Here’s everything we know about the Nexus 5

Nexus 5 Screen

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

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