Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Quick Review: Google Nexus 5

Right, every year or two years, I tend to upgrade my phone. For financial reasons, I've tended to buy off eBay, where I could save quite a lot, by buying not-so-hot phones.

For my last purchase however, the Nexus 7 (2013), I decided to buck the trend and buy new. Of course, Google's amazing pricing helped. So, that's what I've done for my latest buy too, namely, the Nexus 5.

First off, this is one serious bit of kit. It runs the latest version of Android (4.4 Kit-Kat) and has class-leading hardware too. Rather than post rather geeky specs here, I'll just link them at the bottom. But, I will say that it has a top-class screen and processor, and has a great feel, both in software and hardware.

I went for a black device, which, reportedly, has a softer feel than the white version. It feels great in the hand. It's also very easy to use one-handed (very important for me!) with only a little jiggling needed to reach the furthest corner from your thumb. That's also helped by the very narrow bezels around the screen. That's been my experience anyway. It's also very light, so your hand won't get tired by it.

The screen, oh the screen. It is fantastic! It has a full HD resolution (1080p), in a 4.95" screen. Colours aren't overblown like on Samsung screens, although they could be a little more vivid. Text is pin-sharp, and it's a joy to read on.

Now, the software, the pride and joy of the Nexus range. It runs pure Google Android, like the Nexus 7, and is absolutely lightning-fast! It opens, installs and uninstalls apps way faster than the phone I had before it, the Galaxy Nexus. Every app feels liquid-smooth, and I've seen webpages load literally instantly.

One of the features I'm really looking forward to seeing implemented is what Google call "immersive mode". The Navigation buttons and status bar are hidden away, and you can use the full screen for the app content. So far, this has only been implemented in the YouTube and Google Play Books apps (that I know of) but hopefully it'll come to loads more apps soon.

People have had two big complaints about the Nexus 5; the camera, and battery life. I hardly ever take pictures, so the (supposedly) lackluster camera won't bother me. Even so, I took the liberty of shooting the same shot with both the Nexus 5 and my old Galaxy Nexus, just to compare. The difference is startling. I doubt I'll ever find the camera really lacking. As for battery life, I brought the phone to school, and tested out how it would do at being in a locker, not touched for 7 hours, and left in Airplane Mode. Under the exact same conditions, my Galaxy Nexus dropped an average of 3-4%. The Nexus 5 dropped just 1%. That's pretty impressive, even if it is doing nothing. In general use I've noticed a huge increase in battery life. I can actually use the phone for an hour or two now without needing to look for a charger.

Unfortunately, you can't actually buy this device directly here in Ireland. You can either do as I did, and get someone in the UK to buy it for you, and ship it over, or use a Parcel Motel, although that requires a UK credit card. It still works out fairly cheaply, compared to similar flagship phones available here in Ireland, such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One.

Camera comparisons:

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