Google Nexus 5 Review

9.4

Daniel Bader

December 3, 2013 9:05 pm

There are some phones that change an industry, and the Nexus 4 was one of them. Released for a ridiculously low $309 CDN ($299 USD) in early November 2012, the device went on to reveal the limitations of the carrier-free OEM strategy. Lacking LTE and felled by an underwhelming camera and poor battery life, the Nexus 4 was certainly good enough to justify its low price tag, but ultimately couldn’t divert attention away from an industry moving towards faster data speeds.

A year later, the Nexus 5 arrives slightly more expensive, but better equipped to take on devices twice the cost. Many of you reading this will have already decided whether or not the Nexus 5 is your next phone, but I figured it’s better late than never to evaluate this disruptive, flawed, but ultimately excellent handset.

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Specs

  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 4.95-inch 1080p IPS display w/ Gorilla Glass 3
  • 2.26Ghz Snapdragon 800 SoC w/ Adreno 330 GPU
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM / 16-32GB internal storage
  • 8MP rear camera w/ OIS
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • 1080p video capture
  • 2,300mAh battery w/ wireless charging support
  • WiFi (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0 (LE), A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC
  • WCDMA Bands 1/2/4/5/6/8/19, LTE Bands 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41
  • 69.17 x 137.84 x 8.59 mm
  • 130 grams

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Device & Display

There isn’t much to admire about the Nexus 5′s shape, weight or size; it fits in with many of its contemporaries, though it manages to pack a larger screen into a body only slightly taller than its predecessor.

The most apparent upgrade from the Nexus 4 is the device’s new matte black backing, which replaces the crack-prone glass that, after admiring the speckled pattern contained underneath, quickly wore out its welcome. The Nexus 5 back feels nearly identical to the new Nexus 7, and the rubbery material, combined with its relative svelte width, makes it easy and pleasurable to operate in one hand. Like the device on which it was based, the LG G2, the Nexus 5 is a very compact big phone.

Much has been made about the ceramic volume and power buttons, but they’re nothing special. More impressive is the overall build quality: the Nexus 5 feels extremely solid for a low-cost device, and makes few, if any, compromises to reach its price. (Surely Google must be partially subsidizing the cost, as carriers are charging $100-150 more for the same product.)

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Turning the device over, you’ll notice a vertically-oriented Nexus insignia, buoyed by a large, unseemly camera lens that covers the relatively small 8MP sensor. (As we’ll see later, the camera is the phone’s Achilles’ Heel, and part of the reason we delayed this review was to see whether Google would issue a fix for its terrible focus speed. Alas, they have not.) The rounded nature of the corners leaves the phone looking pretty indistinguishable from previous Nexus handsets in terms of shape, but the Nexus 5 has the best build quality of the bunch.

It also has the best display. Though offering slightly cooler colours than the 5.2-inch LG G2, the IPS display on the Nexus 5 is excellent, with gorgeous colours and phenomenal maximum brightness. In fact, it’s often too bright, owed to a liberal auto-brightness algorithm that assumes one is always drenched with sun, even in a dark room. This brightness issue also leads to the Nexus’s second-biggest drawback: poor battery life. More on that later.

What’s so interesting about the Nexus 5 display isn’t that it’s cooler than the G2, but that, like the Nexus 4 vs. Optimus G, Google appears hellbent on brandishing stock Android as the anti-AMOLED. There’s a general sense of detached saturation, as if you’re looking at things through a slightly opaque window; it’s not an unpleasant viewpoint, but the Nexus 5′s display characteristics show less “soul” than the G2 or the HTC One’s superlative displays.

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On the positive side, the Nexus 5 has excellent touch response; an imprecise and insensitive digitizer was another forgotten downside of the Nexus 4. In this respect, the Nexus 5 feels truly modern, and pairs well with Android 4.4 KitKat.

To say that the Nexus 5 is a truly unremarkable-looking smartphone does not paint an accurate picture of its significance. This is the best phone in its price range, and is comparable in speed and usability to most devices released in the last six months.

But — and this is a big caveat — the Nexus 5 is no longer the only handset rocking Android 4.4. When most of the early reviews emerged, the Nexus 5 was the Big Kahuna mainly because it boasted a new launcher, an updated dialler app, transparency and Immersive Mode, improved performance, and other tenets of KitKat that were yet to be exposed on other handsets. While only a few devices have received the same update, KitKat is making its way, officially and via custom ROMs, to thousands of handsets. Whether I would pick the Nexus 5 over the HTC One running official Android 4.4 with Sense 5.5, or the LG G2 running Paranoid Android 4, is unclear.

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Performance & Software

Android 4.4 is a nice bump from its predecessor, and there are a lot of things to like, aesthetically and functionally. But Google continues to deemphasize the features of individual Android versions with KitKat, allowing many earlier devices to take advantage of behind-the-scenes performance improvements through the ubiquity of Play Services.

Most users upgrading to a Nexus 5 will be treated to a cleaner home screen with larger icons and an ever-present Google Now pane to the left of the main screen. As we’ve shown you, the Google Experience Launcher, as it’s called, is actually a shell for the updated Search app, and it’s possible to emulate the experience on other devices with a bit of know-how.

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Android 4.4′s visual improvements, then, are mainly nips and tucks. A new dialler, which hadn’t been updated in a couple years, taps into Google’s vast caller ID database to expose business names, even if the incoming number is not stored in your phone. Immersive Mode, one of my favourite features, disappears the status and navigation bars to allow apps the use of the entire screen. On a phone this size, it makes reading books or playing games much more pleasant.

Nexus5ImmersiveMode

Hangouts as the default SMS provider means that Google has deprecated the old Messages app, which will not be missed. Hangouts works out to be a competent and very fast SMS client, in addition to a widely-used IM client; I have convinced many friends and family members to make the switch. To that end, KitKat continues to reinforce the idea that Android is best used if already entrenched in the Google ecosystem; from Play Books to Newsstand to Hangouts, KitKat and the Nexus 5 together make the argument that Android need not be complicated or inconsistent. You can also choose your default launcher and SMS app from within KitKat’s Settings, another nitpit thankfully addressed from previous versions.

Nexus5KitKat1

Specifically, most of the UI issues that plagued previous versions of the OS are gone. There are a few outliers, like inconsistent icon sizes and assets that haven’t been optimized for 1080p displays, but for the most part Android plays nice with the HD age. We’ve also seen a number of improvements in the quality of apps and games since the release of Android 4.2 in late 2012 (Android 4.3 was such a minor release, I barely count it). This is thanks to Google’s continued optimization of Android’s APIs, and the willingness of developers to leave behind Gingerbread users in an effort to optimize their apps for the latest generation of devices.

The OS looks better because Google has also chosen a lighter variant of its Roboto font for much of the system text, which reads better in high-contrast scenarios. KitKat has also revamped the file picker, which now feels much more native, and plugs into other services like Google Drive, Dropbox and Box. This should result in fewer apps prompting you to choose a default app if you have several file managers or gallery alternatives installed, but in my testing the app was not available in all apps — it appears to be up to developers to override its selection if desired. The Downloads app has also received a much-needed do-over, and music apps now display album covers on the lock screen.

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But there are some areas of the KitKat UI that remain glaringly unrefined. Most egregious is the terrible, awful camera UI; I rarely advise Google to steal ideas from their OEM partners, but in this aspect I wish they would steal HTC’s or Sony’s camera app wholesale. The thumb-tastic controls are barely tolerable, and by the time you’re ready to frame a shot, your subject is likely to be long out of frame.

In terms of performance, the Nexus 5 sports some of the best ever seen on Android. Though it benchmarks lower than the LG G2 and Note 3, despite using the same Snapdragon 800 chip, this doesn’t translate to poorer real-world performance. Google tends to be more conservative with its thermal limits on Nexus devices than competing Android OEMs, so clock speeds throttle to ensure maximum battery life and less heat output. It will be interesting to see how other devices scale when updated to Android 4.4 — only the Moto X has seen an official update, and its hardware is comparatively slower than the Nexus 5′s — because Google made a lot of behind-the-scenes performance improvements to the OS framework.

Scrolling is one area in which Android continues to be at a disadvantage, as scrolling in the included Chrome app next to Safari (or even Chrome) on iOS is much more choppy, but things are improving. Android as a whole is becoming a much more capable and well-rounded operating system, and it’s with iterative updates like this — both on the hardware and software side — that showcases its virtues.

At $599, the average price of a high-end Android smartphone these days, the Nexus 5 would not stand out. Even stock Android is just another Android skin these days, with its own design choices, advantages and disadvantages. It may not offer the feature creep of Samsung’s TouchWIZ, nor the sleek (and often confusing) UI choices in HTC’s Sense, but its from-the-source updates and unlockable bootloader make it the most versatile Android phone around.

At $349, however, the Nexus 5 is a gift. It’s a better choice for most people than walking into a store, plopping down $100-200 on a high-end smartphone on a 2-year contract. Being able to shop around and, in many cases, get a $20/month discount from the top carriers for bringing your own device, should cut down your annual costs by around $250, too.

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Camera

The Nexus 5′s camera is where we begin to see the cracks in the foundation gradually reveal themselves. While the 8MP sensor, comprised of reasonably-sized 1.9um pixels, is good on paper, the results are anything but reassuring.

Like last year’s model, the Nexus 5 suffers from poor autofocus speed and, despite hardware optical image stabilization, an inability to capture subjects without blur. In good light, with stationary objects, the Nexus 5 captures highly-saturated, accurate colours with lots of detail, and the new editing tools bundled in Android 4.4 are quick to correct any immediate issues with exposure or contrast.

The Nexus 5′s greatest camera asset is a new feature called HDR+, which takes five photos at different exposures and stitches them together to make a composite with better dynamic range. The issue is that the shutter needs to stay open for just under a second for the feat to be accomplished, so moving targets are often a fall of fuzz by the end of the process. Land- or cityscape photos taken with HDR+ are often quite lovely, and contain an extraordinary amount of subtle detail lacking from many other Android devices, but preparation for these moments is key; the Nexus 5 suffers when used “off the cuff.”

Thanks to a sensor with slightly larger pixels and the addition of optical image stabilization, the Nexus 5 takes much better low-light photos than the Nexus 4, which admittedly isn’t an accomplishment. It also takes better low-light photos than a few Android contemporaries, but pales next to the Galaxy Note 3, the LG G2, and especially the HTC One.

The default camera app tends to keep the shutter open longer than it needs to, even in good lighting conditions, the cause of such prodigious blur in many shots. Using third-party alternatives, like the newly-released VSCO Cam, tend to focus more quickly and take better shots, so much of the displeasure with the Nexus 5′s camera can be blamed on the default app itself. To address the other issues, like softness and strange exposure and white balance choices (which happens too often as well), Google needs to issue an update to the camera firmware, which it has promised to do.

Nexus devices have never been known to capture great video, either, but the Nexus 5 does as well as can be expected in this regard. Thanks in part to optical image stabilization, which keeps the sensor from picking up microvibrations in the hand, 1080p video is smoother and eminently more watchable than previous years. Audio capture suffers from tinniness and more than a little “mono,” but it’s not bad.

Overall, the Nexus 5 can take good photos, and a deft hand can probably make it happen more often than on the Nexus 4, but by no means does it offer a best-in-class Android experience. As I said earlier, Google badly needs to overhaul its camera app UI and make big changes to the firmware to better gauge when to leave the shutter open for less time in good lighting to prevent blurring.

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Battery Life & Connectivity

The Nexus 5′s other main issue is its battery life. Whereas the LG G2, on which the Nexus was based, has a 3,000mAh cell, Google’s flagship contains a 2,300mAh battery. Stock Android 4.4 also lacks the battery optimizations that most OEMs take care to implement.

Nexus5BatteryLife

To whit, the Nexus 5 has good but not great uptime. It will last a whole day, but maybe not every day. And by “whole day,” I mean it will take you from breakfast to dinner, but likely not beyond that. Call me spoiled, but this quarter has been very good for raising the Android battery ceiling; the LG G2 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 can often peak at two days without needing a recharge.

Part of the Nexus 5′s battery downfall is its terrible auto-brightness algorithm, which almost always sets the screen at brightness levels perfect for a bright day, not for a moderately-lit apartment. Manually setting the dial can temporarily fix the issue, but a more permanent solution is needed, either from a software update or, for more industrious users, a root-based alteration. As it stands, the Nexus 5 backlight works too damn hard for too many hours of the day, slurping battery when it should be sipping.

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In terms of connectivity, the Nexus 5 is the first Nexus smartphone to offer LTE connectivity, and that it comes unlocked out of the box makes it one of the most versatile handsets ever created for travellers. With support for pentaband HSPA+ up to 42Mbps and LTE support on Band 4 (AWS), the North American SKU works on practically every network in Canada and the United States; the only thing it lacks is Band 7 (2600Mhz) support, which disadvantages Rogers and Bell customers, especially since the device, through its MDM9x25 baseband, supports 150Mbps in the downlink.

Nexus5LTESpeeds

I had a great experience with data speeds in most part of the Greater Toronto Area, and tested the phone on Rogers, Bell, TELUS and Wind Mobile, all with excellent results. The problems arose when making calls, irrespective of network: callers often couldn’t hear me, or told me I sounded muffled. I partially blame this on the placement of the bottom microphone, but even when I ensured the phone was properly situated complaints continued. I have reason to believe there’s an issue with the radio software included on the device, which may be correctable with a software update. In other words, like the camera and auto-brightness, the Nexus 5 is an update away from being pretty great.

One area that likely won’t be fixed via software is the awful, soft and tinny mono speaker located on the bottom of the Nexus 5. Though it has mercifully been relocated from the back cover, which negatively affected the Nexus 4, things are no better with this new alignment. Either the amplifier is underpowered (though I had no complaints with headphone quality and volume) or the speaker module itself is just a bad part, but even at maximum volume I could barely hear a Daft Punk song in a quiet room.

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Conclusions

After spending a month with the Nexus 5, I fall short of being in love, but I’m still heavily infatuated with this well-made product. From the transition to a soft-touch matte backing to the addition of LTE, this is a quality successor to the Nexus 4.

But in many ways, Google avoided upstaging its OEM partners by sticking the device with an underwhelming camera experience and an undersized battery cell. Neither are reasons to avoid purchasing the Nexus, but in the world of G2′s and Note 3′s, not to mention Moto X’s, the Nexus 5 is just another great Android phone. While marketed beyond the small community of developers that bought the Nexus One and Nexus S, the Nexus 5 is still a niche product that is unlikely to alter the way consumers buy phones. Sold in stores, the Nexus 5, though still unlocked, is considerably more expensive than what Google charges for it on the Play Store, and lacks the flashy baubles of the latest Samsung or LG flagship.

At $399, the 32GB Nexus 5 is easily the best value for money on the smartphone market today, but it’s not even close to being the best smartphone. Whether that crown is worn by the more premium LG G2, the compact and intuitive Moto X, the vastly-improved Note 3 or the gorgeous iPhone 5s is up to the buyer, but the Nexus 5 forces too many compromises to make me a permanent convert.

Update: December 11th, post-Android 4.4.2

Not a day and a half after posting this review, Google went and updated the Nexus 5 to address the major concern I, and most other owners, had with the device. Now that I’ve had a few days to play around with the phone post-update — it was first updated to 4.4.1 and subsequently bumped to 4.4.2 to settle a few remaining security issues — I am comfortable concluding that, while I am still not in love with the device, I find it much easier to use it as my daily driver.

Camera

First, the camera. The update fixed the main problems I had with the Nexus 5′s shooting capabilities: the speed to focus. Not only does the camera app open more quickly, especially from the lock screen, but focus speed has been drastically improved; it’s like using a completely different camera.

There are still outstanding issues: the device still has a tendency to set the shutter speed below what, say, the LG G2 would do, in less-than-perfect lighting. So, let me give you an example: you’re having dinner with your family and the kids are running around. It’s dark outside, and the kitchen is lit by a single bulb, and you decide to take a photo of your excitable son. The G2 would likely set the shutter speed at 1/40-1/60, which equates to 1/40th to 1/60th of a second. Because it has a fairly large sensor and optical image stabilization, the photo would turn out slightly dark, but nothing you couldn’t fix in post. Your son, however, would be sharply in focus.

On the Nexus 5, despite a similar-sized sensor with bigger individual pixels and an identical OIS module, the shutter would stay open for 1/8s-1/15s. This means that your son, moving earthquake that he is, would be blurry. The rest of the photo may be in focus, and the result itself would be brighter, but the actual intention — to get a nice photo of your smiling son — would be missed.

Still, the update does speed up the shutter in the vast majority of scenarios, and has cut down the number of throwaway photos as a result. More impressive is the speed at which the sensor locks onto a moving target, so cityscapes no longer come out awful and unusably blurry. And thanks to tweaks to the contrast and dynamic range, well-lit photos don’t look quite as washed-out as they did on Android 4.4. Colours pop and HDR+ photos look slightly more “moody” than they did before. Yes, these are all enhancements that could have been applied manually in post-production, but it’s nice to see them included by default now.

The Nexus 5 still isn’t a great camera phone, and will likely never be; the terrible camera UI is still there, and there are too many quirks to recommend it above a similar Samsung or HTC. But these improvements are significant enough to raise the camera score from a 7 to an 8.

Battery Life

Thanks so a more conservative auto-brightness algorithm, I’ve noticed battery life improve by around 5-10% depending on my workload throughout the day. This isn’t as significant as I would have liked, and I may take measures — rooting and using the Xposed framework to tweak it further — but it’s free money, so to speak, so I can’t complain.

There may be other under-the-hood changes made to Android 4.4.2 that positively affect battery life, but the size of the cell, 2300mAh, is still smaller than the competition, and I can’t justify changing the score. It stays at 7.5.

Call Quality

Here is arguably my favourite aspect of the update. Someone, somewhere, heard my plea (not really, but the radio engineers were clearly experiencing the same issues I was), as all my issues with call quality have been resolved in Android 4.4.2. The Nexus 5 sounds great, both in my ear and to those people calling me.

The tiny mono speaker also received a bit of a volume boost in select apps, thanks to a few bug fixes, and together these two improvements justify an increase in Connectivity score from to 9.5.

Overall

I can easily recommend the Nexus 5 to anyone not only looking for an Android phone, but a smartphone in general. With the changes made to Android 4.4.2, it’s now my daily driver, and one of the best Android phones on the market.

9.4

Final Score

8

Design

9.5

Software

9

Display

9.5

Performance

8.5

Build Quality

8

Camera

9.5

Connectivity

7.5

Battery Life

  • Tom

    “ultimately couldn’t divert attention away from an industry moving towards faster data speeds”

    I disagree… a LOT of people bought the N4 to use on Wind (which has no LTE) or T-Mobile (their LTE coverage is not big).

    Plus, on Robellus and T-Mobile, enabling unofficial LTE was really easy.

    • JTon

      Unless I’m mistaken that was a crippled, unsupported LTE which they eventually patched-out access to

    • Tom

      They did – and people immediately got around it (using the .33 radio)

    • kirilmatt

      Still using LTE on rogers to this day! Love my nexus 4, best phone I’ve ever owned.

    • Tom

      Same, LTE on fido. Although my N4 is admittedly lacking in some areas vs the competition (especially the camera), it was nothing but a total upgrade from my previous phone (LG Optimus 2X). So yeah it’s the best phone ever for me too :) It’s good enough that I’m in no hurry to grab the N5 despite its tantalizingly low cost!

  • MSined

    Great review Dan!

  • Blueliner

    I’m curious.. where did you get the wallpaper from? (in the first picture at top of the review)

    • Devanshu

      I was wondering the same thing. :D

  • jim

    So basically.. it is a piece of cheap garbage.

    • Raymond

      “a piece of cheap garbage” that scored better than the LG G2, better than the Moto X, and just as good as the iPhone 5s.

    • Walter

      If you read the review and then look at the score you will see the 2 don’t match. The score should be like a 7.5 or something not a 9.

    • Torrentius Aharon Campeaux

      Actually, averaging the scores it’s 8.5. Given there isn’t a separate category for price, the slight bump up to 9 total score is pretty reasonable.

    • Walter

      Like I said, if you read the review and then look at the score given the 2 don’t match up. I’m not saying its a bad device just that the review and final score don’t jive.

    • Matt

      Sorry, I read you as saying “The score should be like a 7.5 or something not a 9″ and that meaning “The score should be like a 7.5 or something not a 9.”

      My bad.

    • Anaron

      Repeating what you said earlier won’t make you right. The review was mostly positive. Perhaps you didn’t pay attention to the respective scores in each category. The only one below 8 was the battery category. Everything else was 8, 9, or 9.5.

    • Bri

      The “cost” score is missing in MS’s score breakdown. But I somewhat agree, although 7.5 sounds a little bit too much. Maybe 8 or 8.5.

    • HeyYoWL

      Like your face!

    • Giorat23

      In your dreams! I sold an iphone 5S to buy an Nexus 5, and It was one of the best tech decition I ever made.. And stay with money :)

  • Savbers

    The biggest gripe on the Nexus 5 is the Battery Life as the issues with the Camera and speaker are ultimately fixable.
    (Software update or Headphone/BT Speaker)

    Having to charge your phone twice a day (with a VERY picky phone) is quite annoying.

  • Sam Wiggans

    Having used both the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, I don’t know why but I prefer the Nexus 4

    • Bbrysucks

      Not a chance. You should own a nexus 5 and then you’d throw the 4 out immediately. Get real.

    • Sam Wiggans

      I did own it, I got it on November 5 and sold it last week

    • Bbrysucks

      Somehow I doubt that. I know at least a dozen people including myself that dumped their n4′s on kijiji the same day. Seems a little far fetched you prefer the crappy washed out display, bad camera, and even worse battery.

    • Sam Wiggans

      I prefer the slightly smaller display, 1080p I don’t care about, camera sucks on both so I use a real camera, and I don’t find battery to be worse.

      I dislike the ‘exclusive’ launcher on the N5

    • Bbrysucks

      If you don’t like a launcher u change it. You know, the trebuchet launcher on the n4 works fine on the n5

    • crabby

      Not only that, but the n4 isnt even half the phone in terms of raw specs. This n5 is an absolute beast, and almost nothing touches it out there except other devices utilizing the same CPU. The n4 is showing its age at an ever so accelerated rate these days.

    • jellmoo

      The Nexus 5 is absolutely the better device, but I would agree that there are items about the Nexus 4 I do like better. The overall build quality is nicer on the N4, and it feels far more comfortable in the hand.

    • HeyYoWL

      Yeah I don’t like the sharper edges on the sides, nor the plastic back. I’ve been too used to a glass back from the iPhone 4, and then the N4.

    • jay

      same here what did you get?

  • jay

    but to buy an iphone 5s for 719$ which i can keep two years and still for 250$ easily and the nexus 5?

    • Sam Wiggans

      Feasibly, you could sell the Nexus 5 for 100 in 2 years, losing 250 as opposed to nearly 500

    • crabby

      Exactly.

    • jay

      who buys it in two years?

    • Walkop

      The people who would buy a Moto G now.

      I just sold my GNex for $170 :p

    • crabby

      While I phones hold their value, the n5 with such a low initial investment will still leave you out ahead years down the road. And by a several hundred buck margin no less.

  • Walter

    I am still undecided with this phone. The display is nice. The camera is OK if you use a 3rd party app. And the battery life is a joke but might saved by Qualcomm battery manager. The Nexus 5 only saving grace is that it has kit kat.

    • Bbrysucks

      The battery life is fine (and consistently better than my s4) once rooted and installing a different kernel (Franco). It now went from 4hrs screen on time to 6+ with a full fays use of 16 or so hours.
      Light use (only texting and calls) it lasts beyond 2 days now.

    • Walter

      But that us after the fact. The unit being reviewed isn’t hacked in anyways. If the N5 came like that out the box then we would have a different device altogether. but out the box the N5 isn’t that great.

    • Bbrysucks

      Just FYI – ALL NEXUS DEVICES are meant to be hacked. That is the ENTIRE point of them to begin with.

    • Walter

      FYI the average Joe or Jane dont hack their phone.

      Your comparing a tuned civic to a stock civic.

    • Shill Detector

      Lol, no. This phone is meant to be tweaked and configured to your liking. If you don’t do “that”, then you really have no reason purchasing the device in the first place, espe ially if you’re going to whine about something that is easily remedied by tweaking it. Some peoples kids. Smh.

    • Ramzay

      It makes little sense to say that a phone can be great after extensive modding. That’s like saying the newest Mazda3 is super once you change the tires, swap out the engine and re-upholster the seats. You must compare apples to apples (i.e stock phone vs stock phone). Because otherwise, we’ll compare a modded G2 or Note 3 to a modded N5.

    • Shill Detector

      Dude, your analogy makes zero sense. The phone was designed from the ground up to be modded., and it couldn’t be an easier process to make changes to whatever you want if your not a complete gluebag. Seriously.

    • Walter

      Your missing the point. Yes the device is designed to be hacked and modded. And yes hacking and modding the device will improve overall functionality. But this review is for a stock N5 and most ppeople that I know that have a nexus device or any Android for that matter won’t mod it.

      All the faults the device has are unfixable to those who won’t, dont, or don’t care to mod their device. If your a power user like mist of us here commenting are then the N5 is a great piece of kit. But to the average Joe or Jane that wants a phone to just work the N5 might not be the device for them.

    • Ramzay

      You actually used the words “dude” and “seriously”? What are you, 12? And if you can’t understand the stock civic vs modded civic argument another poster made, then there’s little hope for you. You compare stock devices vs stock devices. That’s how the world works.

    • Jesse Cablek

      Except when you write this review and put “Whether I would pick the Nexus 5 over the HTC One running official Android 4.4 with Sense 5.5, or the LG G2 running Paranoid Android 4, is unclear.”

      Clearly, stock Nexus 5 was being compared against PA on LG G2 at some point to make their choice.

    • Dize Odisu

      thats very true!

      A modded phone with superior specs would really be too tough for the n5 simply in hardware terms
      case in point …note3

    • Walkop

      They have the same SoC.

      Display is same resolution but denser on the N5.

      3GB of RAM vs 2GB (nice, but not huge).

      Etc?

  • PewZ

    I have the Nexus 5, I love the device but i must say I’ve had a few “bugs”. I’m not sure if anyone else has experienced them. Happened once, the sound control from the main page was not working. As in it was not displaying anything and wouldn’t change. Within an app it was working fine. Fixed on reboot. Second issue, for some reason when launching the camera, the screen goes completely black. Tried force closing app and relaunching got the same issue.. fixed on reboot. Not sure if this is 4.4 related though.

    • TomsDisqusted

      There are a number of bugs with 4.4 – seems it was rather rushed, like 4.2. There will be a 4.4.1, and hopefully it will address most of the issues – and improve the camera too.

    • thedosbox

      Yeah, this is the price to be paid for using what is effectively a platform for seeding a new version of Android. Give it some time.

    • Ryster1

      Give Google/LG some time to fix the bugs on this phone, eventually, after an update or 2, there will be not much wrong with the phone :)

    • James Arsenault

      most phones have minor flaws in some way but no phones is better anyway.

  • Joe_Hoe

    I don’t know why you complained about the battery life, I’ve had nothing but great results with my nexus 5. One day I unplugged it at 8 am, listened to music for basically 9 hours, while texting, playing a few games, and checking a few web pages, then went out and texted for about an hour and a half with the screen mostly on, still used the device for another couple hours. So from 8am to 11pm I only lost 93%. To me that is amazing. Right now I’m at 20% with 11.5 hours on battery.

    • Sam Wiggans

      You’re lucky, honestly. One day I had the phone in standby for 5 hours and it went down 90%.. that was only one day but other days it was not nearly as good as the results your saying you get

    • thedosbox

      “I don’t know why you complained about the battery life”

      Because it’s comparably worse than the other phones he used? Trying to compare your usage model and results with his is a non-starter. Are you both getting the same signal strength? Do you run the same apps? What accounts do you have syncing? What settings are you using? etc etc etc.

    • Nicolas Denis

      I’ve had nothing but awesome results with the battery. Set the screen brightness to 15% or so. I hate dim screens and usually have it at least 50% on other phones. The backlight setting are way set way too high on this phone.
      Once I changed that I’m getting over a day of battery life consistently. It’s so relieving to not have to plug in the phone all the time. Coming from a nexus 4.
      The LTE does hurt battery life, but even if I leave WIFI off, I still get a days worth at the very least.

    • Shadi

      Absolutely. I routinely get 28-30 hours of battery (according to battery widget’s stats).

      I use my phone all day with those results.

  • Keppay

    I thought I was the only one with auto-brightness issue. Glad to see I’m not alone!

  • andy c

    After updating my n4 to 4.4 my LTE stays on even after a reboot. The n5 does not have enough improvements to justify a upgrade this year. Maybe next.

  • Miles Harbord

    I’m really confused, how the Moto X is mentioned at the end… I found that thing to be pretty middling.

    • thedosbox

      If all you’re doing is looking at specs, sure. Go nose around androidpolice, arstechnica and androidcentral. They all recommend the Moto X as a candidate for best “overall” android phone. It does a lot of things very well, while having few weaknesses (the camera is merely “OK”) other than the off-contract price.

    • danbob999

      The problem is that most of these reviewers do not take price into account.
      The Nexus 5 should be compared to similarly priced alternatives. The 8GB iPhone 4S is $450. Galaxy S4 mini is also as expensive as the 32 GB N5 at $400. With BlackBerry you have to settle for the Q5 in that price range. Not sure about Windows Phone but I am not even sure you can get a 720p display in that price range.
      The choice is pretty easy.

    • thedosbox

      “The problem is that most of these reviewers do not take price into account.”

      Most customers don’t take off-contract price into account either – neither did the comment I responded to.

      If off-contract prices mattered, we wouldn’t be bombarded with $0 on a 2-year contract “special deals”.

    • danbob999

      We are also bombarded with “low” interest credit cards. It doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to use them.

    • thedosbox

      “It doesn’t mean it’s a good idea”

      Never claimed otherwise. Doesn’t change the fact that most people buy on-contract, regardless of the math.

    • Ramzay

      There are two sides to this coin. Yes, it’s true that when comparing to similarly-priced phones, the N5 blows them out of the water. Most other reviews have touched upon this.

      However, there are two problems with this:

      1) Most people are indifferent to the base retail price because nobody pays it. This past weekend, you could get the G2, N5, Galaxy S4 and a few other phones for $0 on contract. If they all cost the same, I’d go for either the S4 or the G2 (as would most people, I assume) because they’re simply better phones.

      2) The Kijiji market. A quick browse on Kijiji shows you can get a brand new in box G2 or S4 for between $400-$450. Once again, in the “real” market (not inflated retail store prices), they all sell for about the same. Again, at this price point, why choose a N5 over the G2 or S4?

    • Shill Detector

      Because the s4 is cheap, laggy, and aside from the camera generally sucks compared to the n5. Also, some people don’t like lg’s skin (just like touchwiz) and prefer s stock experience right out of the box. The n5 gives that with the new launcher to boot.

    • Ramzay

      “Because the s4 is cheap, laggy, and aside from the camera generally sucks compared to the n5″ – your opinion and you’re entitled to it. It’s no more laggy than any other phone not running non-stock Android. Cheap? Not really. It has top-notch components, though I agree Samsung needs to get with the program and stop making shiny plastic cases. The Nexus 5 is also made out of plastic, but the finishing is better. Samsung could do this.

      “Also, some people don’t like lg’s skin (just like touchwiz) and prefer s stock experience right out of the box.” Granted, though this really only applies to modders/knowledgeable users. The average Joe (99% of users) doesn’t know and doesn’t care.

    • danbob999

      1) Getting your S4 or G2 on contract will add $20/month to your monthly bill over 2 years. That’s $480, more than the full price of the N5.
      2) I guess you will also be able to get N5 for a discount on Kijiji

  • Felix

    I read terrible reviews bout the speaker before and here, yet my speaker has been perfectly fine no matter where i was listening to audio from. Maybe I got lucky.

  • thedosbox

    Heh, I see the the score wars have broken out. Give it up folks. If you’re expecting a “review” to be purely objective, go look at a spec sheet.

  • Jim

    What about the fact that you can’t even use your exchange account? Check out the thousands who’ve voiced their feedback on Google’s support website

    • thedosbox

      That’s a KitKat issue, not a Nexus 5 issue. It’s already been flagged as fixed for a future OTA update. Just part of the price to pay for being on the bleeding edge of google’s latest platform.

    • Jim

      Yeah I get that, I really wanted this phone but the horrendous camera plus atrocious speaker quality led me to purchase the note 3

    • Shill Detector

      Both the camera and sound have been fixed. Weeks ago in fact. I believe both were resolved by the third days after release.

    • Walter

      That isn’t what all the reviews say about the camera. And to me a phones camera and battery life mean a lot to me.

    • Shill Detector

      Both your points are complete non starters. Don’t be so ignorant and rely on reviews for your information. Sheesh.

    • crabby

      How can a person even be on a tech blog bitching about a problem that doesn’t exist, when they don’t even own the phone and also have no clue about how to make modifications to alter settings to your likings?
      Wacked out like rob ford I guess.

    • Walter

      Easy. They are called the average user.

    • Walter

      So do you suggest that I buy a phone just to fund out all the reviews were right. Nice logic

  • thisismysmartphone.tumblr.com

    “The problems arose when making calls, irrespective of network: callers often couldn’t hear me, or told me I sounded muffled.”
    I’ve personally never had this issue with my Nexus 5, maybe you have a defect?

    ” Using third-party alternatives, like the newly-released VSCO Cam, tend to focus more quickly”
    Camera applications on Android do not have the capability to control focus when taking a shot. Hopefully the release of Google’s camera API will solve this issue.

    “I mean it will take you from breakfast to dinner, but likely not beyond that”
    Don’t fully agree with this statement either. I’m a poweruser (browsing, email, calling, texting, GPS, etc) and my phone generally lasts me through the day. One can expect 3-4 hours of on-screen time, which is acceptable, albeit not incredible.

    “Scrolling is one area in which Android continues to be at a disadvantage, as scrolling in the included Chrome app next to Safari (or even Chrome) on iOS is much more choppy, but things are improving.”
    This is not the devices fault, nor is it Android’s. The Google Chrome application is at fault, and my Nexus 5 is perfectly smooth in every regard, excluding the Chrome Application (which still isn’t awful).

    I definitely agree with the comments made regarding the Camera UI and speaker (Nexus devices have always had awful speakers). I just wish Google would release a high-end Nexus device, with top-of-line components in every regard. I appreciate its price, but what about those users willing to pay a premium for an excellent stock Android device? (Yes, I know Developer-Edition, but I’m not a fan of either the S4 or HTC One)

  • Rob

    Mobile Syrup (or anyone): What stand is being used to display the N5 in the above pictures? Can someone please post a link to where it can be purchased?

    And thanks for the review!

    • thedosbox

      It looks like a Bluelounge Milo.

      [edit] for anyone else with the same question, it’s a Bluelounge Mika. Rob’s link got moderated out.

  • Alex

    I switched from a galaxy S4. I hated how slow all the messaging apps worked on the S4. I like the Nexus 5 much better. The battery lasts the whole day (slightly less than the S4). The camera… Well all cameras from all phones suck if you use a SLR camera.

    Great phone for $399.

    • Dean Vlahos

      In exactly the same boat. Can’t agree more.

  • theRKF

    I’ve had my Nexus 5 about a month as well, and my experience had been very positive with the speaker (big upgrade over the Galaxy Nexus), and I’ve not had a single call quality issue. LTE speed with Telus is excellent in the GTA and cottage country, and overall the phone just works beautifully. The camera is the lone problem, but I rarely use it… And at $300 cheaper than the Z1 I have a lot of extra cash for third party camera apps :)

    • Bbrysucks

      There is a fix for the camera on xda. After installing it works beautifully. The patch helps the focus and also the image AND video quality immensely.

    • Maxwell M

      This needs to be publicized more. I’ve installed the hacked camera app and it’s miles ahead of the default camera app. The only problem is it’s fubared most other 3rd party camera apps, but that’s fine with me – none were too memorable for me.

    • Walter

      Personally I think the XDA app should come with every Android device. Most people have no clue what their phones and tablets can actually do.

    • blzd

      The XDA app is pretty poor. Maybe a link to the xda website instead?

  • DubbingHammer

    Am I the only one who’s been having huge KitKat craving lately? :)

  • Kyouya

    I don’t know why this wasn’t mentioned, but I have noticed tremendous battery improvement on my nexus 4 with Kit kat. It conserves approximately 15% more battery life. I am quite thankful for the Kit Kat upgrade more than ever.

  • Aiden

    Considering the camera is a minor update and battery life hasn’t improved much, I found very little grounds to upgrade from my still excellent performing n4. Maybe next year I’ll upgrade or get a flagship from other brands.

  • Canadaboy

    Not sure if (which I think is the case being “a month) you have an early build, but the one I got end of november direct from google has a loud loud speaker.

  • Tiago

    i <3 my Nexus 5

  • lusky3

    I always custom ROM my devices. I missed my GNexus for that reason. So I love being back on a Nexus device again. Love my 5.

    • S2556

      I have ROMed all my phones I’ve ever owned until I got my n5 lol. I was very surprised too but I am really liking stock

  • lw

    I’ve been using the Nexus 5 as an Android development phone. I’ve found that the Macbook Pro it’s connected to can’t keep it charged when it’s in constant use with the screen on – even though the charging indicator is lit, it loses charge and eventually you have to stop using it to let it recharge.

    This doesn’t happen with the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4, which I previously used.

  • Michel El-Asmar

    A 9 ??? Good phone but way to high…

    • Zed

      Why way too high? Any 350$ phone that you think is better?

    • Michel El-Asmar

      Did I say anything about the price? It doesn’t mean that it’s 400$ with taxe and all btw that it has to be scored a 9…how did the LG g2 score less…excellent review but bad scoring

    • Zed

      It’s a matter of the quality/price (qp ratio). If a manufacturer would release a 3000$ phone with all the best hardware and a 30mp camera and best sound, etc, that doesn’t mean it should get a 10 IF you can get 90% of that for 10x less money

    • jellmoo

      The G2 has an absolute mess of an OEM skin on it, and is badly behind the times when it comes to OS update.

    • blzd

      90% of a flagship phone for 60% it’s price is hard to beat.

  • Eben Alton

    Other then the fact that Google lost my phone and took a month to get it to me, and sent me the wrong phone on top of that. I really enjoy the Nexus5. Especially coming from a Galaxy 2. The phone is fast, easily modified, constantly updated and has a decent camera at a good price point. I’m pretty sure some commenters on here wouldn’t be happy with a 18 core CPU, 4k display, 24 mega pixel camera and 3 weeks of battery life.

  • Nadefrenzy

    lol at this phone scoring higher than the Note 3. Mobilesyrup is now officially last place in my favorite “credible” review sites list. Oh wait. I think they’re a step above verge…

    • Günter Schwarz

      Why because they don’t agree with your opinion?

    • Nadefrenzy

      Nah cuz they’re subjective. They aren’t judging the device on its merits but rather how THEY feel about using it. That’s bias my friend. Go read other reviews. You might learn a thing or two.

    • blzd

      I think you’ll find you are yourself doing the very thing you complain about.

    • Nadefrenzy

      Sure, I’m biased in some aspects ie favoring TW over Stock. However, would I grant a higher score to TW over stock? Nope. I want a review to govern what potential buyers can and should expect. Not some pitiful lil biased “review” on what fits me best.

      That defeats the entire purpose of a review.

    • Zed

      Dude, you’re comparing one phone that’s over 700$ and another less than half that price. Get that quality/price ratio involved in your calculations. And in the end, reviews are opinions, like Gunter mentioned.

    • Nadefrenzy

      Not if they’re heavily biased.

  • m.sawyer

    Well I have been using the phone for a week now, and I am satisfied with the battery life. Sync is always on, along with Data and/or Wi-Fi, I run apps that use location services, check social media, take a few photos and use editing apps, read news, all in all, around 3 hours of active display that covers almost/more than 24 hours. So for me personally, the battery life is enough.

    I would agree with the camera comments. It can take great photos at good conditions (most of them having to do with the stock Camera app). The auto display works well for me, even though I would like some smoother transitions of dimness. The build and display are very good, the speaker is a joke (seriously), but at least the headphones output is perfect. Considering the price, the build, the awesome speed, display, few tweaks that should be addressed would make this phone perfect. Which is kinda impossible, so I give it a 9/10. If the speaker and camera issues are addressed in the software updates, this one could easily be ranked as almost a pure 10. :)

  • dallas

    best unbiased tech review I have ever read

  • Mathieu

    Having use the Nexus 5 for 1 month myself (switching from Galaxy Nexus), this phone is so so fast … I can’t stop installing new apps every day (200+ apps installed at this point) and it still is super fast.
    I hope the Camera will be improved by an update and I don’t have significant issues with the battery (I haven’t used any phone with a bigger battery for that long to compare).
    Also, wireless charging is awesome .. I just don’t use the USB port anymore (except at work).

  • Art Carlson

    As a long time iPhone user, I bought this phone.
    Here’s why…. $350 contract free. Sure, there were other reasons, but by far the main one was the price. With one year left on my contract, a new iPhone would have run me upwards of 5 or 6 bills. So I figured I’d spend the next year in the Android ecosystem, see what I think, see what the iPhone 6 turns out to be, and make that call then. So far…. I’m happy with my choice.
    Dan’s review is pretty much on the money. The camera blows (possible software fix). I miss my iphone camera, (and it’s a 4S, 2 generations of iPhone ago). KitKat is buggy, but good. Then again, the same can be said for OS 7. But this thing flies, the screen is great, and there is much much to recommend.
    Sorry, but not everyone who buys this is looking to root or hack it. I did my research, I was up to date, I looked at most of the Android front runners (HTC One, S4, G2, etc…), read reviews, played with a few of my friends’ phones,… and in the end, the deciding factor was simple…. Solid phone, 350. Unlocked. No contract.
    I don’t think I’m alone in that.

    • cartfan88

      A very salient perspective.

  • FatSheep

    Since Nexus 4 is compatible with Rogers LTE with little hack of baseband. I am happy to wait for Nexus 6 or Nexus 5S xD

  • Jesus McDongswoggle

    Haven’t had mine very long but I’ll agree with the battery life issue. My old wall charger I keep at work is fine for the N5 as is my car charger so I can’t complain too much. Such a vast improvement over my Atrix 4G that I’ll be happy for a couple years at least.
    You guys who are more serious about phones and probably have a new one every 6 months are right to complain about a few things but it’s certainly not the cheap piece of junk some of you are calling it.

  • Kenny G

    Thanks for the review. I think I’ll buy the 32 Gig outright, and jump on Wind. I’ll wait till January when my Bell contract is up. :-P

    • blzd

      Did that myself and am more then happy at $30/month vs $70 from Telus.

  • Zed

    I got the N5 about 1-2 weeks ago. I had a chance of buying it at a lower price than Google’s and decided to try it out (previously I was using the HTC One). After this much time of usage, I am actually considering selling the HTC One and use this as my main. Why?
    - It’s blazing fast. I haven’t had any bug (except the odd ROM related one). Everything just works. Same as on the One.
    - Battery life, while less than on my One, it still keeps me through the day which is good enough.
    - Not the most sturdy phone, but I got it a Spigen case for good measure. Though it did survive a couple of drops before the case was on – no scratches
    - I barely use the camera, but when I did use it, in day light or in a dim room, it got me great pictures (must be cause my ROM comes with that camera fix people are talking about). The One had a similar in quality camera IMO so it doesn’t bother me to switch.

    All in all, it’s a very good phone, especially for the price. If people don’t/can’t buy it from Google, the 16gb version was offered for Black Friday weekend at 50-100$ with a mid tier plan with most cellphone companies and 3rd party sellers like Bestbuy/futureshop.

  • Handheld Addict

    I miss the video reviews.

  • Anirudh Muralidhar

    Has anyone noticed that after sending multiple SMS’s the phone goes into ” Emergency Calls ” only. We can receive calls and SMS and data works. But outgoing is affected. There is a huge forum with complaints from all over the world. In Canada the problem is mainly with Rogers and Fido customers.

  • Ryster1

    Thanks for the review, one thing I object to is the notion that there is something bad about Google being anti-Amoled. IMO the newer LCD screens are far superior to Amoled screens. This is a personal preference of course, but Amoled can suffer burn in, yellowing after time, less brightness (exception is the note 3) and not to mention the colors are more inaccurate then LCD tech. So, while I think the Moto X is a great phone, I believe it is inferior for having a super Amoled screen and a big reason I did not buy it. Yes there are advantages to Amoled, like the active notifications on the Moto X and better battery consumption (sometimes). Overall, these aren’t good enough reasons for me to go for a phone with an Amoled screen so I went with a Nexus 5 :)

    • jellmoo

      I think it really falls down to preference, as I am the opposite. I love the rich blacks that come with an amoled screed. It was one of the main reasons that I traded my Nexus 5 for a Moto X (well, that and the active notifications).

    • Ryster1

      Yes I agree it’s all preference, the rich blacks on the Amoled are nice and makes active notification feasable :)

    • Josh Brown

      AMOLED is the future though. Thinner and Bendable and does not use power on dark pixels which allow always on notifications like on the Moto X. LCD is pretty much at its peak.

  • Ryster1

    I wouldn’t dare pay $600 or more for a high end phone! If you get a high end phone in a contract your still paying $600+ and your payments are spread out over time.

  • Daniel Szilagyi

    you’re the only review person I’ve read that mentioned you had bad experience with calls, at least 3 other sites ( pocket now, phandroid and android central ) all gave it great and in some cases better caller experience.

    Also from what I’ve been reading from users on G+ the battery is by no means as bad as you made it sound, it’s not the best granted but it’s good for all day use and considering it’s size that’s not bad.

    I don’t understand the deal with the speaker either, everyone complains about it but really when do you actually use it as a stereo? Nexus devices are never that loud to begin with ( sans software tweaks I’m sure )

    otherwise good review

  • AlphaEdge

    9/10 with those major complaints! Battery life, call quality, and camera are major issues! I choose the LG G2 for my wife, and could not be happier. An awesome phone, that I would rate 10/10, and right now consider the best on the market. I only wish I could get it now, and still have 18 months on my windtab. :(

    On your LG G2 review, you largely criticized LG software on the phone, but who uses the included software? Google apps all the way, and same here on my Samsung S3.

  • AlphaEdge

    9/10 with those major complaints! Battery life, call quality, and camera are major issues! I choose the LG G2 for my wife, and could not be happier. An awesome phone, that I would rate 10/10, and right now consider the best on the market. I only wish I could get it now, and still have 18 months on my windtab. :(

    On your LG G2 review, you largely criticized LG software on the phone, but who uses the included software? Google apps all the way, and same here on my Samsung S3.

    • Josh Brown

      ” I only wish I could get it now, and still have 18 months on my windtab.”

      If you bought your last phone out right for $350 you wouldn’t need to wait.

      “you largely criticized LG software on the phone, but who uses the included software?”

      Because you can only disable them, they still eat up space and slow the phone down, and you have to void your warrenty to get rid of them for good.

    • AlphaEdge

      > “If you bought your last phone out right for $350 you wouldn’t need to wait.”

      Which phone was I supposed to buy at that price? Nexus 4 was NOT available when I got my SGSIII, and it has even worse battery life than the N5.

    • Josh Brown

      Well just don’t complain in 18 months about your wife’s G2. You the opportunity now to but a low cost premium device and not be locked into a huge contract and huge monthly bill.

    • AlphaEdge

      Don’t worry, I won’t be complaining to you. Sheesh, some people.

    • blzd

      All of those issues can be dealt with via software also.

  • Maxwell M

    Going through some of the comments here focusing on the camera, battery life etc, we’re missing the big elephant in the room – the huge sign with the price. There’s nothing in this price range that can touch this. And yes, a Nexus by it’s very nature is meant to be hacked/poke/prodded with. Once you tinker with that, this thing trades blows with the big boys.

    If you’re not willing to tinker with settings, kernel etc, you shouldn’t be buying a Nexus imo, even though Google would like you to think otherwise.

  • canucks4life

    I’ve been overall happy with N5 except speaker quality/loudness is actually even better on my moto g…I hope there will be a software update fix

  • Deacon

    The battery is fine if you turn off all the power-draining features.

    Turn the brightness down. Turn off Google Now. Turn off wi-fi and GPS unless you’re actually using them.

    I can get 1.5 days of battery (includes calls, texting, watching videos, browsing the web) easily.

  • slimdizzy

    Two things I had a slight thought about with the article:

    1 – MotoX version of Android is tuned for the device as well, not just the N5. MotoX is my daily and KK on it flys around without issue

    2 – Google being anti-AMOLED??? I just think they are waiting till it is on par with LCD. That said, I will never go back to LCD again. Rich blacks and per-pixel control (ala Active Notifications, etc) are way better for me than “true colour”.

    My $0.02 anyways :) Great article none the less.

    • JP

      Considering the Moto X is an AMOLED, I wouldn’t say Google is anti-AMOLED. My guess is that LCDs are cheaper to produce which makes more sense in a phone like the Nexus though that’s just speculation.

  • ineptone

    The N5 has been a definite upgrade coming from the S3. I haven’t run into any of the issues mentioned in this article. Though, admittedly, the camera’s photos are grainy on zoom. But there isn’t anything, at least after two weeks, that I would fault this phone for. Performance, all around, has been excellent and I love the way it feels in hand. It may be inexpensive but it has totally spoiled me.

  • Ashish Diwakar

    Awesome ,
    Nexus 5 is speed.

  • Benny X

    meh, too much top and bottom being unused by the screen. Makes it look ugly..

  • baconeater

    Will the Nexus 5 be compatible with the 700mhz spectrum that is to be auctioned in Jan?

    • Walter

      Thanks for asking that question sir. I personally don’t know. I would guess no. Simply because, as far as I know, isn’t used in Canda yet. And if its not used in the U.S. then its probably a definite no.

    • Josh Brown

      It should be Verizon uses 700 mhz lte.

  • blzd

    To any haters: This is a great phone get used to it. You just have to play with it a little show some sweet loving and get everything right.

  • Paul Jones

    This is my first nexus device, I’ve been a loyal Samsung device user since the Tocco right through every new release up until the S3. My friend had been raving about the n4 since it’s release and as my S3 got older and slower and glitchier I could really start to appreciate the n4. I was stuck on a 2 yr carrier contract So was unable to upgrade the phone until next summer. I almost switched to the iPhone 5c as I hav a 4s as a work phone and I preferred using that to my s3. When my friend ordered the N5 on release day I delayed until the next release so that I could sample his one first. He went for the white one which I didn’t like to much so that made my color decision easier. I used his phone for several hours doing different things and I didn’t want to give it back to him. I pre ordered one immediately after he pryed it from my hands. now I am using my own one and hav been for a week now I hav noticed a few gripes but nothing that would make me pick up my s3 again. I am going to wait for the next update to see if the camera and battery issue are resolved and if not I will root the phone. To get to the point this phone has answered all my problems. Stand alone phone for half the price of most of its competitors. No contract to any carrier. Sim only deal with virgin which gives unlimited usage for everything for half the monthly price I was paying on t mobile for less and the freedom to change phone whenever I want without worrying about breaking contracts. I recommend this phone to anybody in a similar situation to me. Excellent phone and excellent review by the way :)

  • Dize Odisu

    until they come away from the limited storage space and absolutely ludicrous idea of not having an sd slot… i mean… couldnt they at least put one in their 32gb version or offer it as an addon?
    ITS REALLY SILLY!

    I paid double the online price of the nexus 5 for my T-mobile note 3….. absolutely worth it

    • blzd

      You realize you can use a USB OTG cable with whatever storage you like right? Also you can literaly get hundreds of GB of cloud storage for free there’s no reason to complain about 32GB for apps I’d even say 16GB won’t even be full for just apps and games.

    • JP

      So I’m going to connect a USB OTG cable every time I want to listen to music? Some people do use more than 32GB…

    • blzd

      Where you see a limitation others see obvious work arounds. Having every single media file you’ve ever had on you’re phone’s local storage just might not be that important really. Basing a phone purchasing decision around it is ridiculous.

      With “only” 16GB you can fit every application you’d use, some games and enough albums and videos to last a few days of traveling and we’re not even talking youtube, netflix, and the plethora of cloud based services.

    • JP

      I use my phone as an MP3 player, I rarely have a computer handy to drag files to my phone at the time that I want to listen to them and cloud based storage is not practical given how much data it uses. Don’t tell me basing a purchase on whether it has expandable storage or not is ridiculous…

    • blzd

      It is and I’ll say it again. Not to be rude but I can tell you have a hard time coming up with creative solutions and do not make full use of you’re smartphone just based on what you’ve said here.

      You still plug the cord into your phone to transfer files instead of using a free app to do it over WiFi? Stop thinking of you’re phone like an 80GB iPod and get with the times. Not only will you be happier with whatever device you choose but you will have many more options when your realize you were only limiting yourself.

    • JP

      I think it’s ridiculous that you think you know how I should use MY phone. It’s not a matter of getting the music to my phone, it’s that it’s not there when I’m not home. I never use it for music when I’m near a computer…

      Why would I be happier with another phone over my current one? Most phones are basically the same once you strip away the OEM shell and install stock Android on them anyways. Having an SD card slot is convenient and it would annoy me to always have to pick what I want on my phone(which is why I bought the 64GB card in the first place).

    • blzd

      I too find it ridiculous that I would have to tell someone how to use their phone. But then some people are stuck in the past with an 80GB iPod mindset and need a bit of help.

      You have a smartphone, why shouldn’t it pull music from the air randomly based on you’re mood or time of day without you ever having to do 2001 type things like rip a CD and plug a phone into a computer just to listen to a song.

      Maybe 64GB is enough room for you’re entire music collection for some people it’s not. They need 500GB so when do you make everyone happy? The answer is you don’t need to because we have other options now and switching up a few albums after a couple clicks or taps is not hard.

      Again I’m sorry if I’m rude but it sounds like you’re needs would be satisfied with a dumb phone. Local mass storage is not the be all end all of smart phones I hope you can one day realize that.

    • JP

      Ok but data costs make pulling my music from the air impractical so clearly we’re not at that point yet. I do have access to most of my music over the air whenever I want(my tablet is set up that way since I only ever use it on WiFi anyways) but why should I use data to access my music(considering I mostly listen to music while driving) when it uses no data to pull it locally?

    • blzd

      It’s unfortunate that most people’s plans do not have enough data but I think part of the problem is customers aren’t demanding more from their providers or seeking out ones which will offer them more data for their money.

      If Wind can offer unlimited data for $30 there’s no way $75 plans from the big 3 should be “happily” stuck with 1GB. Not to mention the $45 plans with only 200-400MB. Wind might not be ideal for every location but you can still demand more from you’re providers.

      That being said you have all you’re music on the cloud it would be simple for you to switch up albums on local storage with a few taps while accessing WiFi for you’re trips on the road. I understand the mentality of never wanting to delete anything (my TB of hard drive space still end up full somehow) and wanting access to it all but I think you’ll find having 10-20 albums of music at a time can work just as well.

    • JP

      Sure I have WiFi when leaving home but not when heading back. I can be pretty impulsive with my music tastes and I almost always put a full album on when driving so that logic doesn’t work.

      As for the data stuff, because I don’t steam my data usage is never more than 1GB(often under 500 for the month) so it’s not as if I have major data needs that would force me to deal with Wind’s shitty network. Besides I already have a high end phone with an SD card that should last me 2 more years so the argument is really moot in the mean time as I have the storage lol.

      PS the Big 3 sub brands plans really aren’t terrible considering you get full use of their network, I know Koodo is now offering 4GB for $75(which isn’t cheap but 4GB is a good amount). That said I imagine the 700mhz auction will push data caps higher since it’ll increase the amount of available bandwidth(which is essentially why Wind’s network is so slow) so the problem should resolve itself over time.

  • cartfan88

    Wow 9.4. Is that the highest rating ever on mobile syrup? How much does cost factor into that? For me to give a phone 9.4 I’d pretty much have to have the camera and battery as good as other flagships also. So put a different way…if money wasn’t a factor which would be the author’s stop pick right now?

    • JP

      It’s not, they gave the S3 a 9.5 and they may have given other phones higher scores(I’m not digging that hard).

  • kirilmatt

    The nexus 5 is pretty tempting, but I can’t justify it. The nexus 4 that I have is incredible, except for the 8Gb of storage, poor battery life and camera. I came to the nexus from a galaxy s3 and I like it so much more. I’ve never owned a phone longer than this one and I feel like I can hold out until the next nexus. Personally, I hope LG makes another one however unlikely that may be.

  • jim

    My friend had this phone. He took it back. Said it was junk.

    • cartfan88

      Why don’t you recommend he get a nice Motorola startac flip phone then? They look really neat.

    • Matt

      Those things are ahead of the pack! They have a TWO, count ‘em, TWO colour digital display! Green AND red!

    • Ryster1

      Shake that junk

  • Matt

    I thought the exact same thing. The score jumps from a 9 to a 9.4 but they couldn’t improve the battery score because of some kind of journalistic principle?

  • Khalil J

    in my opinion, there’s no better phone out there for the money, features and functionality (post 4.4.2 update ;)) although it ain’t perfect. and DB’s updated score reflects that

  • amber

    in my opinion id say “you get what you pay for” xP

    • Khalil J

      hehe touche… champagne gold iPhone is def worth it all ;)

  • Jesse

    i love my Nexus4 but i’ll wait until Nexus6 to upgrade… the N5 just isn’t a big enough improvment over the N4… everything is just Marginally better, and marginally better isn’t worth 400 bucks. the N4 upgraded to 4.4 is pretty slick and moves fast. i’m happy for another 10 months

  • Mark

    I need help,

    should I choose the white version or black version?

    • Khalil J

      i have the white… but it’s in a black spigen slim case lol… loving it, no complaints

  • Navid

    I’ve used the Nexus 5 for two months and been noticing a random buzzing sound when listening to music and watching videos. After contacting Google, they responded that there is no solution for this problem, and it is my choice to live with it or return the device. I have to add that the device was replaced once to see if the new one would not have the problem but it did. I have found that Nexus 5 is not the only device which has this buzzing sound, its predecessor Nexus 4 users are experiencing the same issue.

    I am not saying that Nexus 5 is a bad device, but in my case I could not live with such a issue and I returned it for the full refund.

    So I recommend considering some minor problems along with its cheap price.

  • Navid

    I’ve used the Nexus 5 for two months and been noticing a random buzzing sound when listening to music and watching videos. After contacting Google, they responded that there is no solution for this problem, and it is my choice to live with it or return the device. I have to add that the device was replaced once to see if the new one would not have the problem but it did. I have found that Nexus 5 is not the only device which has this buzzing sound, its predecessor Nexus 4 users are experiencing the same issue.

    I am not saying that Nexus 5 is a bad device, but in my case I could not live with such a issue and I returned it for the full refund.

    So I recommend considering some minor problems along with its cheap price.

  • GhøstLindsay Jenkins

    Pleased with the phone overall, but very disappointed by the support when I needed it. According to the online community, I’m not the first to have the supposedly strong Gorilla Glass 3 screen crack after a fairly delicate drop; and to further be disappointed by the support provided by either Google or LG in resolving the issue. Though the user guide advises helpfully to “avoid dropping the device” their build infusing the LCD display and glass screen together have made it nearly impossible to easily afford repair– costing nearly as much as the device itself.

  • Eric

    Anyone know what kind of stand that is in the main pic? Thanks!

  • Giorat23

    I sold my iphone 5S and get an Nexus 5! Really nice pursache!! :) I was SOOOO tired of the little crap screen of the 5s, too delicate body and boring as hell iOS. And the battery of the 5s really sucks! the camera its good but nothing more. In low light conditions its too poor really altough “true tone”.. I like apple but I prefeer all day the nexus 5, when iphone 6 come out we´ll see, but now for me the 5s not worth the money.. And I check too the LG G2, yes has a better battery BUTTT the design, UI and materials are CRAP CRAP CRAP! (like samsung world)..plus that back buttons, no txs!
    The only android device that can worth the money like the nexus 5 its the dated HTC one that still an excellent option and the next One 2 oviously.. others androids devices are all ugly craps. (LG g2, galaxy´s entire family, etc).. and the Xperia Z´s are well designed (only well) but they are too big for the screen size and the UI/updates sucks.

  • Zen

    I find this disappointing, shouldn’t all the bugs be figured out before the phones are released for sale?

  • Nathan

    i just bought one. I don’t care about the shortcomings, it’s such a great deal. If it cost as much as the Galaxy s4 then I wouldn’t get it but its just so great a deal

  • Don

    My wife and I both bought Nexus 5 phones two days ago. As we are new to ” smart ” phones, we opted for the minimum data package ( 50 M ) and we had the phones set up to limit the data we used to this amount until we had a feel for how much data we used. Today I got a message from the phone that I had used up the entire 50 M’s. I had not downloaded any apps and it appears that the ” store ” is where all the data was used.I did not even know where the ” store ” was and when shown I know I never even looked at it let alone used all my data on it….. when I call support, they said I ” might ” have an app running in the background… I have no clue how this could be and even less idea how to sort it out….. they also suggested that the phone is actually showing the wifi used and not the data…..again, I have no clue. They suggested that all will be OK if I leave the data off until April 27th when the data will be reloaded to my account. The only problem is I would then be beyond the date I could return the phone. Very confusing and disappointing to me. I guess I’ll just have to take the phone back and start my phone search again……

    • Brownstar

      Its probably a lot of updates that were down loaded, the phone itself is brilliant. 50mb is a tiny amount of data as well.