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Nexus 5

My old first generation Samsung Galaxy S is at the end of its life, it is so slow that it becomes unusable. I have been waiting for the new Nexus 5 since rumors shows up in the summer. The Nexus 5 exactly fit my need. a no-frill unlock phone at a very reasonable price. The hardware specification of Nexus 5 is comparable to flagship phone from Samsung, HTC or Sony, but it’s almost $200 cheaper. The best of all, I know I will always have the latest Android OS update.

When Google announced Nexus 5 on Halloween, I ordered it once it is available on the Play Store. I believe my order is one of the first shipment. I got my Nexus 5 last Friday. Before I had my new phone, I already read tons of review on the web, so nothing comes up as surprise since I know exactly what to expect. The phone has the fastest CPU in the market, it runs very fast compare to my old Captivate, but I couldn’t tell much speed difference from my Nexus 7.

The battery capacity is not as big as Samsung or HTC, but good enough. On the first day after I got the phone, I unplugged it at 7am and it runs out of juice around 6pm after of a full day almost non-stop use. Today is a normal work day, I left the WiFi and LTE enabled, made a few phone calls, go online a little bit during breaks, and I still 70% of battery at the end of the day. No bad.

The major disadvantage of Nexus 5 is the camera. It is good, but not great. Definitely not as good as other flagship photos. The optical image stabilizer works well when you are taking still photos and try to hold your hand steady, but it not so useful if you are taking action shot. The auto-focus is very slow, can’t really capture my son’s movement fast enough. I read on the web it is a software problem, so hopefully it will be fixed in the next update.

I don’t see any special feature of Android 4.4 KitKat. Google changed the home screen again, and make it fully integrated with Google Now. I can say “OK Google” to the phone under home screen and it will start Google Now automatically, no need to press any button. I think it is more like a gimmick and it only works on English(US), not even English(Canada). Does “OK Google” sounds very different in Canada compare to the States? I really miss the customization enhancement of the Cyanogenmod, I am so used to the short cut icons on the lock screen and configurable docks screen in the launcher. The true gem of Android 4.4 is the ART compiler hidden under developer features, which runs much faster than the Dalvik pre-compiler in other Android. Too bad that it crashes WhatsApp, so I can’t turn it on until WhatsApp fix the problem.

The lack of a SD-card slot is always a sore point in Nexus line of devices. But base on my previous experience with my old Captivate, which has support SD-card, I probably won’t miss it that much given that I ordered the 32GB model. The internal memory is more than enough for photos and mp3. After 3 years of use, I didn’t even fill up the internal 16GB of memory of my old phone. The external SD-card ends up being used as a dump for mp3s that I rarely listen and too lazy to delete. The only scenario I would ever need more storage space is storing movies during flight, but I can always solve the problem by using an OTG-USB SD card reader.

Overall, I am very happy with my new Nexus 5, but it is not a phone for everyone. It lacks the bells and whistles of Samsung or HTC, it is not an exciting phone, it is just a plain work horse phone. It totally does not make sense to get a subsidize Nexus 5 from the carrier and lock yourself into a 2 years contract. The last bit of dilemma of owning a Nexus 5 is about to flash or not to flash, that is the question. Since I am always getting the new OS upgrade, I don’t have a need to flash the phone. On the other hand, I do miss the enhancement of other customer ROM. I guess I just need to find a way to install launcher and lock slider from Cyanogenmod without replacing the OS. I tried install the launcher from CM10.2, which is based on Android 4.3, but it does not work well, it crash when I tried to configure the screen size.  I guess I have to wait until CM11 is released and try again.

2 comments to Nexus 5

  • Thanks for this personal and interesting review. I was talking to a friend about his new Nexus 5 as my Galaxy Nexus is slowly dying on me as its battery will randomly and regularly discharge itself with the screen turning itself on for no reason. So I might need a new phone fast and soon.

    Any other advices or tips you can share?

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