Google shows off its official Nexus 5 accessories, and we take a look at some third-party cases

Daniel Bader

November 2, 2013 8:14pm

The Nexus 5 is one of the most exciting releases of the quarter mainly because it offers its users an unlocked, unblemished, unfiltered version of the latest Android version. That it starts at $349 outright is another reason to be excited, considering most smartphones with similar capabilities are nearly double that price.

But Google isn’t content merely offering one of the market’s best phones at a reasonable price (oh, no, you say?). The company is working with LG, the phone’s manufacturer, to create two lines of cases, and a newly-designed wireless charging orb.

At the same time, we’ve received a few fantastic case from California-based Spigen, and wanted to show them to you.

Screenshot 2013-11-01 23.27.07

QuickCover – $50

The LG-made Nexus 5 QuickCover attaches to the back of the phone and, using magnets, automatically locks and unlocks its when closing and opening. The case actually skips the unlock process if you don’t have a passcode set up. Though it does bulk up the slim phone a few millimetres, the QuickCover looks to be the best choice for those who want quick access to their devices while protecting the screen.

We’ve seen this form of case become increasingly popular since Samsung launched a similar design with the Galaxy S3. The only difference here is that the Galaxy cases replace the back cover, integrating more efficiently into the device itself; the Nexus 5 QuickCover, and its cousin, the LG G2 QuickWindow, clip to the back of the phone.

The QuickCover also claims not to interfere with wireless charging, which is nice.

nexus5bumper-1

Bumper Case – $35

The Bumper Case is a combination soft/hard matte plastic case that comes in four colours: black, white, yellow and red. The soft inner lining absorbs shocks while the outer polycarbonate layer stands in for the chassis itself.

While the case may seem expensive for what you get, you know that this is a first-party case built to the Nexus 5’s exact specifications. It also comes in red and yellow, two colours not usually seen from case manufacturers (any especially not the Nexus line of devices).

Screenshot 2013-11-02 00.11.35

New Wireless Charger – price unknown

While last year’s Nexus 4 introduced wireless charging to the Nexus line, and Google subsequently introduced a wireless charging orb alongside it, this year the company is trying something a bit flatter. While there don’t seem to be any press photos of the new charger, The Verge has obtained an image showing off the magnet-friendly accessory for the new Nexus 7 and Nexus 5. Of course, it will work with the Nexus 4 and any other Qi-enabled smartphone (like the Nokia Lumia 920) but the magnets inside the newer Nexuses (Nexii?) will help it stay in place.

I can also confirm that the likely-cheaper DT-900 from Nokia works quite well with both the Nexus 5 and new Nexus 7.

spigennexus5-6

Spigen Slim Armor – $25

The first third-party case for the Nexus 5 will likely stay my favourite. I love the Spigen Slim Armor case series for other products, namely the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5s, and the Nexus 5 version does not disappoint. It fits perfectly on the product without bulking it up too much, and comes in three colours — black, white and a tasteful gold — for some flare.

More importantly, the two-piece collection protects the Nexus 5 with a soft rubber inner layer and a hardy outer shell, similar to the official Bumper Case (but $10 cheaper). The case also encases the 8MP camera sensor within the walls of a circle, so the lens is less likely to get scratched.

We’re trying lots of other cases for the Nexus 5, but at this point I can’t think of better value for a well-made case under $30.

Spigen also has a few other Nexus 5 cases that we haven’t tried yet, but the Neo Hybrid is another series we love on the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5s.

  • Jon

    $50? for a case? Just because the phone is cheap doesn’t mean they can overprice the cases lol…

    • Tom

      Use ebay. I bought 4 cases for 4 different kinds of android phones, and they all cost $3-$5 each. And two of them surprisingly came from Canada (though I’m sure they originally came from China) while the other two were direct from China. I have not had a problem fitting these Chinese knockoffs, and indeed they feel quite good with anti-slip textures on the sides and actually look somewhat premium thanks to the solid black finish.

      A simple generic piece of plastic or silicone is not worth more than $5.

      The only downside – if your case happens to ship from China, it’s a 3 week wait, so you’ll have to be ultra careful with your “naked” phone in the meantime.

    • rockman29

      Yea that’s quite dumb, $50 for a firm cloth and a magnet, whoop dee do… crazy.

      I’ll just buy the phone (when the price drops, already have a Nexus 4 I enjoy :))

  • MapleSyrup

    The bright red case would look really nice on a black Nexus 5 if it was a bit darker. $35 is like Apple pricing, but $15 for that case will be awesome.

  • Adriann

    Magnets inside the newer Nexii? Can someone clarify where they are and what the specific use is?

    • MrMastodonFarm

      So what you’re asking is, magnets, how do they work?

  • Gsizzle

    Expensive or not, those Nexus Bumper Cases look damn good.

  • framing god

    I want to get spigen case for my note 3 and this phone when I get one

    • Taylor Bolin

      DEFINATELY SHOULD!! I picked up neo hybrid case for my note 3 and it looks and feels awesome,

  • Jon Jennings

    The Nokia Qi charger you mention… I assume you mean the DT900? This is interesting news because the N4 DIDN’T work correctly with the DT900 (although I can confirm the 2013 N7 does work). I think the compatibility issue was LG/Google’s… there was an N4 hardware variant added late in the game that got Qi certification but I’m not sure they ever bothered shipping them to customers.

    Personally I’m looking forward to seeing the Ringke Fusion N5 case. Their N4 version is fabulous.

    • Eluder

      Seriously? You liked the Ringke fusion for the N4? Did you have one, because I bought it and it was quite terrible. Though it looked quite nice, the feedback from the buttons was non existent, which made for a terrible case. This is why I passed on the N5 version of it, sure looks nice, but it sucks from a usability standpoint. I even emailed Rearth after getting the case telling them of my issues and they pretty much said sorry rather than hey, we’ll look into it, etc.

    • Jon Jennings

      Yeah, the early versions I know had terrible mushy buttons. They revised it at some point and the later versions (I only got mine two months ago) have lovely tactile buttons. Personally I prefer the case buttons to the actual phone buttons. I’m assuming they’ve learnt their lesson & the N5 case will match the final version of the N4 case.

      Poor customer service that they didn’t send you a new version when they revised it – especially given that you’d complained.

    • Parcerita

      Yes, the updated case has fantastic buttons but what I didn’t like about it was how fast the back plastic got horribly scratched. Besides the main reason I got it was to showcase the awesome back design of the N4 but the plastic back on the N5 isn’t much of a highlight. I’ll go with the Spigen case this time around.

    • Eluder

      Yup, which is why I’m never buying another Rearth product again.
      So far Spigen hasn’t disappointed, gorgeous cases that are really well built, may have found my new favorite case manufacturer.

  • Joseph Cacoilo

    Some sleek looking cases from Google this time around,

  • Max Fireman

    The Nexus 5 “naked” is as sexy as it gets. Why cover it with an ugly bulky case? Enjoy the phone feel!

    • Humberto Giambrone

      Protection, obviously.

    • Max Fireman

      Sometimes protection takes the pleasure away.

    • Joseph Cacoilo

      *says until first unplanned baby arrives*

    • Linker

      Once a month I remove the bumper from my Note 2 to FEEL it, but then put the case back on coz it has saved the phone twice :)

    • Amparipaa

      would you really choose to use your phone without any protection whatsoever? what’ll you do when your nexus 5 inevitably falls to the pavement? not so sexy anymore, now is it? you should at least buy a screen protector to protect your investment, if your nerdy enough to buy a phone outright right when it comes out (i take pride in buying my phones second-hand, best of both worlds).

    • Sankyou

      Yeah this is pretty much the sole reason I’m getting the Jump plan. I’m going to run around without any protection sticking my phone’s ports in any holes I can find. Also I haven’t held an N5 yet but I have small hands and I fear adding any width will kill any chance of comfortably using it with one hand. Oh the 1st world problems!

      Well I just read some stuff on the deductibles for the Jump plan. I will be buying a Spigen after all :)

  • Eluder

    I have a Spigen neo hybrid for my Note 3 which is awesome and ordered the slim armor for my Nexus 5, so glad to hear that the slim armor is a great case as well.

  • Tony Sarju

    I’m loving the OEM bumper case. What I’m not loving though is the price. I’m hoping the carriers will carry those accessories I’m store so I can at least save on the shipping cost.

  • Jesse Laurin

    Case off ebay, $3.99 with free shipping from Hong Kong :) , not putting money back into our economy? don’t care, don’t charge $50 for a piece of plastic…

    • Tom

      Same, paid $3-$5 each for a few nice black cases (all the same general appearance, but for varying phones). Two shipped from China, two shipped from CANADA (surprisingly) It actually looks more premium than some cases I’ve seen in retail for $20+. The only downside is the long wait for arrival (the ones that came from China), but it’s worth it.

      I pity the fool who shells out excessive money for generic looking cases at retail. I can understand paying a premium for tough Otterbox cases, but a plain piece of plastic/silicone is not worth a 2-digit price.

  • Sean548

    You guys are awesome. Thanks for writing articles like this. You make my mobile life way easier.

  • C Jacobs

    I ordered the Spigen. It’s gorgeous.

  • JMS55C

    Front camera hole? Does the N5 have shake picture taking or something? Or is this a spy module for google?

    • sadhvialam

      Are you talking about the magnetic cover? Thats the ear piece not camera

  • Tiago

    i have never ever bought a case for a smartphone , to me it takes away from the aesthetic appeal of the phone and adds unwanted bulk

    • Amparipaa

      “aesthetic appeal”? “unwanted bulk”? yeah, sounds like the crowd that cheered when HTC decided that non-replaceable batteries were a great idea. and while we’re at it, let’s only include a battery with a six-hour runtime? it’ll be sooooo much thinner than those boring all-day batteries! and let’s also skimp on features like external SD card support for the sake of thin-ness!

      it makes me wanna buy that ultra-rugged phone by CAT… you know, the people that make tractors and demolition machines!

    • Henry

      The comment is a bit of an over reaction I’d say. I fully understand the benefits of cases and alway think other people should but I also get why people don’t. I agree with @disqus_2km5NLRXr3:disqus, I’ve had cell phones for 16 years, never broken any (only minor damages) and I rarely use a case. If you always and for the life of a phone used a case than what would be the point of a nice looking phone with durable/classy/sexy exterior?

    • RoboBonobo

      Not bothered about my phone looking classy. A phone inside a durable case is sexier to me than a slim caseless phone with broken screen that’s going to cost hundreds of dollars to fix.
      I’d rather have a $30 case that keeps the screen from breaking.

    • Tiago

      lol i dropped my current phone once in 2 years and it was due to me being stupid by reaching and grabbing the phone from behind without looking , anyway usually after 2 or 3 years a phone is obsolete and doesn’t really have any resale value unless its maybe an iphone. But i could understand if you upgrade your phone every year keeping a case on it to preserve its value.

    • RoboBonobo

      Dropping your phone doesn’t happen according to a schedule.
      It happens unexpectedly. It can happen on the first day.

    • Amparipaa

      not everyone buys a new phone every two years, nor does everyone put their old phone on craigslist or kijiji. i’d prefer a phone that can last me the rest of this decade… and i’m sure if i make a smart choice, i can.

    • Amparipaa

      how many of those 16 years did you use a touchscreen smartphone? do you take meticulous care to not let your phone fall onto concrete or pavement? ….yeah

    • Henry

      Had a touch screen since 2007 but I am not really a clumsy person. Like a said, I see the benefits of cases. For most people they’re a must but I usually buy a nice one and get sick of it within weeks before taking it off. I buy multiple cases and usually don’t use them for more than a bit.

    • Amparipaa

      err… okay then.

  • Nadefrenzy

    What? No NeoHybrid? Come on!

    • Marco Cimmarusti

      I have the neo hybrid for my note 3 in silver it looks stunning. I’m sure they will make it for the nexus 5.

    • Nadefrenzy

      Lol yeah I ordered the note 3 gold neo hybrid case.

  • JLishere

    Can someone tell me which model is pictured in the first shot above (black case with the slightly rounded edges)? That’s not the Slim Armor. It looks good.

  • canucks4life

    Still think Qi charging is a gimmick…come on how hard is it to plug in a cable…are we really that lazy now?

    PS Leafs suck :)

    • Amparipaa

      qi charging is a huge gimmick! just like 400+ ppi screens are a gimmick, and desktop-class processors are (at the moment, but they could smarten up and make them dockable PCs with, say, a Qualcomm implementation of BIG/little with a quad-core A7 running the phone + a quad-core/octa-core/16-core A51-based chip handling a PC OS [Ubuntu comes to mind] when docked) a gimmick made solely to foolishly one-up the iPhone.

  • Dan Scott

    I love the QuickCover design, but $50 is too much. Any known alternatives from a reasonably respected manufacturer like Spigen yet? Otherwise it’s back to a neoprene pouch for me, as I did with my Nexus One and Galaxy Nexus; putting plastic between my finger and the glass is right out, and I tried the Nexus 4 with a bumper only to get a scratch on the face within the first month.

  • FelipeCP

    Just a heads up for the people who want to buy the Spigen cases, they are cheaper on their eBay page.

  • Adriann

    Thanks for the info Nathan.

    I’m trying to figure out if the magnets are strong enough to hold the phone up using a magnetic mount

  • David Foggia

    My god, if I had the money….I would be on this phone like Christmas dinner ;)

  • bluger

    Thanks for the heads up on the Spigen – the “champagne” is on Amazon Canada for $20 with free / prime shipping. I’d rather not hop on the gold train, but given that Google once again has no accessories available at launch (which is so bizarre given that such is pure profit. You would think they would delay the release until they had their gravy cases and chargers in stock), I need it in something.

  • Amparipaa

    as i predicted, with LG + Goog selling this thing below the cost of manufacturing (although with this thing being more expensive than the N4, it might be at manufacturing cost, in lieu of the Kindle Fire model), they’d have to sell accessories to make a profit… oh wait, they have the Play Store. nevermind… that orange case looks quite sexy though, but not sexy enough to make me buy a Nexus.

  • wefwef

    A lot of cheapo buying nexus 5

  • NoahFang

    This phone got Gorizlla Glass 3, which is pretty good with scratches. A lot of tests prove that as long as you don’t put your phone with keys and sands, there will not be any scratches whatsoever. that actually instantly makes screen protectors or glasses pointless.

    Its rubbery finish on the back makes the phone pretty durable. plus, this phone is so cheap. i really don’t know why i would need a case or a bump to cover its sexy body.

  • KID ANDROID

    The offerings from Google are cheap & ugly looking (check out some videos of them on youtube) when you actually see them. I ordered the SPIGEN Slim Armour in Champagne for my Nexus 5 (Now that case looks slick as hell), both the phone and case were just shipped so they should be here at the same time yay.

  • PatrickPlante

    I’m planning to buy the Nexus 5 Case Slim Armor from Spigen, but I would like to know if this case is compatible with wireless charging? Do I have to remove the case or I can leave it there to charge my Nexus 5? Thanks

  • imrangr1

    who the heck spends that much for a smartphone cover? And most of the cover don’t look/sound premium with their plastic finish.

  • ShawnMerrikin

    Just ordered a Spigen Slim Armour. Thank you for the recommendation.

    Now I am wondering if this case will work with a wireless charger?
    Also which charger should I get?

  • PT

    Ever heard of ebay? $3 bucks a piece, any colour you want. lol!

  • Adam Young

    I’ll be picking up the OEM bumper when it comes out, not concerned about the price.

  • Abhi9192

    are there any cases that support wireless charging other than the bumper and quick cover?

  • Storm Russel

    Cases are great but they’re just a little too bulky for me…I’d much rather protect my screen and get a GEARMAXX screen protector which sells on ebay for cheap but they’re high quality and durable!