Nexus 5 Review – Prowess of Google, Craftsmanship of LG

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    I will be honest here. I have been reviewing smartphones released by Samsung, Nokia, Sony, LG, etc, with every device I have tested, there has always been an intriguing feature to begin with. However with the introduction of Google Nexus lineup, more often than not I feel bewildered. Nexus devices aren’t the trendsetters in tech world but they do offer true value for money and simplicity, prime example of which is Nexus 5, Google’s latest and great in Nexus series. Read on my experience using the device in Nexus 5 review below.

    Ergonomics

    We very well know how much “minimal” look does Google prefer, quite evident from Google homepage, their app designs, etc. LG decided to follow the same path and gave Nexus 5 a minimalitic look. You might get an idea about what I am trying to say here from images given below but believe me you, Nexus 5 is free from all the frills and hoopla, lying on the ground, it looks like a plain, sleek, sexy black block. At the front, there’s no distraction whatsoever, no buttons, no curves, no branding. The rear has subtle branding elegantly sporting an embedded Nexus marking with a protruding camera at the top. The power and volume buttons are located on either side of the phone while the 3.5 mm jack present at the top and a micro-USB slot at the bottom, surrounded by couple of grills (one of which has speaker). Nexus 5 provides a truly immersive experience.

    Nexus 5 Front

    Display

    The front display, made of strong Corning Gorilla Glass 3 material, measures 4.95″ inch (1080 x 1920 pixels) with effectively 445 ppi pixel density. At almost 5″ inch screen size and such high pixel density, the text appears crisp and clear whereas graphics portray natural look. Yes, Nexus 5 doesn’t have the much hyped SUPER AMOLED screen and neither its True HD IPS+ capacitive touchscreen is capable of producing sharp black colors but for me, who has been using AMOLED display since launch of Galaxy S 2, I must admit it felt really great to use slightly faded but more life like colors. The display is big, sharp and produces colors a human eye is used to seeing, it’s a real beauty!

    Nexus 5 Front Top

    Camera

    Google Nexus series doesn’t have a good reputation when it comes to camera. With Nexus 5, Google has tried to change that perception but unfortunately the initial release of KitKat didn’t treat the camera hardware very well. However, Google did patch it in small update and as of now, Nexus 5 is capable of capturing images of reasonable quality at best. Things get worse during night time photography. Before you go around judging the camera, let me just tell you that Nexus 5 is equipped with 8 MP rear shooter along with optical image stabilization but it is nowhere close to delivering the kind of experience that a Galaxy S3 or even Galaxy S2 can. With Nexus 5, you’ll get pictures good enough for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    Nexus 5 Camera

    One small point I’d like to highlight, there have been complaints that there’s some sort of shutter lag, grainy pictures. These issues have been taken care to some extent in a bug squashing update pushed soon after launching Nexus 5.

    Overall Performance

    Nexus 5 features 2 GB RAM, a Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 chipset powered by Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 processor and Adreno 330 GPU. Android 4.4 KitKat being responsible for making everything work smooth as butter. Now these technical terms might not entice you but they make Nexus 5 do things at the blink of an eye….! Whether you want to play action packed GTA or fun filled Angry Birds Go!, Nexus 5 plays anything and everything you install in it without a hitch. No lags, no slow downs, no heat ups nothing. Full HD videos (1080p) and even 4K resolution videos play without stutter. Moreover the immersive mode further enhances the viewing experience on Nexus 5. For the more technically advanced readers, I did perform the usual Antutu benchmark test and results have been shown below. Astounding, needless to say.

    Though using Nexus 5 was like a dream with fast app switching, KitKat goodness, etc, one area where I felt sort of let down was storage. Nexus 5 is available in 2 variants 16 GB and 32 GB storage capacity. Though for most people 16 GB is more than enough to carry around a thousand songs, couple of movies but for a power user lack of micro SD card support is a major let down. You are only limited to 32 GB (the maximum available) and online storage. It isn’t a deal breaker but inclusion of micro SD card slot would have further widened Nexus’s acceptability.

    Read about Android KitKat Preloaded In Nexus 5 – Android 4.4 KitKat Features Explained

    Battery Life

    Let’s be honest, we crib about battery, always, at-least I do. With battery expectations are always high and Nexus 5 is no exception. Bringing in a lot of overall improvements, bigger display, more RAM, powerful quad-core processor, etc battery too was expected to be ramped up but LG decided to keep it to meager 2300 mAh. When talking purely in numbers this is kind of a miss, more could have certainly been better considering the specifications of Nexus 5. However what works in favor is introduction of Android 4.4 KitKat, which is optimized to utilize battery more judiciously.

    In my usage, I used it as a daily drive for more than a week and over this period, the results I got varied depending on my usage (duh!). On 2G network with mobile data turned on, gmail, facebook, twitter, linkedin, Yahoo Messenger, Viber, Whatsapp running in background, ~25 minutes of voice calls, 30 minutes of music playback and an hour of video watching (offline), Nexus 5 easily lasted an entire day, 24 hours that is. More heavier usage including Youtube streaming, WiFi turned on, LTE network mode and some gaming caused Nexus 5 to exhaust 90% of battery within 15-16 hours.

    All in all battery isn’t as bad as it has been bashed in some forums and blogs. Yes LG could have thrown in some extra mAh’s but what’s there is appreciable too. Moreover since Nexus 5 does support Wireless charging, you wont notice battery draining since recharging it is as easy as placing it on a plate.

    Concluding Words

    No beating around the bush. I’ll keep my opinion simple. Buy it!! In India it is available for Rs. 28,999 (16 GB) and Rs. 32,999 (32 GB), at this price and considering what Nexus 5 puts on table, its a steal. Value for money android device coming straight from Google and built well by LG. It allows you to enjoy Android minus all the manufacturer hooplas 🙂

    Nexus 5 In Pictures

    2 COMMENTS

    1. That’s because Nexus 5 use more aggressive brightness settings. Moreover, I think “crushes” is strong word :p

      Regarding camera, with everything set to auto, I barely managed to take image that could match my 2 year old S2 let alone S3 or S4, it might so happen that under perfect conditions, Nexus 5 might capture some good ones. But then again, this has more to do with software treating the hardware and thus a scope of improvement.

      No idea about iPhone 5S, not really a fan of iPhone 😉 Android all the way..!

    2. Buddy, you are so so wrong. I have a gs3 and it crushes it in low light and its a step ahead in good lighting as well. The Nexus 5’s camera is extremely underrated. The Nexus 5’camera best the gs3 and matches the gs4. So I don’t know what your talking about. It may not beat the 5s , but I’ve managed to take photos that can match the 5s’ quality.

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