The Nexus 5 is finally here and in our hands. Myself and Dmmarck already have the device and are already have had it for 24 hours now and I am extremely happy that I decided to purchase this beast of a phone. So happy that I am going to spread my happiness onto you, our readers. Unfortunately, some of you don't have the ability to purchase a Nexus 5 yet or are stuck waiting for shipping. So you can live through my experiences with the Nexus 5, that way when your phone comes, you will know exactly what to expect and what you are getting yourself into. First off, going to start off with a little disclaimer .
So I won't even consider yesterday Day 1. The phone arrived at 2pm and I basically didn't put the damned thing down all afternoon/night. Not a good indication of real world usage, however it was a good indication on how much I loved the phone at first site. I always will have a soft spot in my heart for a Nexus and this one is no different and probably the best Nexus to date. Spec wise, of course its the best but does the entire package make it the best phone that Google has ever put out? Well this is what my day to day will decide. I have had a Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 and both of those phones are top 1 and 2, respectively. Why the Gnex over the N4? One reason... LTE. I thought Google made a HUGE mistake with the N4 not putting an LTE radio in the device. That being said, everything else was a step forward on the Nexus 4 and it showed with its massive popularity and development support.
No matter what phone you have had in the past, you can't consider your self and Android enthusiast if you never owned a Nexus. A Nexus phone is the definition of pure Android and how Google intended it. Before I get all romantic about my Nexus experiences and heartbreaks, lets get into my impressions based on a full day with the device.
It's in the books... So lets get into Day 1 shall we? I am going to break each day up into certain categories... mainly those that stood out during the day. Could have impressed me, disappointed me or just something I though was worth noting. So without further ado... lets get to it.
Screen: I have seen my fair share of 1080p High Def screens. I have used a HTC One, Galaxy S4, iPhone 5/5s (not mine I promise) and most recently an LG G2. My daily driver however has been the LG Nexus 4 which as many of you are aware is a 720p screen that doesn't even come close to the other aforementioned phones. So how does the Nexus 5 stack up to the competition? Well I would say that LG did a very respectable job with the screen on this device. It doesn't blow any of the top end phone screens away but does hang with the big boys. When you think about the price tag of only $350, that's an achievement. Images or crisp and clear, colors and vibrant and sharp without being over saturated and the size just feels right. To me, a 5 inch screen is the perfect size for those who want a bigger phone, but don't want a phablet.
Watching YouTube vidoes, playing Candy Crush or just browsing the web this screen makes is very easy to use. My eyes never got tires of looking at the screen and when set to auto-brightness I never found an issues with lighting. Screen is very bright, even at lower settings and blazing when pushed all the way up to 100%. While the screen may not have the colors of the S4/Note 3, this is leaps and bounds ahead of the Nexus 4. The Nexus 4 always seemed to be washed out, that is not the case with the Nexus 5. The closest screen that I can compare this to is the HTC One. If you are curious to see how a Nexus 5 screen will look, go to your nearest store and check out the HTC One. You will have almost the same experience, but with a slightly bigger screen.
Kit Kat (Android 4.4): This is the reason why we all wanted the Nexus 5 isn't it? Google didn't reinvent the wheel with Android 4.4 Kit Kat but instead they modified what was already successful with Jelly Bean and made every thing a little bit better. That was to be expected with an iteration of the Android 4 OS. If you expected everything to change because of Kit Kat you will be sad to hear that it doesn't.
Kit Kat makes everything more accessible. Swiping left to get to Google Now is much easier, the stock launcher is making me love a stock look all over again and probably the biggest things aesthetically for me are the transparent status and nav bars. While this is a simple tweak to the OS, it makes the home screen blend in with the rest of the phone and makes the screen feel even larger than it actually is. While the nav bar kills some screen room by nature, by removing the black background on the home screen it makes it feel like it isn't always there. The new white theme makes everything look much cleaner and classier than the holo blue. Under the hood its more of the same, but with some minor tweaks that I come to appreciate. The Location services menu is much easier to manage, corporate email looks more like GMail which is a HUGE improvement and SMS integrated into Hangouts is much more efficient than having 2 apps.
That being said, not all things with Kit Kat I am liking. The icons are on the larger size for my taste, which can't be changed unless you get a third party launcher like Nova. The quick toggles still don't fully act as "quick toggles" but instead will bring you to the settings menu for that specific toggle. The settings menu as well as volume sliders still remain that holo blue, which I would have hoped would have been white to keep with the new white theme. All that being said, I am really nit picking here. None of these will stop me from using the phone, just thought on what I thought Google could have done a little better.
Build Quality: I love the build of the Nexus 5. I will come right out of the gate and say it. I love the black "slab" look of the phone and the soft feeling plastic on the back that wont slip out of your hand or shatter the minute you put it down. I do love the Nexus 4's glass backing, it makes it feel more high end but it does come with its faults. Glass is fragile, plastic is not. If you want a durable phone, plastic will always be the best choice. I love the soft feel black and even though I put a case on while I am at work I keep the phone caseless at home. The phone feels comfortable in the hand to hold. It isn't too large to be uncomfortable and its the perfect thickness.
My one concern with the build quality is the power button. While I love the fact that the power and volume buttons are ceramic, the power button has a slight rattle. I would assume that this is a design choice so that the power button isn't incredibly easy to click but you can hear a slight rattle when you click the button or when you click a part of the screen that is close to the button. Nothing overly concerning, just a questionable design choice by LG.
Those were the big ones for Day 1 - I know battery, camera and sound quality are going to be come in Day 2 as I am still playing with those.
Days 2 - 4
Well day 2 through 4 has come and gone and I wanted to get this one out earlier so that I didn’t fall behind because of work. The next couple of days I should have some quality time with the phone since I will be taking a couple days off of work. Therefore, I can really get a good feel for the phone.
So without further stalling… here are some of my day 2 impressions of the device.
Screen: I have to put this on here again. For a $350 device this screen is simply fantastic. I will say, and Dmmarck was the one who brought this my attention that auto-brightness is the Achilles heel of this screen. I will get into this more when it comes to battery but auto-brightness apparently ramps up VERY aggressively and turn the brightness up higher than need be at certain circumstances.
Knowing this, I keep my screen brightness at anywhere between 30-40% and I have found in most lighting situations the levels are perfectly fine. The only time that I can see the need for ramping up the brightness would be outside in direct sunlight… but who likes the sun right? Other than this minor quirk, I still love this screen.
Call Quality: I technically could have put this on Day 1 since I mad phone calls both days today really stood out. Phone quality is exceptionally clear on both end of the phone call. Volumes are great and I have no background noise, no static or clarity issues or distortions to speak of. Overall I am very happy with the phone and even the Bluetooth connection in my car sounds clearer than ever before. Hey, it’s a phone right? Might as well make it work like a phone at times.
Battery: Based on my first day of usage, I got roughly 29 hours out of the battery with 1 hour and 40 minutes of screen on time. Not terrible by any means when you consider the guts that this phone has paired with that 1080p screen.
These battery stats are with auto-brightness and I had a good hour and half not connected to Google services because of bad WiFi which killed my battery by 10% in that time frame. I will keep tabs on battery to see how it performs under more normal circumstances. Did I mention wireless charging is fantastic? Well… it is.
Service: I am running the Nexus 5 on AT&T and I have no issues with services compared to the last phones that I used (Nexus 4 and HTC One). Same level of service, quick at acquiring signal when switching between HSPA+ and LTE and it actually seems to hold onto LTE longer than my past HTC One did. My only concern with this area, and this is a problem with most LTE phones, when you have mediocre or low LTE signal it will eat through your battery.
For example, I was at the gym yesterday and couldn’t connect to their WiFi. So I had to use just my data service and in the gym I get anywhere between 0-2 bars of LTE. Thankfully my playlists are stored locally otherwise it would have been a really long gym session. Anyway, while playing Google Music and updated workout stats I was on LTE the entire time and I noticed a significant drain… more so than on WiFi. This is to be expected, but just something to keep in the back of your mind.
Camera: The camera quality is still impressing me compared to the phones that I have as of late which consist of the Nexus 4 and HTC One. While I do miss some of the camera features of the HTC One I was never really a huge camera buff on phones so as long as the camera takes pictures of food/beer and occasionally friends out I am perfectly fine. Insert pictures:
Normal Shot - Full Zoomed:
I know that these are a small sample of the phones camera, but it will give you an idea of what you would be working with. More camera tests will come.