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Nexus 5 review: Now Marshmallow flavoured

Chris Finnamore
9 Aug 2016
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
299
inc VAT

The Nexus 5 is still a great phone for the money, if you can find one

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Specifications

Android 4.4 (KitKat), 5.0in 1,920x1,080 display

The Nexus 5 is offically over, having been removed from sale on the Google Play Store at the start of the year. It's a shame it's no longer available, to be honest, as the Nexus 5 continues to be an excellent handset for those after a vanilla Android experience. It's not all bad news, though, as its successor, the Nexus 5X is here to pick up the slack. The 5X is also made by LG (who made the Nexus 5), and it comes with Android Marshmallow straight out of the box. 

As a result, there's very little reason to hunt down an old Nexus 5 right now, unless, of course, you're dead set against paying £370 or £28-per-month for a brand-new Nexus 5X. However, if you're looking for a brand-new Nexus 5, chances are you're still going to have to pay a hefty price for it, as retailers like Pixmania are still selling it for £290 SIM-free. Otherwise, you'll need to look to eBay to find a cheaper, refurbished model, as any other type of Nexus 5 is becoming increasingly hard to get hold of. 

There are faster handsets available for less now, but if you're definitely dead-set on tracking one down, then the Nexus 5 certainly won't disappoint. This simple slab has a pleasing rubberised rear, and while other phones have come-and-gone, the Nexus 5's simple utilitarian styling has actually come into its own with time, it looks great alongside Android 5.0's material design ethos, and it won't ever clash with whatever you have onscreen. 

Android 6 Marshmallow

Google has rolled out Android 6 Marshmallow to the Nexus 5 as an over-the-air update, meaning it's running the latest version of the operating system. One of the most useful aspects of the latest update for Nexus 5 devices is the introduction of the Doze feature. This drastically improves battery management by putting the Nexus 5 and its apps in a low-power state when they're not needed, meaning you're not draining the battery needlessly. Many Nexus 5 users have noticed a significant increase in battery performance, which is great news as the battery life was one of the poorer aspects.

Display

The Nexus 5 has a 5in 1,920x1,080 display, which is now 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.

Performance

The phone's quad-core processor runs at 2.2GHz, and leads to seriously snappy performance. The Nexus 5 completed the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark in 706ms - it was very fast then and still is today, though the latest Samsung and Apple handsets are quicker still. It managed a huge 17,496 in the 3DMark Unlimited benchmark and good-looking 3D games such as Real Racing 3 ran beautifully.

With benchmark figures like these, it's no surprise that the Google Nexus 5 runs Android 5.0 beautifully, ripping through menus, opening apps and panning around web pages with rarely a hesitation. Android 5.0 hasn't been quite the revelation we'd hoped but it has put the operating system on a far surer technical footing going forward, with apps (generally) opening quicker and battery life improved. 

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