I received my Nexus 5 today and here are some quick first impressions.
First a quick recap of the specifications of the latest Nexus flagship phone made by LG for Google:
- 4.95-inch 1080p Full HD display (445 ppi)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.3 GHz
- 2GB of RAM
- 8-megapixel rear camera with the LED flash and Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
- OS: Android 4.4 KitKat OS, Google’s latest flavor of Android
The first thing you notice when you pick up the Nexus 5 is its size, or should I say lack of it. For a 5″ phone, it feels incredibly comfortable to hold. The slight curves along the back edges along with the soft touch back, similar to the Nexus 7, serve to make the phone very ergonomic. You can reach all four edges of the phone without having to move it around too much in your hand.
The phone is extremely fast and the processor can handle everything you throw at it. I didn’t see any lag whatsover when opening apps, switching between apps or scrolling in the web browser. The Nexus 5 handled everything with ease. In normal use, the Nexus 5 seems to be both faster and smoother than the Nexus 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 that I was able to compare it to.
The 5″ 1080p screen@ 445 ppi is extremely crisp and bright and makes for a amazing viewing experience. You can’t make out any individual pixels on the screen even if you looked for it closely. Overall, it is among the top screens currently on a smart phone. HD videos on Netflix and Youtube look great. This phone could easily replace your tablet as a video player on your plane rides. Overall I am really impressed with the screen on this device.
The one thing that has disappointed me so far is the speaker on this phone. It is among the softest speakers I’ve ever encountered on a smartphone. Even at full volume, the sound is less than half as loud as on an iPhone 5 I compared it against. When you are outdoors or driving in a car, I would expect not to hear much at all through the speaker. Hopefully this is something Google can fix with a software update in the future.
The Nexus 5′s predecessor, the Nexus 4, was widely criticized for its middling camera performance. In the limited time I had with the Nexus 5, it seemed to take decent pictures, both indoors and outdoors. The OIS system certainly helps in low light conditions to compensate for hand shake. However the camera app overall seems to be on the slow side. It take a second or two to open and when you take pictures, sometimes the auto focus is slow to get a lock. This could result in people missing out on important moments if they are trying to take action shots of a fast moving object, pet or a kid. There is also no burst mode in the camera, which is suprising for a high end phone in 2013. Again, hopefully Google can improve the camera performance with future software updates.
The phone runs on Android 4.4 KitKat as expected. With KitKat, Google has gone with a ‘flatter’ look this time around and the OS looks very similar to iOS in many areas. When you pull down the notification screen, it is translucent, just like iOS 7. There are lots of things to like about KitKat such as – the Google Now integration throughout the OS, the local business/phonebook type search integrated into the Phone app, the new Hangouts app that also doubles as the messaging app, and the new full screen mode that is available with certain apps.
At $349 for the base 16GB model, the Nexus 5 is an incredible value for money. That is a lot of smartphone for that price. The 5″ 1080p screen combines with the new flatter clean KitKat OS to provide one of the best, if not the best, Android experiences on a phone. I strongly recommend anybody that is currently in the market for a smartphone to give the Nexus 5 a long hard look.
A full hands-on review of the Nexus 5 is in the works and should be released very soon and will include detailed testing of all aspects of the phone. But for now, you can’t really go wrong paying $349 for this latest Nexus device.