Nexus 5 Review: The Best Android Can Offer (Especially For The Price)

Nexus 5 Review: The Best Android Can Offer (Especially For the Price)

This year, after having leaked more than a shot-up sieve, the long-awaited Nexus 5 is here with Android 4.4 (KitKat) in tow. It's most definitely one of the best phones you can buy, even if it doesn't quite meet its inflated expectations.

What Is It?

It's the new Nexus, baby. It's a smartphone from Google (built by LG) designed to showcase the newest version of Android (4.4, a.k.a. KitKat) in its purest form. It has a 5-inch, 1080p IPS Plus screen (445 pixels per inch), Qualcomm's current flagship in the quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, 2300mAh battery and a 8MP camera on the back. And, yes, unlike last year's Nexus 4, the Nexus 5 supports LTE with no hacking required.

Perhaps most significantly, you can buy it, unlocked and without any carrier subsidies for $399 (16GB version) or $449 (32GB version) in Australia straight from Google.

Why It Matters

The Nexus 5 matters because it's Google's pure, unadulterated vision for what an Android phone should be. And its predecessors have always been among the best phones of any kind you can buy.

The most important feature of a Nexus phone is that it offers a vanilla Android experience. Hardware manufacturers can't help but pollute their offerings with skins, which almost without exception degrade your overall experience. Some of them are ok, and some of them make you want to feed your hands to an alligator, but none of them are 100-per cent pure Google.

It's not just software though; Nexus hardware has — in theory, at least — been dialled in by Google to show off the full potential of its platform. As with last year's Nexus 4, Google has tapped LG to produce the body to pair with its KitKat soul. Ultimately, it's the closest thing in the Android ecosystem to what Apple is able to offer with its iPhone, where Google has full control of the software and the hardware.

Oh, and because the Nexus program essentially exists outside of wireless carrier control, OS updates come much, much faster.

Nexus 5 Review: The Best Android Can Offer (Especially For the Price)

Design

On the outside, the Nexus 5 is unremarkable. That doesn't mean bad, just that nothing really stands out. It's a slightly rounded rectangle, most reminiscent of a Galaxy S4 except a bit taller (138mm vs 137mm), a bit thicker (8.7mm vs 7.9mm), and just a hair narrower (69mm vs 70mm). The back is a brushed plastic that strikes a nice balance between smooth and grippy. The only physical buttons on it (the power button and the volume rocker) are both placed just prominently enough, and offer a satisfying click.

Really the Nexus 5's only distinguishing features are an extra-large camera lens (which is necessary for the built-in and fantastic optical image stabilisation), and its big bright screen. Speaking of the latter: that IPS Plus display is sharp and plenty bright, even in direct sunlight. When compared to an AMOLED display, you can see a bit of rosiness in the whites (whereas AMOLEDs tend to skew a bit greenish) which we find pleasing, but no IPS display can come anywhere near an AMOLED when it comes to blacks. The Nexus 5 manages a respectable very dark grey, but it can't touch that vacuum-of-space blackness that the AMOLEDs have.

There is no removable battery, expandable memory or IR blaster on the Nexus 5. There is, however, wireless charging, which actually comes in pretty handy.

Nexus 5 Review: The Best Android Can Offer (Especially For the Price)

Left to right: Moto X, Nexus 5, HTC One, Galaxy S4

Using It

The Nexus 5 is fast. We expected it to tear, and it is, indeed, the fastest Android phone we've ever used. Truth be told, it's only slightly faster than the current top-ranked speedsters like the HTC One. But slightly faster than something that's already fast as hell is still fast as hell. We'll take it! That said, if you were expecting the Snapdragon 800 when combined with stock Android would result in a phone so speedy you'd actually time-travel backwards a little every time you used it, well, it's not that, but it's the closest thing we've got.

The thing is, that speed isn't always obvious. See, most of the stuff you actually use your phone for doesn't require that much processing power. So, when we pitted the Nexus 5 against the under-powered Moto X and had them race to open a giant app like Dead Trigger 2, the Nexus only won by about 1.25 seconds. Certainly nothing to sneeze at, but until games or video editing suites for mobile take a big leap forward and require much more horsepower, the extra speed is just kind of a nice bonus rather than a life-changer at the moment. You are free, however, to feel smug about how future-proof that mad-dog engine will make your new phone.

The Nexus 5 definitely feels light for its size, and LG did a nice job on the build quality. It feels solid all the way around, and fairly scuff-resistant. At the same time, there's no wow-factor here. When you first hold the HTC One there's a whoa moment when you feel just how solid it is. Likewise, the Moto X makes you realise just how small a 4.7-inch screen can feel in your hand. The Nexus 5 is comfortable, but it's definitely not as comfortable as either of those other devices. It's missing that wow factor.

While it's only been a few days, we're happy to report that battery life has been solid thus far. Naturally, it's nowhere near the Droid Maxx, but even with fairly heavy usage I typically made it to 1am with 15 per cent left in the tank. We'll continue to test this and will update if there are any significant findings. Reception has been solid (testing in and around LA), and phone calls (remember those?) have been loud and clear on both ends.

Nexus 5 Review: The Best Android Can Offer (Especially For the Price)

KitKat

Is Android 4.4 the best version of Android yet? Of course it is. That being said, would your average Joe/Jane notice the difference between it and 4.3, or even 4.2? Unlikely. Jelly Bean (Android 4.1 through 4.3) was a major leap for Android. It's when things got fast, smooth, and polished. KitKat (4.4) doesn't really seem like much more of a jump than 4.2 was to 4.3, and it probably could have retained the Jelly Bean moniker, but our guess is that it had been over a year and Google was antsy to put a new name out there. It's clear why it's not Android 5.0, though.

That being said, the improvements that are here are welcome. Most significantly, there's the new phone app which is much, much easier to use. Previously, this was the only part of third-party skins that we didn't mind so much because Android's stock dialer was so bad. Now you can start punching in the name of whatever contact (in the dial pad) you want, and it will shortcut you to them. It also includes a caller-ID feature which worked extremely well in our testing.

Nexus 5 Review: The Best Android Can Offer (Especially For the Price)

Less successful was the feature that allows you to search by name for "nearby places". For example, when I was searching for a supermarket chain, I was given options for three of them that were between 3km and 7km away, while it completely ignored the one that was 800m over. I was also directed towards Connecticut for waffles, so, there's that.

The messaging app got a major overhaul too. In fact, it's been eaten by Hangouts, Google's chat app. Now SMSing and IMing are done from within the same app. You add one of your contacts to a conversation (a Hangout), and the app tells you if they're just on SMS or if they're on chat, or both (it also tells you if they're online or not). It's also now really easy to share your current location from within the app. That said, this puppy still has a lot of growing to do. The whole UI for the app is a bit confusing. Things look cluttered, it's too easy to accidentally archive a conversation, and it's not very clear who's really online and up for a chat or who's asleep because it's 4am their time but their phone is turned on.

Nexus 5 Review: The Best Android Can Offer (Especially For the Price)

Google Now (which we very much like) is now baked deeper into the OS. For starters, it has its own panel on the desktop, so you can just slide over to it. It's not really much simpler than sliding up from the app drawer, but we suspect a lot of people didn't know it was there before. This should make it more obvious to more people, which is a good thing. You can also now activate voice search / voice command from anywhere on the desktop (or within the Search app) by simply saying "OK Google", then saying what you want. It's nice, but not nearly as helpful as it is on the Moto X, where you can say, "OK Google Now" from virtually any app, or even when the screen is off.

Quickoffice is kind of a nebulous app. You can use it to "open and save files on Google Drive" or other cloud storage services. Great! It's handy for Word docs and PDFs you uploaded to Drive, but less useful if most of the stuff in your Drive was made with Google products.

Google finally stopped waiting for mobile carriers to acquiesce and just went ahead and baked Wallet more deeply into the OS. The process has become a bit more streamlined, too. As long as you have a credit card associated with your Google account you're pretty much good to go. Tap-to-pay registers are becoming increasingly common and if you ever forget your wallet (or just don't feel like digging it out), this is an extremely painless way to pay.

There are other improvements too, like faster multitasking and better memory usage. There's a new, very sweet "immersive mode" which gets rid of the onscreen controls when you're reading a book or watching a video so you can maximise that screen. There's built-in support for using your phone as a pedometer (while using less power to do so) and for cloud printing, and of course the OS is less resource-hungry, so it will run on lower-end phones. For all that, though, it's still a bit rough around the edges.

Nexus 5 Review: The Best Android Can Offer (Especially For the Price)

Camera

As good as the Nexus program has been, it's always had a photographic Achilles Heel. Or, to put it more bluntly, the cameras on the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus were awful. We are happy to say that that's no longer the case here. We were disappointed that it was just an 8MP camera when LG put a 13MP shooter into its G2 flagship, but luckily the Nexus 5 has some software help to make up the difference.

In the normal shooting mode the camera is fast, but the photos are decidedly lackluster. However, when you use KitKat's new HDR+ mode, that all changes. Not only is the dynamic range boosted (so highlights don't blow out and shadows don't get lost), but colours are enhanced and you get a lot more detail. That last note is somewhat surprising as HDR photos are typically associated with blurriness — since they're actually an amalgam of several images — but the proof is in the pudding.

Nexus 5 Review: The Best Android Can Offer (Especially For the Price)

HDR+ images were better almost across the board, regardless of lighting or distance. We did some head-to-head comparisons with the stock version of the Galaxy S4 (running Android 4.3) and the Nexus a lot closer in quality than we would have expected. Even without HDR, the Nexus faired pretty well, despite the Galaxy S4 having a five megapixel advantage. You can see our full photo test here.

The other much-touted camera feature on the Nexus 5 is its optical image stabilisation (OIS). Again, we're happy to report that it makes a significant difference, which you can see especially in the video below. I held both phones in exactly the same way for all three of those shots. In the first clip with the ants, the Nexus 5 looks like it's on a tripod by comparison.

As you can see, the video quality is excellent. So, while this camera may not measure up to the Nokia Lumia 1020 or perhaps the iPhone 5S (to be determined), it should be more than good enough by most camera-phone metrics.

The one place it falls a bit short is in low-light. It isn't awful, but it isn't great either, and it really struggled to find focus. Also, the camera app itself has gotten slower from the version in 4.3 (slower to find focus and/or bring up the menu), which definitely shouldn't be the case, given the superhero processor inside. Also, it seems extremely limited given the phone's power. Why not the option to shoot 1080p at 60fps or 720p at 120fps for buttery super slow motion?

Like

The screen is plenty bright even in direct sunlight, and pretty too. The phone is fast. Its software is the latest and greatest from Google (and it should get fast updates in the future). We like the increased Google Now integration, easily mobile payments, and the much-improved dialer. The camera is capable of some terrific shots (still and video), and for an unlocked phone, the price is very, very right.

Nexus 5 Review: The Best Android Can Offer (Especially For the Price)

No Like

There's really only one thing about the Nexus 5 that we absolutely hate: the speaker. From the image above you'd think it's stereo, but nope, the grill on the left is the speaker and the grill on the right is the mic. While the clarity isn't awful, the speaker is way, way too quiet. I missed several calls and texts when the phone was within a few feet or in my pocket. Its location also makes it all but impossible to muffle it completely when you're playing a game (like Dead Trigger 2). Same goes for watching a video in landscape. And when you muffle it, you muffle it completely.

Other than it's just a series of smaller gripes, most of which have more to do with KitKat than the phone itself. Google Voice integration with Hangouts is a must and feel very late at this point. Why is there a Gallery app and a Photos app? Who knows. Why does Google Now try to send me somewhere far away instead of down the street? Again, who knows.

As for the hardware, it's a bummer Verizon customers can't get it. We would have liked to see a bigger battery to help fill out that hollow back.

Nexus 5 Review: The Best Android Can Offer (Especially For the Price)

Should I Buy It?

Probably. Not only is it an excellent phone right now, it's the most future-proofed phone currently in existence. It's got horsepower to spare, and since it's Google's baby it should get updates from the mothership for a long time to come. Plus, $399 off-contract is a really sweet deal for a phone of this calibre.

But is it the best Android phone? That's tougher to answer. It's almost hard to believe, but the scrappy little Moto X, with its comparatively meagre 720p screen and dual-core 1.7GHz processor, gives the Nexus 5 a run for its money. The Moto X has form-factor on its side. It also has innovation; the touchless controls and active display are features I genuinely missed when I switched to the Nexus, and the rest of the Moto X OS is really very close to stock Android. Plus, you can customise the hell out of it. That said, it's not nearly as future-proof, updates will come slower, and if you want it off-contract and customised you're looking at about $800.

We'll let the question of the Moto X loom in the air, but we'd definitely take the Nexus 5 over the HTC One or Galaxy S4 or Droid Maxx. If you're into specs or if you're an Android purist, then this is definitely the phone for you. [Google]

Nexus 5 Specs

Network: unlocked • OS: Android 4.4 (KitKat) • CPU: 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 • Screen: 4.95-inch 1920x1080 IPS-LCD display (445 PPI) • RAM: 2GB • Storage: 16GB or 32GB • Camera: 8MP rear / 1.3MP front • Battery: 2300mAh Li-Po • Dimensions: 138mm x 69mm x 8.6mm • Weight: 130g • Price: $399 (16GB) or $449 (32GB) unlocked in Australia


Comments

    If you’re into specs or if you’re an Android purist, then this is definitely the phone for you.

    Tick and tick. Now I wonder how long it'll take to ship....

      If you haven't bought it yet...It's sold out. If you have, you should either have it by now, by the end of the week or in a few weeks.

        If you haven't bought it yet...It's sold out.

        Not in Australia it isnt. Its back in stock but has a long dispatch time (4-5 weeks). I know because I bought one this morning (Black 32GB).

          It has a long dispatch time because it's out of stock :P

          I ordered mine last friday morning when they went on sale, and it arrived on Monday morning. Pretty damn quick.

            When it was actually out of stock the website didn't allow you to purchase it and clearly said "Out of stock", so there is a difference.

              Just because Tonayabot the website said it was doesn't mean that it was.

    USB otg?

      From what I've seen on forums, yes, but it'd be nice to see some official confirmation. I was very disappointed when I discovered my Nexus 4 couldn't handle OTG, when I was trying to test some code that requires it.

        usually Google phone do not support USB OTG except via unlocking and rooting, but I'll give it a try when I receive mine today :)

    Is this a copy paste article? what is Verizon has anything to do with Australian reader? @_@==:: bang!!!

      This is clearly the US review.

      Luke or Chris will normally run an Australian review for most major products, I suspect this will be the case here too.

    I really love the nexus and the stock Android experience, but not as much as I like having my entire 50gb music library with me at all times. Consequently, the lack of expandable memory is a deal breaker for me. I really thought this is the model where they'd include it. :(

      Not trying to bait or flame or what-have-you here, but: really?

      I can count the number of times I was out & about and suddenly needed to listen to a specific song from my collection -it's zero times; so I can't exactly relate. Would you consider carrying a non-phone music device with you? That way you could have the nexus+android phone, but still have the convenience of all your music.

        In my experience most people don't really know what they will feel like listenting to when they leave the house in the morning. Usually when I've asked people about lack of storage, they've resorted to a greatest hits catalogue, rather than rotating songs out. I tend to prefer to listen to whole albums, so that won't really work for me.

        I did the phone + ipod for years, but the tech has moved on. I'm not going to buy a phone that forces me to do that. You can get phones for $150 with expandable storage!

          So buy a Nexus and use Google Music. I have 14,801 songs of my old iTunes library uploaded to GM. I have access to my entire collection whenever I have internet access on my phone. Easy, seamless and storage hasn't been an issue since

          Ah, cool.

          I totally understand listening to whole albums as opposed to cherry-picking individuals tracks.
          My daily commute is <20 minutes, so I amuse myself with 3DS/book/phone or just stare out a window.

          I'm in the same boat thom. It really seems like the only prominent Android manufacturer who still cares about expandable storage is Samsung. As this ticks so many boxes for me (price, DPI, ideal size, sound quality based on G2) I'm tempted to go the USB OTG route and carry around this as a keychain.

          http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/USB-OTG-Connection-Kit-MicroB-MicroSD-Card-Reader-for-Cellphone-PC-Smartphone-free-shipping-1106/615535_701881177.html

          Google Music is not really a solution as much as an alternative. If you need more than 32GB then suffice to say, uploading all that music on Australia slow upload speed internet will take months. Even then, 3G reception is patchy in most capital cities. And you pay for the increased bandwidth + GM to boot. I can see this being a solution in modern, highly connected cities like Seoul or Tokyo but Australia?

          Last edited 06/11/13 6:55 pm

            That may actually be just the ticket! Cheers!

        Kind of agree with this, would you consider a subscription with a service like google music or spotify? I know the data usage can be quite high, but a lot of providers have cheap bolt on packs, and telstra even offers MOG which does not consume your data at all? I think with the way cloud storage is going, you're going to be less and less likely to get devices with expandable storage. Just my 2 cents.

        I've gone to jam with some mates and needed to check out a part of a song we've had a discrepancy with. So yeah those times do come up, thankfully I have all my music in the cloud.

      I'm beginning to think Google won't be adding expandable memory to their Nexus products, at least not in the near future. Expandable memory doesn't fit in with their internet business, and by not including a memory card slot, you may be more likely to try Google's online options.

        I know the phone is selling well, but I think that rather than pushing people to their online offerings, its pushing them away from the product altogether. I know three or four people that won't get this handset just because far cheaper phones have an SD card slot. They aren't even tech-heads!

          Nexus devices never have expandable memory so why one would hope for the N5 to have it is beyond my understanding. Anyway for me it was either worry about expandable memory and therefore buy an overpriced phone like the SGS4 with a crappy slow UI and no updates, or get something that wont leave me pulling my hair out because its so slow. After having a SGS1 through a carrier, I hated the fact that I only got two updates to my phone, that too in the first year of its release. After that both Samsung and the carrier moved on. I hated my phone since and only recently put CM.10 on it.

            Because a lack of expandable memory was such an obvious oversight. Besides, you can get far cheaper phones with an SD slot, which is what my brother ended up doing (granted it was Windows handset).

            And basically what described is the problem with Android. Google just hasn't supervised the handset manufacturers closely enough to make sure they are supporting their products. Consequently, I feel forced to choose between hardware that won't meet my needs, and software that won't be supported in 6 months.

              Because a lack of expandable memory was such an obvious oversight.

              Its only an obvious oversight if they were intending to put it in there in the first place and then forgot - an unintentional mistake ie if Samsung were intending to put in a memory card slot into the Galaxy S5 as they always have done in their Galaxy range and then forgot, thats an oversight.

              Not having the intention in the first place to put it in is not an oversight, its a design decision. Just like it is a decision that Apple made for all their iDevices. We could also argue that not having a 64GB and 128GB version of the Nexus 5 is an oversight, but its not - its a decision by Google, even though customers may see it as an oversight.

              Consequently, I feel forced to choose between hardware that won't meet my needs, and software that won't be supported in 6 months.

              I was in the same boat. But after having suffered through Samsung and my carrier not delivering me software updates, even bug fixes, it drove me through the wall as it did prevent me from using some apps. Not having expandable memory is still manageable if one transfers it to a computer/CD/External HDD or uploads their content to cloud storage if they dont need it on a regular basis.

              Last edited 05/11/13 5:20 pm

              I can totally understand where you're coming from, but do those far cheaper phones with expandable storage come with a processor on-par with a Snapdragon 800 and a 1080p screen?

              Save for Samsung, my experience with expandable storage has been that it existed primarily to help bring down the cost of the phone itself, since the need for in-built storage was negated. It's always existed in the realm of the mid-range.

              It's not so much that I don't see the need for expandable storage, but that the industry as a whole is more concerned with form factor over expandability. And personally, I'd take the design of an iPhone or Nexus 5 over any Samsung any day.

              At the end of the day, you'd think handset makers would be including expandable storage in their devices if there was a really strong desire in the market for it. Until that happens, options will probably stay limited, as unfortunate as that may be.

        There are other reasons for not including expandable memory in their nexus devices besides trying to encourage people onto the cloud:

        http://www.androidcentral.com/why-nexus-devices-have-no-sd-card

        In short, Google got tired of the confusion that was occuring with having multiple different storage volumes, so they decided to consolidate it and make just one for their Nexus devices. If you don't like that decision, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG, Sony, and pretty much any other Android phone manufacturer make products that DO have sd card support.

        Last edited 06/11/13 9:49 am

          Here's another link: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Google-SD-Card-Nexus-Smartphone,18841.html

          This is their stated reasoning, yes, though I'm sure there's more to it than just that (Microsoft FAT patents are another potential reason).

          But it's interesting to note that KitKat now includes a system file picker that's designed explicitly to make those file-location choices easier.

          Last edited 07/11/13 3:33 pm

      which is fine if your music collection is only 50GB, mines closer to 300GB so much prefer a cloud based solution. I guess it comes down to personal preference.

        I don't like it because I'm pretty much forced to download the tracks to the handset anyway. Until data caps get a massive increase, I don't think streaming is all that viable.

          The google plus music app caches music as you listen to it. also gives you the option to cache it while you're in wifi range, so I will sometimes grab an album or playlist to listen to on the drive and away i go, I listen to at least an hour of music a day on my phone and haven't gone close to my 1.5GB yet anyway. Works for me.

            I listen to about 2 hours of music a day. Even with caching I'd go through at least 200mb per day. I need a 4 gb a month plan to make this phone viable for the way I listen to music. It seems a shame, because I would pay extra for a stock android handset able to meet my storage needs.

              I guess its not for everyone. So you listen to 2 hours a day all from you phone and away from wifi?

              Last edited 05/11/13 6:06 pm

                If that were me I'd probably be buying a dedicated ipod touch or something. I know it's another device, but the battery life is way better and it's built for that purpose.

                I listen to music quite often, and honestly spotify does the trick for me. I sync a few albums at home, listen to them at work the next day, star my favourites (or add into a seperate playlist)

                Then remove the albums and only download starred or certain playlists of favourite tracks for offline listening. Of course if you're desperate you can still stream. But no thanks, 1.5gb just doesn't cut it for that.

                Of course you could settle for something like MOG, which offers unlimited streaming via Telstra network. If you can handle Mog that is, I couldn't.

      I was the same way until I really started using Google's cloud based music solution.
      I find it to be quite good.
      And I've also been trying Spotify which I'm still coming to terms with.
      I still want to be able to store music on the device though since I travel from Wollongong to Sydney for work and the connection drops out in the mountains area and in other places. But still I'm finding both options really good. I still opted for the 64gb version but I think that should do me fine.
      Also as blah mentioned my collection runs well over 100gb so I can't take it all with me anyway,

    I dont get why youre comparing the Moto X at the end instead of say the SGS4 of HTC One.. makes no sense!

      Most likely because the Moto X is the closest competitor, especially in the sense that it also runs a *purer OS, both the SGS4 and the One run skinned OS's, Touchwiz and Sense respectively.

      Actually makes a lot of sense. Since launch, a lot of people have felt Moto X was priced too high for the specs it has. Question that gets constantly asked is, why buy a Moto X when a new Nexus is around the corner? As this review showed, in his opinion at least, it's not so clear cut like many initially thought.

        well, if its the newest quickest phone on the market you'd be best to compare it more to the previous newest quickest being SGS 4 or HTC One

      As a Samsung G S2 user who was looking at either the S4 or the HTC One as an upgrade, there is one major difference. HTC has been busy locking their boot loader and Samsung rolled out Knox in the S4 and latest note models under the guise of enterprise security but is also an eFuse to blow the warranty for anyone loading a custom ROM (given Samsung now has had the largest mod community due to hardware quality that is a lot of users they are actively alienating) so the new Nexus is looking very inviting.

      Would I like it to have expandable memory? As an audiophile yes i would, but have been running the S2 with internal 16GB and 16GB sd for nearly a year and have gotten used to updating my library with a new music dump every few weeks. Give me great hardware with promo update cycles (and minimal rom lockouts) and I'll take that over an sd slot any day

    I bought this thing on a whim only a few hours after it was released. Been stuck on Android 2.3.6 for a long time now, so this will be a significant and long overdue upgrade.

    Why do you guys ignore the G2 like it doesn't exist??? people wanna know how the nexus compares to that phone more than the others!

    Mine is on the delivery truck on route to me as we speak :) Cautiously optimistic about the camera quality, but it will surely kill my current 3GS. Saddened to hear about the speaker though.

      F'ing sweet! I checked this morning and it was saying delivery tomorrow. But I thought I would check after reading your comment and yeap it's on route from Alexandria as I type this. So glad I am getting this deliverd to work.

        Yep, mine said Wednesday but I've got it in my hands now :D Well, in the box at least until I get a case for it and get everything off my iPhone.

          Yeah unboxed mine at work and installed most things.
          Need to do a bit more transferring and backing up from my old phone but we are good to go.
          Although definitely need to get a case for it asap.
          Loving it so far but agree with Brent that speaker really is to soft.
          Welcome to the world of Android by the way!
          It's great here. We have desserts! :P

            Yep, about the only disappointment for me so far is the speaker. It really is very soft even at max volume. It's a real shame, because I can't hear my phone ringing if it's in my pocket at the best of times, now it's going to be even harder.

              Yeah. I'm the same. I don't hear it at the best of times. This is going to make it worse.
              Even this morning I didn't wake as quickly as I would to my old alarm.
              I wonder if it is something they can fix via a software update or if it's a hardware limitation.
              Other then that I love it.
              Battery life is much better then my One X so far.
              And it really flys around. You get a sense of speed which I wasn't quite expecting.

              Actually given I have just had a couple of calls on the phone I'm thinking there has to be a way to improve this via a software update. The sound I get out of the phone is really quite loud. So I'm thinking the problem is not with the volume of the speaker itself.

                Really? Cause for me everything is coming out pretty quietly out of my speaker, from music to videos to ring tones, even with volume at 100%.

    The lack of expandable storage is a consequence of Android moving to multi-user logins. Fixed storage allows for the necessary partitions separate user accounts require.

    I don't think we'll ever see a Nexus or pure stock device with expandable storage again. It's one or the other I'm afraid.

    Check your credit card statements carefully if you paid by VISA card. I was charged a currency commission fee even though purchase was in Australian dollars. There was no option to change currency at checkout. I have been told by the bank that the Google Play Asia store uses dynamic currency pricing.

    wow it's like they made this great product just for me! can't wait to run down to the Google Store after my eight hour shift of being stood on and bashing my brains out to pick it up - and only $399! this will fill that void in my life - if only for a week or two, but no matter, soon they'll find something else to sell me - $20 worth of components wrapped up in a sleek little aluminum and glass shell - with thate Google logo on so i just know i'm paying for quality. boy i wonder how they make all their products so stylish and trendy - they must have a crack team of designers over at Google HQ. in fact i bet only the most creative minds of our generation get to work at Google. only those with a real eye for design. boy i can't wait to pick this beaut up!

      dude, you need help

        no you need help and so does everyone but me i know what i see. my life isn't filled with trash. i dont use my hard earned coins to fill up pockets of art school grads with "big ideas". all of this is trash. how many phones/tablets/laptops have you bought in the last 5 years? what could you have done with that money? what do these "new" products really offer you? just another way for big bad mr Google to find out what you like and what you search for and where you go and who you talk to and use it all to sell you more trash you don't need. and that's the best case scenario (don't want to get into what else they might do with your info). at least we'll always have sites like this to seperate the wheat from the chaff with these objective reviews right?

          Everyone has their passions that they drop their hard earned money on. For some people, it's cars. For others, it's computers and video games. For others, it's going to watch football matches. Some people like to collect Warhammer miniatures. Some people buy lots of books. Some people spend lots of money on musical instruments. Some people actually collect stamps or coins for enjoyment. And some people - believe it or not - love mobile tech and spend money to keep up to date with it.

          Just because it's not your cup of tea, doesn't mean everyone needs to hold that position.

            see, reading books and playing musical instruments is at least intellectually stimulating. if your passion is collecting warhammer or keeping up to date on mobile tech then maybe it's time to sit down and think about your life. i guess the upside is that these people are unlikely to find a mate and have children. natural selection at its finest.

              I do need to ask what you are doing on this site then if you are not interested in technology.

                i love getting down-votes on blogs, that's my passion and if you have a problem with it you're a fascist

      You really think the components in the phone are worth $20?

        you're right, that's probably an overestimation.

          Sure, whatever man. You build a phone that performs better than the Nexus 5 for less than 20 bucks then get back to me.

    Interested to know if there are any alternative SMS apps available for KitKat already.

    Last edited 05/11/13 11:26 pm

      Yeah I'm not sure about using hangouts for sms. I mean yeah, it works well enough, but I kinda liked having hangouts and sms separated.

      I guess I could get used to it, but I can see myself potentially getting confused between what is an sms and what is a chat message.

        Well I looked into alternatives and found Sliding Message Pro. So far it has been great.

        https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.klinker.android.messaging_donate

    The Galaxy Note 3 smashes it.
    USB 3
    MicroSD card slot
    removable 3200mAH battery that just lasted 2d 11hrs with normal use for me, wireless and BT on
    4k camera/video
    Wireless AC

    I don't really use the stylus but the Note 3 has all the right things I need whereas the Nexus 5 is a great phone for the price but I still think it is lacking some features required in todays smartphones. My view anyway

      except the note is double the price and way too big

      Right, expect the Note 3 is twice the price. You are comparing a budget phone with a high end model. Not surprisingly, some of that extra cash goes into a few extra features.

      For those of us who want a great phone on a limited budget, the Nexus 5 is amazing.

        The Nexus 5 *IS* a high end phone though. It's priced as a mid-range phone but take a look at those specs, it smokes just about all the competition.

        The Note 3 is another beast altogether - it's a "phablet" and you can argue that it's in a different market and the Nexus 5 isn't even trying to compete in that space.

        Last edited 06/11/13 9:55 am

      I like to be able to fit my phone in my pocket thanks.
      The Galaxy Note is a great device don't get me wrong, buts its a really big, and once you've have vanilla android its hard to go back.

      Samsung have always paired Android with fantastic hardware, which is why the Galaxy models have long been one of the most "developed for" phones around. Unfortunately they are going the way of Apple in terms of deliberately locking the bootloader in some newer models and upping the anti in terms the eFuse tied to Knox. I was considering upgrading the S2 to an S4 by the end of the year but this is looking like a more suitable option

    Mine arrived yesterday (White 16Gb) and I'm liking it. I've only really set it up and haven't had a proper play with it but I'm liking what I see of 4.4. Recently only just started properly using Google Now so the fact that it's not effectively embedded is quite useful. The white doesn't have the same fingerprint probs that the black is rumoured to have (on the back). The screen is awesome; I never understood the need for super fine resolution (coming from an N4 I thought that was plenty enough) but the difference really is noticeable, especially with small text.

    Its location also makes it all but impossible to muffle it completely when you’re playing a game (like Dead Trigger 2). Same goes for watching a video in landscape. And when you muffle it, you muffle it completely.

    What?

      Typo I think. If you're holding the phone in landscape mode, your right hand (or left hand I guess, depending on which direction you hold it) will cover the speaker.

    I really hate having a phone with a bad speaker, more so bad volume. I do a lot of talking on speaker phone. No idea why the speaker is nearly always overlooked.

    the only problem (kind of) i am having with it is battery life

      Same. If this is "normal" and not a bug then I'll be happily giving very bad reviews of the Nexus 5. If a phone can't comfortably last 16+ hours (that's off charge in the morning to on charge at night) with regular use then it's useless as far as I'm concerned. Yesterday I was at 28% after 14 hours with barely any use at all. Not happy Google.

        My phone is on charge right now on Thursday morning, and that's the first time I've needed to charge it since receiving it on Monday morning. It got a small amount of charge when I had it plugged into my PC when copying some music onto it, but that's about it. I'm happy with the battery life.

        Last edited 07/11/13 10:15 am

      Check your location setting. I know with the Nexus 4 you had to enable Latitude then disable it and disable location sharing, as this was hogging battery.

      Google Now also pigs out on battery, for essentially the same reason, so you might want to disable that too.

      I did that, and my Nexus 4 battery life probably doubled!

        thanks just took it off then :)

          Let me know how you go - I dropped and smashed my N4 on the weekend and am waiting for delivery on the N5 to replace it - if it's still bad, I might have to cancel and just get another N4

            Unlucky, it seems to last around a day with quite heavy usage, turning off location did seem to improve it by maybe 20-30% ... screen is incredible though. You should be able to get at least a day on heavy usage and perhaps 1-2 days for light usage :)

              Thanks Mate - for me, about a day with heavy usage is perfect!

              My old SII wouldn't even get me a day with light usage

              Cheers

        I'm trialling it with 4G turned off and just now I've changed the location settings to battery saver mode. It seems the 4G was sapping a lot

      Really?
      So far I have found it better by miles then my One X.
      The only thing I have used that is better is the Note 2. And that can come down to the size of the battery in.
      So far I am easily lasting a day.
      Will be giving it a proper work out in the coming days and see though.

    I wonder why the Sony phones are never part of a comparison. I read that the Z1 is supposed to be one of the fastest android phones around, but yet its always the HTC One and S4 that gets the spotlight.

    i actually got the z1 a day before the nexus. I just couldn't wait anymore as my htc died and was using an old iphone 4. and the z1 is lightening fast.

    I received my Nexus 5 yesterday. I ordered it Friday, and it arrived just after lunch Wednesday. Not bad considering there was a weekend and a public holiday in the middle.

    I love it. I upgraded from a Galaxy Nexus. The screen is crisp and bright, the design feels good in your hand (but because it doesn't have a curved back like the GNex, working out which was is up takes a bit of practice) and it's really speedy. Even my Google Now feels twice as fast, even though it's on the same internet connection as before.

    Now for the gripes:

    * The "Okay Google" feature only works on the home screen, or in Google Now. I learned this after I ordered, and I believed it was system wide because of lots of talk of the Moto X, plus confusion from some reviewers and users. After looking around, I can't work out if the CPU in the N5 has the same always-listening capabilities as the Moto X

    * I had to turn Google Now on in the settings (long press on the home screen, settings)

    * In addition to this, "Okay Google" only works with English (US). On any other language, you still have to hit the microphone button. Not a big deal you say? My request to "Set a reminder for 9:30, to call the courier" came out as "set are minder for 9:32 korea area". On English (Australia) it was flawless.

    * STILL no Google Wallet in Australia, meaning I can't really take advantage of the HCE features in KitKat. Plus there's no list of what apps support HCE, so you're pretty much stuck with Google Wallet or maybe Commonwealth's app, but it doesn't bode well for me as a CUA customer.

    * The device is wireless charger ready, meaning it doesn't come with a wireless charger -- you have to buy one yourself. Not a big deal, but that could have been a little clearer.

      Are you my twin?

    BIG note - if you want to transfer your SMS history across, you'll need to:

    1) Install the Hangout APK on your old phone (do a quick google search), and then open it, allow it for SMS so you can see all your texts
    2) Do a backup with SMS Backup & Restore (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.riteshsahu.SMSBackupRestore&hl=en)
    3) Get the file across to the new phone - upload to Google Drive etc to move it across
    4) On the Nexus 5, first open Hangouts to set it up the first time
    5) Open SMS Backup & Restore on your N5, restore all SMS (but don't check for duplicates - that's the step that screwed me for > half hr)
    6) Restart N5
    7) Open Hangouts - should all be there.

    Went from a GNote 2 to this.... was extremely painful. Also doesn't copy MMS, a bit annoying. Word on the street is they're working on SMS sync between devices in Hangouts, but don't hold your breath.

      I didn't have to install the Hangouts APK on my Galaxy Nexus (granted, it's not a Note 2), all I did was install SMS B&R on my Galaxy, do a backup, put the backup file on my N5, run SMS B&R, set it as the default SMS app, restore, open the Hangouts APK and set it back as default.

      Took me all of 5 minutes to do, even with it set to check duplicates. Of course YMMV, but some steps aren't required for some phones :)

    Also the worst battery life money can buy. The results are coming in thick and fast from sites around the globe and it's not good news. LG G2 + Kit Kat here I come.

      The best I have done is to get it down to 18% battery over a 16 hours 53 minute day. That included 6 hours 17 minutes of screen on time, phone calls, 3G and WiFi internet use and a chunk of music playback. 10% alone was from Google Play as I installed more apps, and another 8% from GPS tracking on a fitness app.

      I would hardly call that the worst battery life money can buy. In fact, I would say it's pretty damn good.

      Mine gets slightly better battery life than my Galaxy Nexus, but because I'm in a low-reception area (1-2 bars, with long periods of nothing), the battery drains rapidly (can be dead after lunch if I'm not careful). Connecting to WiFi helps a LOT (close to 32 hours or so on my GNex, not sure about my N5 yet), but authentication issues for our WiFi at work means it's either re-authenticate every 4 hours, or not get notifications.

      But with that said, the N5 charges like a bullet train with the right charger..

    Every thing is fine but the pricing is somewhat a trouble....
    http://www.mishainfotech.com/mobile-application-development.aspx

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