Review roundup: Google Nexus 5 smartphone


Following weeks and weeks of leaks, rumours and speculation the Nexus 5 has finally arrived as the new reference Android smartphone. Can the Google and LG collaboration really provide a proper flagship device at a fraction of the price? Take a look at the whirl of excitement the Google Nexus 5 has created and decide for yourself whether the anticipated handset really is worth the hype.

Rating the Nexus 5 an impressive ‘9 out of 10’, it’s worth reading ZDNet’s review of the smartphone. ZDNet’s writer had been living with the Nexus 5 for over a week and after initial disappointment and an immediate reaction to return the device, further evaluation meant the ZDNet Nexus 5 inspector deemed the smartphone as “outstanding value.” The focal point, writes ZDNet is the Nexus 5’s “latest and greatest” Android operating system, the Android KitKat 4.4.

In hardware terms, ZDNet isn’t as quite and complementary, finding the lightness of the device causing a worrying feeling that something’s missing, like the battery for instance. The camera also isn’t deemed as a plus point in this review, being slow to focus, although the photos included in the review seem to be pretty decent. Despite some slight disappointment with the weight and camera, the contributor is impressed with the Nexus 5’s immersive mode, which is great for reading in Google Books. Other stand-out features for ZDNet include the overall look of the design, the new OK Google voice control functionality, the Quickoffice integration, the integrated pedometer functionality and the pure application launch area. But what I think really drives this review to score an impressive ‘9 out of 10’, is the price. The 16GB model is priced at $349 and the 32GB model is $399, “fantastic prices” that provide “outstanding value.”

Engagdet is never one to mince its words, particularly when it gets to try out a highly anticipated new device. Indecisively titled “The Best Phone $350 Can Buy,” Engadget’s praise once again falls at the Nexus 5’s price. It has to be said that Engagdet was a fan of the Nexus 4, citing it as “gorgeous and powerful”. So impressed is Engadget by the “serenity of a pure Android experience and all the trimmings,” that this contributor finds that with this device it’s clear Google is trying to give the high-end, $600-plus Android flagships a run for their money.

Check out this hands-on video:

So what are the trimmings of the Nexus 5, Engadget’s so impressed by? The solidity of the phone’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and polycarbonate plastic on the back is one mentionable feature, though Engagdet does admit the Nexus 5 might not be ugly but certainly isn’t striking. Overall, Engadget loves the high-res display, the enhancements brought by Android KitKat and the general performance, but again, the real praise lies within the price.

“A phone like the Nexus 5 would get our blessing even at a higher price, but the fact that you can buy it for as low as $350 makes it that much sweeter,” concludes Engagdet.

The only feature deemed being a giveaway of the cost cuts, according to this review, is the device’s battery life with a runtime that is not as long as other flagship phones with larger batteries.

Deviating from the general praiseworthy consensus of the Nexus 5 is Wired’s evaluation. It has to be said Wired does tend to strive to controversially go against the run of play, citing smartphones as being boring. After spending a week with the Nexus 5 said:

“It’s clear this isn’t just another boring smartphone. It may be the most boring phone of the year.”

“It’s the vanilla soy milk latte of handsets.” (A typically trying-to-be-controversial-and-trendy Wired statement).

Despite describing the Nexus 5 as looking like a “big old slab of grass” even Wired has to admit it’s very fast, has a sensitive touchscreen, a pretty great battery life, a gorgeous screen, fantastic photo processing, loaded with Google brains, and is a great price.

Except having a slightly flawed camera, a degree of mixed opinions about the aesthetical merits and some debate about its battery, the Nexus 5 generally gets a big thumbs’ up. The majority of the praise is spawned by its price as what remain crystal clear in the Nexus 5 reviews is that we all can’t resist a bargain.