The Nexus line of phones have been Google’s attempt to show Android OEMs how they should build their phones. But companies like Samsung, LG, and HTC all have built their own Android devices that differs greatly from Google’s Nexus phones. It’s not to say that those devices aren’t as good. In some cases they are better.
The past iteration of the Nexus phones they have been lackluster. The Nexus 4 lacked LTE and it had a below par camera. But nonetheless the Nexus brand is very popular among Android die hard fans. With the release of the Nexus 5 Google also released their latest version of Android version 4.4 dubbed “Kit Kat”. This new version has refined many areas of the mobile OS. Coupled with a 5″ screen, blazing fast processor, and a solid build construction the phone seems destined to be one of the best Android devices of the year.
I’m not going to go deep in depth about the Nexus 5. You can view the hundreds of reviews already on the internet that covers every details of the phone. Here, I’ll be covering my opinion of this phone and whether or not you should buy it.
The Nexus 5 as a whole is a fantastic device. It’s thin, light, and it feels great in the hand. With Kit Kat this new OS focuses a lot on the UI experience. The voice activated Google Now search is fantastic and I find myself using it more and more. The phone is amazingly fast and opening apps and swiping through menus is instantaneous. If you’re coming from an other Android device then you’ll feel right at home. There are some GUI changes but it shouldn’t be too difficult to get use to. But if you’re coming from another OS then there is a little bit of a learning curve, but it shouldn’t be any more difficult than switching to any other OS. Those who already entrenched themselves in the Google ecosystem will get the most benefits. Gmail, Google Drive, Google+, and Google voice are tightly integrated into Android, and if you rely heavily in anyone of those services its difficult to use any other OS.
Where the Nexus 5 dropped the ball is with it’s camera. The camera is slow to focus and the options and modes for the camera are lacking compared to what the Galaxy S4 or HTC One offers. Some research on the web has indicated that Google may release an update that improves the camera, but until then the Nexus 5 camera is almost useless when capturing a dynamic scene with lots of movement. I have a 14 month old son, so capturing photos of him playing almost always produces blurry photos. If there is one positive aspect of the camera it is the HDR+. Pictures taken with this mode produces great photos assuming you’re taking pictures of a static object.
At the end of the day the Nexus 5 is a fantastic phone and the fact that Google is selling the 16GB model at $350 off contract makes it the value in the smartphone market today. If Google manages to push out an update to improve the camera it can really make the Nexus 5 one of the top phones on the market. So should you buy this phone? Yes. Buy it or at least consider it when you’re looking to get a new phone. Keep in mind there are other things to consider. For example, if you’re coming from an iPhone you’ll be losing the apps you purchased from the app store. And if you’re all about taking great photos with your cellphone then you might want to wait and see if Google updates their camera.
Uses latest version of Android
Inexpensive ($350/$400 for 16GB/32GB)
Great build quality
Extremely slow camera focus speed
Average battery life