Google has finally released the long-awaited follow-on to the Nexus 4 handset – the Nexus 5, and is once again ready to both put pressure not only on the iPhone and also on other players in the Android market space.
Does the new Nexus 5 have what it takes to dominate the Android market?
What's right with the Nexus 5?
Display: The Nexus 5 sports a 5-inch (actually it's 4.95-inch to you perfectionists) 1920 by 1080 full HD IPS display with a pixel density of 445 pixels-per-inch, comfortably beating the iPhone 5s (which only manages 326 pixels-per-inch) or Samsung's S4 (which has a pixel density of 441 pixels-per-inch).
The surface of the screen is protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass 3, which offers excellent scratch-resistance.
Processor: The quad-core 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 is found in numerous handsets, and with good reason, as it is an excellent processor. Packed onto the same SoC (System-on-a-Chip) is an Adreno 330 GPU clocked at 450MHz.
Android 4.4 KitKat: Getting access to a pure version of Android 4.4 – codenamed Kitkat – will certainly be something Android enthusiasts will want.
Wireless charging: I really wish more handsets had this feature.
Decent optics: 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with image stabilization.
Storage pricing structure: If you'd rather the 32GB version then Google only charges you $50 for the storage, as opposed to the $100 that Apple charges iPhone and iPad customers.
Easy access to unlocked handset: For some, the idea of paying a few hundred dollars for a handset outright rather than being tied to an expensive contract is an attractive option. Not only can they get access to cheaper deals, it allows then to upgrade or replace then handset whenever they want to, and gives them access to cheaper roaming deals. For $349, the Nexus 5 gives you this freedom.
What's wrong with the Nexus 5?
Price: The Nexus 5 is currently available only as an unlocked, unsubsidized handset, which means that if you want the 16GB version you'll pay the full price of $349, while the 32GB versions will cost you $50 extra (Apple charges $100 for a similar storage bump).
Note that subsidized versions will become available shortly, with the handset likely priced in the $150 region. This pricing will bring the handset down to a more affordable level.
Battery life: The Nexus 5 only delivers 8.5 hours on web browsing time on Wi-Fi, which drops to 7 hours on LTE. In comparison, the iPhone 5s can deliver 10 hours on both.
No full LTE band coverage: The US version doesn't cover LTE bands 3, 7, and 20, while the EU version skips bands 2, 4, 17, 19, 25, 26 and 41. This means that neither variant offers full worldwide coverage.
If you want a pure, cutting-edge Android experience, and you want be free from having to rely on handset makers to push you new operating system releases, then the Nexus 5 is for you. The biggest problem I have at present with the Nexus 5 is the price. Sure, there are a lot of handsets out there that cost more, but at $349 it's more than most people will want to pay for a handset.
However, if you are willing to pay a few hundred dollars to own your handset out right, then the Nexus 5 is a very good deal indeed.