Review Google Nexus 5 Smartphone

Daniel Schuster (translated by Justin Quam), 11/27/2013

The fifth element. As early as the Nexus 4, Google has offered a price-competitive challenge to the rest of the smartphone manufacturing world. The current hardware flagship puts its direct competitors under powerful pressure, because the Nexus 5 offers extremely high-powered hardware and Google's newest operating system - Android KitKat.

For the original German review, see here.

Google again awarded the Nexus 5's production contract to LG. Obviously, the Android smiths were very happy with the hardware they delivered in the Nexus 4. The South Korean corporation presented its newest flagship just recently. The LG G2 avails itself of a nearly identical hardware assembly. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 with 2.26 GHz per core and 2 GB of RAM works under the Nexus 5's plastic case. The Full HD display measures 4.95 inches and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Nothing has changed in terms of camera resolution; however, there is a long-expected novelty in comparison to the Nexus 4 – the built-in LTE module. These days, there is a wide selection of smartphones with Snapdragon 800, but among them only the LG G2 has a similarly large screen. The Galaxy Note 3 measures 5.7 inches; the Sony Xperia Z Ultra even reaches 6.4 inches yet still calls itself a "smartphone." We will assess for you in the following sections whether the Nexus 5 can lift itself above the competitors and prove itself Google's secret weapon. One thing is already clear: the hardware data sheet is an attractive read, and the purchase price even more so -- at 350 Euros (~$475) for the 16 GB Version and 400 Euros (~$550) for 32 GB, the competition has nothing to laugh at.

Case

Wie wir testen - Gehäuse

Amazing look and feel of the Nexus 5
Amazing look and feel of the Nexus 5

The Nexus 4 case's edge consists of the same material as the entire underside of the Nexus 5. Google and its manufacturer LG bid farewell to the glass underside and seize upon matte, grippable polycarbonate. The material feels quite high quality and stable. We could not discover any flaws in the workmanship with pointed pressure or twisting.

In contrast to the case of the LG G2, the thought that the machine could slip out of the hand, because its underside is so smooth, no longer intrudes. The slightly curved side edges strengthen the positive impression of the Nexus's look and feel.

In its length, the Nexus 5 is somewhat shorter (137.84 mm) than the LG G2 (138.5 mm) (~5.43 vs. 5.45 inches respectively). We measured the same width (69.17 mm) and thickness (8.59 mm) (~2.64 and 0.34 inches respectively). Still, one must give the G2 points, for having a 0.2-inch-larger display built in.

Google has successfully put its new device on a diet. The Nexus 5 is a proud nine grams (~0.3 ounces) lighter (130 grams; ~4.6 ounces) in comparison to its predecessors.

Features

Wie wir testen - Gehäuse

One searches in vain for the peculiar layout of the keys the LG G2 has. For Google, this was obviously too much innovation at once -- a pity, actually, since the G2's arrangement grew on us after just a short testing time getting used to it. As with several smartphones, the power button can be found on the right upper side, and the volume control lies directly under it. The 3.5-mm audio jack is on the top side and the USB port and stereo speakers are found on the lower side.

The Nexus 5 is currently available in two color variations (black, white) and can be purchased with either 16 or 32 GB. Our test model has 16 GB of storage at its disposal. Unfortunately, this cannot be expanded, and the battery cannot be switched out. Still, the specialists of ifixit.com have awarded the Nexus 5 a good reparability rating.

right: power button and SIM slot
right: power button and SIM slot
underside: USB port and speakers
underside: USB port and speakers
left: volume control
left: volume control
top: 3.5-mm jack
top: 3.5-mm jack
Android 4.4, aka KitKat, in the Nexus 5
Android 4.4, aka KitKat, in the Nexus 5

Software

The hype over the Nexus 5 is no greater than that over the latest Android version.

Our test machine is the first smartphone equipped with Android 4.4 KitKat. The optical adaptations immediately catch the eye; everything just looks a bit fresher. The status bar and navigation bar are now transparent, which has the consequence, that the display appears somewhat larger. 

Both bars disappear inside of opened apps, which consequently wins the display more space. This only works as long as the application supports this function. In general, Google has spruced up many of its applications and settings. Some apps receive new logos, and among these there is often a new design as well. For example, the telephone function or the news app, which have been completely replaced by "Hangouts." Similarly remodeled is the Office function, which is preinstalled with the Google app "Quick Office." The efficient integration of printing services is interesting. If the smartphone is connected with "Google Cloud Print" or "HP ePrinter," documents can be printed out from anywhere. We are pleased by the strong integration of "Google Now." This forecasting service for all of life's situations now has its own home screen site and is more omnipresent.

Apart from the numerous new functions, the system performance has been tweaked just as thoroughly. Under the hood, several new features ensure a more smoothly running system and resource-efficient work. This shows itself, for example, in the fact that Android 4.4 can be installed on devices that offer only 512 MB of RAM. Another indication of the untapped potential: the implemented, but deactivated function of the new virtual machine ART (Android Runtime). This compiling method is supposed to replace the renowned Dalvik Runtime in the near future and ensure faster performance.

The GPS's precision in a field test leaves a bit to be desired.
The GPS's precision in a field test leaves a bit to be desired.

Communication & GPS 

In this segment of the test, the device can make use of its variety of modules. The Nexus 5 offers up a nearly complete portfolio of modules and connections. The high speed WLAN module transmits according to 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac in dual-band mode (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). As long as the corresponding infrastructure is available, it can reach high transfer rates. Away from WLAN, the test machine makes a connection to mobile Internet, chiefly LTE. As long as no corresponding mobile transmission contract has been completed, the smartphone automatically falls back on UMTS. Here, download rates lie at a maximum of 42.2 Mbit/s. At short ranges, Bluetooth in Version 4.0 can be used. If the distance between smartphone and base station is even smaller, the NFC Module can also be used. Here the Nexus 5 is supposed to earn its keep. Clear through several series of tests and over the complete testing time period, we could not ascertain any broken connections. The sending and receiving performance of the module convinces us.

The aGPS module offers the Nexus 5 the ability to be used as a fully-functional navigation system. Even within closed rooms, it can make a connection with impressive speed. The duration of the satellite fix essentially depends on the quality of the existing Internet connection. In order to see the module's precision more transparently, we compared the GSP receiver with a reference product from the manufacturer Garmin. The recently-tested Apple iPhone 5S performed admirably in this discipline. Unfortunately, this is not the case with Google's premier model. On the "Google Maps" map, our bicycle tour looks more like a zigzagging tracking hike over sticks and stones. On a passage through a thickly-wooded area, the module makes everything easier and just shows the direct line as the crow flies. The end result is not satisfactory, since the Nexus 5 simply removed a striking 500 m from our test journey. With longer bicycle trips or jogging activities, this difference is not to be ignored.

Reference: Garmin Edge 500
Reference: Garmin Edge 500
Reference: Garmin Edge 500
Reference: Garmin Edge 500
Reference: Garmin Edge 500
Reference: Garmin Edge 500
aGPS-Module in the Nexus 5
aGPS-Module in the Nexus 5
aGPS-Module in the Nexus 5
aGPS-Module in the Nexus 5
aGPS-Module in the Nexus 5
aGPS-Module in the Nexus 5

Cameras & Multimedia

Same manufacturer, different camera module. With the LG G2, the main camera depends on a sensor with a maximum resolution of 13 MP. A reduced version is offered in the Nexus 5. At 8 MP, the camera still has a high resolution, but the user must reckon with less detail. The front camera offers only a meager 1.3 MP. As we know from the stock camera in the Android operating system, the software is rather spartan. Current smartphones, such as those from Samsung, have numerous camera functions for every imaginable situation at their disposal.

The LG G2's sensor is certainly capable of capturing more details in the pictures it shoots, but the results from the Nexus 5 are, overall, convincing. There is a high degree of detail sharpness and the pictures present the original colors correctly. The camera has problems with poorly lit conditions, which cause blurring and lead to an unrecognizable portrayal. The HDR function helps here, but users should not expect miracles. In comparison with the camera module of the Nexus 4, Google and LG have upped the ante, with a noticeably better result.

Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Google Nexus 5
Google Nexus 5
Google Nexus 5
Google Nexus 5
Google Nexus 5
Google Nexus 5
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4
Reference: Sony Alpha A57, 16.1 MP
Reference: Sony Alpha A57, 16.1 MP
Reference: Sony Alpha A57, 16.1 MP
Reference: Sony Alpha A57, 16.1 MP
Reference: Sony Alpha A57, 16.1 MP
Reference: Sony Alpha A57, 16.1 MP

Telephone functions and speech quality

After a week of use, we had spent several hours using the smartphone's telephone function. As long as the net coverage was available in high enough quality, we had nothing to complain about in terms of speech quality. Our counterpart confirmed a clear voice rendering without any background noise. The built-in speakerphone function could still be a bit louder. To the extent the user wants to use the phone in the car, the combination of speakers and microphone will be put to their limits. Unfortunately, Google did not include a headset in the packaging, so users must either avail themselves of option accessories or fall back on the acceptable speakerphone.

Accessories & Warranty

Users who purchase the phone through the Google Play Store can take advantage of the warranty for up to 12 months. If the Nexus 5 is purchased from another seller, the warranty can be used for 24 months after the purchase date. The guarantee lasts for 24 months total -- even for devices bought in the Play Store. In both cases, the warranty can be redeemed because of a battery defect for only 6 months.

Google includes a modular power cord in its delivery package. The user must forgo an in-ear headset or additional extras. Users who would like an Original-Cover can order one in the Play Store for 29.99 Euros (~$40).

Input Devices & Service

The LCD screen reacts with precision and can be used with up to ten fingers at once. Inputs are acted upon with almost no delay, and turning the display by 90° hardly takes any time. Because of the large icon presentation and navigation symbols, a high probability of contact is guaranteed. One disadvantage of large symbols is the remaining room on the display. In comparison to the home screen of the LG G2 , significantly fewer applications can fit in the space. Exactly as in on-edge mode, the preinstalled keyboard takes up less than 50% of the display in landscape mode.

Display

Wie wir testen - Display

A truly excellent display
A truly excellent display

Many manufacturers lead the way. The current flagships' displays are getting bigger and bigger. Offhand, we cannot think of any model whose successor has a smaller display. Google is no exception, and gives the Nexus 5 a panel larger by a hair under 0.3 inches. The screen measures exactly 4.975 inches and has a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, which is adequate for Full HD. The LCD-IPS panel is shielded by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and delivers 445 ppi. It has a slightly higher pixel density than the LG G2, since its display is slightly larger.

We examined these characteristics more exactly with the X-Rite i1pro 2. On average, the screen achieves a luminance of 469 cd/m², which presents a marked improvement over the Nexus 4 (275.3 cd/m²) and is likewise about 140 cd/m² brighter than the LG G2. The homogeneity, at 94%, is at a very high level, and it out performs that of the iPhone 5S or the LG G2 by leagues.

At 0.49 cd/m², the black level is suitably low, and it can call up a more-than-satisfactory contrast (957:1). In comparison to predecessor models, the black level has slightly increased (0.24 cd/m²), though this is a subjective observation that does not imply any noticeable degradation.

One source of annoyance in our opinion is the software-based navigation buttons. These block off about 5 mm of the usable display. The entire five inches are only available under certain conditions, when the navigation bar and the status bar phase out. This is one problem that the LG G2is also fighting, but which has been totally overcome by the Samsung Galaxy Series. Navigation bars are located outside the display and are supported by the physical home button.

448
cd/m²
472
cd/m²
445
cd/m²
442
cd/m²
469
cd/m²
448
cd/m²
448
cd/m²
447
cd/m²
446
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 472 cd/m²
Average: 451.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 94 %
Center on Battery: 469 cd/m²
Black: 0.49 cd/m²
Contrast: 957:1

The color presentation of the Nexus 5 surprises us in a positive way. Between the "should be" and "is" of color presentation, we can recognize only a minimal difference with red and blue. The other colors are shown very faithfully. As a result, there are only minimal DeltaE-2000 deviations. The average DeltaE-2000 rating is 2.05 (with a maximum of 3.81). Even the brand-new iPhone 5S must take its lumps, with an average of 2.67, to say nothing of the modest rating of the LG G2. In AdobeRGB mode, DeltaE-2000 rises to an average of 3.46, which is still a better position than that of the iPhone 5S (4.06). 

The grayscale presentation is also convincing, because it is homogenous and congruent with the ideal curve. In total, this display delivers a superb result. Even the iPhone 5S's built-in panel gets the short end of the stick and must admit defeat.

Color rendering
Color rendering
Color Checker
Color Checker
Color Checker AdobeRGB
Color Checker AdobeRGB
Grayscale presentation
Grayscale presentation
Color saturation
Color saturation
An easily readable display under the open sky
An easily readable display under the open sky

Thanks to a high average brightness and contrast, almost in the four-digit realm, the contents of the display are very easily readable. The glossy display must still reckon with reflections under strong sunlight, though. Here a matte display protection film would come in handy. This would reduce the brilliance of the display. Still, a matte film is not a silver bullet; with the decreased reflections comes a somewhat poorer display image.

How could it be otherwise? The IPS panel delivers a very satisfactory result. At steep viewing angles, the color fidelity is at a high level and confirms our perception of a good IPS panel. Honestly, we expected nothing different. Thankfully, the search for a flagship without correspondingly good viewing angle stability is currently a vain one.

viewing angles of the Google Nexus 5
viewing angles of the Google Nexus 5

Performance

Wie wir testen - Leistung

Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800

The SoC in the Nexus 5 is an old friend, and these days it is used in many top models. With the Snapdragon 800, Qualcomm has put an extremely high-quality piece of hardware into play. This goes by the name MSM8974 and performs its tasks according to the instruction set architecture ARMv7. This test device calls up a clock speed of 2.26 GHz. The four Krait cores are supported by the Adreno 330 (450 MHz) and are well suited to play QFHD films (2160p) back. Even though the LTE-capable chipset "only" does its work within 32-bit technology, it is still on a level with the iPhone 5S's processor in terms of speed - especially since there are no 64-bit-compatible apps at the moment. This SoC is likewise used in the LG G2, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, and in the recently-tested Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The last so-called top model of the Galaxy Note series even has a USB 3.0 port built in. Unfortunately, the Nexus 5 must forgo this feature.

Despite similar hardware in the Android-based high-end devices, the difference in benchmark results is not insignificant, even if a subjective difference is hardly observable. The Nexus 5 encounters its first hurdle in the form of the synthetic run time test. The first thing to catch our eye is that our test machine has almost no chance against the results of the iPhone 5S, since with up to 445% it is simply inferior. In general, we can say that all four Android top models switch off among the top scorers. In the Google realm, there is no one obvious winner to identify, though it is clear, that performance, in comparison to predecessor models, has markedly increased.

Geekbench 3
32 Bit Single-Core Score
Google Nexus 5
521 Points ∼15%
LG G2
819 Points ∼23% +57%
Apple iPhone 5S
1368 Points ∼39% +163%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
914 Points ∼26% +75%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
908 Points ∼26% +74%
Google Nexus 4
511 Points ∼15% -2%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
679 Points ∼19% +30%
32 Bit Multi-Core Score
Google Nexus 5
1613 Points ∼13%
LG G2
2210 Points ∼17% +37%
Apple iPhone 5S
2449 Points ∼19% +52%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
2771 Points ∼22% +72%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
2641 Points ∼21% +64%
Google Nexus 4
1642 Points ∼13% +2%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
1889 Points ∼15% +17%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16
Google Nexus 5
21 fps ∼3%
LG G2
20 fps ∼3% -5%
Apple iPhone 5S
25 fps ∼4% +19%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
24 fps ∼4% +14%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
21 fps ∼3% 0%
Google Nexus 4
13 fps ∼2% -38%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
15 fps ∼2% -29%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16
Google Nexus 5
23 fps ∼38%
LG G2
21 fps ∼35% -9%
Apple iPhone 5S
37 fps ∼62% +61%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
25 fps ∼42% +9%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
22 fps ∼37% -4%
Google Nexus 4
20 fps ∼33% -13%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
15 fps ∼25% -35%
Epic Citadel - Ultra High Quality
Google Nexus 5
49 fps ∼82%
LG G2
52.6 fps ∼88% +7%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
49.9 fps ∼83% +2%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
54.9 fps ∼92% +12%
Google Nexus 4
48.3 fps ∼81% -1%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
36.9 fps ∼62% -25%
Linpack for Android
Single Thread
Google Nexus 5
95.049 MFLOPS ∼14%
LG G2
415.017 MFLOPS ∼61% +337%
Apple iPhone 5S
518.44 MFLOPS ∼76% +445%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
438.918 MFLOPS ∼64% +362%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
441.228 MFLOPS ∼65% +364%
Google Nexus 4
76.841 MFLOPS ∼11% -19%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
304.848 MFLOPS ∼45% +221%
HTC One
308.211 MFLOPS ∼45% +224%
Multi Thread
Google Nexus 5
273.81 MFLOPS ∼25%
LG G2
730.159 MFLOPS ∼67% +167%
Apple iPhone 5S
931.38 MFLOPS ∼85% +240%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
986.355 MFLOPS ∼90% +260%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
958.028 MFLOPS ∼87% +250%
Google Nexus 4
221.638 MFLOPS ∼20% -19%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
617.879 MFLOPS ∼56% +126%
HTC One
733.333 MFLOPS ∼67% +168%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1 - System
Google Nexus 5
2984 Points ∼55%
LG G2
4010 Points ∼74% +34%
Apple iPhone 5S
5339 Points ∼98% +79%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
4589 Points ∼84% +54%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
4465 Points ∼82% +50%
Google Nexus 4
2638 Points ∼49% -12%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
3430 Points ∼63% +15%
Basemark X 1.0
On-Screen
Google Nexus 5
17.466 fps ∼54%
LG G2
14.636 fps ∼45% -16%
Apple iPhone 5S
27.654 fps ∼85% +58%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
16.24 fps ∼50% -7%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
16.776 fps ∼51% -4%
Google Nexus 4
15.7 fps ∼48% -10%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
8.608 fps ∼26% -51%
Off-Screen
Google Nexus 5
14.034 fps ∼66%
LG G2
13.02 fps ∼61% -7%
Apple iPhone 5S
21.257 fps ∼100% +51%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
14.12 fps ∼66% +1%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
14.427 fps ∼68% +3%
Google Nexus 4
6.8 fps ∼32% -52%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
8.015 fps ∼38% -43%
Legend
      Google Nexus 5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB iNAND Flash
      LG G2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 32 GB SSD
      Apple iPhone 5S Apple A7, PowerVR G6430, 16 GB iNAND Flash
      Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 32 GB SSD
      Sony Xperia Z Ultra Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB SSD
      Google Nexus 4 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064A, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB SSD
      Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash
      HTC One Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 32 GB SSD

In relation to the iPhone 5S, the same picture appears, as was the case with the previous benchmarks. The Apple flagship forges ahead, uncatchable, in first place. Increasingly often, the Nexus 5 can distance itself from its Android competitors. The integration of Google Chrome definitely has a bit to do with this. In most tests, Lumia 1020 cannot hold its own against the tested top models.

Octane V1 - Total Score
Google Nexus 5
4039 Points ∼19%
LG G2
3014 Points ∼14% -25%
Apple iPhone 5S
5561 Points ∼26% +38%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
3743 Points ∼18% -7%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
4105 Points ∼20% +2%
Google Nexus 4
1248 Points ∼6% -69%
Nokia Lumia 1020
612 Points ∼3% -85%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
2290 Points ∼11% -43%
HTC One
1986 Points ∼9% -51%
Peacekeeper
Google Nexus 5
835 Points ∼13%
LG G2
829 Points ∼13% -1%
Apple iPhone 5S
1775 Points ∼29% +113%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
731 Points ∼12% -12%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
828 Points ∼13% -1%
Google Nexus 4
236 Points ∼4% -72%
Nokia Lumia 1020
331 Points ∼5% -60%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
555 Points ∼9% -34%
HTC One
683 Points ∼11% -18%
Mozilla Kraken 1.0 - Total Score
Google Nexus 5
14298.2 ms * ∼8%
LG G2
14333.8 ms * ∼8% -0%
Apple iPhone 5S
8019.3 ms * ∼5% +44%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
15661.6 ms * ∼9% -10%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
14081.6 ms * ∼8% +2%
Google Nexus 4
21389 ms * ∼12% -50%
Nokia Lumia 1020
48417.6 ms * ∼28% -239%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
13779.3 ms * ∼8% +4%
HTC One
13058.6 ms * ∼8% +9%
Browsermark
Google Nexus 5
2803 points ∼39%
LG G2
2646 points ∼37% -6%
Apple iPhone 5S
3365 points ∼47% +20%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
2977 points ∼41% +6%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
2989 points ∼42% +7%
Google Nexus 4
1839 points ∼26% -34%
Nokia Lumia 1020
597 points ∼8% -79%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
2502 points ∼35% -11%
HTC One
2152 points ∼30% -23%
WebXPRT 2013 - Overall Score
Google Nexus 5
302 Points ∼21%
LG G2
245 Points ∼17% -19%
Apple iPhone 5S
503 Points ∼35% +67%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
269 Points ∼19% -11%
Google Nexus 4
158 Points ∼11% -48%
Nokia Lumia 1020
168 Points ∼12% -44%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
218 Points ∼15% -28%
Sunspider
Google Nexus 5
716.3 ms * ∼18%
LG G2
814.8 ms * ∼20% -14%
Apple iPhone 5S
413.1 ms * ∼10% +42%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
1003 ms * ∼25% -40%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
763.9 ms * ∼19% -7%
Google Nexus 4
1580.6 ms * ∼39% -121%
Nokia Lumia 1020
905.9 ms * ∼22% -26%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
1168.2 ms * ∼29% -63%

* ... smaller is better

With regard to the speed of the flash drive, we must definitely apply a few deductions. The Galaxy Note 3 as well as the LG G2 reach sequential read rates (256 KB) of over 100 MB/s - our test product can only dream of this. It is surprising that the Google Nexus 4 shows more performance than its successor in occasional read and write tasks. In the area of the flash drive, Google has obviously not built in the optimal current hardware.


AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB
Google Nexus 5
74.9 MB/s ∼45%
LG G2
111.49 MB/s ∼67% +49%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
66.14 MB/s ∼39% -12%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
107.53 MB/s ∼64% +44%
Google Nexus 4
49.7 MB/s ∼30% -34%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
75.1 MB/s ∼45% 0%
HTC One
58.75 MB/s ∼35% -22%
Sequential Write 256KB
Google Nexus 5
15.52 MB/s ∼27%
LG G2
17.42 MB/s ∼30% +12%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
17.22 MB/s ∼30% +11%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
29.08 MB/s ∼50% +87%
Google Nexus 4
13.97 MB/s ∼24% -10%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
13.11 MB/s ∼23% -16%
HTC One
16.37 MB/s ∼28% +5%
Random Read 4KB
Google Nexus 5
9.88 MB/s ∼47%
LG G2
16.65 MB/s ∼79% +69%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
13.37 MB/s ∼64% +35%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
16.05 MB/s ∼77% +62%
Google Nexus 4
12.14 MB/s ∼58% +23%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
12.28 MB/s ∼59% +24%
HTC One
11.83 MB/s ∼56% +20%
Random Write 4KB
Google Nexus 5
0.84 MB/s ∼29%
LG G2
1.34 MB/s ∼46% +60%
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
1.1 MB/s ∼38% +31%
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005
2.21 MB/s ∼76% +163%
Google Nexus 4
1.07 MB/s ∼37% +27%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
1.13 MB/s ∼39% +35%
HTC One
1.19 MB/s ∼41% +42%

Videos & Games

2.26 GHz, 2 GB of RAM and a suitable SoC for playback of QFHD material: With these facts in hand, all questions of video and game fitness should be cleared up. Still, we delved a little more deeply in this area of the test. With various trailers and at different qualities, we tested whether the SoC delivers what it promises. Our ultra high definition trailer was played back at up to 20.8 MBit/s. Throughout the complete sequences, we could not ascertain any stutters or lost images. Everything played back to our satisfaction with the preinstalled Google Player. Therefore, it is not surprising that every imaginable game from the Play Store can be used without a problem.

No game completely exhausts...
No game completely exhausts...
...the Nexus 5's performance.
...the Nexus 5's performance.

Emissions

Wie wir testen - Emissionen

Temperature

Despite high performance, we observe low temperatures under load. Here we measure (on average) 33.5 °C (92.3 °F) on the upper side and only 32.4 °C (90.32 °F) on the underside. Even at maximum ratings, everything remains reasonable. LG G2 achieves somewhat higher values (3 °C – 4 °C; 37.4 to 39.2 °F) and levels off in the area of the iPhone 5S. Average temperatures of 28 °C (82.4 °F) are obtained on the front side, if the smartphone is not performing any processor-intensive functions. Here too, the Nexus 5 can hold its own against the iPhone flagship and the LG G2, even if the difference is only meager.

The power cord possesses a fairly cool case. On the upper surface, we measure a maximum of 34.5 °C (94.1 °F) under full load.

Max. Load
 35.0 °C33.0 °C32.1 °C 
 36.2 °C33.3 °C33.0 °C 
 35.1 °C32.3 °C31.1 °C 
Maximum: 36.2 °C
Average: 33.5 °C
28.9 °C32.1 °C35.0 °C
29.1 °C31.8 °C36.5 °C
29.5 °C32.8 °C35.8 °C
Maximum: 36.5 °C
Average: 32.4 °C
Power Supply (max.)  34.5 °C | Room Temperature 21.0 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speakers

The USB interface and the speakers are located to the right and left on the device's underside. The layout is identical to that of the stepsister model, the LG G2. This positioning of the speakers has the advantage that they are not covered when the smartphone lies on a flat surface.

At about 70% of the volume, the highs are suddenly, markedly raised, and an unpleasant sound pattern appears, caused by overmodulation. This difference is also strengthened, in that the sound has a dampened effect at low levels. In this area of testing, the question poses itself, whether the affordable purchase price is one cause of the undistinguished speakers. Unfortunately, it is somewhat difficult to plug in an in-ear headset, since Google did not include one in the delivery package of the Nexus 5. Still, it quickly manages a Bluetooth connection, which helps clear up the mess as long as a compatible device is available.

Energy Management

Wie wir testen - Akkulaufzeit

Power Consumption

In general, it is often assumed, that the same SoCs need the same power consumption. Despite this, additional factors play a deciding role. With our test model, we measure consumption of 4.3 to 8.4 W under load. With the substantially larger Galaxy Note 3, a maximum of 6.5 W are needed, and even the larger LG G2 is satisfied with a maximum of 4.8 W. The built-in display and its technology play a not inconsiderable role here. When the Nexus 5 idles, it needs between 0.3 and 1 W.

At 1.4 W, the Galaxy Note 3 is somewhat more power-hungry, and the LG G2 also draws more power from its battery (1.4 W). As long as the device is completely shut down, we measure no power. In standby mode, the Voltcraft VC 940 demonstrates a need for 0.1 W. The Nexus 5 is therefore only thrifty in its power consumption when it does not need to run many performance-intensive tasks.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.0 / 0.1 Watt
Idle 0.3 / 0.8 / 1.0 Watt
Load 4.3 / 8.4 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

Battery life presents one of the most hotly discussed themes of the moment. Hardly a single current smartphone in the 5-inch display class manages to last a full day under moderate use. A large machine like the Galaxy Note 3 has an advantage: its case offers a lot of room for a large battery. For this reason, the tablet offers good performance in terms of battery life. In recent weeks, the LG G2 especially surprised us, because it is equipped with a 3,000-mAh dynamo and delivers fabulous run times. The Nexus's 2,300 mAh certainly suggests that its stepsister model's respectable results are hard to top. To make matters worse, the Nexus 5 has higher power consumption under load. Still, in comparison to the Nexus 4, the battery has received an upgrade.

We simulate the full-load scenario with the "Stability Test." For this, display brightness is at maximum and all transmission modules are activated. After 3 hours, 8 minutes, the level sensor alerted us that a charging session was needed. The maximum machine run time, with deactivated display, has a duration of 18 hours, 27 minutes. We achieve a mix of both example cases with the help of an Internet script that opens a new web site every 30 seconds. For this, the display is dimmed to 150 cd/m². The smartphone holds on for a solid 12 hours, 14 minutes

In comparison with the iPhone 5S, a better run time is possible in WLAN mode and under load. However, against the LG G2, the Nexus 5 only has a shadow of a chance under full load.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
18h 27min
WiFi Surfing
12h 14min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 08min

Verdict

Wie wir testen - Fazit

Super price, first-class hardware
Super price, first-class hardware

Just as with the Nexus 4, Google is making life difficult for its competitors. The 16-GB version of this smartphone can be had for just 350 Euros (~$475). For a doubled capacity of 32 GB, a price increase of 50 Euros (~$75) is in order. Both storage variants are available in black and whiteSonySamsung and LG have put forward similar hardware combinations. The built-in Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 is extremely high-performance and allows for very smooth functioning. In our test-product, the quad-Core clocked a speed of 2.26 GHz and offered over 2 GB of RAM. Even though the iPhone 5S and the LG G2 often achieve better benchmark results, the difference is not ascertainable in practice. On top: the Adreno 330-GPU is well suited to play videos in QFHD resolution and present them on its 5-inch display with unbelievably high brilliance. Here we gave our test machine extremely good ratings, and the color presentation and color fidelity are absolutely top-of-the-line in the smartphone segment. In addition, at 451.7 cd/m², the display is quite bright and homogeneously illuminated (94%).

The LTE-capable smartphone is equipped with all the current communications modules, and in this area, there is hardly anything left to wish for. We are especially enamored with the workmanship of the case. With the LG G2, the underside offers a minor point of frustration, since this shiny polycarbonate underside is slippery and does not seem particularly high quality, as is the case with the Nexus 5. In terms of battery life, the LG G2 plays in another league. At 2,300 mAh, the Nexus 5 does not really have a chance against LG's flagship. After endless days of tests and work with the smartphone, it could not completely convince us. The purchase price of 350 to 400 Euros (~$475-550) is quite fair, but we still see more potential in the LG G2 (store price: 449 Euros, ~$600, 16 GB), even though the G2 scrapes by with something of a shadowy existence.

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In Review: Google Nexus 5
In Review: Google Nexus 5

Specifications

Google Nexus 5

:: Processor
:: Memory
2048 MB
:: Graphics adapter
Qualcomm Adreno 330, Core: 450 MHz
:: Display
5.0 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, Capacitive, IPS-LCD, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
16 GB iNAND Flash, 16 GB , 12.3 GB free
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI, 1 Infrared, Audio Connections: 3,5-mm-Buchse, Sensors: a-GPS, Light sensor, Proximity sensor, gyroscope, NFC Module
:: Networking
802.11a/ac/b/g/n (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth, LTE, UMTS
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.59 x 137.84 x 69.17
:: Weight
0.13 kg Power Supply: 0.063 kg
:: Battery
8.74 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 2300 mAh, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 17 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 300 h
:: Price
349 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.4 KitKat
:: Additional features
Webcam: Rear: 8 MP, Front: 1.3 MP, Speakers: Mono, Keyboard: Virtuell, Integrated wireless charging, 12 Months Warranty

 

With the Nexus 5, Google brings the successor...
With the Nexus 5, Google brings the successor...
...of the popular Nexus 4 into the market.
...of the popular Nexus 4 into the market.
The Display measures only 0.3 inches more and...
The Display measures only 0.3 inches more and...
...displays in Full HD resolution.
...displays in Full HD resolution.
Still, the maximum display brightness can be markedly increased.
Still, the maximum display brightness can be markedly increased.
The underside is no longer made of glass...
The underside is no longer made of glass...
...but grippable, matte polycarbonate.
...but grippable, matte polycarbonate.
The Smartphone was manufactured from scratch by LG and...
The Smartphone was manufactured from scratch by LG and...
...reminds us very strongly of the newly-appeared LG G2.
...reminds us very strongly of the newly-appeared LG G2.
With 8 MP, the main camera has a markedly weaker resolution than...
With 8 MP, the main camera has a markedly weaker resolution than...
...that of the LG G2 (13 MP). Still, the results are convincing.
...that of the LG G2 (13 MP). Still, the results are convincing.
We can vouch for the display's high color fidelity...
We can vouch for the display's high color fidelity...
...and color saturation. These kinds of good ratings...
...and color saturation. These kinds of good ratings...
...are ratings we haven't observed in any machine until now.
...are ratings we haven't observed in any machine until now.
In on-edge mode, the keyboard recognizes inputs at less than...
In on-edge mode, the keyboard recognizes inputs at less than...
... 50%. The same is true for the keyboard in landscape mode.
... 50%. The same is true for the keyboard in landscape mode.
Android is deployed in its newest Version: 4.4.
Android is deployed in its newest Version: 4.4.
The Nexus 5 is provided directly with updates.
The Nexus 5 is provided directly with updates.
A new feature is the cloud-print function.
A new feature is the cloud-print function.
Thanks to an NFC module, payment should be easy to do.
Thanks to an NFC module, payment should be easy to do.
Our model holds 16 GB, of which a net of 12.55 GB is available.
Our model holds 16 GB, of which a net of 12.55 GB is available.
The Nexus 5's performance is extremely good...
The Nexus 5's performance is extremely good...
...as several benchmarks vividly prove.
...as several benchmarks vividly prove.
The rudimentary camera app fulfills its use...
The rudimentary camera app fulfills its use...
...but nothing beyond that.
...but nothing beyond that.
With the exact position calculation activated...
With the exact position calculation activated...
...the user can easily keep track of declining battery levels.
...the user can easily keep track of declining battery levels.
The Nexus 5 delivers an impressive showing, especially...
The Nexus 5 delivers an impressive showing, especially...
...in view of the fair purchase price.
...in view of the fair purchase price.
Still, potential buyers should take a good look at the competitors.
Still, potential buyers should take a good look at the competitors.

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Links

Price comparison

Amazon.com

$425.99 Google Nexus 5 D820 Unlocked GSM Phone, 32Gb (Black)

LG Nexus 5 16GB
» 241.99 GBP (lowest price)
241.99 GBP Beyond Television
260.00 GBP Amazon Marketplace UK
274.34 GBP Amazon.co.uk
287.64 GBP King of Gadgets
380.00 GBP Look Again

The displayed prices can be up to one day old.

Pro

+Price
+Android 4.4 KitKat
+Workmanship quality
+Color fidelity of the display
+High display brightness
+Updates provided
 

Cons

-Storage cannot be upgraded
-Non-removable battery
-Speaker sound quality

Shortcut

What we liked

The price of the Nexus 5 makes for a very clear argument to buy. Google has once again made its price spiral down and made life difficult for its competitors. In addition, the update maintenance is guaranteed for multiple years.

What we'd like to see

Google should either have made it possible to switch out the battery or provided a version with greater capacity. It is obviously possible, as the LG G2 proves.

What surprised us

The display and its color fidelity are at the highest level in comparison to other smartphones. We had never seen a mobile device with this kind of convincing panel quality.

The competition

LG G2

Apple iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

HTC One

Nokia Lumia 1020

Rating

Google Nexus 5
04/30/2014 v4
Daniel Schuster

Chassis
91%
Keyboard
62 / 75 → 83%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
47 / 60 → 78%
Weight
94%
Battery
93%
Display
89%
Games Performance
62 / 75 → 83%
Application Performance
43 / 65 → 66%
Temperature
88%
Noise
100%
Audio
64%
Camera
73%
Average
77%
87%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Google Nexus 5 Smartphone
Author: Daniel Schuster, 2013-11-27 (Update: 2013-11-28)