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The Google Nexus 5: Hands-on Review

Tags: nexus google
The new Nexus phone is here. Combining the best of Google, and the best of Android, this phone offers one of the best package of specs at a relatively affordable price. After using it for 5 days, here is my review of the Google flagship device.

Pros   Cons

Extreme performance No expandable Memory
Decent Camera with OIS Low Speaker Volume
Android KitKat out-of-the-box Inconsistent Battery Life
Full HD 1080p Screen


2.26 GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 800 Processor
Adreno 330 GPU
16 or 32 GB of Storage
Bluetooth 4.0
Qi Wireless charging
4G/LTE and Dual Band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
2300 mAh Battery


The Google Nexus 5 comes in with a slim 8.9mm unibody design, with 4.95 inches of screen. It comes in two colors, Black and White, and both having slightly different exteriors. Although both are made of plastic, but that is far premium than the cheap looking plastic used by Samsung in their flagship devices. The white one that I have, features a glossy black plastic on the sides, which really is a fingerprint magnet. On the back, we see the NEXUS emblazoned on the white matt plastic chassis. The use of plastic makes the device pretty light, weighing just 130 grams. On the front, it features scratch resistant Gorilla Glass 3.


The Nexus 5 features a 4.95 inches Full HD IPS display, with a pixel density of  445 PPI. It means texts are much crispier to read, and the photos appear lifelike. The movies look brilliant in Full HD, and the gaming just makes the experience worth every penny!


The Nexus 5 features a blazing fast 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 Quad Core processor. That means it is capable of handling whatever you throw at it; from heavy multitasking to playing hardcore games, everything runs super smooth. The app load times are much quicker than the Samsung Galaxy S4 (I compared it myself), evidently due to the latest processor from Qualcomm. It is worth noting that the Nexus 5 contains the same processor that is also featured by the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, and the Sony Xperia Z1 all of which cost around 1.5 times that of this phone. At this price of 349$ (Rs 30000 in India), it is just a steal!!


The Nexus 5 features Adreno 330 GPU, which is the latest GPU featured by all flagship devices, powered at 450 MHz. I tested it against Asphalt 8, NFS: Most Wanted, and Dead Trigger 2, and the experience was mesmerizing. The battery drained dramatically, but that's all together different story.


Coming from the house of Google, the all new Nexus 5 comes with the latest Android 4.4 aka KitKat out of the box. Being the Nexus device, it is promised preferential updates of Android, at least for the next 18 months. Being the stock Android, it is free from all the third-party bloatware, that is present in other non-Nexus devices. The software armed with Android 4.4 is more refined than ever, with Google Now emerging as "The Next Big Thing" (after the Face Unlock in Icecream Sandwich). It becomes the ultimate virtual assistant, and is much more powerful than the iPhone gimmick Siri. Siri was just a big hype, whereas Google Now really gets the job done. Just say "Okay Google" as the activation phrase, anytime, at any of your homescreens, and it starts following your commands. You can perform Google searches, send messages, make phone calls, set your alarm and more with this new voice function.


The Nexus 5 comes with a decent 8 MP snapper with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). OIS dramatically improves low light photography, and stabilizes the video recording. It also stabilizes the shaky hand syndrome, some of the newbies suffer from. There are however, some issues with the stock Camera app, which makes the focusing take forever. This is promised to be fixed by a software update from Google, so till then use a third-party app like  Camera FX.  


When it comes to battery, it is never enough. If you're a normal user, it would last a full day without complaining. But if you're a heavy user, well, the 2300 mAh battery may slightly disappoint you. Hardcore gaming drains the battery fastest, and you can't expect more than 2 hours of that. On an average, you'll easily go throughout the day with 4 hours of on-screen usage, with the low brightness setting.  Standby time is pretty good- In  10 hours of my sleeping, it just went down by 6%.

10 hours of standby


The Nexus 5 is, as expected, another "Nexus" experience. There are however some some software issues, like laggy camera, or low speaker volume, or unstable Wi-Fi, which will be hopefully fixed, at least in some part, when the software is updated. For the price starting at 349$ (16GB) (Rs 30,000 in India), it's nearly impossible to find anything else that compares; so even with those issues in mind, it's definitely a device worth buying.

The Google Nexus 5, exclusively reviewed by Aman Gupta.

P.S. If you wanna see comparison between some prominent mid-end to high-end smartphone choices, here's the link for that.
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The Google Nexus 5: Hands-on Review


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