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Nexus 5: The Superphone from Google - Smartphone Reviews

Updated on July 15, 2014

Google launched the latest android phone in the nexus series; the nexus 5 a couple of months ago and with it comes the latest version of Android Kitkat 4.4. With a price tag of $ 349 for 16 GB variant and the kind of specifications it has, it is not a smartphone but a superphone.

The Nexus 5 is austerity at its best. This android phone has a very basic bar form with minimalistic design and no glossy shiny surfaces. It is a simple phone with best of the specifications available in the market and pure android experience, without any unnecessary clutter to ruin your experience. It has almost everything you need day in and day out.

Let's take a look at the things that make the Nexus 5: the Superphone from Google.

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Design and Build

The design as I already said is minimalistic yet great, which is difficult to achieve. When you hold the phone up, you look at a beautiful black bar with no buttons or protrusions staring back at you. There are no buttons at the front; it’s just the brilliant Full HD screen. The power button and volume rocker are placed at the sides, while the 3.5 mm jack and the micro-USB slots are placed at the top and the bottom respectively.

On either sides of the micro USB port are the neat & tidy speaker grills. Another praiseworthy hardware feature is the multi color notification LED that is placed dead center below the screen. It goes perfectly with the simple yet practical design of the phone. Although it has a 5 inches screen yet the super slim bezels make it easy to handle.

Display

It has a 5 inch full HD display which is brilliant to say the least. It is great, no matter what you want to do, reading articles, surfing the internet or playing HD games. The screen is at par with any other premium Smartphone in the market today. The simplistic icons and interface of the Kitkat looks marvellous on a screen such as this.

Everything from the text to images looks stunningly crisp. Full HD movies and games run without any fuss and the colours look natural. The viewing angles however, are at best good but not great. The Android control buttons are at the bottom of the screen but are translucent so you can see what’s underneath them.

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The OS (Kitkat 4.4.2)

The android 4.4.2 Kitkat is a sheer joy to use irrespective of whether you are an android fan or not. The voice recognition is one of the best around and catches your words instantly even with a neutral Indian accent. It also has a new phone app that prioritizes your contacts on the basis of people you talk to the most.

You can also use the voice search to search for businesses and contacts on your phone among other things. However, it still has a long way to go before it can actually replace just dial. Overall the Android Kitkat experience is a joy ride. However, we are yet to see Kitkat on any other phone and are in no position to tell how much of it is hardware and software.

Tech Specs

OS: Android 4.4 (or KitKat)

Processor: 2.2.6 GHz quad-core Qualcomm

Screen: 4.95in IPS, display 1920x1080

Weight: 130g

Battery: 2300 mAh

RAM: 2GB

Wireless: Dual-band WiFi, Android Beam; Bluetooth 4.0; wireless charging

Storage: 16GB/32GB (which is non expandable)

Dimensions: 69.17 * 137.84 * 8.59mm

Camera: 8MP rear, 1.3MP front

Sensors: GPS, accelerometer; gyroscope ambient light

Performance

With the beastly qualcomm snapdragon 800 clocking 2.26 GHZ, 2 GB of RAM and the Kitkat 4.4 at the helm, it’s a perfect blend for a smooth android phone experience. The Kitkat being re-engineered for speed makes everything from gaming, multi-tasking to web browsing noticeably faster and smoother. The search opens right away so that the Google search results are just a second away. There is absolutely no lag while scrolling through pages or menus as on the nexus 4. Unlike the nexus 4 it also has 4G connectivity and comes with Bluetooth 4.0.

Although it comes with 16 GB & 32 GB memory options, the lack of expandable storage is still a letdown. It is still better than 8GB/16GB variants of the nexus 4 but you are very likely to use up the 16 or 32 GB of the nexus 5 if you use it the way you should to make use of its full potential. An expandable storage option could have made it even more attractive.

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Camera

Google had its work cut out when it comes to the Camera on the Nexus 5 as the camera on the Nexus 4 got a lukewarm response. The camera on the Nexus 5 has been beefed up in terms of both hardware and software. The 8 Megapixel snapper at the back comes with Optical image stabilization, a new HDR+ mode, 360 Panorama, Photo booth shots, Auto back-up to Google Plus and Auto Awesome for Animations.

Everyone expected the camera to be a blinder and a revolution in phone cameras but that is where the Nexus 5 runs out of gas. The camera at best is decent and does not stand anywhere near the best contemporary phone cameras.

Battery Life

When it comes to the 2300 mAh battery of the Nexus 5, it is no doubt better than the Nexus 4 but still leaves much to be desired. However, if you are not a freak that is always doing something or the other on your phone and are not someone who likes watching full length movies on your phone, the battery does last a normal day easily.

It may not be a beefcake as on some of the contemporary premium smartphones, but is still a good bet considering that it has enough juice to last one full day with a fair amount of use.

How would you rate Nexus 5 on a scale of 1 - 5?

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The Verdict

Although the battery and the camera on the Nexus 5 are a bit of a let down but it still has a lot of factors that work in its favour. The performance of the qualcomm snapdragon 800 in tandem with the Kitkat 4.4 is second to none and gives its users smoothest android experience ever. However, the Nexus 5 still falls short of being the best android phone among its contemporaries because of an average camera and battery.

Despite leaving its users wanting for more and scope for some minor improvements, the Google Nexus 5 is indeed a superphone and could easily be a milestone smartphone for the years to come.

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