When I made the transition from iPhone to my old Galaxy Nexus I was pretty excited about the flexibility I had with the phone. The numerous ways I could customise it, tweak it, change it, play around with it. Little did I know that I would become a big fan of the Nexus range to the point of now actually finding myself reviewing the new Nexus 5.
A little background for you might be required as you will find this isn’t a very ‘technical’ blog or one written by a hard core geek, designer or programmer. In fact, I’m just like you – a curious every day user. This is my second Android phone and while I’m passionate about technology, I’m not someone who can rave about their standings in the technology industry. So I’m writing this post for the every day user who is looking at the Nexus 5. If there is something that I miss that you might be interested in, let me know as I’d be happy to have a play around and see if I can find you an answer. The other thing is, I’m not going to root it, or change from the stock software this time around. For the non-technical person, rooting your phone can be a messy, confusing and continuous process that can often leave you concerned that you’ve busted your phone once and for all. (Side note: for all the Australians out there, yes, that is indeed the term they use for the Android phones).
As this is my first review of something like this, please hang in there with me. Hopefully I will be answering as many of those initial questions you might have before considering the purchase of the Nexus 5.
The Size: The size is quite similar and insignificant to note when it comes to comparing it with previous phones (such as my Galaxy Nexus) or an iPhone.
What does make a difference, is the slightly more square build of it, that it tends to sit comfortably in your hand without slipping with the slightest of movements or gestures you might make. The matt back of the phone supports this as well, and the phone feels a lot safer and easier to hold on a whole. In the pocket, again, it really doesn’t stand out as too big or too bulky. If you’re use to the average size of smartphones in your pocket these days, then you won’t have a problem adjusting to the Nexus 5.
There isn’t a “lip” on the edge of the phone so if you placed it face down you may find that it could scratch – but with the new Gorilla glass that is the screen, this tends to be a somewhat small chance of happening as sand is rumoured to be the only thing that would damage it. That being said, the moment you add a reasonable cover on it you will find this becomes irrelevant.
The screen is clear and crisp, with a slight shadowing on the top and bottom from the software. And of course, Kit Kat is extremely responsive. No lag (sorry Galaxy Nexus but you’re time is up). Google Now has moved to the far left screen and loads seamlessly. No more having to hold the home button (although you can do this too from the lock screen).
I’m initially a little hesitant in regards to the integrated Hangouts/SMS feature…
The reason for this that Hangouts, while one of my favourite Google+ features, is still extremely messy with “conversations” happening multiple times over. Add this to all my SMS conversations and BOOM – things are going to be missed. However, over the last couple of days I’ve been warming to the idea. While it does require me to keep myself organised, hey, that’s what technology is for, right? In this case, all my conversations are in one place and I never have to go searching for the multiple different places someone could have said something to me. Keep in mind though, this is an opt-in feature at this time. So if you feel it might be too much to handle straight away, you can say no.
It comes as a pretty basic setup in regards to the box. You get your phone, the USB cord and wall adapter as well as a small pin to pop out the SIM card tray. While it feels a little flimsy at first (I freaked out thinking I was going to lose the tray), once you’ve placed your Micro SIM in there, you’ll forget all about it and never have to worry again.
The only thing I feel is missing is headphones and a new ringtone… but then, I shouldn’t be lazy and find one myself.
I’m running 4G, WiFi, location services, syncing (including Gmail, Google+, Foursquare, Instagram and Facebook), I’ve received 4 phone calls of roughly 1.5 hours of call time and as at 2:07pm today I am on 77%. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty happy with that. On an average day I’ve managed to get into bed at around 10:30-11pm and it will be looking low enough for me to put it on charge for the night. But do you know what? I haven’t had to charge it during the day! So to me, I couldn’t be happier. So those concerned about the battery life of their #nexus5? I can honestly say I am having more trouble trying to prove the battery is bad, when it is, in fact, the opposite for me.
So while I’m a little concerned that Google jumped on a brand name here – the operating system is great. It’s super smooth and much clearer and clearer than the last (Jelly Bean). The only confusion I get occasionally is which app to use for editing my pictures. You have the option of now using the new Google+ Pictures or using the original gallery. The new updated inbuilt gallery editor is pretty cool – so I usually stick to that and then head over to Pixlr when I want to achieve something special. I think with time the Google+ pictures with outweigh this and probably become stock, but until then, I use the gallery for consistency.
In comparison with my Galaxy Nexus, the camera is gorgeous. (My Galaxy Nexus was the pictures of the Nexus 5 being unboxed above). You could find things to pick out about it, such as that it’s still not great in low light, but frankly, you’re looking for an argument. If you like everything else about the phone, then you’ll be happy with the camera.
Here are a few photos I’ve taken on it so far:
I might also add that apparently there are voices floating around saying that the camera taking multiple pictures takes longer than the original Galaxy Nexus. I ran a couple of tests and found this wasn’t the case either. The camera was happy to keep shooting (in focus) while the previous picture was still flying to the top right gallery. This is Buzz Lightyear faster than my GN.
Lastly, there has been a few complaints floating around about it not being a hardcore Nexus phone anymore. Take it or leave it really. It is a beautiful phone that is easy to use and has pleased me endlessly. I think there are always going to be complaints from someone about something such as the camera (it’s not a DSLR folks!) or the battery (won’t be great until someone invents a smart battery for smart phones) so you just have to find something that suits you.