Mobile Phones Guide

LG Nexus 5 review

LG Nexus 5 - Hi-Five

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Overall rating 8.5/10
Design:
8.5
Features:
8
User-Friendliness:
9
Performance:
7.5
Value:
9.5
THE GOOD
Affordable price for high-end specs
Runs stock Android, gets the fastest updates
Good design and handling
Nice 5", 1080p display
Built-in wireless charging support
THE BAD
Middling battery performance
Camera imaging quality could be better
Camera lens prone to scratches
No expandable storage


Overview, Design and Features

Overview

While many enthusiasts eagerly awaited for the next Nexus device after the LG Nexus 4, the lead up to the debut of LG Nexus 5 was riddled with information leaks that the official announcement did not come as a surprise for many. We recap the important leaks to recount the buzz surrounding this device.

Rumors surfaced in the beginning of the year when LG was reported to be the manufacturer of the Nexus smartphone. Later in the year, there were speculation that the Nexus 5 would be based on the design of an upcoming LG phone which turned out to be true. There was even a report claiming that Motorola would be making the next Nexus smartphone.

The first concrete leak of the LG Nexus 5 appeared in September when a Google employee left his Nexus 5 prototype unattended and charging on a bar table. Photos and two short videos were shared by a staff of the bar. Subsequently, the specs of the device were leaked after Androidworld.it analyzed a log from the device.

In the weeks before its official launch, a seven-minute long video was uploaded showing the LG Nexus 5 in its full glory. Days later, the pricing of the Nexus 5 appeared on Google Play Store for a few moments.

Now that the LG Nexus 5 is official (although not yet available for sale locally), let's take a quick overview of how far the Nexus smartphone family has advanced since 2010: 

The Nexus Smartphone Family
  LG Nexus 5 LG Nexus 4 Samsung Galaxy Nexus Samsung Nexus S Google Nexus One
Launch SRP
  • From S$668
  • From S$948
  • From S$828
Latest Price
  • From S$430
Operating system
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • Android 2.1 Eclair
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.26GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz Quad-core
  • TI OMAP 4460 dual-core 1.2 GHz
  • 1GHz Cortex A8 (Hummingbird) processor
  • Qualcomm QSD8250 Snapdragon 1GHz
Built-in Memory
  • 2GB RAM
  • 2GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
  • 512MB RAM
  • 512MB RAM
Display
  • 4.95-inch / 1920 x 1080 pixels / IPS / Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 4.7-inch / 1280 x 720 resolution / Super IPS+ with Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • 4.65-inch / 1280 x 720 pixels / Super AMOLED
  • 4-inch / 800 x 480 pixels / Super Clear LCD
  • 3.7-inch / 800 x 480 pixels / AMOLED
Camera
  • Rear: 8-megapixel / autofocus / LED flash / optical image stabilization
  • Front: 1.3-megapixel
  • 8 Megapixels / Autofocus with LED flash
  • Secondary: 1.3 Megapixels
  • 5-megapixel / autofocus / LED flash
  • Secondary : 1.3-megapixel
  • 5-megapixel / Autofocus / LED flash
  • Secondary: VGA camera
  • 5-megapixel / autofocus / LED flash
Connectivity
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4/5G), Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n / Bluetooth v4.0 / NFC / aGPS / Micro-USB 2.0 / Wireless charging
  • NFC / Built-in GPS with A-GPS and Google Maps 5.0 with 3D maps and turn-by-turn navigation / Bluetooth® technology v 3.0 / Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz/ 5GHz) / LTE / HSDPA+ / USB 2.0
  • Built-in GPS with A-GPS and Google Maps / Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP support / microUSB 2.0 / WLAN 802.11b/g/n / DLNA / HSDPA 7.2Mbps / Near-field communication
  • Built-in GPS with A-GPS and Google Maps / Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP support / micro-USB 2.0 / WLAN 802.11b/g
Storage Type
  • 16/32GB internal storage
  • 8 or 16GB
  • 16/32GB
  • 16GB
  • 512MB internal storage
  • micro-SD support up to 32GB
Battery
  • 2,300mAh
  • 2,100mAh
  • 1,750mAh
  • 1,500mAh
  • 1,400mAh
Dimensions
  • 137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59mm
  • 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm
  • 135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94mm
  • 124.74 x 63 x 11.5mm
  • 119 x 59.8 x 11.5mm
Weight
  • 130g
  • 139g
  • 135g
  • 140g
  • 130g

 

Design and Feaures

The Nexus 5 may be modeled after the LG G2, but it is actually a different beast altogether. In terms of dimensions, the Nexus 5 is slightly shorter, narrower, thinner and lighter than the G2 because the latter has a bigger 5.2-inch display and larger 3,000mAh battery.

Compared to the Nexus 4, the Nexus 5 feels like a better built device. Ditching the glass rear back of its predecessor, LG throws in a soft-touch plastic back for the Nexus 5. This decision bodes well for consumers for two reasons. One, the matte finishing makes fingerprints and smudges less obvious. Second, the glass rear of the Nexus 4 picks up plenty of faint scratches,despite the fact it is uses  scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 2. We know this because some of our colleagues personally use the Nexus 4  for over a year.

If you find the edges of the buttons on the Nexus 5 to be a tad sharp or rough, it is because they are made from ceramic. Due to the material used, the buttons feel more sturdy compared to normal plastic buttons.

The Nexus 5 uses micro-SIM standard and you have to use the supplied pin to eject the SIM card tray. We tried using pins from other brands (e.g. Apple and HTC) and found them to be too large. We even tried using paper clips to eject the SIM card tray, but it failed as well. In the event you lose the supplied pin, the only alternative that worked is a small safety pin.

 

Minor Design Differences between the Black and White Nexus 5

The Nexus 5 comes in two color options, but there's more to them than just black and white. Face front, both versions appear the same because of the predominantly black finish while the selected black/white colors are only apparent at the rear of the device. Even so, there is a way to differentiate the black from the white Nexus 5 from the font via the speaker grille. The latter has a white speaker grille which really stands out from the black that surrounds it.

Further to that, the rear of the black model has a similar feel to the Google Nexus 7 (2013), which feels good and provides a firm grip. On the other hand, the white model had us worried that the Nexus 5 would pick up dirt and stains easily overtime. In addition, the white model has less grip and on some occasions, slipped out of our fingers. Therefore, we recommend consumers intending to get the while model to buy a case to keep its rear clean and give it a better grip. Strangely though, the sides of the white Nexus 5 are glossy black. While such a finish is prone to getting fingerprints, smudges and even scratches, it shouldn't be much of a concern since the sides of a phone isn't something that one pays attention to.

 

Display

The Nexus 5 has a 4.95-inch Full-HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) display, which is a slight increase in size and huge bump in resolution compared to the 4.7-inch HD screen (1,280 x 720 pixels) on the Nexus 4. This gets it on-par with most Android flagship smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, ASUS PadFone Infinity, Sony Xperia Z1 and HTC Butterfly S.

We were hoping to see the ultra thin 2.65mm bezel of the LG G2 be implemented on the Nexus 5, but it seems that LG has made the technology (Dual Routing touch sensor technology) exclusive to its flagship smartphone. Nonetheless, the bezel of the Nexus 5 is still thin compared to most devices.

After some time of use, we found the display of the Nexus 5 very pleasing. The screen is very bright, has excellent contrast and vibrant colors with good color balancing.

 

Flagship Bearer for Android 4.4 KitKat 

Google launched the latest Android version 4.4 KitKat OS on the Nexus 5. Other Nexus devices (Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and 10) should have received their respective over-the-air updates for KitKat. However, if you haven't received the update yet, it is recommended that you do not clear the Google Service Framework data to "force the update" as this method is known to cause a lot of other problems for your Nexus device. Instead, just wait till you get an update notice.

Do not be misled by the point update from Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Android 4.4 KitKat marks a giant step forward for Google in more ways than a 0.1 figure increase. We've done an article on "The Best Features of Android 4.4 KitKat" where we explored the following: 

  • Cleaner, Less Distracting Design 
  • Integrated, Voice Activated Google Now
  • Low Power Sensors
  • SMS Integration into Google Hangouts
  • Screen Recording via Android Debug Bridge (ADB)
  • A Smarter Dialer App
  • Better Productivity
  • NFC Secure Element Emulation
  • Project Svelte