Nexus 5: The seven things you can expect from Google's next smartphone

Nexus 5: The seven things you can expect from Google's next smartphone

Summary: With a constant stream of leaks about Google's LG-made Nexus 5, there might not be many surprises when it is officially launched.


Nearly a year on from the launch of Google's first Nexus 4 smartphone, fans are eager for a refresh. It's successor is expected to come in the form of the Nexus 5, which would be a welcome sibling to Google's newly-updated Nexus 7 tablet range. 

It's not yet known exactly when Google will launch the Nexus 5, but leaked images of what's thought to be the device, including one from Google itself, are whetting the appetites of Nexus fans — who hopefully won't be disappointed by supply shortages this time around

Now with a purported Nexus 5 service manual from LG floating around the internet, there really isn't that much that's now not known about the Nexus 5 smartphone except (except a few minor matters — the launch date, price and availability).

1. LG is still Google's Nexus smartphone partner 

LG, the maker of the Nexus 4, will be the hardware company charged with making the Nexus 5. Documents filed with the FCC and a leaked internal repair manual that appears to be for the new device, have unearthed most of the hardware specs for the device. 

2013-10-07 12.07.04 pm
A glimpse of what's thought to be the Nexus 5, as shown in an FCC filing. Image: FCC via CNET

The device thought to be the Nexus 5 that surfaced in an LG filing with the FCC looks a lot like LG's G2, continuing a pattern established with the Nexus 4, which was itself a modified version of the LG's Optimus G. 

2. Nexus 5 will address the Nexus 4's lack of LTE support 

The Nexus 5 looks set to have LTE support. FCC filings and the service manual indicate Google will remedy the lack of LTE connectivity that hampered the Nexus 4 in its successor. With 4G networks lighting up across the world, a bringing out a new smartphone in 2013 without LTE support would be a major omission, and Google has recently brought out an LTE-equipped variant of the Nexus 7.

3. The specs suggest an evolution of the Nexus 4

The Nexus 5 is tipped to sport a 4.95-inch 1080p display, and come with 2GB RAM and a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, NFC support and wireless charging.

4. More storage in the Nexus 5

Specs-wise, the Nexus 5 doesn't look to be a major leap from the Nexus 4, though the 32GB storage would be a welcome addition to the Nexus 4's 8GB and 16GB options. It's not known yet whether Google will launch two variants with different storage sizes, though such a move would be in keeping with Google's traditional pattern for hardware.

The Nexus 5 also looks set to come without expandable storage, similar to the Nexus 4. 

5. Like LG's G2, but not exactly the same

While the leaks point to a Nexus 5 that's similar to the LG G2, Google has pared back the camera specs, instead opting for eight-megapixel rear camera with a 1.3-megapixel front camera. (The G2 has a 2.1-megapixel front camera and a 13-megapixel snapper on the rear.)

If the service manual details are correct, the Nexus 5 will offer up to 690 minutes talk time on CDMA networks, 405 mins on GSM, 530 mins on WCDMA and 230 minutes on LTE. The device should come with a 2,300 mAh battery.

6. Different colours?

The Nexus 5 may come in different colours. Last month Google inadvertently gave a sneak peek at what could be the the Nexus 5 in a promotional YouTube video for its forthcoming Android 4.4 KitKat OS. The video revealed a sleek, matte finished smartphone bearing the similar Nexus markings as seen on the new Nexus 7 tablet, along with LG's logo. A very similar looking device, minus the Nexus logo, was contained in LG's FCC filing. However, the service manual shows a device with a matte mauve finish.

7. Kit Kat or Jelly Bean?

Though it's not been confirmed what version of Android the Nexus 5 will run, Android 4.4 KitKat, which was announced in early October, is a likely candidate. The Nexus 7 was the first piece of hardware that shipped with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean onboard, and given the Nexus 4 was launched in October last year, the Nexus refresh would be well-placed to launch with KitKat.

Further reading

Topics: Smartphones, 4G, Android, Google, Mobility

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • I'm naming my unicorn Prickly Pete

    The news about CDMA support is welcome. A couple of weeks ago I said that I expected to see a unicorn in my backyard before I saw another Nexus device on Verizon. If the Nexus 5 does support Verizon I planning on naming my unicorn Prickly Pete.
    • What will you name your unicorn if it is only for Sprint?

      Cause, I think that is the way it is looking!
      • "What will you name your unicorn if it is only for Sprint?"

    • Verizon

      Verizon will most likely not support this unless it had Droid branding and royalties attached to it
      • Big Red

        Why would Verizon require LG to use Motorolla's "Droid" branding?
        Jared Watson
    • Sprint, Not Verizon

      According to the FCC reports, it will only support Sprint CDMA frequencies. It will not support Verizon CDMA and/or LTE frequencies. With that said, I too hoped it would support Verizon CDMA/LTE or at least LTE for when Verizon releases VoLTE.
      • Sprint and Verizon use same frequencies...

        Sprint and Verizon use the same frequencies (excluding LTE). They use 850 and 1900 MHZ just like Verizon. But that aside, I doubt Verizon would actually get it since they can not lock it down and fill it with bloat.
    • The manual only shows

      support for one bandwidth that could possible be used with Verizon and that is 1900. Verizon's most common bandwidth they use for voice is 800. The 1900 bandwidth is mostly for data so chances are likely you could get a Nexus 5 and use it with Verizon but only their data service and not voice. The manual shows that the 800 bandwidth is specifically avoided. I think the spectrum runs from 750-799 and then jumps to 850-899. From Google's experience with Verizon in regards to the G-nex, plus Verizon controlling their network too much I can see why this phone or any nexus in the future would avoid VZW. The truth is, its all up to VZW. They need to open up their network and stop trying to lock in people in on 2 year contracts.
  • hope yet

    Let's hope that this phone will not have a severely compromised side, like the Nexus 4.
    I love my Nexus 4, but a bigger battery (or optimization) and LTE missing would have made it much better.
  • ...

    Looks like the the areas of compromise are again the camera and the battery.
    I hope I'm wrong.
    • No....

      The battery is a serious compromise, for sure, but the camera?? It has optical image stabilization! I would almost switch to this phone for the camera alone, and that's coming from a Galaxy S4...
    • As usual, battery and Storage

      It's infuriating that Google insists that they know better and don't provide you with a removable battery and external micro SD card. But it downright sucks when they accompany that with a pathetic battery and insufficient storage. If they are not going to have a replaceable battery, they need to have a minimum Razr MAXX kind of battery and 32/64 GB storage minimum. That they gouge you $50 for 8GB just ticks me off.

      I generally avoid Nexus phones because of this and the fact that they are behind the curve in hardware. But this year has been disappointing from the top end phones. HTC One once again has no removable battery and micro SD card. The GS4 was an very incremental update to the GS3. The Moto X after all that hype was a complete let down in specs and price. The Note 3 almost did everything right, but Samsung region locked the SIM card. I'm waiting on the dust to settle on that one before deciding between it and the Nexus 5.

      The only reason to get a Nexus phone is for timely OS updates. And I really shouldn't have to buy a Nexus phone for that. The Nexus 4 was excellently priced, so you could live with its faults for the price (all though I didn't buy it until it just went down to $250 inc the clearance). But the way this year has been going for Android phones, I think we may not see the N4 pricing on the N5 and N5 may be $400+. I hope I'm wrong though and they stay with the N4 pricing of $300 for the 16GB variant and $350 (or preferably lower) for the 32GB version.
  • Privacy invading software from Google, No thanks.

    • Oh Please!!

      Let me guess you have the iphone 5s with the id scanner...
      • Sorry,

        yyz71, it wouldn't be an iPhone with Owl*Net (or any of his other aliases). It would ONLY be a Lumia. He claims it's the best without ever trying anything else.
    • Root it and install custom rom.

      The nice thing about the Nexus line is that it is easily rootable, in which case, you can install what ever software you want. Also are you so naive that you think Apple and Microsoft are not invading your privacy when using their products?
      • Sure ... fix on spyware with spyware from a lesser trusted source

        Typical dumbdroid mentality.

        Lets just install some random crap we found on the web to fix the problem.
  • N5

    N5, my next pick, hurry GOOGLE .
  • Not on VZW

    8. It won't run on Verizon because there's no LTE Band 13 support. : /
  • When can I actually get one?

    I'm reasonably convinced that I want this phone (accepting the lack of a microSD slot) However, I think Google are messing this up for two reasons:

    1. LG don't know how many handsets to make for release because there's no pre-orders. That's one of the reasons we have pre-orders, to judge demand. I hope we don't have the supply issues this time, but I'm not sure how they can be avoided.

    2. Because Google are keeping the release date under wraps, no one's actually sure whether it will fit into their own purchasing plans.

    The combination of these mean I want one and have absolutely no idea when I'd be able to get one. This month? Early next month? Or will they have supply issues and I won't see one till this time next year?