This article has been archived and is no longer being updated. It may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate due to the passage of time.
The Nexus 5 is Google’s latest Android Nexus developer phone. Originally designed as a low cost and standard phone for developers only, the Nexus line has turned into a reasonably priced line of superphones with an absolute minimum of manufacturer and carrier software bloat.
The phone is made by LG and is very similar to their G2. It has a beautiful high definition 5 inch screen, a rubberized back and its internals are among the best available on the market. It is running Android 4.4 KitKat and is blazingly fast. It is available in 16 or 32 GB versions, unlocked and unsubsidized in the UK for £299 or £339.
Technically the Nexus 5 is a powerful phone with a Snapdragon 800 2.26GHz CPU, 2GB RAM and a 5″ 1920×1080 screen – that’s 445ppi which is well above what most eyes can distinguish. The cameras are 1.3 MP front facing and a 8 MP rear facing with optical image stabilisation.
There are a host of connectivity options built in, including dual-band wifi, NFC, Bluetooth with Bluetooth LE, and interestingly 4G LTE as well as standard cell phone radios. To be very specific the non-US version has GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8 and LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20 and can be connected to almost any mobile phone network worldwide, including the 4g systems currently being rolled out in the UK. The only notable exception is that the phone will not work on Verizon in the US.
The Nexus 5 runs the most up to date version of Android, KitKat 4.4 and as part of the Nexus line should receive updates to its OS promptly for the next year and a half to two years.
Black and white variants are available and surprisingly both seem to be in stock at the Google Play store.
Visually the Nexus 5 is very simple. A black or white rectangular block with one flat side almost entirely glass, the edges being glossy plastic and the back being a slightly brushed plastic. The screen of the phone is 5 inches diagonally and has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 which translates to an extremely crisp screen. The pixel density is high enough that it is virtually impossible to distinguish individual pixels. In other words it is a retina screen.
The Nexus 5 has a single monochrome speaker at its base and while it sounds better than you would expect from that it is quite quiet and you will not be wanting to use this much. The phone has a standard 3.5mm headset jack and support bluetooth and the new bluetooth LE systems so you are free to add your own headset or external speakers. Note that a set of headphones is not included with the phone.
When you pick up the Nexus 5 the first thing to strike you is how surprisingly light it is. Because LG have opted for the plastic back (as opposed to the all glass Nexus 4) the phone is significantly lighter than you would expect at 130 grams. That plastic back also has another advantage – it is surprisingly grippy and makes the phone feel nice and firm in your hand. The front of the device is almost completely taken up by its screen with virtually no bezel and I have found myself touching the edge of the screen without meaning to a couple of times. The advantage of this is that the external dimensions of the phone are only 69.17 x 137.84 x 8.59 mm which is smaller than most phones with its screen size.
Buttons are on the right and left top sides of the device (power on the right, volume on the left) and are ceramic which is supposed to make them feel better – it certainly does not make them feel worse but if I had not known they were ceramic I could not have noticed a difference. The home, back and multitasking keys are virtual unlike some Android devices and move around the screen as the orientation changes.
Ease of Use
When you first turn the device on it signs itself onto your wifi network and asks for a Google account. If you have recently used an Android phone your frequently used apps will download and install and the system will set itself up. The new version of Android KitKat has some changes from older versions but long term Android users will have little trouble adapting and the changes all seem to be positives ones focused on OS efficiency and cosmetic improvements.
Manufacturer: LG, badged as Google
Price: £299 for 16gb, £339 for 32gb.
Retailer: Direct from Google or on contract via numerous carriers such as Three or Vodaphone
Included In The Box
- Nexus 5 phone
- Wall charger and micro USB cable
- Quick start guide
- Sim draw opener
The Nexus 5 is at the moment the best economic Android phone on the market. It does have some drawbacks, most notably its lack of an SD card slot and the average camera but its price more than compensates. It fits into the now standard school of smartphone design but does it well and economically. If you are looking for an Android phone this would be my recommendation.
The Nexus 5 was released on 31 October 2013. This article was first published on November 2013 and is no longer being updated. Information may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate due to the passage of time.