Channel 5

Google Nexus 5

Monday 04 November 2013


Rating of 5

The basics

The Google Nexus 5 is the follow-up to the Nexus 4. Like that phone, it's out to offer an attractive alternative to the kings of the Android world – phones like the Galaxy S4, the Xperia Z1 and HTC One. It lures us in with a low price: At £300, the Nexus 5 is significantly cheaper than the competition, without appearing to make many compromises along the way. On paper, it sounds like a winner - is this the Android bargain of the year, or has Google dropped the ball? Find out in our Google Nexus 5 review.

Read our Archos GamePad 2 review here

Is the Nexus 5 better than the LG G2?

The good

They may be brothers, but the Google Nexus 5 looks and feels quite different from the Nexus 4. The glass-topped shiny back has been traded-in for matt plastic. It may sound sound too impressive, but its soft finish feels great on your fingers. The Nexus 5 is pretty slim and light too. At 8.6mm thick and 130g, the phone is exactly the same weight as a Galaxy S4, and only slightly thicker. With a super-thin bezel, the Nexus 5 isn't much wider than its screen either.

It's a pretty impressive screen too. The Nexus 5 has a 5-inch display with the same full HD 1080p resolution as the HTC One and Galaxy S4. This is an incredibly sharp screen that makes games, movies and web pages look fantastic. Image quality is great - the Nexus 5 screen can really compete with big-name rivals like the Galaxy S4.

Unlike those phones however, the Nexus 5 uses a completely pure version of Android. It's the first phone to launch with Android 4.4 KitKat. This version of Android makes the software look friendlier than ever, making it about as good-looking as Windows Phone or iOS 7. It's blazingly fast as well – zipping between menus at high speed is no problem for this phone.

The phone has loads of power on tap. The Nexus 5 uses the same Snapdragon 800 processor as the Sony Xperia Z1, making it even more powerful than the HTC One and Galaxy S4. High-end 3D games run like a dream. The Nexus 5 is also one of just a few phones to have optical image stabilisation in its camera. This makes video less juddery, and significantly improves what photos taken in poor lighting look like – they're less noisy than an iPhone's, and a refreshing feature given that most Nexus cameras have been utter bobbins until now.

Easily the best bit, though, is the price. You get an awful lot of phone hardware for £300 with a Nexus 5, making it better value than the competition by several hundred pounds - and this time, it comes with support for 4G, so no corners have been cut.

The bad

The Google Nexus 5 is well-made, but it's not quite as impressive in-hand as the unibody aluminium HTC One. There's a seam around the phone's edge too, making it look less pristine than Nokia's plastic Lumia phones also. And though manufacturer LG has made the frame as narrow as possible for a five inch display, you should also try out a phone this size if you're used to much smaller mobiles: reaching to the top of the screen with a thumb is a bit of a stretch.

The Google Nexus 5 camera is also not the most reliable one out there. It often produces slightly dim-looking or overexposed photos, and it's nowhere near as fast as an iPhone camera. You can produce good shots with the thing, but it requires a bit of patience.

Like the Nexus 4, the Nexus 5 doesn't have a memory card slot, so you have to choose carefully between the 16GB and 32GB models. Perhaps the biggest drawback of the Nexus 5 is its battery. Its 2,300mAh unit is smaller than that of the Galaxy S4 or Xperia Z1. You will have to charge this phone every day unless you're a light user.

Android KitKat: Version 4.4 gets official with a tasty new name

HTC One: Android 4.3 update rolling out now!

The bottom line

The Google Nexus 5 is an excellent choice if you want a high-end Android phone but don't want to spend £500. It has a great screen, great software and as much power as the top-end Androids. It doesn't have the best camera or the best battery life, but it's top value if you’re buying SIM-free nonetheless - let’s just hope contract offerings will prove as affordable.

Currys Top Products

Google Nexus 5 is tagged with Android, LG, Google, nexus 5 and google nexus 5. Select a tag (Android, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

User comments (7)

Leave a comment


I already ordered one on the first day, 20 minutes after the *announcement* (if I can call it that).

Report as inappropriate

well i totally agree. great review. and spot on. yes Camera is not the best, and battery is ok. but luckily these can be fixed with an update. and i hear there is one coming. So overall you dont need to spend £500 to high performance mobile. unless you want the best camera.

Report as inappropriate

well i agree with this review. having now the nexus 5. its a beast. to be honest for the price you cant moan, except for the camera. but i hear there is a fix on its way, to sort out battery and camera, and shutter lag. so i cant wait. then we will have an awesome phone. The LG G2 is special, but the only difference is the camera and battery. with the Nexus 5. Other than your rewarded with an outstanding mobile.

Report as inappropriate

The Nexus 5 is BY FAR the best smartphone on the market at the moment. Anyone looking to buy an unlocked phone should go straight to the website and order one. I have had mine for a month. When I got it, it had android 4.4 on it. Immediately, I could see features like Google Now (which is slightly like 'Big Brother') would outperform siri. Unfortunately the camera perfomance was not great, but as I hardly use the camera I did not mind for the price I paid. Then Google auto-updated to android 4.4.2 (apparently 4.4.1 was buggy), and the camera is now one of the best I have used. So all 'bad' comments above can now be ignored.

Report as inappropriate
Ben Davies

I got my Nexus 5 the day it came out, and it has improved vastly over the past few months regarding camera performance and battery life. When I first got the device it was would get about 3 hours screen on time, but ever since it has updated to 4.4.1 and 4.4.2 i get about 4 and three quarter hours with quite heavy usage. The camera is now much faster, and the lighting problems are all sorted out. The Nexus 5 is the best smartphone right now,

Report as inappropriate
Mark Davidson

the camera is no longer an issue with the new software update, it really is a cracking phone now , and easily the best android phone i have owned

Report as inappropriate

Nexus 5 is the best value mobile. Once you have a optical image stabiliser on HD video you nevergo back. Most of these reviews havent been revised since the nexus 5 got its full camera fix sorting all the initial camera teething troubles. Google has a battery fix update in the pipeline too so all the negatives above are now moot yet you still gave it five stars. Don't bother with expensive contracts or bloated skinned android gimmick phones. The camera on the nexus 5 has HDR but doesn't have gimmickery unnecessary cartoon features or extraneous button setting menus so its simpler to use for good pics! In the UK it's possible to get a nexus 5 sim free and then have 4G for free with a PAYG sim card. Data can be topped up at 2GB per month. Fit a Ringke Fusion case too and its build is enhanced also.

Report as inappropriate

Join Channel 5

Creating an account is free, will only take a few moments and will allow you to enjoy the full benefits of 5FWD and Channel 5:

  • Create lists of your most wanted and owned products
  • Leave article comments without having to re-enter your login details
  • Get updated with all the latest gadget and car news

Leave a comment

Please note that we will not expose your email, but we might use it to email you back. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.
* mandatory field