Google Nexus 5 review

Still a solid smartphone, but it's no longer king of the price point

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The price

Ultimately it's the price of the Google Nexus 5 which makes it an attractive proposition, and while the OnePlus One and co. may be trying to encroach on its territory, Google's own-brand is still the dominant force in the high-spec, low-cost arena.

£199 for a premium Android smartphone that's this good is very good. Even at around £220 for the 32GB version, the Nexus 5 is still tempting.

Apple devices are expensive and take their sweet time when cutting their price tags. The iPhone 5S, which was released at a similar time to the Nexus 5, now starts at £459 for the 16GB version and you'll have to lay out an extra £40 to get a 32GB model for £499. While a 16GB iPhone 6 starts at £539, that's almost three times the price of the Nexus 5.

Google Nexus 5 review

While Apple is comfortable with its premium pricing strategy, the Nexus 5 has really put pressure on the competing Android flagships.

The Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, and LG G2 have all witnessed dramatic price cuts over the past 12 months, while the Nexus 5 has managed to retain its sale price much better.

And now there's the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G3, Sony Xperia Z3 and HTC One M8 - all costing around £400 and a new wave of devices like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 now on the market.

Whatever way you cut it, the Nexus 5 is a lot of phone for your money, and it looks like a real attempt to drive prices down, which can only be a good thing for consumers.

However, we've since seen the OnePlus One - better specs than the Nexus 5 and coming in even cheaper - is this the phone Google should be worried about perhaps?

Google Nexus 5 review

The camera

It would be fair to say that the camera in the Nexus 5 was a bit of a disaster on release. It's an 8MP shooter with optical image stabilization that's intended to be a good substitute for a point-and-shoot camera.

There's nothing wrong with the hardware, but the software let it down badly. The camera was far too slow to focus and could be slow to launch, which killed your chances of capturing those spontaneous moments with friends and family.

Google Nexus 5 review

In ideal conditions the Nexus 5 camera could capture stunning shots, but how often do you get ideal conditions?

Google listened to the criticism and quickly released an update to deal with the slow focus issue by balancing speed and image quality a bit better.

Where previously it would take forever to capture a shot, as you waited for the auto-focus, especially in low light conditions, or with fast-moving subjects, after the update it's much faster.

Google Nexus 5 review

It also enables the camera app to load a little faster, and improved the contrast to produce more vibrant colours.

Further updates to the Android camera application have also seen the UI changed a little, as well as the addition of a new feature - Lens Blur - and an easier to use settings menu. I was hoping Lollipop would help the camera too, but it hasn't.

Results are generally respectable, but it's still not the greatest shooter on the market. You can take a look for yourself in the camera section later in this review.


The Nexus 5 is really about speed and power. The snappy processor dovetails with the Android 5.0 platform beautifully.

Google did not cut any corners with the quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor. It was a cutting-edge CPU at the time that had been paired with the Adreno 330 GPU.

Google Nexus 5 review

That's the same combination you'll find in the LG G2, Xperia Z1, and some variants of the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3.

While the power setup in the Nexus 5 has now been usurped by more power efficient and feature packed offerings, it's still capable of handling pretty much anything you throw at it.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyNexus 5
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 850, LTE 900, LTE 1800, LTE 2100, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameLG
Battery Talk Time17 Hour
Product ModelD821
Screen Size12.6 cm (5")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)130 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.4 KitKat
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density445 ppi
Front Camera Resolution1.3 Megapixel
SIM Size SupportedMicro
Height137.8 mm
Width69.2 mm
Depth8.6 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time300 Hour
ManufacturerLG Electronics
Product NameNexus 5 D821 Smartphone
Processor Speed2.26 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon 800
Product LineNexus 5
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Barometer
Manufacturer Part NumberLGD821.AGBRBK
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

More Light, Less Shake

Nexus 5's 8 MP OIS camera incorporates advanced technology to shoot vivid imagery with a wide range of colour and light intake. And while you're holding the camera, Optical Image Stabilization will steady the shot even with shaky hands, so your photos and videos will come out sharp and clear.

Capture Extraordinary Moments

Life is remarkable. Take home the best of it with help from imaging features like HDR+, combining multiple exposures for one perfect shot with vivid daytime and sharp nighttime images-or Photo Sphere, which creates unmatched, immersive 360° views so you can capture and share the full story.

Standard Memory2 GB