereas we acknowledge that there is far more to imaging high quality than uncooked pixel rely, it is nonetheless an indicator of the path LG and Google have taken because the final mannequin got here out. On this case, we’re not off to an excellent begin.

Luckily, the Nexus 5 is a bit higher than it sounds, nevertheless it additionally has its justifiable share of quirks — a few of which carry over from the final Nexus. As an example, the viewfinder is as soon as once more in sixteen:9 facet ratio, whereas the precise picture itself is four:three. Worse issues might occur, however it’s troublesome to correctly body an image the best way you need when it comes out with much more vertical area than you’d initially deliberate. We may be slightly extra forgiving if the viewfinder have been meant to reap the benefits of the complete display à la KitKat, however the black bar nonetheless stays on the very backside.

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

The inventory digital camera consumer interface stays the identical as Android four.three, with the one seen change being the addition of a “+” image on the finish of the HDR choice. Sure, the Nexus 5 digital camera now comes with a function referred to as HDR+, which based on Google includes taking burst photographs and utilizing particular algorithms to place them collectively into one shot. After evaluating pictures taken in automated mode with these taken in HDR+, we a lot choose the latter and default to it in virtually each case. The dynamic vary is way too brief in regular mode — most darker areas, comparable to shade, seem approach too darkish, whereas areas with larger publicity are merely blown out most of the time — and that is the place HDR+ actually shines. Colours come out a bit of extra; these darker elements of the pictures are simpler to see and extra detailed; and we will truly make out most highlighted areas. With the brand new HDR, we’re capable of see objects via brilliant home windows and even the sky is a extra real looking shade of blue. Professional tip: Autumn is an unimaginable time of yr for taking HDR pictures.

As you’ve got in all probability discerned by now, photographs taken in common mode are a bit too inconsistent for our tastes. The standard of our pattern photographs finally got here right down to elements just like the course we have been dealing with and what time of day it was. Every time the solar was behind us, we usually received nice pictures with a strong quantity of element and correct colour. When it was in entrance of us — even when in a roundabout way — the image sometimes was washed out and/or utterly overexposed. We have been additionally utterly robbed of an ideal sundown photograph opp, because of prevailing lens flare.

Gallery | a hundred and one Photographs
Nexus 5 pattern photographs

Along with HDR+, the digital camera’s different candy spot is low-mild efficiency, and the inclusion of optical picture stabilization (OIS) helps a fantastic deal. It wasn’t capable of seize fairly as a lot mild as powerhouses just like the HTC One (particularly in locations that have been virtually pitch black), however the Nexus truly outperformed it in some points, corresponding to general element and the power to give attention to nearer objects. It was additionally an enormous enchancment over the Nexus four and the Samsung Galaxy S four in almost each method, and we have been particularly intrigued by the comparatively minimal quantity of noise we received in most of our photographs. As a sidenote, the ISO remained at round 250-300 for many night time pictures, although we sometimes noticed it bump as much as 1620 for very darkish footage.

Sadly, we additionally observed that the Nexus struggles with shutter lag, at occasions taking two to 3 seconds to fireside off the shot (even once we already targeted in on an object). Due to this, we discovered it troublesome to take footage of shifting objects, like sugar-crammed youngsters. As you may anticipate, it isn’t fairly as dangerous in direct daylight, however it’s exponentially worse indoors or anytime after the late afternoon.

The Nexus 5 can report 1080p video footage at a mean bit fee of 17 Mbps, and we appreciated most of what we noticed. Regardless that the camcorder had a bent to select up the identical sort of lens flare impact when dealing with towards the solar, it labored fairly nicely for us; we loved the colour accuracy and clean movement in most of our movies, however it predictably turned choppier and noisier in decrease-mild situations. The mics picked up my voice, in addition to the voice of relations near the telephone, with crystal-clear readability; as a phrase of warning, nevertheless, it additionally does a superb job of choosing up the breeze within the background.

Efficiency and battery life

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

The Nexus 5 joins a quickly rising exploding listing of excessive-finish smartphones that use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 chipset, which consists of 4 2.26GHz Krait four hundred cores and a quad-core Adreno 330 GPU clocked at 450MHz. It additionally comes with 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM clocked at 800MHz. For sure, the Nexus packs as a lot energy as you’ll be able to probably get on a smartphone lately, and Google has a bonus over different producers by being the primary to optimize its personal gadget on KitKat, which suggests this factor completely flies on Android four.four.

Switching between duties which are open within the background takes mere nanoseconds, and we had no hassle multitasking in any other case. Gaming can also be implausible, though the Nexus is not resistant to the occasional body skip on extra intense video games like Riptide GP 2 and Asphalt eight. Whereas it does not notch the most effective benchmark scores of any Snapdragon 800 gadget (see the desk under), our in-hand expertise has been nothing in need of prime-notch — particularly given the worth level.

Nexus 5 Nexus four LG G2 Quadrant 2.zero 9,296 5,224 19,138 Vellamo 2.zero 1,407 1,448 2,895 3DMark IS Final 17,880 eleven,167 sixteen,619 SunSpider 1.zero (ms) 696 660 880 GFXBench 2.7 Offscreen (fps) 23 15 20 CF-Bench 20,709 thirteen,715 37,one hundred twenty SunSpider: decrease scores are higher. Nexus four scores taken on Android four.three.

Battery life was certainly one of our largest considerations on the Nexus four, which featured a 2,100mAh energy cell, and so we have been particularly apprehensive about how the Nexus 5 would fare given its comparatively small 2,300mAh battery. And what concerning the elevated pressure on battery because of the telephone’s 1080p show and excessive-finish chipset? That was worrisome, too. We’re completely happy to report, nevertheless, that there’s certainly an enchancment, although the runtime is of course not so long as on different flagship telephones with bigger batteries. In our commonplace video loop check, we ran an HD film by means of an countless cycle till the battery lastly died after seven hours and 20 minutes.

When it comes to regular utilization (checking e-mail and social media, taking a couple of footage and movies, watching Netflix for an hour and studying a number of lengthy-type articles on Chrome), we have been capable of eke out 12 hours of battery life. This is not incredible, particularly since heavier utilization would doubtless imply you will barely make it house from a mean eight-hour workday earlier than needing to plug the telephone in. We’ll be taking it round for a full day within the metropolis this week and can replace our evaluate with some further findings.

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

We have been impressed by some features of the system’s audio and unhappy in others. Listening to music and watching films with headphones plugged in was an absolute pleasure; sound was not solely loud, however full as properly, providing a great stability of bass and treble with the extra alternative to tweak the EQ as vital. Audio high quality on calls was very clear, though we might have needed the earpiece to be a bit extra highly effective. Lastly, the exterior audio system on the backside of the gadget simply left us wanting extra. We continually discovered ourselves making an attempt to show up the quantity when watching films, solely to comprehend that it was already cranked to the max. To be clear, the speaker works nice in quiet areas, however we will not say the identical factor when outdoors or in noisy rooms.

Lastly, we examined the Nexus 5 with each a T-Cellular and AT&T SIM, and have been capable of persistently obtain obtain speeds of 25 Mbps or larger, whereas our add speeds ranged from 5 to 10 Mbps. In an space of notably strong LTE protection, we have been capable of get as excessive as 65Mbps down and 20Mbps up.

Configuration choices and the competitors

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

The Nexus 5 is obtainable within the Play Retailer for 10 nations at launch: US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Korea, Japan, Italy and Spain. India is claimed to be coming quickly too. Aside from that, it is unclear when the N5 will arrive in different nations. As of this writing, each the 16GB and 32GB fashions are delivery anyplace between three to 5 weeks, relying on which unit you choose. As we talked about earlier, you will get the 16GB mannequin for $350 (which is definitely the identical value of the 16GB Nexus four when it debuted) and 32GB for $four hundred. You will additionally have the ability to order it immediately on Dash ($one hundred fifty on-contract, $450 off), T-Cellular (worth and date nonetheless to be decided), Greatest Purchase and on-line retailers within the US, in addition to numerous Canadian carriers (most quote a pay as you go worth of $500) and UK suppliers (most look like free on-contract, with various pay-as-you-go choices).

One community lacking from that record is Verizon, making it the one main US community that is not suitable with the Nexus 5. This can be a big misstep for each Huge Pink and Google, which have not been on the friendliest of phrases within the final couple years, most lately capped by the service’s choice to not let clients activate the Nexus 7 on its community. Neither firm is prepared to debate why the brand new Nexus is not supported, however since Verizon continues to be engaged on deploying LTE utilizing band four — a frequency supported on the Nexus 5 — we’re curious to see if customers will discover an unofficial workaround to make the telephone work on the community in some capability.

In terms of the competitors, the Nexus 5 rivals almost each single Android flagship in relation to specs — and worth-clever, it beats all of them, palms-down. The LG G2, as an example, comes with nearly the identical options (although it presents a bigger display, a number of items of LG-particular software program and that rear-button setup) for $575 off-contract; the Sony Xperia Z1 has wildly comparable specs as nicely, and an imported model within the US will possible run you over $600. There’s additionally the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S four, each of which truly use much less-highly effective processors with the identical show decision, and every will value on this neighborhood as properly. Spec for spec, there’s nothing that comes shut in worth to the Nexus 5.

Wrap-up

Nexus 5 review: the best phone $350 can buy

A telephone just like the Nexus 5 would get our blessing even at a better worth, however the truth that you should purchase it for as little as $350 makes it that a lot sweeter. We will not level our finger at anybody function that was clearly the sufferer of value-slicing, with battery life being the one potential exception. And even that is considerably of an enchancment over final yr’s Nexus four. We love the excessive-res show, general efficiency and the enhancements delivered to us by Android KitKat. A lot of the issues we noticed within the Nexus four have been addressed right here. All advised, we will consider only a few issues we discover fault with.

As well as, although, the Nexus 5 is not simply a very nice telephone; it is also a welcome harbinger of the place smartphones is perhaps headed. That you would be able to buy a smartphone with such unimaginable specs for lower than $four hundred — with out being pressured right into a contract within the course of — is a shot throughout the bow at producers who promote comparable units for a further $200 (at greatest). Whether or not or not it was the corporate’s intent, Google is sending a message to smartphone makers that it is attainable to make excessive-high quality handsets with out costing shoppers the proverbial arm and leg. Now we simply wait and see if that message shall be warmly acquired.

Edgar Alvarez contributed to this assessment.

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<a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/lg/nexus/5/”> LG Nexus 5 </a>

  • Key specs
  • <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/lg/nexus/5/” title=”LG Nexus 5 critiques” goal=”_blank”> Evaluations one hundred forty five </a>
  • Costs
  • Discussions
  • Sort Smartphone
  • Working system Android (KitKat [4.4])
  • Display measurement four.ninety five inches
  • Inner reminiscence sixteen GB
  • Digital camera eight&#one hundred sixty;megapixels
  • Dimensions 5.forty three x 2.seventy two x zero.34 in
  • Weight four.fifty nine oz
  • Launched 2013-10-31

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9common consumer score
  • Reception and name high quality 9.1
  • Show 9.7
  • Battery life 7.2
  • Digital camera eight
  • Ease of use 9.5
  • Design and type issue 9.four
  • Portability (measurement / weight) 9.5
  • Media help 9.three
  • Sturdiness eight.7
  • Ecosystem (apps, equipment, and so forth.) 9.four

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