Google Nexus 5. Great phone at a terrific price
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Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5. Great phone at a terrific price

The fifth iteration of the Google Nexus phone continue’s Google’s move from creating a developer’s platform to a smartphone that can consumers will actually want to buy. That shift started last year with the Nexus 4 that was essentially a LG Optimus G in different clothing.

Google stuck with LG again this year but the phone really doesn’t bear much resemblance to the Optimus G2.  Instead, the Nexus 5’s design borrows much of its look from the latest Nexus 7 tablet, with the slightly rounded top and bottom,  “nexus” logo on the rear and in the case of the black Nexus 5, same rubberized soft touch material on the back and sides. If you left the Nexus  7 in the wash too long you would end up with something that looks a lot like the Nexus 5.

Nexus 5

Basically a minimalist black slab, the Nexus 5 measures 5.43 inches tall and 2.72 inches wide. It’s thinner and lighter than the earlier model, at 0.34 inches thick and 4.59 ounces. Comfortable to hold, the Nexus 5 feels sturdy and dense in the hand but it is a bit big.

Nexus 5 in hand

A narrow volume rocker is on the left and up top is a 3.5mm headphone jack. The right edge houses a sleep/power button and the SIM card slot. The keys are made out of ceramic, an LG design fetish I guess. On the bottom edge, you’ll find a Micro-USB port flanked by two audio speakers.  The Nexus 5 has a 4.95-inch Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display and like the other flagship phones the touch screen has a 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution and 445ppi. A very nice screen but still not quite as good as the high end competition. Still, for general use, the screen is still excellent. Its slight shortcomings are only apparent in a side by side comparison..

Nexus 5 on Rogers LTEUnder the hood is a blazing fast quad-core 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, and a 450MHz Adreno 330 GPU. With these specs, the Nexus 5 is a powerhouse, screens scroll smoothly and apps open in a flash. You wont spend any time waiting for this phone to get its act together. You can count on a food experience surfing, playing games or watching videos. Voice and data performance is excellent on Rogers’ LTE Network..take a look at LTE compared with my home WiFi Network.

The camera is quite impressive especially if you like pictures that pop with lots of sharpness and contrast. The camera does however, tend to blow out the highlights in brightly lit scenes.Firmware version 4.4.2 seems to fix this and other problems by sacrificing a tiny bit of the “pop”. The result is very satisfying. It handles low light situations very well and thanks to its use of optical image stabilisation which allows increased exposure time without resulting in blurred images caused by the natural shaking of your hand. Longer exposure time equals more light, which equals less noise. Here are some samples of what the camera can do.

Nexus 5 camera example

Nexus 5 Night shot

Handheld 2hrs after sunset

Nexus 5 flash

Dark room with flash

The video camera is equally as impressive. Autofocus and exposure adjust nicely and smoothly as lighting conditions change.

While not quite perfect the Nexus 5 is  close enough and is a great smartphone that will satisfy most users. And you can’t beat the price. My test unit with 16GB of internal storage came from Rogers where it sells for $99 with a two year plan. You can also buy it without a contract for $499 but, a better deal would be to buy the unlocked version direct from Google for $349 plus $17 shipping. Unfortunately Google won’t be able to deliver in time for Christmas.


Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

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