Google Nexus 5 – Screen
As the phone’s name suggests, the Google Nexus 5’s screen is 5-inches (4.95 inches to be exact), up from the 4.7-inches of the Google Nexus 4. It is one of the most pleasant mobile screens around at present, and almost certainly the best you can get for £300.
Increases in pixel density figures become a case of diminishing returns in most cases once you get above the 326ppi ‘Retina’ standard Apple popularised with the iPhone 4 back in 2010. But nevertheless, the Nexus 5 display is immaculately sharp. Of course, the main benefit of a screen like this is not really sharpness, but smoothness – the curves of small characters are not remotely jagged, making them much easier on the eyes.
People often think high-res screens are useful for gaming and movie-watching foremost, but they are actually just as important for web browsing.
The Nexus 5 uses an IPS display, the same type seen in the iPhone 5S. Viewing angles are perfect, and there’s an immediacy to the display that marks it out as a true top-end screen. Lower-end screens tend to appear a little ‘recessed’, featuring more discrete screen layers, reducing contrast and image pop.
What we’re most glad about, though, is how much better colour reproduction is in the Nexus 5, compared to the Nexus 4. LG has clearly been working on its screen calibration skills since that phone, because colours are better-saturated, and without any of the oversaturated reds that are often apparent in AMOLED-type screens.
Outdoors visibility is solid, too. The same high-end screen architecture that makes images look super-lively indoors makes them avoid becoming too washed out outdoors. Top brightness is good rather than truly remarkable, but in actual use we had no complaints with what the screen is capable of. It’s a corker.
There’s just one slight complaint. the Nexus 5’s screen doesn’t have insanely fast refresh rates. Moving quickly up and down Android 4.4’s menus does leave a tiny trail. The effect is very minor, though.
How we test phones
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.