Nexus 5: first reviews of Google’s new smartphone
Supply shortages as Android 4.4-powered Nexus 5 marks ‘the early stages of a revolution’
Update, 04/11: Some models of the Nexus 5 sold out soon after they went on sale. Google's Play store says that white models of the phone will be available from 8 November, while black models will be despatched "in two to three weeks".
AFTER months of speculation and leaks, Google has received a warm reception for its Nexus 5 smartphone. On sale today, the new device is built around a new operating system – Android 4.4 or Kit Kat, the latest version of Google’s mobile software.
Having recently activated its billionth Android device, Google said that the Kit Kat upgrade would prepare its software for the next billion customers.
Key features of the phone, which will be made by LG, include a larger, five-inch screen, a faster processor and a 4G connection for faster web access on the go.
Nexus 5 reviews
If you’ve already upgraded to a top-end handset this year then “there's no need to switch to this,” says Alex Roth of TechRadar. “But if you're in the market for a new top-of-the-range model the Nexus 5 is affordable choice,” he says.
In its full review, the site was more enthusiastic. "The new Nexus 5 manages to offer a huge step up in power while maintaining a brilliantly low price tag," it said. "Video and internet browsing looks stellar, with colours bright and vivid without looking over saturated."
CNET likes the minimalist styling with Editor Lynn La noting that the “Nexus 5 sports a more subdued and restrained aesthetic that is still sleek”. The phone comes in either black or white, and the Nexus and LG logos are sunk neatly into the rear of the device.
But Wired’s Mat Honan thinks the Nexus might not appeal so much to those shopping around for a new flagship phone.“It’s not striking in the way that, say, the HTC One or Gold iPhone 5S is,” he says. “It’s not going to make people notice it, [but] it’s pleasant to look at.”
ZDNet raised doubts about the phone's battery life. "The Nexus 5 only delivers 8.5 hours on web browsing time on WiFi, which drops to 7 hours on LTE [3G]. In comparison, the iPhone 5s can deliver 10 hours on both."
Android 4.4: KitKat
Google says the latest Android update brings the Nexus 5 full voice control and a smarter caller ID system. The result of that is that if a number is not in your phonebook, Google will suggest a list of options from businesses listed on Google Maps.
Changes to the way Google Hangouts are handled have also impressed reviewers. David Pierce of TheVerge says that the application is integrated into the operating system more thoroughly. “Texting, instant messaging, even voice and video calling, are all now done through Hangouts,” he says. “It's like a combination of FaceTime and iMessage in a single application.”
The phone is also constantly listening out for the words "OK Google", which will wake up the handset and prepare it for voice commands.
Nexus 5 prices
If the specs haven’t convinced you, the price might. A contract-free 16GB model costs £299 on the Google Play Store, while a 32GB Nexus 5 is £339. Tech Advisor’s Chris Martin says: “We haven't yet tested the Nexus 5 but a high-end smart-phone for less than £300 is a bargain.” ·