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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  1. Tom 7 Silver badge

    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!

  2. JDX Gold badge

    "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!

    1. dogged

      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.

      1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

        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

      2. Paul Shirley

        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.

        1. dogged

          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.

          1. Transalp

            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.

            1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
              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.

      3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        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.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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.

        1. Professor Clifton Shallot

          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.

      5. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        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

        1. wbaw

          Re: "90% of what's needed"

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

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      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.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        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

        1. Michael Hutchinson

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

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

          1. Gordon 11

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

            Does it do USB OTG?

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

            1. GregC

              Re: Does it do USB OTG?

              Yep.

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

            2. normskilight

              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.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            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!

        2. Chemist

          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

  3. Lloyd

    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".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: cheap and nasty

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

      1. Lloyd

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: cheap and nasty

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

          1. Lloyd

            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?

            1. GregC

              @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.

              1. Lloyd

                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).

                1. GregC

                  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.

                2. DaLo

                  Re: @Lloyd cheap and nasty

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

          2. Giles Jones Gold badge

            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.

    2. Professor Clifton Shallot

      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.

      1. Timfy67

        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...

        1. Code Monkey

          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.

          1. jaduncan

            Re: Undecided as yet

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

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          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...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          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.

    3. The Frog People Believe

      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.

    4. Gene Cash Silver badge

      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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  5. Roger Garner

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OK Google != English

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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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.

    2. Gordon 11

      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"

    3. Champ

      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.

  6. Wanda Lust

    Nov 8th?

    It arrived on Monday (the 3rd).

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  7. Cosmo

    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

    1. nerdbert

      Re: I have a 6 month old Nexus 4...

      I have a Nexus 4 and just got a Nexus 5 for my wife. We're on T-Mobile USA so we're prime targets for this kind of thing: no subsidy plan, GSM, etc.

      The Nexus 5 is smoother, thinner, and has noticeably more screen area. It's a damn nice phone. But I'm not upgrading until my Nexus 4 breaks. It's nice and fast, but it's not that much nicer or faster to make me want to drop $350 more on the phone. 4.4 (KitKat) hasn't won me over, either. It's not bad, but I don't like how Google has borged the messaging app into hangouts, for example. I suppose I'll get used to it, but fully entering The Google Collective with all the software tweaks is kind of unsettling. Still, KitKat is better than the software on my daughter's S4.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MicroSD slot?

    Not mentioned?

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: MicroSD slot?

      It doesn't have one, and the article did say that.

      1. alpine

        Re: MicroSD slot?

        Sorry, did a search for 'sd'!!! But a trad nexus device then. So it would have to be OTG...And rooted to get write access.

        Of course that's until Google decide to stop rooting.

        I've heard that the mysterious barge is actually going to be a prison ship where those who have rooted can be sent for corrective treatment.

        1. Geoff Campbell
          Facepalm

          Re: MicroSD slot?

          Google have never had a problem with Nexus devices being rooted.

          GJC

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: MicroSD slot?

          @alpine

          The previous LG-made Nexus 4 did not support USB OTG no matter what you did to it. If this feature is important to you, you should confirm its presence or absence on XDA forums first.

          Hmm, some of the old Archos HDD-based tablets (up to 500GB) worked as media servers... I don't know in practice if this works on the hoof, though.

          1. GregC

            Re: MicroSD slot?

            The N5 does support USB OTG. Nexus Media Importer doesn't currently work on KitKat but should be fixed by the 10th, according to the developer. NMI provides read/write capability (no root required) to FAT/FAT32 formatted media, and read only access for NTFS.

            All that said, since I got my N10, and NMI, I've needed it precisely zero times. It has come in handy on quite a few occasions though.

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: MicroSD slot?

      Any company that sells cloudy services and collects marking data is going to produce phones with as little working memory as possible. Offline use is unprofitable silence to them.

      There's a simple solution to the "no SD card" trend: Don't buy them. I have 80GB of storage in my phone and I don't know what I'd do without it. I embrace cloud access (I am part of the cloud) but I prefer to have maps, music, and important data locally stored for speed and reliability.

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  10. nigel 15

    Hangouts for SMS

    I love the phone. But there are a couple of things.

    Using hangouts as the default SMS client is absurd. It lists your Google+ contacts ahead of your real ones. and if you are like me these are people you've never met. if you try to SMS one of your actual contacts that you have a GMail address for it basically wont.

    3rd party sms app writers must be laughing themselves silly.

    the camera is slow. it's adequate. but can't hold a candle to my old nokia N8.

    1. auburnman
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Hangouts for SMS

      Google will be glad you find some of their offerings sub-par; they can't wait for you to hand them their slice of the price on a replacement sms app, or even better install an ad-supported one. Probably the same for the issues with the desktop.

      This is obviously bored speculation and paranoia, but can anyone deny that now android has market share it would make business sense to nudge users towards the profitable add-ons?

      1. fandom Silver badge

        Re: Hangouts for SMS

        Google send their slice of the price of apps to the network operators.

    2. Timfy67

      Re: Hangouts for SMS

      My second post on this topic so before I go any further I better just say that I'm a happy WinPho8 user!

      I believe that it is possible to "link" contacts ie once linked, a single contact shows address book details, G+ info, Facebook Messenger etc giving a choice of messaging options from one contact card.

      Social media accounts can also be disabled from showing in the address book and so if, for instance, Hangouts annoys you, it can be kicked out of the contacts section...

    3. detritus

      Re: Hangouts for SMS

      Hi - Nexus 5 owner and total 'Droid newbie here...

      May I ask what third party SMS text app yu'd recommend, please?

      The sodding G+/Hangout interaction's driving me spare.

      Thanks!

      1. Storage_Person

        Re: Hangouts for SMS

        Handcent SMS works nicely for me.

        1. detritus

          Re: Hangouts for SMS

          Gosh, that was easy - thanks for that!

          I'm now able to send SMS texts to short-form UK numbers without Google trying desperately to correct my attempts - yaay!

          1. Oneman2Many

            Re: Hangouts for SMS

            I think there has been a change in KitKat that it only allows one SMS client. In JB viber would try and manage SMS messaging even though I told it not to. had to get rid of it in the end. KitKat should fix issues like this.

      2. Greenchutes

        Re: Hangouts for SMS

        I used Contacts+ to send sms texts with my previous phone. The app appears to have stopped working on my new Nexus 5 with kitkat. I type a text message and hit "send", there is no error message but the sms is never received. I have looked into settings, but cannot find anything to change. Does anybody else have the same problems?

    4. The Frog People Believe

      Re: Hangouts for SMS

      Totally agree with all your points. Both those issues annoy the &%^% out of me.

    5. cambsukguy

      Re: Hangouts for SMS

      Not much can hold a candle to the N8, except the 808, N9 (in some cases), 920, 925, and 1020 obviously. And yes, all seen and compared in one way or another.

      I see lousy phone pictures and wonder why people would pay the huge sums of money they do for inferior pictures, I presume Instagram was invented to obscure this simple fact.

      Still, my 920 pictures looks so appalling next to the 1020 pictures, when super-zoomed at least, that I suppose almost everyone is using a crappy phone camera now.

    6. Andrew Peake

      Re: Hangouts for SMS

      "the camera is slow. it's adequate. but can't hold a candle to my old nokia N8."

      I dont think there are many phones out there that can hold a candle to the Nokia N8 when it comes to the camera. It was (and mine still is) a fantastic phone even if the screen is too small for me to use without having to find my glasses nowadays

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Got mine last week

    FullHD. Glad I waited and didn't go for the Samsung S4 locked at twice the price.

  12. BigAndos

    Call Quality?

    Since the article doesn't mention it, what is call quality like? Also reception/signal strength?

    I'm otherwise happy with my iPhone 4s but these two things are abysmal, and fundamental to being a phone! I frequently get dropped or distorted calls and I'm sick of it going from having a full 3G signal to GRPS or edge only. Having to regularly flick in and out airplane mode is a right pain.

    1. Code Monkey

      Re: Call Quality?

      I can't speak for the Nexus 5 but 4 was awful till it got Jellybean. Since then it's very good.

      1. MrWibble
        Meh

        Re: Call Quality?

        The 4 was on jellybean (4.2) from the start...

    2. cambsukguy

      Re: Call Quality?

      Kudos for not be a fanbois and defending the indefensible, the pics are truly awful on that phone too.

      The Nexus is made of plastic and has a secondary mic so chances are the phone works considerably better than yours but I have no idea, I use a Nokia to be certain.

  13. Creslin

    Sold out for weeks, ships in two days?

    Little bit of a mixed message here,

    ,, as a test I ordered on this morning from Play - estimated delivery date - 11th Nov.

  14. BingyBongy

    "even if you did order one at launch it won't be shipped out until November 8"

    Not so - ordered mine at launch, despatched 1st November, received in the wilds of Scotland yesterday, 5th!

  15. Rafael Moslin

    My 48 hours of use random thoughts.

    Mine arrived Monday even though Google said it would not ship until the 8th. Replacing a Samsung S2 that has proved itself well over the 2.5 years I've owned it.

    - Call quality is good, better than S2

    - Signal / Wifi strength appears the same

    - Battery life surpasses the S2 by a wide margin, not scientically tested but certainly by quite a few hours

    - Lack of Samsung bloat is so refreshing, really liking the vanilla Android experience

    - Colours are not as vivid as the S2 but the crispness of the screen more than makes up for that

    - It's ridiculously quick!

    I considered a Samsung S4, because of the replaceable battery and memory card slot that I thought I valued. When I thought about how often I changed the battery over, and that the card in the slot had been corrupted and rendered useless on at least two occasions and therefore hasn't been used in over a year those must haves seemed quite costly ones. The purchase cost of the S4 just does not add up for the what is on offer. Some have said that the Nexus 5 is cheap and tacky, holding it my hand now with a friends S4 and coming from an S2 I can only assume the commentator has a very different perception of what feels cheap and tacky than I do.

    After saying all of the above there is one simple killer feature that I have missed off mobiles for years, the notification LED is back...

    1. Brian Morrison

      Re: My 48 hours of use random thoughts.

      I received mine on Monday too, a 32GB model.

      So far I like it a lot, I too came from a Galaxy S2 that was struggling with available RAM and JB 4.1.2.

      I have a 3rd party Qi charger pad, it's excellent and the phone charges from 10% to over 90% in well under an hour.

      It feels very solid in the hand, the lack of removable battery cover means that the back (which can be removed if you have to, see service manual for how) is very tight and unmoving. I'm a fan of the slab-of-granite approach to phones so this pleases me greatly.

      I too have suffered with the Android external SD unmount/corrupt/refuse-to-remount problem, I don't know a solution but I did decide that I would go for the larger capacity version. Had there been a 64GB model I would have bought that, although I suspect it would rarely exceed half full.

      So far everything has worked beautifully, I don't really want the "OK Google" feature anyway so have happily left voice recognition on UK settings.

      And yes, it's really jolly quick...!

  16. M Gale

    If it comes with G+ or nothing, I'll have nothing, thanks all the same. A bit like how I'll not be making any more app reviews (sorry devs, I'd give you five stars on top of the money, but you can blame Google for requiring a Profile and real name), or lately, Youtube comments (I'm sure that soon enough, the only people left commenting on Youtube will be the trolls and other arseholes that everyone thinks the Plus bullshit will prevent).

    "If you're the type of rude git that like to play music on public transport you'll be able to irritate other passengers to your heart's content."

    This is why I have a set of speakers of my own, and I have this tune ready for just such an occasion. I've had cause to use it a handful of times. Every single time, the nearby passengers tend to grin, nod and/or outright laugh, while the annoying oik who thinks we all share their taste in Happy Hardcore shuts the fuck up and buries their face in a now-silent phone.

  17. frank ly Silver badge

    Google Play sold out?

    You can get them now on e-bay at amazing prices!

    Or wait until the end of January/February when the overexcited early buyers relaise they have an urgent need for money. That's exactly what happened with the Nexus 4.

  18. JaitcH

    TRY THIS FOR A TEST

    Take the unit, running Android 4.4 operating system, then:

    >> Disable all location services;

    >> Select an language not used in your region (Chinese or Korean, Japanese - might require a download)

    >> Switch off, THEN on.

    >> Observe selected non-English language usage; see if local language (English in the UK) appears in any screen requiring service from a Google server.

    >> The previous OS always showed the language of the country the cell handset was in in the areas which were changeable through a server, regardless of the handset language settings..

  19. ADJB

    Same as many people above - arrived on Monday.

    I had this as an upgrade from my nexus 4 and after a couple of days playing I am very impressed. Call quality and wifi both seem to be much improved and download speeds seem to be much quicker. I could just about live with the previous 16Gb so went for the 32Gb this time and with all my essential apps and a decent selection of music on I still have more than enough space not to worry about the lack of a memory card slot. Of course YMMV.

    The added bonus is that CEX gave me £133 for the nexus 4 so an outlay of £200 makes this fantastic value. Add to that an unlimited data + calls + unlimited texts plan for £12.50 a month and TCO for 2 years is "only" £500 - less than the phone only cost in many cases plus whatever resale value it retains.

  20. Jemma Silver badge

    Earbleedingly loud music on public transport..

    Spock is never there when you need him...

    As to the phone, its useless to me. No SD card slot, no interest.

    When will manufacturers listen. NO fixed memories, no fixed batteries & you will sell handsets. Its hardly dragon science for heavens sake.

    Also someone please explain why we need 8 core processors when I can write books, watch video, play games and run remote OBD monitoring on dual core without the slightest lag or complaint? Save the world - buy a google phone that does 600% more than you need. Is it me or is something wrong with that woodcut?

    1. Big_Ted

      Re: Earbleedingly loud music on public transport..

      Lack of SD Slot and fixed battery have not worried the best selling phones of the past few years......yeh the iPhone. As for me I don't need the slot as I stream my music using the phones data connection.

      If they are a must have for you then Samsung didn't listen to you, they have had them for ages same as others....

      As to the processors they have the dual benifit of being able to handle HD video and stream it to a tv or play high detail graphics in games etc etc

      Maybe what you need is a 2 - 3 year old Samsung for £40 to be happy.

      1. Mark .

        Re: Earbleedingly loud music on public transport..

        Nope, the iphones aren't the best selling phone platform (or if you mean individual model - "the iphone" isn't an individual model - the best selling model of all time is the Nokia 5230).

        I don't think sales tell us much here - Android sells massively more than iphones, and most of them have SD cards, but I wouldn't say they sell more because of that one feature anyway.

        I think no SD card wouldn't be an issue if there were also options for plenty of built in storage - so iphones don't even count as another example, because they've had 64GB options for years. So even if you are saying the Nexuses should be like the iphones, then by that logic, there should be 64GB options.

        I manage with the 16GB on my Galaxy Nexus, but it would be nice to be able to just stick all my music on it (~26GB) as well as a load of videos. Streaming music helps, but is of limited use on many people's data allowance, or when in areas of poor coverage, on the underground, or roaming, as well as not being a solution for video. At least there's a 32GB option now, but 64GB would be useful. Still, choice is good - I'm not going to moan too much, as I have the choice to pick one of many other Android phones.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Earbleedingly loud music on public transport..

          >>"Nope, the iphones aren't the best selling phone platform (or if you mean individual model - "the iphone" isn't an individual model - the best selling model of all time is the Nokia 5230)."

          @Mark. He didn't mean the "best selling phone platform", and he didn't mean "the best selling phone model of all time". He meant what he said, which was:

          >"Lack of SD Slot and fixed battery have not worried the best selling phones of the past few years....."

          Whether or not he is correct I don't know, but Wikipedia supports his assertion, depending on how his fuzzy premise is interpreted.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_mobile_phones#2011

          In any case, his assertion that lack of an SD card is no barrier to mass adoption is correct. Hell, I'm rarely away from my computer for more than a few days, whatever music / video I happen to have me is enough.

      2. Jemma Silver badge

        Re: Earbleedingly loud music on public transport..

        What I need is my own documents under my own control. neither do I want to be reliant on remote servers if I want to listen to music. Neither do I want services barfing music in my direction that they think I want.. usually Katy "emotional depth of a paddling pool" Perry or Miley "couldn't hit a note with a 12 bore" Cyrus.

        Three in the UK goes down or Google storage have a brainweeble - and I can't do a thing with streamed content. Not to mention the privacy implications.

        What I want from a phone is simple. HDMI out, removable battery, SD of at least 32gb. My new phone does it perfectly. For 20% the price of an Ne5. Best phone I've owned and £400 cheaper than my previous Nokia.

        My father just got the new Q10. He loves it bar the learning curve. Will he ever use 15% of its abilities - no. He got it because it was BB & secure & for the keyboard.

        To paraphrase Leila Organa "the more you let Google tighten its grip, the more it'll hurt when they decide to squeeze..." its happened to Symbian owners - don't think they won't come for you. When it does, don't say I didn't warn you. Most of the reviews already mention tighter integration - but what the hell? its new shiney!

        "And the final fanboi poured forth his firmware onto XDA and a voice entoned "lo, I am become kit-kat; the destroyer of even the illusion of privacy..""

    2. Black Road Dude

      Re: Earbleedingly loud music on public transport..

      yeah its just you!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jemma

    They listen, they just don't care. If you're google adding an SD card slot is a total no-no.

    Every argument *you* (as in us, as in A.N Potential customer) could make is countered by "but the cloud".

    Google WANT people using their cloud serrvices. And most (read non tech site commenters) will be happy to do so.

    Like music? Simple, we let you upload 6 squillion track to google music. Running out of space? Simple just move all your docs etc to the cloud too (via google drive/docs naturally)..

    Please note i'm NOT saying I agree with this theory I am just pointing out this is WHY google don't do this. It makes it easier for people not to use their cloud related offerings, and this is what they want *people* to do.

    My point is stop moaning about it. it's a trade off. Want an SD card slot? There are many offerings from other manufacturers that suit. Some, like mine, come with an SD card but also with a lot of manufacturer and network related bloat. Happily I can disable and ignore these things even if I can't completely remove them but they are there. If I didn't want the bloat AT ALL then the nexus would be for me, but I'd have to accept I was "sacrifciing" other things. Albeit at a price that refelcts this fact.

    The point is a five minute think about Google, who they are and what they do, makes it very obvious that adding hundreds of GB of internal memory, or an SD card slot that can be used completely (ie for media storage AND running apps from) is probably not on the cards.

    Thats the beauty of choice. If expandable memeory is a must, then look elsewhere.

    1. plrndl
      Linux

      @ DijitulSupport

      Google is one of the few significant parties in the android world that doesn't pay the Microsoft tax for android.

      SD cards use the FAT file system, on which Microsoft has a number of patents.

      Go figure.

      1. M Gale

        Re: @ DijitulSupport

        "SD cards use the FAT file system"

        No they don't. That most come formatted as FAT32, does not mean you can't have them formatted to ext2 or whatever else you like. One quick driver install for the operating systems that still refuse to play ball with anything other than their own shitty filesystems (ohai thar Windows), and the problem is solved.

    2. Jemma Silver badge

      And you both made & completely missed my point.

      You & I know there are other options out there. Non technical users probably won't.

      You & I can manage getting a Nokia E7 apart to replace its battery. 45 minutes it took me the first time! Non technical users - send it away or dump it.

      My father is a non technical user & might be tempted into using the cloud apps without knowing it - as well as many others too - because they think its local - there goes their private info.

      If I was well enough & had the money id be kicking gmail & the like to the kerb and setting up my own personal system. I have the knowledge to do it. Most people won't.

      The issue I have is not where we are right now with 'privacy' , its where this could go so very easily. Pesky single mother & anti war campaigner, won't shut up? Just have those nice chappies at Google fill her account to the brim with pedo images - and sit back with the popcorn to watch the show (while betting whether she'll lose bladder control before or after her 8 year old daughter when the police spray them with bullets).

      The more you give them the more they can use against you - for gods sake that's in Sun Tsu, its basic common bloody sense. yet it's out the window the minute a fanboi sees new shiney!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How sensitive is the GPS receiver?

    Good

    Bad

    Stone-cold deaf (a la PlayBook)?

  23. cs94njw

    My phone contract is up for renewal in April.

    At the moment, I'm not hearing of any phone that's going to be a particular upgrade to my S3 (unless 4G is important to me.) This Nexus included.

    Feeling like I need a hug :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      At the moment, I'm not hearing of any phone that's going to be a particular upgrade to my S3 (unless 4G is important to me.) This Nexus included.

      N5 may not be an upgrade from an S3 you already have .... but if you had to choose between getting an S3 and N5 (and then keeping for a couple of years) would you think the N5 is worth £100 more than an S3?

  24. Sinical

    Picked mine up on Saturday as a contract replacement for my old Sony Arc S (lovely phone that, but getting a bit slow for the latest apps and somewhat lacking in system memory thanks mainly to Sony and network bloatware). I was originally going to get a Z1 but ended up with the Nexus5 as, camera aside, it's an equivalent or better spec, cheaper contract, better package and has vanilla Android (despite being on a contract).

    Very happy with the choice so far. Call quality is superb and the radio is clearly good as I have 4G coverage most places I go, even at home, despite the O2 coverage map saying I shouldn't. The interface is very fast and slick although I suspect that has more to do with the hardware ooomph than the OS. KitKat is generally a noticeable improvement although I don't think much of Hangouts as the default SMS app (I always think of SMS as being a simple system for sending simple messages to, usually in my case, simple people - no need for all the extra bells, whistles and general faff).

    If you are an existing Android user you'd be happy if Santa dropped one down your chimney. I don't think it's amazing enough to convince hardcore droid doubters as there aren't any game changing features. Much like the latest BB, iOS and WinPho toys it'll do most things you want and a few you don't while looking pretty and being reliable (hopefully).

    1. M Gale

      "If you are an existing Android user you'd be happy if Santa dropped one down your chimney."

      I'd be quite happy if an iPhone or even Windows Abomination 8 landed in my lap.

      "For sale: One iPhone/Lumia/Blackberry, never used, pristine condition, box unopened."

  25. Aramando

    Brightness schmightness

    "the screen... lacks the brightness of Samsung's best phones".

    What? I turned my N5's screen up to maximum and it was insanely bright; why would you want anything even brighter?

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Brightness schmightness

      I saw that, and the following sentence which stated you could turn it up higher..

      I then translated the original El Reg paragraph into "The default brightness is lower than Samsung".

      And then replied to my own translation with "and so what?"

  26. n317

    I got mine on Monday as many others did and am very happy with it, I have an adapter to add SD storage if needed. Not the most practice but in reality, for me, I only ever need loads of storage for extra music or video when on long journeys so is not a major problem. As for Play Music using loads of data, mine has used 45KB in 3 days.

  27. Mike Cunliffe

    The usual $/£ currency sting

    The price is quoted as $350 but the UK price is £300. At current exchange rates it shouldn't be more than about £220.

    I am still tempted thoough as Google have said they won't provide my old Samsung Galaxy Nexus with the 4.4 update as it's now too old. A bit strange really when they say one of the drivers behind 4.4 was to get it working on older hardware so there'd be more convergence of Android versions across handsets. It's not really sending out the right message when they won't keep one of their own Nexus models up to date.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The usual $/£ currency sting

      "The price is quoted as $350 but the UK price is £300. At current exchange rates it shouldn't be more than about £220."

      Knock off VAT for a fairer comparison (Yank prices don't include local state sales tax, ours include a national rate by default). If my calculator's got that right then you're comparing a UK pre-tax price of £247.5 with your nominal £220 at prevailing FX. A bit of a non-US loading, but not as bad as you think, and I expect there's regulatory and scale issues that make the UK version ten quid or so more expensive than a US one.

  28. DoNotTouchMyHandle

    OS Size

    Never actually wondered until now (don't know why): 5GB+ of OS? What the hell is in there? A huge driver DB to support all mobile hardware out there?

    Checked my Samsung and JB is reporting apps separately from the OS size. The total space starts at 9.23GB for a 16GB model, even worse it seems.

    Knowing that Android is based on SELinux, you can have full desktop / laptop OS installs under 5GB. So really, what adds up to this 5GB behemoth of compiled libraries and code?

    Anyone?

    1. M Gale

      Re: OS Size

      Because Android is only "based on" Linux. It's about as much Linux as OS X is a BSD or Mach: Its not.

      On top of that Linux kernel is a gigantihuge Dalvik VM. And then you have all the various userspace stuff thrown in on top. Like all the Google apps.

  29. Dave 126 Silver badge

    >The phone ships with a charger that uses USB, which hurts recharge times compared to other chargers but does allow you to simply plug the phone into your computer's USB port and it will simply show itself as a removable drive.

    Er? Most chargers use USB these days... the difference is that some are 800mA, some are up to 2.1A; the one that ships with the LG G2 is not far off the latter. I know that some devices will draw more current if the data pins are shorted, but things have moved on since then.

    > but does allow you to simply plug the phone into your computer's USB port and it will simply show itself as a removable drive.

    That's handy to know for Mac and Linux users. Strange that Nexus device should sport it, since it was Android that removed this feature in the first place. Some Sony phones can also connect as Mass Storage Class (but not mine. Annoying, because Microsoft don't allow you to choose which programs are associated with files on mobile devices, so you're stuck with the godawful Windows photo viewer).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "but does allow you to simply plug the phone into your computer's USB port and it will simply show itself as a removable drive"

      Don't be fooled, the article is wrong. It shows up optionally as either a PTP (camera) or MTP (media) device, which is a royal PITA for this Linux user. I have to use PTP since the MTP libraries don't feel like working and because it's PTP, it moans about half the files, so I have to rename them to .jpg before copying and rename back on the device.

      I gave up with USB and just transfer over WiFi now, the reason they're killing USB Mass Storage is down to 2 things:

      1. The filesystem type needs to be compatible with the connecting OS - meaning FAT, meaning paying the tax to MS.

      2. Apps on "external" storage (phones like the Nexus, the 32GB is still considered "external" by the OS) cannot be accessed on the phone when the storage is mounted to a PC as USB MSD. This is why keyboards/launchers etc. could never be installed to external storage because they'd be unavailable while the PC is accessing the device.

      It is still a lovely phone though, and coming from a Nexus S, damn is it fast.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ES File Explorer

        Copy'n'paste over wifi right from your handset!

  30. Steve Evans

    Eight megapixels isn't as good as some of the competition...

    Oh please, the megapixel number is pure willy waving, but with even less to back it up.

    Over a certain threshold (about 5Mpixel in my books), there simply is nothing to be gained by going higher on a phone camera. Lets face it, you're not producing an A0 billboard picture. I'd be amazed if the pictures you take ever get any further than facebook/G+.

    In fact less pixels can be good for low light images. If the sensor is a constant size, the photosites will be bigger. Meaning they will catch more of those elusive low light photons, making them easier to detect without having to resort to amplification and its associated noise.

    To put things into perspective, a 1080 HD TV image is only 2Mpixel - Oh dear, have I just done an "apple retina" job on you? Can you now not see your monitor? Does the entire desktop look like Mine Craft all of a sudden?

    So please, don't judge cameras on megapixel alone, there are so many more things it depends on. If not then I challenge you to produce a better photo with an xyz Zillion pixel phone camera of your choice, and I'll use a far lower pixel count device I have in the draw.

    It's made by Nikon.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Eight megapixels isn't as good as some of the competition...

      Relax, most people these days don't take the megapixel count as a measure of quality.

      That said, in conditions of good light (when most cameras take a pretty decent picture) a few more megapixles do allow for a bit more detail; whilst you might not be blowing up the whole image to A3, it is not unreasonable to want to blow up a crop of the original image to A4, for example. This is especially true when a shot can't be composed by using an optical zoom (cos there isn't one), so cropping is your friend.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slightly better phone?

    You say

    "If you want an unlocked phone that gives you full access and control then the Nexus 5 can't be beaten on price. If, on the other hand, you're buying through a carrier on a subsidized plan then you might be able to get something slightly better for around the same cost."

    What phone would be classed as slightly better?

    1. M Gale

      Re: Slightly better phone?

      One with the same CPU, RAM and flash amounts, but an SD card?

      Of course, "better" is a value judgement, and different people have different values.

  32. phuzz Silver badge

    Screen size

    I can't be the only person wanting a smaller screen can I?

    A smaller screen means a smaller phone, so it would fit in my pocket easier, and drain a little less battery (although a smaller phone would have a smaller battery).

    I don't need more than a 4" screen on my phone personally.

    Oh, and whatever the make, it needs to be supported by Cyanogenmod.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Screen size

      Nope, you're not, I also don't understand why we have such a high DPI on these devices. The Nexus 5 needs to power 1.7 million more pixels than my Nexus S did and for very little gain. That's not even considering the extra GPU/CPU power and subsequent battery drain to render those pixels in games etc.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Screen size

      Sounds like you want a nexu4 then!

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Screen size

        Unlike 'Mini' versions of other flagship phones, the Z1 Mini retains most of th features (same processor and camera etc) as it's bigger brother:

        http://www.knowyourmobile.com/sony/sony-xperia-z1-mini/21315/sony-xperia-z1-mini-launching-globally-november-12-sony-xperia-z1s

        EDIT:

        >Oh, and whatever the make, it needs to be supported by Cyanogenmod.

        Sony have been pretty good at providing instructions for unlocking the boot loader of their phones. XDA forums will provide you with more info, I'm sure.

  33. SiempreTuna

    "If you are an existing Android user you'd be happy if Santa dropped one down your chimney"

    I'd be livid: that screen's not replaceable!

    None of the lucky owners have mentioned reception: the service around my way is dire and my Nexus 4 really struggles - as in: rarely gets a signal. The missus' iP5s is way better (it pains me to admit): just wondering if trading up to an N5 would help ..?

    1. GregC

      Re: Signal

      I can't speak for voice (I hardly ever make calls on my "phone" these days) but I'm finding the data signal is significantly improved on the N5 compared to the 4, particularly indoors. On the 4 I used to get abour 4Mbit download at my desk at work, and 7-8 at home in the living room. Both those numbers have more or less doubled since I got the 5.

      Either the phone has a much better radio/aerial arrangement than it's predecessor or 3 have significantly upgraded their masts round my way over the weekend...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the Photo Sphere feature, designed to take 360 degree shots, still needs work. As you can see from the test image, the software still has problems and doesn't deal well with details."

    When you go into PhotoSphere mode it does tell you for best results to use open areas and 30ft distance to the surroundings, which is why your photo looks good at distance but goes screwy where the laptop is. It can still be improved massively, even with the 30ft distance, there are still visible stitches, but nowhere near as bad as in your test photo.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Voice search works from 6 feet!!!

    Don't like your work colleagues? ok google search porn.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do I need gmail?

    Do I need gmail to use the play store and download apps? I junked my gmail long time back for any serious use long time back, because of the New World Order by Google and NSA.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do I need gmail?

      You need a Google account, which is also a Gmail account, you don't have to use for anything other than dealing with Google/Play store announcements though.

  37. Vociferous

    "eight megapixels isn't as good as some of the competition"

    Megapixels were a selling point early in digital camera history, one'd think that people would have learned by now that once you have more than 5-6 megapixel it's the LENS which is the limiting factor.

    8 megapixels is already way more than any user of a cell phone camera will ever need, because the poor quality of the lens means that most of it is "dead" resolution anyway (so if you really DO print that 20 megapixel image at billboard size, it still wont look sharper than the 5 megapixel shot).

  38. JLV Silver badge

    Sweet-looking and the price seems right - some questions

    Background: have an iPhone 4 which is getting a bit old. Been thinking of seeing what's on the other side of the fence (almost got a Z10 and may get one yet - they are _cheap_ 2nd hand).

    I buy my phones direct to avoid contracts. Crucially, I don't get a data plan, I figure mooching wifi is good enough where I live. And, on principle, I refuse to pay the data fees Canadian carriers rob us with.

    On the iPhone I eventually found some good offline maps (PocketEarth) and I know how the phone behaves in general w.o. data plans. iPhone w.o. data is a bit in the doldrums, but I know what to expect.

    I don't expect Android to be much worse than iOS without data, but... this is a Google phone. And Google pretty much is the always-connected poster child. Oh, and can I cajole it into playing FLAC sound files natively?

    So... any gotchas about forking out for a Nexus without getting data? Will the phone be easy to live with on Wifi-only? Should I cyanogenmod it instead?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sweet-looking and the price seems right - some questions

      FLAC? yep.. just dropped a file on and it played no problem, no additional app.

      As for running with no data, you go into settings, battery usage, then turn off mobile data. I've not had problems using my old Android with data turned off, it's something you have to do when abroad, so can't see a problem with it on this. Google may like to slurp up anything it can, but, all the apps have to behave without data, otherwise phones would be constantly crashing when driving through tunnels or when on ships and planes.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Sweet-looking and the price seems right - some questions

        The LG G2, upon which this is based, can play 24bit 192Khz FLAC files natively, without down-sampling on the audio path, though only through LG's own app since Android doesn't support very high quality audio nativily (though LG have released APIs in the hope popular 3rd party audio apps will support its lovely hardware).

        I don't know if the Nexus 5 has the same DAC.

  39. LosD

    Errrr... Panorama shots indoors? That's a rather silly idea.

    Panorama works fine, but it's NOT meant for things up close like that. You are supposed to use it for landscape shots.

    If you really want to make panorama shots indoors, you need to turn the camera while keeping it in the same position. The normal tendency is to hold it away from your body and turn yourself, but that wont work very well unless the target is far away.

  40. Prof Denzil Dexter

    you can't cook your dinner on one now

    Having owned the N4 and now the N5, I can now confirm the new model does not kick out enough BTU's to fry an egg on anymore.

    Thats a good thing in my book :D

  41. hemie67

    Google has just sold out its innovation and future way of communicating by eliminating the ability for the NEXUS 5 to utilize Wifi voice over IP calling...I REPEAT THE NEW NEXUX 5 DOES NOT HAVE WIFI ENABLE CALLING FEATURES>>DON"T BUY IT!! It sell out. Eventually, the wole world will adapt Wifi enable cell phone call, which will be cheaper for every end user. Google has just made a big mistake and this will signal their downfall if they don't rectify this at once.

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