Nexus 5 review
Image quality is so-so. We often found that it missed focus entirely, resulting in soft, blurry photos, even though it takes an age to lock-on. Metering is an issue as well: with areas of light and dark within a frame, such as a bright sky and a shadowy city street, the camera struggled to balance the two, either overexposing the former or underexposing the latter.
This is a shame, because the sensor and optical image stabilisation system are capable of producing detail-packed snaps. The camera is effective in low light, too, and can shoot steady, handheld video at 1080p. Also, if you switch on the new HDR+ feature, it largely sorts out the metering issues, lightening foreground areas and keeping bright skies in check. However, this slows shot-to-shot times further, and doesn’t work well with action photographs.
One of the principal attractions of investing in any Nexus handset is the fact you always get the latest Android updates as and when they’re released; owners of HTC or Samsung handsets have to wait. The Nexus 5 is running Android KitKat, the successor to Jelly Bean.
KitKat isn’t a step-change for Android, but it brings with it a number of significant refinements and small new features. The first is a slightly cleaner, simpler design. What were clearly delineated bars at the top and bottom of the screen are now transparent, which makes the homescreen feel more spacious and less hemmed-in, and the Widgets tab on the app drawer has been done away with. (To add a widget in KitKat, you hold a finger on the homescreen background for a second or two.)
Google Now has been given more prominence, too, with a swipe from the left of the main homescreen – in addition to the familiar drag-up from the home button – now launching the search/personal assistant. The Nexus 5 comes with the Quickoffice office suite preinstalled, complete with word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software, integration with Google Drive and 25GB of Google Drive space.
Google’s new Caller ID service makes an appearance: this attempts to match business names with incoming numbers for callers not in your address book. You also get extended voice-control features, and, in a strangely counterintuitive move, Google Hangouts now handles text messages.
Connectivity and audio
Finally, as you’d expect from a top-end smartphone, the Nexus 5 leaves no stone unturned when it comes to connectivity: you get dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4, GPS and 4G support. Audio quality is fine, too, both in-call and from the speaker at the bottom edge of the phone.
The one black mark against the Nexus 5 is the absence of a user-replaceable battery or a microSD slot. However, as reported on teardown site iFixit, the rear panel can be removed far more easily than most.
The Nexus 5 is a superb smartphone: we like the design; it’s as powerful as they come; the screen is great; it runs the latest version of Android; and the camera – although a weak point – is capable of producing good snaps and video if you’re patient.
It’s the price, however, that really swings things in favour of this top-notch Android handset. At £299 for the 16GB version, and £339 for the 32GB one, it undercuts its rivals significantly. That, coupled with its all-round capabilities, pushes it to the top of the PC Pro A-List.
|Cheapest price on contract||Free|
|Contract monthly charge||£22.00|
|Contract period||24 months|
|Talk time, quoted||17hrs|
|Standby, quoted||12 days 12hrs|
|Dimensions||69 x 8.9 x 138mm (WDH)|
|Camera megapixel rating||8.0mp|
|Resolution||1080 x 1920|
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