Google's value-packed Nexus 5 reviewed
4.8Overall Score
Price (RRP): $399 for 16GB; $449 for 32GB Manufacturer: LG / Google

Google’s Nexus 5 could well be the best value smartphone released all year, packing in one of the fastest chips of 2013, a 5 inch screen, and a price that makes it really hard to pass up.

Features

The fifth product in Google’s own series of smartphones, the Nexus 5 continues where the Nexus 4 left off and aims to improve the concept considerably, building a true Android smartphone the way that Google — the creator of Android — envisions it.

Like the last generation, this model has been built by LG, with the specs and some of the features lifted right out of a model that competes with it, though doesn’t incorporate all the same features.

In the Nexus 4, we saw Google change the LG Optimum G to match its own needs, and in the Nexus 5, it does so again with what is essentially the LG G2 smartphone sitting inside a shell that looks like an evolution of the Nexus 4, except with rubberised plastic and glass replacing the all-glass body of last year’s model.

Outside of the material change, very little of the design is different, but the specs have totally changed, and that’s where people will see the heart of LG’s G2 underneath.

That starts with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, a quad-core chip clocked at 2.3GHZ, paired with 2GB RAM, and working alongside the Adreno 330 graphics processor.

Storage on the Nexus 5 is locked to either 16 or 32GB, with no way of expanding the memory, just like on the previous Nexus model.

The screen is close to 5 inches, sitting at 4.95 inches, hence why we’ll mostly refer to it as a 5 inch display. It’s not the 5.2 inch display of the G2, but it is using the same technology, with IPS+ here, though there is a switch from Corning’s generation 2 scratch-resistant glass to the newer Gorilla Glass 3.

Connection options are all pretty up there, hardly surprising given the G2 was the template, and you’ll find 802.11 a/b/g/n and even ac WiFi here, as well as Bluetooth 4.0, Near-Field Communication (NFC), Miracast wireless display technology, GPS, and support for 4G over the Cat4 connection technology, capable of a maximum downlink of 150Mbps.

The camera side of things is a little different, with an 8 megapixel rear camera with autofocus and optical image stabilisation, and a 1.3 megapixel front camera.

One other thing makes it very different to the LG G2, and that’s the software, with Google opting to use the stock version of Android here.

There are no overlays and no special things thrown in from the company that made the hardware, as the Nexus 5 runs Android 4.4 “KitKat” the way Google intended, with an interface complete with colourful icons, a gesture keyboard, new drop down menus, multiple homescreens, lockscreen with widgets, and on-screen soft buttons.