Nexus 5's price, specs and software outweigh the flaws, say first reviews

Google's recently launched Nexus 5 has been generating a huge amount of buzz and we looking at what the experts are saying about the new smartphone...

After months of rumours, speculation and leaks, Google and LG finally unveiled the much-awaited Nexus 5 on the Play Store last week. Available in 16GB and 32GB variants, the handset is the first one to come with the latest flavour of Android, Version 4.4 KitKat. While the 16GB version will set users back Rs 28,999, aspiring buyers can pick up the 32GB version for Rs 32,999.

The response that the new Nexus smartphone has generated has been considerable. The 16GB black variant of the Nexus 5 was sold out within minutes of its launch in the US.  While users have uniformly given the device a big thumbs-up for the price tag and the kind of features packed in, the first reviews of the new phone are now out. Let's see what they say.

Engadget’s review starts off by saying that the Nexus 5 is the best phone that $350 can buy. While comparing the new device with its predecessor, the Nexus 4, Molen says that the former has improved upon last year’s model in nearly every possible way, including the best display (4.95-inches, 1920x1080 pixels), top-of-the-line processor (2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC), a respectable amount of storage space and LTE support. Design-wise, the reviewer said that the new handset’s simplistic design does not come with the eye-catching elements that other flagship smartphones currently sport. The device is not ugly, but there isn’t much about it that is striking either. Performance-wise, the Nexus 5 made all the right moves, especially given the price point.

Nexus 5's price, specs and software outweigh the flaws, say first reviews

Nexus 5 with the latest Android flavour


The Verge’s Joshua Topolsky believes that while the Nexus 5 could be the flagship phone that Google wants, it still has a way to go before achieving that vision. The biggest complaint was the “disappointing” performance of the 8-megapixel camera. While the shooter was said to give beautiful photos in a “perfect setting”, in real-world scenarios, the camera underperformed. Photos and videos were shot with too little contrast, too little saturation and too little colour. The camera app itself was said to be slow to focus and even slow to launch in the first place.

The issues, the review says, are being fixed by the Android team and will come in the coming weeks. Apart from this, though, the Nexus 5 is an excellent phone in many ways, according to the Verge reviewer. The build, processing power and gorgeous display were all equally praised. Topolsky goes on to say that the polished and refined KitKat update reinforces the thought that Android leads the way in mobile from a functionality and user interface standpoint. And the $350 price tag does not go unnoticed here either, with the reviewer saying that getting a device of this quality for that price point is definitely worth taking notice of, provided Google follows though and tweaks the performance of the camera.

LG Nexus 5 (32GB)

The camera may be the biggest drawback of the new handset


BGR says that the Nexus 5 is the total package given the price you’re getting the phone for. In terms of performance, the device delivers an extremely fluid user experience where everything is fast and responsive, said the review. The reviewer, however, does say that the Nexus 5 comes with a good display, but not a great one, with the end result not falling in line with other high-end handsets. Other complaints were with the camera, the mediocre call quality and the relatively low battery life. But the biggest point in favor of the Nexus 5, according to the reviewer, was the value for money aspect of the new handset.

LG Nexus 5 (32GB)

The price tag is a major advantage


Larry Magid of Forbes also agreed with the value for money assertion, saying that the Nexus 5 is a solid phone at a good price. Unlike the Nexus 4, the new handset supports high-speed LTE, which was something most reviews counted as a positive. The new camera on the device comes with optical image stabilisation and an HDR+ setting that takes multiple pictures in burst mode. Like the other reviewers, though, Magid said that he was not blown away by the photo quality, but said it was good by Android standards. Physically, the new handset feels good in the hand for such a large phone, though there is nothing particularly unique or stunning about the way it looks, according to the reviewer. While talking about the latest OS, Magid said that his favorite feature was the ubiquitous voice search that allows the user to say OK Google from any home screen to search the Internet, make calls, get directions or launch an app. Call quality, according to the reviewer, is excellent, but depends more on the carrier and network conditions than on the phone itself. The speaker was found to be loud and pretty clear as well.

Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg touched on the voice search feature as well as the Google Now predictive intelligence feature, which gives users weather reports, sports scores, commuting times and much more with a simple swipe right on the home screen. Overall, Mossberg said that the Nexus 5 is the best Nexus phone that he has tested yet, but the phone and its software are designed more to bolster Google features and overall Android dominance than to impress sophisticated users.

LG Nexus 5 (32GB)

The latest hardware packed in with Android 4.4 KitKat


So there you have it. While most experts have reservations about the camera, the biggest point they have focused on is the price. Android 4.4 KitKat is also a big plus point for the new handset, given the number of tweaks that Google has made to the new OS. So what do you think? Is the Nexus 5 the best smartphone that Android users can currently look forward to? Let us know in the comments below.