- Excellent value
- Great performance
- Decent low-light camera performance
- Excellent screen
- Non-expandable memory
- Camera tends to overexpose
- Mediocre battery life
Review Price £299.99
Google Nexus 5 review
What is the Google Nexus 5?The Google Nexus 5 is the one new Google-branded phone for 2013. It takes over from the Google Nexus 4. And like that phone, it guns for its big-name Android rivals with a super-aggressive price. Offerring excellent performance, a smart design and great value, the Nexus 5 is undoubtedly one of the best phones of the year. Read on to find out why.
Watch our Nexus 5 video review:
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Google Nexus 5 – DesignThe Google Nexus 5 is made by LG. You probably wouldn't know it unless you spot the little LG logo on the back, though. It has none of the quirky design elements of the LG G2.
This is a deeply pragmatic phone in many respects, in that Google was clearly out to make a mobile that looks and feels great, without any of the flashy, budget-busting bits of a £600 phone like the iPhone 5S. The Google Nexus 5 is arguably much more conservative, design-wise, than the Nexus 4 it replaces.
The Nexus 5 is made of soft touch matt black plastic. It doesn't sound as impressive as the aluminium of the HTC One, but the response from the TrustedReviews team was unanimous – it feels great.
Its back is lightly curved, adding to the hand-friendliness of the silky smooth finish. The Nexus 5 looks good, too. Every part of the phone bar the LED flash is black (a white version is also available), and the lack of any recognisable flashy extras beyond the oversized camera lens housing make it quite a 'pure' design.
It comes across as a much more confident phone than the Nexus 4, with its 'jazz hands' spangly finish and glass rear.
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The one issue of such a simple-looking phone is that front-on, it's not that easy to casually tell which way around it is. All navigation keys are part of the screen, so the only indicators are the deeply low-key earpiece speaker and front camera. It's a bit of a phone ninja.
The lack of any flashiness is clear in its construction, too. Although the Nexus 5 does not have a removable back – there's no battery access and no hidden memory card slot – this is not a unibody phone. The back plate and the plastic sides of the phone are two different bits, and there's a clear seam between them.
We imagine this makes the phone easier to construct, and easier to fix. But to pedantic eyes, it's something that shows this phone hasn't been constructed on a limitless budget.
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However, handling-wise it's one the nicest phones in its class – beaten only by the slightly smaller HTC One. LG has put a lot of effort into making the Nexus 5 as narrow as possible, making it less of a handful, and it's slim too.
The Nexus 5 is 69mm wide and 8.6mm thick. That's 0.5mm narrower, and 0.7mm thicker than, the Samsung Galaxy S4. Being a budget-conscious phone hasn't resulted in a remotely chunky body, and in-use it leaves the impression of being almost 'all screen' thanks to its super-slim screen bezel. LG has done a fantastic job as manufacturing partner here.
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Like any 5-inch phone, though, reaching from one end of the screen to the other with a thumb is a bit of a stretch. If you have small hands, we recommend getting your hands on a phone this large before buying any mobile this size.
In common with many phones with non-removable rear panels, the Google Nexus 5 uses a pop-out SIM tray. It takes microSIM cards – now the most commonly used type in high-end phones.
One other hardware feature worth a nod is the well-executed notification LED. It's a multi-colour LED whose light is diffracted slightly to give it a 'glow' effect, and it sits dead centre below the screen. Its low-key style fits in perfectly with the phone's self-assured low-key design. Like so many elements of this phone, it's simple, and it's good.
This isn't a phone that panders to all the demands of the hardcore tech geek brigade, though. There's no dedicated video output (extremely rare these days) and no way to expand upon the 16GB or 32GB of internal memory. We don't think these are significant downsides unless you're looking for a video jukebox phone, though.
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