Google entered the mobile market five years ago, when the first Nexus smartphone (Nexus One) which was created by HTC, came loaded with Android 2.1 Éclair. After HTC, Google proposed Samsung, LG and Motorola to materialize their ideas, but it seems that the latest Nexus 6 phablet wasn’t as successful as the Nexus 5. Therefore, we stopped at this model and we decided to make a detailed review of Google’s best offer.
The Nexus 5 was launched in 2013 with Android 4.4 KitKat, but meanwhile, it was upgraded to version 5.1.1 (Lollipop), but it’s preparing to get version 6.0, which will arrive in a few months. Google hasn’t specified its name yet, but we know that the following letter in the alphabet is M, and Android has its versions named after sweets.
Nexus 5’s biggest rivals in 2013 were the iPhone 5S, HTC One M7, Galaxy S4, Xperia Z1, while in 2014, the second generation Moto X brought a superior processor, because Qualcomm kept improving its technology and increased the clock speed.
The Nexus 5 isn’t a phone that you will love at first sight, because it’s not a premium device, but compared to its successor, which copied the design of the aforementioned Moto X 2014, this model has an average size, it’s slimmer and easier to hold in one hand, especially because of the rounded corners. The Nexus 6 was supposed to please the phablet enthusiasts, but its screen of almost 6inches wasn’t too large for those with small hands, and Motorola didn’t bother to equip it with a pen stylus, which is always present on Samsung’s Note phones.
The color options of the Nexus 5 are black, white and red, the front panel is black for all three versions and LG used a floating arc design, like many of its smartphones. The matte plastic back is less prone to fingerprints and has the word “nexus” written on the vertical, in the middle, while the LG logo is much smaller and placed toward the bottom. The rear camera has large lens and it’s positioned in the upper left corner, having the LED flash below it. The frame is flat and curved at the corners and the bezels are thin enough. The volume buttons are placed on the left side, the power button sits on the right side, somewhere close to the upper corner. The standard microUSB port is located on the bottom, being surrounded by two grilles, to hide the speaker and the microphone. ON the top edge you’ll find the 3.5mm headphone port and there’s an additional microphone.
The physical dimensions of the Nexus 5 are 137.9×69.2×8.6mm and the total weight is 130 grams. The downside of the model is that it doesn’t have a microSD card slot for expansion, so you’ll be stuck with either 16GB or 32GB.
The technology used by LG for the screen is True HD IPS+, its size is 5inches and the resolution is Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels which results in a pixel density of 445ppi). The images seem accurate, crisp, but not as vibrant as on an AMOLED display. Its surface is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, so you won’t see visible scratches, but on the off-chance, it’s recommendable to apply a screen protector. In terms of brightness, the screen reaches 400 nits, being brighter than the LG 2 and HTC One. It has a color temperature of 7051 K (6500 K is the normal temperature), while its predecessor reached 8267 K. The gamma curve is 2.02 instead of 2.2 and it covers 73.7 percent of the sRGB and 104.5 percent of the AdobeRGB.
Internally, the Nexus 5 hides a Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 chipset (32bit architecture) which is powered by a quad core Krait 400 processor running at 2.3GHz, which is backed by Adreno 330 graphics and 2GB of RAM.
In the AnTuTu benchmark, the device scored 26340, while its successor had a score of 49480; in the GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen test it scored 23 and in the GFXBench Manhattan on-screen test, it scored better than the LG G3 (9.4 vs 7.5); in the Vellamo Metal test it scored 1166, and lastly, in the Basemark OS II test, it managed to defeat the LG G2, with a score of 891.3 vs 772.
Unfortunately, the Nexus 5 came with execrable camera software, even if the 8MP shooter from the back supported optical image stabilization. The autofocus does a terrible job, because it’s too slow to… focus, so if you’re having a great time with your family or friends and want to capture some of those moments, the images will have a lower quality. When Android Lollipop was launched, it brought a new feature called Lens Blur, but which didn’t help the camera much. Anyway, in case you’re one of those users who make video calls on messaging applications, the 1.3MP front camera will be at your service.
Its capacity is only 2300mAh and offers 17 hours of talking time over 3G. In the NyanGareth battery test, which lasted 90 minutes and where the brightness set to the maximum, Nexus 5’s fully-charged battery went down to 74 percent.