Google Nexus 5: The Catrachadas Evaluate

It's that time of year again that Google is releasing a new Nexus handset for those looking for a cheap but powerful device running standard Android. The Nexus 2013 is the Nexus 5, which is aptly called the fifth Nexus device and has a 5-inch display. Like its predecessor, the Nexus 4, this new device is manufactured by LG and shares many similarities with the LG G2, the company's more expensive flagship mode.

Google Nexus 5 – $ 349 – $ 399 (Unlocked)

  • 1920 x 1080 IPS 5.0 inch (441 ppi) LCD display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC
  • 2.3 GHz quad-core CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, 2 GB RAM
  • 16 or 32 GB internal storage
  • 8 MP camera, 1 / 3.2-inch sensor, f / 2.4 lens, 1080p video
  • 2,300 mAh, 8 Wh battery
  • LTE, Wi-Fi a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
  • Stock Android 4.4 "KitKat"
  • 130 grams, 8.6 mm thick

Despite its low price – $ 349 for an unlocked 16GB model – the Nexus 5 offers top-notch specs. Internally there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC with a 2.3 GHz quad-core CPU, 2 GB RAM, LTE radios worldwide (a first for Nexus devices) and a 2,300 mAh battery, supplemented by a 4th , 95 inch 1080p IPS display. Let's also not forget the camera, which is an 8 megapixel unit and hopefully will prove to be much more powerful than the Nexus cameras of the past.

The Nexus 5 is the first device to be equipped with Android 4.4 “KitKat” as standard. This brings some improvements to the Android ecosystem, notably a refined user interface, performance tweaks, and messaging built into Hangouts. As a pure vanilla device, this is the Android experience Google is aiming for, and it will certainly be interesting to see how well the hardware matches the software.

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The Google Nexus 5 (16 GB LG-D820) used in this test was kindly provided by Negri Electronics. No matter where you are in the world (including Australia, US and abroad), Negri brings you unlocked smartphones and tablets at the lowest prices first – and they have plenty of Nexus 5 in stock!

design

The Nexus 5 has a simple, yet uncomplicated and slim design that fits perfectly with the design language of Android 4.4. The long edges of the device are straight and flat, with a slight taper on either side, while the top and bottom edges are slightly curved for ergonomics and appearance. The square design isn't as comfortable to hold as the Samsung Galaxy S4 or LG G2, but its relatively small profile with minimal bezel keeps the phone as portable as the Nexus 4.

In fact, the phone is almost identical to the Nexus 4 in terms of its dimensions: it's 4mm taller, 0.4mm wider and 0.5mm thinner. Nevertheless, it has a 0.3 inch larger display. In terms of the Z height, the Nexus 5 is on average 8.6 mm thick, with a slightly protruding camera a maximum of 9.45 mm. It doesn't feel very thick or unusually thin in the hand, and its reasonable weight of 130 grams makes the device quite portable.

The front panel of the Nexus 5 is as minimalistic as telephones. A round, indented in-call loudspeaker is located above the 4.95-inch display, with a small front-facing camera on the left and an almost invisible sensor arrangement on the right. Since the handset uses the Android screen buttons, there is only a multi-colored glowing notification ball under the display, similar to the one on the Nexus 7 tablet. The display itself covers around 71% of the front profile, which is comparable to the Galaxy S4 (72%) and an improvement over the Nexus 4 (66%).

The back of the handset should be familiar to anyone who owns a 2013 Nexus 7 model. There's bold landscape-oriented Nexus branding, a small LG logo underneath, and a large camera unit. One of the few aspects of the Nexus 5's design that I don't particularly like is the large black ring around the camera, but it appears to be magnetic, which could mean some interesting camera lens attachments are on the way.

The usual functions are located on the edges of the device. The left side has the volume rocker, the top has the 3.5mm headphone jack, the bottom sees the USB port and two speaker grilles (only the left has a speaker behind it), and the left side has the power switch. On my average-sized hands, the on / off switch is a bit higher than I would have liked. It sits at the very top on the left, but is still in a better position than the actual top.

The build quality of the Nexus 5 is slightly above that of the LG G2, although the latter device is LG's premium offering. This is mainly due to the soft-touch polycarbonate back panel, which, thanks to its matte finish, doesn't feel as cheap as the smooth, glossy plastic on other devices. Yes, the edges are made of glossy plastic, but it's the back that you'll feel the most, and I appreciate the Lumia-like plastic LG used there.

The entire front panel is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, which is smooth to the touch, wipes, and is robust and scratch-resistant. The 3 mm bezels to the left and right of the display make it easy to use the phone in one hand. There is a very light plastic edge around the glass that can be helpful if you drop the phone face down.

As you may have noticed, the model I received for review is white. However, the only actual part of the device that is white is the back. With the edges and front still black, the two-tone design it creates looks just fine, and while the color you choose in the end is entirely subjective, my preference is definitely swinging towards that white unit. When you receive the black device, the plastic on the back is a little softer to the touch, otherwise the phones are identical in terms of construction.

For an inexpensive yet high quality device, I was very impressed with what the Nexus 5's design brings to the table. There is no eye-catching holographic backplate like the Nexus 4, but the workmanship of the successor is of higher quality than the price indicated and fits the operating system on which it runs very well.

display

If you think LG may have shortened the display on the Nexus 5, think again. It's not exactly the same panel as the LG G2, but it comes close in many ways. You get a 4.95-inch IPS TFT LCD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (1080p), which increases the pixel density to 445 pixels per inch (ppi). Specifications comparable to other flagship Android devices on the market.

The Nexus 5's software that uses on-screen buttons reduces the effective screen area from 4.95 inches to 4.67 inches at 1776 x 1080 resolution. The on-screen buttons are easily accessible and conveniently located. Common benefits when disappearing in certain applications that require the use of the entire display, such as a computer screen. B. in the video player. Unlike the LG G2, you can't change the buttons, but the default choices of Back, Home, and Recently Used are functional and there are no old menu buttons to detract from the current Android design.

The Nexus 5's LCD panel shows fantastic color quality, as you would expect from the IPS technology used. The colors are balanced and realistic, but still lively and eye-catching. This is exactly what you are looking for on the display of a smartphone. A look at the test samples shows that red is the dominant color of the display while there are little or no color streaks, which indicates that the display has a wide color gamut.

The contrast of the panel is excellent, producing strong, untoned whites and deep blacks, making text easier to read. When analyzing the black values, all but one of the difference squares could be recognized in a test pattern, and with white values ​​every square is visible. The backlight bleeds very easily at the edges of the display, which affects the evenness of dark images. However, it is unlikely that you will notice this in everyday use. The gamma values ​​are 2.0, which is not the best value (the ideal value is 2.2), but better compared to other panels like the Xperia Z1.

The Nexus 5's viewing angles are very good. The vertical off-angle display is slightly better than the horizontal off-angle display. However, in both situations there is little contrast and color distortion, so the display remains legible in different situations. I was also very pleased with the brightness range, which, along with a polarizing filter, helps keep the display legible in direct sunlight and shuts down enough at night – maybe even further than usual – so that your eyes aren't irritated. Autobrightness is quick and responsive which again is great to see.

1080p and 445ppi are a fantastic mix of sharpness and clarity that allows this display to look like paper, much like many other high-end phones you can get today. Many people today believe that 720p is really all you need for screen resolution. However, if you compare 720p with 1080p and use it every day, you just can't go back. It offers an additional level of detail that is particularly noticeable when reading text. No matter how closely you look at the display, you won't notice the millions of individual pixels on the 68.9 square centimeter screen.

By using an LCD panel instead of AMOLED, LG has avoided the problems associated with PenTile subpixel matrices, so this display (like most other LCDs) has your standard RGB strip. The text edges are so sharp and clear that they can compete with printed words, while the level of detail you can see in photos is amazing. Let's not forget that with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 you can watch Blu-ray quality videos with no loss of detail by upscaling or downscaling, so that the sharpness is transferred to movies too.

If this display were found on a $ 700 handset, I would find little fault, which makes it even more impressive to include on a $ 350 device. Not only is the panel bright, clear and high-resolution, it is also large and has a strong color quality: a combination that should not disappoint any Nexus 5 buyer.

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