Skip to main content

Here’s everything we know about the Nexus 5

Nexus 5 Screen
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Check out our review of the Google Nexus 5 smart phone.

The Google Nexus 5 is one of the most anticipated smartphones of the year, and as of yesterday, it’s not only been announced, but also on sale. Beating Apple at its own game, Google had the Nexus 5 ready to buy within moments of its announcement., which was made in a blog post rather than at a flashy press event. As with previous Nexus devices, demand was high, and stocks soon ran short.

Whether you’ve got your order in already or not, here’s a guide to everything you need to know about the latest Google super phone, which of course, also runs the brand new Android 4.4 KitKat operating system.

Nexus 5 WhiteHow does it look?

Well, it looks exactly the same as the phone which has been leaked for what seems like forever. There’s nothing particularly unusual about the phone, which measures 137 x 69 x 8.5mm, making it almost identical to the Samsung Galaxy S4 (although it’s 0.6mm thicker) and a tiny bit smaller than the Sony Xperia Z.

It weighs in at 130 grams, which is the same as the S4, and some 10 grams or so lighter than the Xperia Z and the HTC One. Despite the increased size and spec, it weighs less than the Nexus 4. The Nexus 5 comes in either black or white, and the soft-touch rear panel has both a distinctive camera lens surround, and less-than subtle Nexus branding. The power and volume buttons are ceramic rather than plastic, which should lend the Nexus 5 a premium feel.

Big screen, big power

You may already be familiar with the Nexus 5’s specification, thanks to the never-ending leaks prior to its official announcement. But if not, then here’s what you need to know. The phone, which has been built by LG just like the Nexus 4, has a 4.95-inch IPS touchscreen and a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. This gives it a pixel density of 445ppi, a touch over competing 5-inch smartphones like the Galaxy S4.

The Nexus 5 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor inside, running at 2.3GHz, and 2GB of RAM. This sees it match many of the top-end Android smartphones on sale, and best several of the devices from earlier this year, such as the HTC One, which use the Snapdragon 600 chip. 

How about the camera?

There were fears the camera would be the least interesting part of the Nexus 5, and although the 8-megapixel count remains the same as the Nexus 4, it does have a few surprises. The first is optical image stabilization, a standard feature on most high-end Nokia Windows Phone devices, but lacking in several big-name Android smartphones such as the Galaxy S4.

Second is HDR+, where a burst mode takes a succession of images, and then stitches two together to form the best possible image. Google’s AutoAwesome tool has also been added, where a .GIF-like image is created from an action sequence, along with PhotoSphere for 360-degree shots of your surroundings. Finally, an LED flash sits below the camera for improved low-light pictures.

Whether all this translates into better performance will only become known once we start snapping away, but on paper it looks positive. Besides the primary 8-megapixel camera, there is a 1.3-megapixel video call lens above the screen.

Yes, it has 4G LTE, and “OK Google” voice control

So, that’s the processor and camera covered, but what about the rest of the tech specs? It’s all good news. LG has added 4G LTE connectivity to the Nexus 5, which was sorely lacking from the Nexus 4, and it covers just as many LTE bands as Apple’s iPhone 5S. There will also be a GSM and CDMA version produced so it should be able to work on all four major carriers in the US and most places abroad.

Google experimented with voice control on the Motorola Moto X, and it obviously play a large part in Google Glass, so it’s no surprise to see them added to the Nexus 5, too. Called Voice Actions, a command of “OK Google” will allow you to open a Google search, send a text message, get directions, or control the music player. It’s not clear whether one of the Nexus 5’s dual microphone setup is always listening, or if a button press is needed to wake the voice command system.

The Nexus 5 is also equipped with NFC, GPS, a headphone port, a Micro USB port, Bluetooth 4.0, and dual-band Wi-Fi. A variety of sensors are also fitted, including a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a compass, and a pressure sensor. A choice of either 16GB or 32GB internal storage memory is provided, but there’s no MicroSD card slot.

Despite rumors of a larger battery being fitted to the 32GB model, both have a 2300mAh cell, which by Google’s estimation will provide 17 hours talktime and 300 hours standby. 

Is Android 4.4 Installed?

Yes, as is traditional, the Nexus 5 comes with a new version of Android installed. This time it’s Android 4.4 KitKat, and it’s a subtle upgrade to Android Jelly Bean. Google says it’s, “more engaging” than previous editions, thanks to it obscuring background information when you’re reading, playing, or watching media. It also has a new dialer application with a comprehensive search feature, plus SMS messages have been moved into the Hangouts app.

Are any accessories coming?

Nexus 5 Bumper YellowGoogle has announced a decent range of accessories to accompany the Nexus 5. The first takes advantage of the phone’s wireless charging feature. The wireless charging pad is compatible with the Nexus 5 and the 2013 Nexus 7, and has a set of magnets inside to help stick the hardware to the surface. It’a all set to be sold through Google Play, but at the time of writing it’s not available. The Nexus 5 uses the popular Qi wireless charging standard, so it should be compatible with other types of pad, including those made for Nokia Lumia phones.

The charging pad is joined by two different types of cases, the Bumper and the QuickCover. The Bumper is a hard shell case with a soft lining, weighs 19 grams, and is compatible with wireless charging. It comes in black, grey, red, or yellow and is listed as coming soon on Google Play. It’s priced at $35.

The QuickCover is much like Samsung’s Flip Cover for the Galaxy S4, and you can bypass the lock screen simply by opening the cover. It’s in either black or white, won’t interfere with wireless charging, and costs $50.

How much does the Nexus 5 cost through Google Play?

The 16GB Nexus 5 is $350, while the 32GB version will cost you $400, and there is the choice of either black or white body colors. If you want to find one in a different store, Best Buy and RadioShack are confirmed as sellers, as is Amazon. However, pricing is a mystery.

Nexus 5 BlackWant it with a contract?

That’s fine, but let’s get the bad news out of the way first. The Nexus 5 isn’t going to be available on Verizon. This leaves AT&T, T-Mobile, and oddly (proving there’s nothing wrong with the Nexus 5’s CDMA compatibility), Sprint too.

Starting with Sprint, it will offer the Nexus 5 from November 8 for $150 after a $50 mail-in rebate, plus a signature on a two-year contract. Off contract, the 16GB Nexus 5 will be priced at $450. It’s also going to be compatible with Sprint Spark, the network’s new tri-band 4G LTE service. T-Mobile has indicated it will be stocking the phone, but hasn’t confirmed the price. A Google statement published by CNet says the phone will operate on AT&T’s network, but it won’t be sold through it.

All this should see you up to speed with everything Nexus 5 related, but check back for more carrier pricing information, as we’ll update when it’s announced.

Next Page: All the rumors about the Nexus 5, and if they came true

Nexus 5 Rumor Report: Which were true? 

The Nexus 5 has now been announced and we know exactly which rumors are true and false. Below is our rumor roundup, intact, for archival purposes. You can see all the rumors about what we thought the Nexus 5 would be. As it turns out, all the rumors were pretty much true. We’ve marked them as true and false.


October arrival (TRUE, OCT. 31 UNVEIL)

Ever since talk of the Nexus 5 began, October has been touted as the month of its announcement. Back in March, Android and Me claimed to have a source close to the project, saying the phone will be officially announced during October. DigiTimes has subsequently also mentioned October as the month for the Nexus 5. Since then, the date has been narrowed down, with October 14 mentioned as the possible date for the launch event, while case manufacturer Spigen has put up an order page for a Nexus 5 screen protector with a shipping date of October 30, suggesting the phone could go on sale that day. This will make it almost a year since the Nexus 4 was revealed. 

While October 14 is still a possibility, a rumor has thrown October 15 into the mix. The date comes from talk at a recent Google business conference, and would coincide with the announcement of Android 4.4 KitKat.

Nexus 5 leak whiteAs neither October 14 or 15 gave us the Nexus 5, the next rumors have suggested it’ll becoming at the end of the month. A case manufacturer will start selling a Nexus 5 case on October 30 in Italy, while Google is busy putting up cryptic ads for Android 4.4, all of which have been connected to several dates in October. These include October 18, October 26, and October 28. What do they all mean? We’ve honestly no idea, as all the links and references are something of a stretch. 

The latest possible announcement date is November 1, which was leaked alongside an image of a white Nexus 5, while a Swiss online retailer has a placeholder for the phone with an October 31 date attached. After all these false starts, it surely must arrive soon.

Snapdragon processor (TRUE)

When it was released, the Nexus 4 had a mid-to-high-end spec sheet, but the Nexus 5 looks to be more advanced, at least according to a supposed leaked manual for the phone, which provides an almost complete feature list. It says the screen will measure 5 inches (well, 4.95 inches) and have a 1080p resolution. The processor will be a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 with 2GB of RAM. The camera is less exciting at 8 megapixels, and there’s no mention of the Nikon branding we heard about earlier this year.

There were rumors of the Nexus 5 using DigitalOptics Mems|Cam technology, but our sources have told us this won’t be happening.

The Nexus 5 should have an internal memory boost over the Nexus 4, with both 16GB and 32GB versions being mentioned in the leaked manual, plus there’s good news on the connectivity front too, as the phone should feature 4G LTE this time around. Other features include a 2300mAh battery and NFC (near-field communication, the tech behind all that “bump your phone” and phone wallet stuff).

A series of images said to be of the Nexus 5 have been leaked by a Reddit user, who also dropped the hint the phone will have a similar microphone setup to the Motorola Moto X. If so, it could have the same open mic feature which enables owners to wake the phone without actually touching it, and add voice commands for certain features. 

It will look like this (TRUE)

nexus 5 maybe 1
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Thanks to Google, we were given a quick preview of the Nexus 5 in a YouTube video covering the Android KitKat statue at Google’s headquarters recently. Despite the video being removed, screen captures had already been taken of the device, which was easily identifiable thanks to the massive Nexus branding on the back. 

The image, provided it does show the final version of the Nexus 5, confirms it won’t break any boundaries when it comes to its design. Despite denying it earlier in the year, LG will be manufacturing of the Nexus 5, but as the picture shows, it won’t include the LG G2’s rear-mounted buttons. As is the trend this year, the Nexus 5 may also come in a variety of colors. The model seen in Google’s video was black, as was one the spotted in an FCC filing – which also confirmed LG’s the company in charge of production – but the leaked LG manual showed one in a fetching mauve. (Fellas, mauve is a pinkish purple color.) 

Can I see it in action? (TRUE)

Why, yes, you can. A video has been posted on YouTube showing what’s believed to be the Nexus 5 in all its glory. The silent, seven-minute recording demonstrates the phone running a version of Android Key Lime Pie, which indicates it could be an older prototype, now KLP has been revealed as Android 4.4 KitKat. Still, it provides a good look at the phone’s chassis, larger, high-def screen, and a little about the new OS. 

It will come with Android 4.4 KitKat (TRUE)

Up until recently, Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie was the prime candidate, but that has now changed. Google revealed the Key Lime Pie name was a cover for KitKat, and the official Android website shows this will be version 4.4 of the software. Its features are unknown, but as it’s not reaching version 5.0, we shouldn’t expect anything too drastic over Jelly Bean.

Special 32GB version? (TRUE)

A new rumor has suggested Google and LG will cook up something special for the 32GB version of the Nexus 5. Instead of using the 2300mAh battery expected to be found inside the 16GB model, it may feature a much larger 3000mAh battery, which should considerably boost the standby time. Given Motorola’s love of making a Maxx version of its phones, with an equally extended battery, this move may not be that surprising.

How much is it going to cost? (TRUE, $350)

A large part of the Nexus 4’s success was because of its affordable $300 price (that’s without a contract). Will Google subsidize the Nexus 5, or at least the versions sold through Google Play? We’re certainly hoping so, but the higher specification may mean it’s not so cheap. The 2013 Nexus 7 is $30 more expensive than its 2012 counterpart, and it had a similar spec boost. Australia’s International Business Times reported that the expected price for the Nexus 5 would be comparable to the current Nexus 4 price, and a Google Play leak showed the 16GB Nexus 5 with a $350 price tag, matching that of the 16GB Nexus 4.

It’s looking like a good phone (TRUE)

Thanks to all these leaks, we’ve got a good idea what the Nexus 5 will be like, and if the timeline is correct, there are only days to go before its official unveiling.

Update Log

Updated on 11-01-2013: Added a totally new page detailing the actual known things about the Nexus 5 now that it’s announced.

Updated on 10-31-2013 by Andy: Added links to another set of Nexus 5 images, plus hints it may come with multiple microphones, just like the Moto X.

Updated on 10-30-2013 by Andy: It’s October 30, and so far, the new Nexus 5 hasn’t been announced. That also means the leaks haven’t stopped, and we’ve seen various new images of the phone, plus further confirmation of the price. Next stop, November 1.

Updated on 10-17-2013 by Andy: We now know the October 15 launch didn’t happen, and the next date being suggested is October 30.

Updated on 10-15-2013 by Andy: As we wait to see if the rumored October 15 announcement date comes true, you can take a look at an extensive seven-minute video showing what’s said to be the Nexus 5 in all its glory. Scroll down to find it.

Updated on 10-10-2013 by Andy: October 15 is now being rumored as the Nexus 5’s launch day, where it should be joined by Android 4.4 KitKat.

Updated on 10-9-2013 by Andy: We just added in a new rumor about a special 32GB version of the phone that will have a much larger battery.

Rewritten on 10-8-2013 by Andy Boxall: The March/April version of this rumor roundup was so out of date that we’ve started from scratch. Here are the latest Nexus 5 rumors.

Article originally published 3-25-2013.

Editors' Recommendations

Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
Your Pixel 7 is about to get a whole lot less buggy — here’s why
Two Google Pixel 7 Pro smartphones.

Google is rolling out a new Android 13 update that fixes 46 bugs and performance issues for the Pixel 7. The fixes range from squashing smaller bugs to larger, systemwide updates that do things like optimize battery life and overall performance, making this one of the most substantial Pixel 7 updates to date. While the update, Android 13 QPR2, provides a lot of fixes for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro specifically, it also cleans up performance for the entire Pixel 6 line as well.

There are plenty of small fixes in the update. However, the bigger ones seem like they're going to noticeably improve the user experience for all Pixel 7 owners on just about every front.

Read more
What is the Temu app? Here’s everything you need to know
Temu logo on an iPhone.

Following an increased marketing push starting in 2023, the Temu app has started to pick up some solid momentum that's driven many shoppers to want to check it out. As new marketplaces start to make their way into the mainstream, however, there's usually a healthy amount of skepticism toward them.

Although it's always a good impulse to be cautious about putting sensitive information into any app, here's everything you need to know about Temu — and if you truly need to be careful.
What is Temu?

Read more
Google Pixel Watch vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: which is the Wear OS champ?
Google Pixel Watch with two different strap styles.

Google has unveiled its highly-anticipated Pixel Watch, ushering in a new era for Wear OS devices and the company’s expanding Pixel ecosystem. It’s a fitting companion to the new Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, which were also announced during this week’s Made by Google event, alongside a new Pixel Tablet.

While it’s encouraging to see more Wear OS smartwatches appearing, the real question is whether Google’s first smartwatch brings enough to the table to topple Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5, a device that’s effectively become the gold standard of Wear OS devices. Read on as we compare their specs and features to answer that question.

Read more