Google Nexus 5 Review

Google Nexus 5 Score

4.4 Overall
  • Performance
  • Hardware
  • Battery
  • Software
  • Price

google nexus 5 reviewImage Credit/ anandtech
We talked about Nexus 5 a lot when it came out, but we never did a proper review of it, did we? Here is how things stand – every year, Google chooses a silicon vendor and a hardware partner. Then, they release a new Nexus phone that operates a newer version of Android. This year, it’s the Nexus 5. Google’s latest generation smartphone uses a 5 inch display, a Qualcomm CPU, and an LG body.

As soon as Nexus 5 was released, Google announced that they’ll be including a 7 inch and a 10 inch tablet form factor, and a whole line of accessories as well. This year, Google chose LG as its hardware partner and Qualcomm as a silicon vendor, all of this resulting in a phone that is somehow similar to the LG G2 although not exactly.

Display

google nexus 5 displayImage Credit/ anandtech
Nexus 4, as you may remember, had a WXGA 1280×768 display and a non-standard display ratio. Nexus 5 on the other hand, shifted to a more conventional 16:9 aspect ratio and it shows. It uses a 480 ppi screen density, unlike the 320 ppi that Nexus 4 used, and when it comes to Android, every pixel counts. You see, Android uses ‘display independent pixels’ to keep layouts as accommodating as possible, a fact that allows it to display a variety of resolutions and screen sizes.

Nexus 5 uses a JDI 1080p display with in-cell touch, the Synaptics ClearPad 3350 solution. It also uses a MIPI command mode panel which puts a lot of emphasis on decreasing latency while improving they way sticky animations are displayed. Another thing you immediately notice at the Nexus 5 is the brightness. To some extent, Nexus 4 is much brighter than Nexus 5, even though Nexus 5 has more dynamic range in the manual brightness setting bar.

Software

google nexus 5 softwareImage Credit/ anandtech
The Nexus 5 release coincided with the release of Android 4.4 KitKat, an OS that has been in the works for a while. The new platform speeds up system performance while introducing new APIs and features. The UI of 4.4 has been tweaked to include translucent menus all around. There is also a system of data transmission arrows in place designed to inform users about networks and connectivity.

The phone’s stock apps also got tweaked – the lock screen uses a single font, the clock changes its picker, and the lock screen now has a full screen or movie art setting. The new ‘immersive mode’ for instance hides all system UI while in full screen mode, a mode than can be disabled with an edge swipe. Nexus 5 also includes more Google+ and Maps integration, which greatly increases the functionality.

Hardware

google nexus 5 hardwareImage Credit/ anandtech
The Nexus 5 uses a 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 with and an Adreno 330 GPU. Combined with the device’s 2 GB of RAM and improved touchscreen responsiveness, the processor helps the device impressively smooth when running apps and switching between screens. Furthermore, we couldn’t find anything wrong with the device while using it, not in terms of performance issues, or lag of any sort.

The Nexus 5 also behaves very well when running the latest games, although they drain the battery rather quickly. To some extent, the device’s responsiveness and overall good performance in testing might be attributed to the OS. Also, there weren’t any crashes during testing, regardless of what the device was subjected to.

Camera

google nexus 5 cameraImage Credit/ anandtech
Google has received a lot of stick in recent years for the quality of its imaging system, no matter what Nexus device it was. With Nexus 5, this changes quite a lot. The device uses an 8 MP CMOS with larger 1.4 micron pixels, using a Sony IMX179 sensor. It also features the same OIS that is currently used by LG G2. The only real issue with the camera is the UI that behaves strangely. For example, if you’re trying to tap the focus after auto AF makes you look at a blurry image. This doesn’t happen always however, so no worries there.

Battery

google nexus 5 batteryImage Credit/ anandtech
The 3.8 V, 2300 mAh 2d battery gives out 8.74 watt hours. In this respect, Nexus 5 is closer to LG G2 than it is to Nexus 4. Batteries have been getting bigger and bigger lately, which isn’t the case with Nexus 5 which maybe due to its display size, is a bit on the smaller side. With Nexus 5, you get more than 13 hours of cellular talk time before the battery runs out, which is above average nowadays.

Impression

Apart from the buggy camera UI, there is little to say bad about Nexus 5. This device operates an Android 4.4 KitKat OS that was made for it, which in turn, makes everything run smooth an fast. Overall, the changes in UI and accessibility make the platform much friendlier and easy to use. Last but not least, it is good to see the 8 GB default as internal storage upgraded to a more comfortable 16 GB, even though we can’t help but think that Google could have went for the 32+ GB if they really wanted to.