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back to article Google's Nexus 5: Best smartphone bang for your buck. There, we said it

Google's successor to the Nexus 4 is out and it's the first handset to carry the Android 4.4 operating system, aka KitKat. If you want to get hold of one you'll have to wait however – the Google Play store has sold out for the next few weeks, and even if you did order one at launch it may not be shipped out until November 8. So …

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Dull but functional

functional - what good is that? I'm going to paint mine gold and wave it in peoples faces when I'm not using it!

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JDX
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"90% of what's needed"

Did you mean "90% of what's on offer in gimmick-filled phones" or "90% of what's needed". Because if it doesn't do 100% of what I need it's of little use!

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Re: "90% of what's needed"

I wonder what it does that, for example, a £120 Lumia 620 won't do, beyond tell Google everything you do, everywhere you go, everything you read, everything you watch etc.

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Re: "90% of what's needed"

I have a Nexus 4 and the only thing I really miss is the lack of external storage slot. I get by with what's in the phone but it would have been nice to augment it. It would have meant that the phone would also mount as a drive letter instead using the shitty media transfer protocol. On the flip side, I wouldn't be happy about forking out $150-200 just to get an external SD.

I think if I were to buy a Nexus 5 I would buy the 32GB version to be on the safe side.

On a technical level I am somewhat annoyed that android handsets are so divisive over which standards to use for wireless charging and for video output over USB. e.g. some phones use SlimPort for external displays and some use MHL. Both provide virtually identical functionality but they're mutually incompatible and the cable / dongles are quite expensive.

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Re: "90% of what's needed"

"I wonder what it does that, for example, a £120 Lumia 620 won't do"

Connect to webex sessions for one. Now that is not a fault of the phone itself, but more the fact that many companies refuse to support more than 2 mobile os.

But it is a chicken and egg. Windows mobile won't get corporate app support until it is more popular, it won't get popular until there is more app support

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Re: "90% of what's needed" external storage

You can (apparently) easily use samba over wireless so I was thinking of taking a cheap rootable wireless tablet and using that as a wireless samba server in the other pocket/bag

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Re: "90% of what's needed" external storage

It'd be cheaper and easier to just buy a device with an sd slot.

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Re: "90% of what's needed"

Not telling Bing+Microsoft "everything you do, everywhere you go, everything you read, everything you watch etc." seems like an excellent feature.

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Re: "90% of what's needed"

Hmm. You can turn all that off (I do).

But then again, if the data's going anywhere, why is it better to give it to Eric Schmidt?

Also, the 620 has a microSD slot.

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Re: "90% of what's needed" external storage

"You can (apparently) easily use samba over wireless"

I certainly use Samba/the house file server via wireless to let my wife's Nexus 7 save/load stuff using ( I think - we're away at the moment) FileExpert > interestingly it only seems to allow onto the Nexus file formats that Android has apps that will open - must probe a little more

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Re: "90% of what's needed" external storage

Does it do USB OTG?

If so, could you use that for storage - at last temporarily?

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Re: Does it do USB OTG?

Yep.

The relevant app doesn't work on KitKat yet, should be fixed over the weekend apparently.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "90% of what's needed" external storage

Except that Android needs internal storage. It won't use an SD card for internal memory and internal memory is where everything downloads too. If you run out of internal memory you can't download!

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Re: "90% of what's needed"

> I wonder what it does that, for example, a £120 Lumia 620 won't do,

Make a profit for its manufacturer.

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Re: "90% of what's needed"

As others have said, I do all I need in my Lumia 620. For that price, there are other more powerfull Lumias here in Portugal.

The only problem I see in Lumia 620 is the 1300 amps battery. But I can buy a 1800 or more and fit it. Then I will have twice of time of everything else.

About Nexus 5, great phone yes love it and stuff, but the 5" Lumia 929 is comming and next year, also Lumia 1530 and 1320. So I prefer a 6" phablet. Will keep my 620 and buy a bigger one.

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Joke

Re: "90% of what's needed"

The only problem I see in Lumia 620 is the 1300 amps battery.

Yeah, that'd blow your tongue off. Don't lick it.

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Re: "90% of what's needed"

There was all this moaning and whining about the NSA tracking users web use, reading their emails, listening to phone calls and collecting loads of meta data around all of the aforementioned areas. The NSA do this in the interests of national security.

Google also track users web use, read their emails, listen to phone calls and collect loads of meta data around all of the aforementioned areas. The difference is that they then sell this data to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, the highest bidder is usually in some line of business like the promotion of miracle diets or the sale of male organ enlargement pills. Thus the unfortunate user gets bombarded with messages about said diets and/or pills.

However, the premise of this article is to suggest that it is a good idea to PAY GOOGLE MONEY to allow them to have the wherewithal to capture and subsequently sell this personal data. Google should be paying us to use these horrible devices/services.

That said, if Google offered me $500 to use one of their devices I would still refuse. This is because I have some personal dignity and do not want my data in the hands of a company that I do not trust, even one tiny, little bit.

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Re: "90% of what's needed"

@Dogged

Absolutely right. The title says 'Best bang for your buck', but the phone seems distinctly average. If price and average spec are the only thing buyers are interested in, there are other phones out there at this price point (or lower) that would do the job.

Examples from the article:

... It's not quite as full-featured as some of the smartphones out there, but it does 90 per cent of what's needed

...At first sight the Nexus 5 looks a little dull.

...The ceramic buttons aren't great – the edges feel slightly sharp, and while they didn't snag on jacket pockets, the feel is slightly cheap

...[Front] very basic 1.3 megapixel camera

...[Screen] lacks the brightness of rival Samsung's best phones

...eight megapixels isn't as good as some of the competition, but it does the job

...Photo Sphere feature, designed to take 360 degree shots, still needs work … …the software still has problems and doesn't deal well with details.

...[Battery] looks a little optimistic, and a larger battery would have been advisable… ...it'll handle a day's medium(!) usage

...[KitKat] ...there's nothing here that's a must-have feature.

...one annoying feature of the Nexus 5 is that there's no removable storage

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Re: "90% of what's needed"

"Samsung's best phones" are almost double the price. Find something better & cheaper.

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Re: "90% of what's needed"

"That said, if Google offered me $500 to use one of their devices I would still refuse. This is because I have some personal dignity and do not want my data in the hands of a company that I do not trust, even one tiny, little bit."

Then take their money and install a ROM that has no Google apps.

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Re: "90% of what's needed" external storage

Had mine since Monday and while it does provide enough juice from the USB port (connected keyboard with integrated USB hub and a optical mouse) the memory sticks I tried all came alive but didn't mount. Either on the fly or if inserted at boot. I have just rooted it so I'm going to try a little harder at the weekend. But in answer to your question. Out of the box? No.

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Undecided as yet

KitKat is a mixed bag. I started doing what I normally do and disable all of the Google services I never use, much to my chagrin half of the phone stopped working, the most crippling being that II turned off hangouts and it disabled text messages. Eventually I found ways and means around a lot of this crap simply by trial and error, I hate the fact that the entire desktop now runs off of the Search service, disable search and it'll turn itself back on as soon as you go to your desktop with the added bonus that it resets your desktop. Saying that it's more fluid than JB and there's some improvements to things like the camera app.

The phone itself is cheap and nasty but the hardware is decent for the price, it's roughly the same size as my Galaxy Nexus but with a larger screen area, decent speakers on the bottom and a seemingly longer battery life. I'm withholding judgement but currently it's "okay".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: cheap and nasty

LOL. $349, cheap? nasty? Wonder how my ancient Nokia 2310 gets rated under your system :-)

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Re: Undecided as yet

One thing you ought to be able to guarantee with this is some good custom ROMs that have the unnecessary crud removed.

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Re: Undecided as yet

Umm... as a GED (Google Experience Device) surely it comes with a vanilla implementation of 4.4 aka KitKat? Therefore no overlays, launchers or other "branding" tat...

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Re: Undecided as yet

I have a Nexus 4 with native Jellybean (Kitkat can't be far off) and there's no branding or GUI nonsense. There is a lot of Google stuff that I don't use and don't want.

In my experience native Android is a huge improvement over the crap-stuffed HTC I had before but I'd like a bit more chance to remove a lot of the Googly bits (though I can't be arsed to do much about it).

Nexus 5 looks good to me but I'll stick with what I have unless it takes a tumble into a pint.

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Re: cheap and nasty

I have no idea what a Nokia 2310 even looks like nor do I care. That's the thing about opinions everyone's got one, even if it's just to blatantly troll.

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Re: Undecided as yet

It's the camera and microphone that's killing me. Taking a picture of a moving object (even very slowly moving) produces bad results and the microphone on video capture is abysmal.

I find the earpiece speaker pretty poor too. I love the feel of the phone and the way it hangs together, but the camera and call features (pretty core features!!!!) are well below par.

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Re: Undecided as yet

You'd think, but Hangouts now does Hangouts and SMS. If you disable Hangouts you disable SMS. It doesn't come with AOSP's Messaging app as you're supposed to use Hangouts. So much for being open...

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Re: cheap and nasty

Yes, I realise you were blatantly trolling with your post about the Nexus being cheap and nasty hardware

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Re: cheap and nasty

No, I said it was cheap and nasty, the case looks and feels like a Storage Options Scroll Essential. The screen is beautiful but that's all, the camera on the back is fugly. So presumably if you're not trolling you have one? And you can tell us all what your likes and dislikes are then? And perhaps you could even stop hiding behind a troll account?

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@Lloyd Re: cheap and nasty

Personally (and it's all subjective) I'll take the rubberised back and sides of the 5 over the glass back of the 4 any day. Nicer to hold, doesn't slip off any surface that's more than a degree off horizontal, and not likely to scratch easily. The camera housing does look a bit odd, it's also slightly magnetic so I wonder if there are some kind of lens accessories in the pipeline or something.

Agreed on the screen though, it really is a stunner.

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Re: @Lloyd cheap and nasty

I hadn't noticed that it was magnetic but I've just checked and you're right and I'd wager that you're bang on about the accessories, although quite why anyone would lug a zoom around for a camera of that quality (it's not too bad on low light but for action shots it's all blur).

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Re: Undecided as yet

If you actually care then install a custom rom without gapps.

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Re: @Lloyd cheap and nasty

I haven't played with the camera at all yet but what you're saying is consistent with just about everything else I've read. The general opinion I've seen seems to be that the problems are in software rather than hardware - hopefully that's the case, and Google will fix the camera app.

It's a shame, as the scuttlebut before release suggested that we were going to finally get a Nexus with an OK camera.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Undecided as yet

Which makes you realise just how basic Android is really. The "advanced" features of Android that most users talk about are Samsung extras.

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Re: cheap and nasty

I would imagine that the cost is a combination of cut corners and smaller profit margin. But I wouldn't expect the cost difference between it and a high end Samsung to be that much. It's just Samsung are raking it in.

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Re: @Lloyd cheap and nasty

Are you sure you don't have HDR/HDR+ turned on?

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Re: Undecided as yet

I'll be doing whatever's needed to keep KitKat off my Nexus 4 then. Jelly Bean is quite good enough w/o the intrusiveness.

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Excellent phone

Mine arrived on Monday, slowly discovering the new things it can do over the "old" Nexus 4. In a nutshell, buy it. For the price you really can't go wrong, definitely a top end phone for not a top end price.

One thing to point out, the "OK Google" voice activation only works if the phone language is set to 'US English'. The feature disappears completely if you use any other language, you have to go back to the usual "tap the mic button" to get it to listen. That's why you found it helps to speak with an American drawl... switch the language to 'UK English' and the phone understands me word for word but Google have disabled it listening for the magic phrase 'OK Google' when you do that... *roll eyes*

Smooth to use, quick to do whatever I've needed so far, voice clarity is excellent, speakers are better than the 4 and being on the bottom they work when you put the phone down on its back, unlike the 4 which muffles everything.

The caller lookup is very nice, if you get a phone call (or even just randomly dial a company you've never even spoken to before) and the OS actually tells you who you're calling / receiving the call from. It shows the number only to begin with, about half a second or so later the company name appears as Google does its thing. Has worked 3/3 so far in telling me who the random callers I've had this week so far are.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OK Google != English

... but have you tried something along the lines of "What ho, Google" instead?

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Re: OK Google != English

"... but have you tried something along the lines of "What ho, Google" instead?"

If they can link to the GPS then that will only work south of Watford and east of Slough. North of Watford you'll need "Eh oop, Google", and so forth.

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Re: Excellent phone

the "OK Google" voice activation only works if the phone language is set to 'US English'.

Perhaps for UK English you have to say, "Excuse me, Google"

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Re: Excellent phone

>One thing to point out, the "OK Google" voice activation only works if the phone language is set to 'US English'.

This is not quite true. You can have the basic language for the phone set to 'UK English', and set the voice command (via Google Now settings) to 'US English' and that then enables the 'OK Google' feature.

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Nov 8th?

It arrived on Monday (the 3rd).

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I have a 6 month old Nexus 4...

...must resist. It sounds like a fantastic phone, but then again my Nexus 4 hasn't put a foot wrong yet, so I will be strong and keep it for the forseeable future - especially as I'm sure that it will get Kit Kat shortly

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