Preview: Google Nexus 5 Hands-On

Let's have a quick look at Google's latest phone that offers Android Kitkat out-of-the-box.

 
Preview: Google Nexus 5 Hands-On

The handset most Android purists have been waiting for has landed in India sooner than expected. It's really good to see handset manufacturers bringing phones to our country within a few weeks after the global announcement. It's also the first time a Nexus device has been priced sensibly too in India at the time of release — 16 GB version for Rs 29,000 and 32 GB for Rs 33,000. The phone is already flying off the shelves at many stores, but we managed to get hold of a retail unit for a quick hands-on article.

Aesthetics
The Google Nexus 5, manufactured by LG, looks fairly similar to its predecessor, especially the front. It's bigger, but slightly thinner and 9 grams lighter than the Nexus 4. Must say, LG has done great job keeping this power-packed handset at 130 grams. Upon close inspection, you can see that the Nexus 5's top bezel has been inspired by LG's own flagship G2. Unlike the G2 though, this phone features a matte finish, which is a welcome change. What I really liked here is that the phone is quite resistant to fingerprints and smudges.

The design is clean and simple; mostly focused on delivering a 5" screen with a minimum bezel and footprint. While there's nothing wrong with such design approach, but many will find it very generic. Strangely, after opting for minimalism at the front, LG has gone with an in-your-face Nexus branding at the back. To make it big, the text has been etched horizontally (as if it's a soap). I understand that Nexus brand has a flaunt value, but this typography is just too big for a phone. That said, it’s better than shatter-prone glass on the Nexus 4’s back. Despite all that, I must admit that the Nexus 5 is one of the best looking Android phones available in the market. Additionally, its build quality is great too.

Those who swap batteries when out of charge will be disappointed to know the phone does not support a user-replaceable battery. The phone also lacks a microSd card slot. The phone is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 800 chipset clocked at 2.3 GHz. Gaming will be taken care of by an Adreno 330 GPU, aided by 2 GB RAM. Much like its predecessor, the Nexus 5 has an 8 megapixel camera sensor. More on that later.

Display
The Nexus 5 sports a 5-inch (4.95" to be precise) full-HD screen. It features a protective layer of Corning's Gorilla Glass 3. The IPS panel is impressively sharp and produces vibrant colours. The contrast and viewing angles are good too. The screen is bright, but we didn't get to test its sunlight legibility.

Kitkat
On the software front, you get the spanking new Android 4.4 KitKat. In its latest iteration, Android has got some improvements under the hood such as printer support and low-memory footprint. For normal users, there are a few UI refinements too. For starters, the black bars around the onscreen navigation keys and notification area have been replaced by a neat transparency effect. The icons look slightly bigger than what you get on most Android phones.

The basic operations remain the same, so if you’ve used an Android phone before, you’ll feel at home straight away. Pressing the Home button for a couple of seconds enables Google Now. If you’re too lazy to type in your query, you can use its voice search feature. Much like Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), Kitkat brings up the quick setting menu with a two finger swipe from the top.

Since the phone is powered by 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 chipset and has 2 GB of RAM, the user-experience is very smooth. With so much fire power at, we can’t comment on whether Kitkat is really well optimised compared to its previous version.

Camera
Nexus 5 has an 8 megapixel camera sensor. Not much has changed in the camera department, save for the OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) that promises improved low-light imaging. The camera is quick at focusing and taking shots. While we didn’t have enough time to thoroughly test the camera, we did manage to get our favourite minion say cheese in front this snapper. Click here, for the sample image.

In A Nutshell
For around Rs 30,000, the Nexus 5 is the most powerful smartphone from a top-tier brand. Along with it comes the “pure” Android 4.4 (Kitkat) experience. If you're planning to buy an Android phone under Rs 30,000, the Nexus 5 (16 GB) is a fantastic option. However, those who can shell out a few grand more, are better off with a 32 GB variant. That’s it for the hands-on guys, keep an eye out for our detailed review in coming weeks.

Specifications:

  • 4.95" IPS screen with 1920x1080 pixels.
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
  • Snapdragon 800 chipset clocked at 2.3 GHz.
  • Adreno 330 GPU, 2 GB RAM.
  • 8 MP camera with Optical Image Stabilization.
  • 1.3 MP front-facing snapper.
  • Wi-Fi, NFC (Android Beam), Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS.
  • 16/32 GB internal storage, Lacks microSD card slot.
  • 2,300 mAh, built-in Wireless Charging.
  • Talk time up to 17 hours, Standby time up to 300 hours.
  • Internet time up to 8.5 hours on Wi-Fi, up to 7 hours on LTE.
  • Android 4.4 (KitKat).


Tags : Mobile Phones, Android, LG, Nexus