Google Nexus 5 review
Google launched its latest own-brand smartphone with little fanfare. A simple press release, then two hours later the LG-manufactured Google Nexus 5 was available to buy.
The phone itself is a big deal, though. It is, quite simply, amazing value. Almost everything about the Nexus 5's specification is top-drawer, from its Snapdragon 800 processor to its Full HD screen and the very latest version of Android; 4.4 KitKat (now updated to 4.4.2, see below). Phones with this kind of specification are usually more than £500 SIM-free, but the Nexus 5, astonishingly, is over £200 cheaper than that.
Android 4.4 KitKat is also an impressive update to the operating system, which not only brings improved performance and more features, but is the first stock version of Android to look properly attractive. We normally don’t mind when Sony, Motorola and Samsung, for example, add custom skins to their Android builds, but we prefer the way 4.4 looks to any custom version of the OS. For more on Android 4.4, see the section below.
The Nexus 5 is amazing value for a top-drawer smartphone, but if you're on a serious budget don’t forget about the Motorola Moto G: a fully-featured Android 4.3 smartphone for just £130, which will be updated to Android 4.4 in January.
The handset doesn’t feel cheap. It's a simple slab with rounded-off corners and a pleasing rubberised rear, which we think feels classier than the shinier Samsung Galaxy S4. You don’t get the super-classy build quality of the metal-and-glass Sony Xperia Z1 or the metal unibody HTC One, but the phone's chassis is classy enough to match its internal components.
NEXUS 5 DISPLAY
The Nexus 5 has a 5in 1,920x1,080 display, which is fast becoming the standard for high-end smartphones. We struggled to find fault with the IPS panel. Whites are pure, text is super-sharp, and the touchscreen surface has just the right amount of resistance to finger dragging to make it a pleasure to use. Side by side with the very best screens, such as the AMOLED panel of the Nokia Lumia 925, the Nexus 5's display has lower contrast and less saturated colours, but comparing screens of this quality just comes down to splitting hairs.
NEXUS 5 SPECS AND BENCHMARKS
NEXUS 5 ANDROID 4.4
With benchmark figures like these, it's no surprise that the Google Nexus 5 runs Android 4.4 beautifully (recently slightly updated to 4.4.2, see below), ripping through menus, opening apps and panning around web pages with rarely a hesitation. Android 4.4 is by far the most attractive version yet of Google's operating system. The redesigned, larger icons, more modern compressed fonts and coloured backgrounds make it look far more like a consumer interface than an engineer's plaything; stock Android has now caught up with the custom editions from Sony and Motorola for attractiveness.
Page 2 for more on Android 4.4 and the camera ...
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