With the Nexus 5, you're getting a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 with an Adreno 330 GPU. Moreover, you don't have a heavy UI with system-resource-hogging apps like you'd find on the Galaxy S4, for example.
How well does the Nexus 5 perform in real life? Great. Apps and games run like champs, and switching from home screens to apps and back is smooth.
In short, we found no performance issues with the device whatsoever, not counting gripes with the camera. But for what you're going to be doing with the phone, there was never any lag or hiccups in the overall experience.
Even graphic intensive games performed surprisingly well, with no perceivable lag or slowing. They did a number on battery life, but that's a whole other story.
We might attribute this performance to Android 4.4 KitKat, too. Google says that it designed KitKat with backwards compatibility in mind, never mind the more recent Nexus devices that won't get the update.
One would imagine that if KitKat is supposed to perform well on older hardware, it will stay brilliant on a device that is packing a lot of punch when it comes to specs.
We'll be sure to update this section once our benchmark tests are complete, but for now they look very promising. We're also going to update this review in a month's time when our phone is filled with more apps, photos and videos. That's when you really want to know how a device holds up.
Nexus 5 Battery life
Strangely, battery life has been a mixed bag. We've had the device for a week now, and some days are much better than others. In our first day, the phone lasted about five hours, which is expected because you're loading it with apps and customizing the device to your liking.
On our second day, we got six hours with mixed use. In our typical day, we make a phone call or two, send plenty of text messages, and we check our email and social networks with regularity.
Our third day took us by surprise as the phone lasted 11.5 hours before hitting the critical 20% mark. We used the phone quite a bit that day, including one straight hour of checking Facebook, Twitter and reading the news over breakfast.
Because battery life is a little unpredictable, it would be wise to charge it as much as you can when you can. Or you can buy external battery packs or take a charger with you where you go.
Factors that affect battery life include your usage and also your signal strength. If you're in an area with weak cell coverage, your battery may suffer. The day we got 11.5 hours of life was spent mostly on Wi-Fi, which might've helped given our data-intensive usage that day.
We do wish that the rumors about the 3,000mAh battery life were true. One thing we love about the Nexus 5's distant cousin - the LG G2 - is that big battery and long life.
If we had to give the battery life some kind of rating on its own, it would be a 7/10, which is ever so slightly sub-par by our standards.
Again, your experience will vary, but expect to need a charge by the end of your work day.
Nexus 5 call quality
We'll keep this section brief, because this has more to do with your carrier than the device itself. Most smartphones these days sound great when you're on the phone, and the Nexus 5 is no exception.
We used T-Mobile's network in the San Francisco Bay Area, and for the most part call quality sounded excellent. Our friends reported that we sounded loud and clear, and we can say the same for them.
We're confident that you'll find similar results with AT&T and Sprint, the only other carriers that will support the Nexus 5. Sorry Verizon folks, but it's unclear whether the Nexus 5 will ever hit your carrier of choice.
Speakerphone calls, however, were weak. That's largely due to the fact that the single speaker on the bottom-left portion of the phone is weak. Whether you're using it for a call or listening to music, you'll find that it lacks power.
Moreover, if you're in a moderately noisy place, you may not hear your ringer or notification tones where other phones might get through to you.