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

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


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


    16GB or 32GB internal storage
    2GB RAM


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


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


    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

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


    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


    Proximity/Ambient Light


    Built-in speaker
    3.5mm stereo audio connector


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

$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.

Image gallery

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Dave_HH one year ago

I really like what Google did with Kit Kat. I think we'll likely see more than the usual handset roll outs of this version of the OS in terms of OTA updates. It's that good.

SmogHog one year ago

So Far So Good

Have a Nexus 5 32GB(821) since Nov 5th.

Waiting for the right case and good screen protectors in my region.

Have a Nexus Orb wireless charger that charges the phone quickly.

The battery lasts me a day and a half or more using the Dalvic runtime but using ART runtime I get less battery time.

USB OTG works when different apps installed depending on whether the phone is rooted or not using a micro USB cable or USB flash drives that have micro USB connectors built in.

I didn't root yet so I'm using Nexus Media Importer. for my USB OTG.

Miss not having the removable battery and micro SD card slot I had with my Note 2

Dave_HH one year ago

Thanks for reporting in SH. Agreed, those are the two omissions that would have been nice to see built into this phone. That's crazy good battery life. What are you doing during that day and a half? Light use?

SmogHog one year ago

The ART runtime is very fast but Google needs to do a lot more work if they want to use it exclusively so there's no patent problems with Java owner Oracle

This large ART speed gain comes with down sides , such as larger apps hence longer installation times, but the ART experiment seems ripe to replace Dalvik in some of the next major Android versions.

Oracle sued Google and lost resulting in being ordered to pay Google's legal costs.

dc7 one year ago

What is it with Google and the lack of micro SD support on it's products?

Dave_HH one year ago

Agreed. It is one of the few omissions on this device and others. Good thing a 32GB N5 is reasonably priced.

jra716 one year ago

This would be my phone if it was on Verizon, but no. Moto X is a good alternative at least.

BigKihd one year ago

Nice, I prefer the 7 but this is still nice

damien90 11 months ago

better than the galaxy s4

LandamNaresh 4 months ago

I have been using this mobile for 4 months and its one of its kind. It is an excellent device, with stunning display, nice graphics and awesome power. And it offers pure Android experience and I even installed the Android L developers version which runs perfectly on my device. The only problem I faced with device is about setting custom ringtone. I found the procedure about how to set ringtone in this link and it worked perfectly,

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