Google Nexus 5 Review, Premium Android Experience

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It almost goes without saying that the Google Nexus 5 is one of the most anticipated Android phones to launch in 2013, save perhaps for Samsung's Galaxy S 4. Previous generation Nexus devices from Google, whether phone or tablet, have proven to offer a lot of bang for the buck, excellent design and build quality and a pure representation of the Android OS. Not to mention Google regularly rolls out the most recent version of Android as well with these devices, sometimes well before it's available on products from other brands.

The previous generation Nexus 4, like the Nexus 5, was manufactured by LG, though the Nexus 4 didn't hit the mark like Google hoped it would.  With their latest Nexus device, Google is hoping to rise above the noise in the now crowded 5-inch superphone space.  The Google-LG design team has stiff competition this time around, though.  The Samsung Galaxy S 4, the HTC One, Nokia's Lumia 1020 and even LG's own G2 are very impressive larger screen devices. And let's not forget, Google has the iPhone 5s to contend with this holiday shopping season as well.
Google's Nexus 5
So you might say Google has their work cut out for them with the Nexus 5.  They have the pressure of better execution with the device versus their previous generation, as well as a wealth of other very competent options from virtually all the major ecosystems in Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8.  Then again, Google has all the tools they need at their disposal to deliver a truly great smartphone and they showed they were more than capable with the recent release of ASUS-built Nexus 7 tablet.

With a shiny new version of Android 4.4 Kit Kat to lure consumers in and a Qualcomm's smoking-hot Snapdragon 800 quad-core SoC, did Google and LG tee up Android greatness?  Let's take a look.


HotHardware Hands-On Nexus 5 Video Review and Demo

Google Nexus 5 Android 4.4 Kit Kat Driven Smartphone
Specifications & Features
Screen

    4.95” 1920x1080 display (445 ppi)
    Full HD IPS
    Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3

Processing

    CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800, 2.26GHz
    GPU: Adreno 330, 450MHz

Memory

    16GB or 32GB internal storage
    2GB RAM

Cameras

    1.3MP front-facing
    8MP rear-facing with image stabilization

Wireless

    Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4G/5G) 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
    NFC (Android Beam)
    Bluetooth 4.0

Networks

    2G/3G/4G LTE
    North America:
    GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
    CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
    WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
    LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41
    Rest of World:
    GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
    WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8
    LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20
Ports and Connectors

    microUSB
    SlimPort™ enabled
    3.5mm stereo audio jack
    Dual microphones
    Ceramic power and volume buttons

Battery

    2300 mAh
    Talk time up to 17 hours*
    Standby time up to 300 hours†
    Internet up to 8.5 hours Wi-Fi
    Up to 7 hours on LTE
    Wireless Charging built-in

Sensors

    GPS
    Gyroscope
    Accelerometer
    Compass
    Proximity/Ambient Light
    Pressure
    Hall

Audio

    Built-in speaker
    3.5mm stereo audio connector

Dimensions

    69.17 x 137.84 x 8.59 mm
    4.59 ounces (130g)

Price
$350 Unlocked (16GB, $399 32GB);
as low as $49 on contract

In terms of high level specs, the Nexus 5 pretty much has it all.  The aforementioned Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor with Adreno 330 graphics makes for one of the fastest smartphone platforms on the market right now, as you'll see in our benchmark runs later. Then there's Google's choice of a 4.95-inch display at 1920x1080 resolution and a super tight 445ppi pixel density. It's gorgeous by the way.

Beyond that you also get NFC communication with Android Beam, Bluetooth 4.0 and the latest 802.11ac wireless standard is supported as well, with theoretical single link throughput of 500Mb/s on compatible WiFi networks.  The Nexus 5 also has an 8MP HD camera with image stabilization and LED flash, as well as a 1.3MP front facing camera.
Google Nexus 5 Package Bundle

Google Nexus 5 Package Bundle - Just The Basics
 

As for the total kit Google and LG deliver, it's pretty standard fare.  Regardless, this is no superficial 'unboxing" showcase, so let's dig a bit further into the particulars with a closer look at the Nexus 5 and its sweet-toothed OS, Android 4.4 Kit Kat.
 

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