After being absolutely deluged with rumors and leaks and spy shots and whatnots, Google has finally launched its brand new flagship smartphone. It’s almost pointless to say that all the rumors and leaks on the Nexus 5 were as accurate as it can get – as it has been with other smartphones launched in the recent past – and sadly or rather irritatingly, there are no surprises what so ever. Nevertheless, it’s one of most powerful devices to be launched this year, so we compare it with other flagships launched recently – iPhone 5S and Nokia Lumia 1020 – and also check what all has improved in the latest Nexus smartphone from its predecessor.
The first noticeable change in the Nexus 5 from its predecessor is the screen size, though we pick it up later when we discuss displays, but that means the latest flagship is bigger longitudinally. However, the Nexus 5 is not only slimmer but lighter than Nexus 4 by 9 grams. But it’s still quite a bit bigger and heavier as compared to iPhone 5S which weighs 112g and measures 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm. We shouldn’t be really surprised that the Nokia Lumia 1020 is the heaviest here. It weighs 158g and measures 130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4 mm. iPhone 5S might be the lightest and the slimmest smartphone here but it offers a considerably smaller display which has become quite a necessity these days.
Bigger displays are in demand currently and most of the top smartphone manufacturers are going with the trend except Apple – but there are rumors that even Apple is considering an iPhone with a big display. To compete with Samsung Galaxy S4, the top selling Android device, Google and LG has decided to go with a 5” display on the Nexus 5. The 4.7 inch full HD IPS display on the Nexus 4 is great and crisp but the 5-inch full HD IPS display on the Nexus 5 rocks a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, which means an eye popping pixel density of 445ppi. It’s a massive improvement from its predecessor and at least on paper looks like one of the best displays on offer currently. The retina display on the iPhone 5S has a pixel density of 326ppi but undoubtedly performs superbly. We’ll wait till we get a proper hands-on of the Nexus 5 and test its display under different conditions as the old Nexus 4 performed poorly under the sun. The Nokia Lumia 1020 display with a pixel density of 331ppi isn’t bad either; in fact human eye can hardly make out the difference between screens above 300ppi.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 doesn’t even feature in the same league as it sports a Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon with dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait CPU and Adreno 225 GPU. The iPhone 5S’ (64-bit) A7 processor and M7 co-processor is very promising and blazingly fast, the iOS operating system always augments the performance, but nevertheless it’s very, very fast. Inside the Nexus 5 is a 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset with four Krait 400 cores and Adreno 330 GPU which is not only a massive improvement from the Nexus 4 but joins the top-end league of smartphones which sports the same processor including the Samsung Galaxy Note III and Xperia Z1.
Storage capacity has always been the Achilles heel of Nexus smartphones. The people who bought the old Nexus 4 with 8GB of storage hated the device as it kept running out of space as there was no provision for memory expansion. Has Google and LG learned through their mistake? The answer is yes and no. Yes, because they have got rid of the 8GB version and introduced a 32GB Nexus 5 and no because they still didn’t put a memory expansion slot in the device. Neither of the three offers memory card slot, but the iPhone 5S and Lumia 1020 comes in 64GB versions which give them a tactical edge over the Nexus 5.
This is another feature where the Nexus smartphones struggle. The Nexus 4’s 8-MP rear camera performed below par producing not-so-sharp images. To tackle the problem, LG and Google have introduced Optical Image Stabilization or OIS on the Nexus 5 smartphone. It should improve the quality of the images but otherwise the rest of the assembly is the same. It even has the same 1.3-MP front facing camera from the Nexus 4 device. Here, both the iPhone 5S and Lumia 1020 should score better than the Google flagship. The Nokia Lumia 1020’s 41-MP rear camera is the USP of the device and produces great photos. The iPhone 5S comes in close second with its 8-MP camera.
The 2300mAh battery of the Nexus 4 was anything but enough. The device is famous for constantly running out of charge and it is the worst thing about device which is otherwise great in all aspects. Surprisingly, the Nexus 5 has been given a minor improvement with 2600mAh battery which will power a thirsty processor and big 5” full HD display. We are not sure if it’s enough and will it suffer from the same problem or not. iPhone 5S has been facing battery troubles too, but Apple has said it has to do with faulty batteries and are offering replacement sets. The 2000mAh battery on the Lumia 1020 isn’t good either, but the processor on the device is less power hungry and Windows 8 does a decent job for power optimization.
This is where the Nexus 5, like the other Nexus devices including the tablets, shines. The Nexus 5 is the first smartphone to come with the latest Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box. Though the Nexus 4 will also get the Android KitKat update soon but undoubtedly the OS should work the best on the latest flagship. The USP of Nexus smartphones are the vanilla Android operating systems and there are a lot of takers for it – including me. Though the iOS 7 has not had a smooth start and the progress has been mired by bugs and issues but it seems to work fine on the iPhone 5S without much troubles. Nokia Lumia 1020 loses out badly here as the Windows OS is still not as great as the iOS and Android.
Build Quality, Looks and Colors
The Nexus 5 has been launched in white and black as suggested by the leaks and spy shots which doesn’t come as a surprise. Google has maintained its trend of launching unadorned devices with very little frippery. Thankfully, the glass back-plate has been swapped for a silky-textured plastic rear-end. The white colored Nexus 5 might be a little hard to maintain and will tend to get dirty and the scratches will be more visible. The bezel around the screen is incredibly thin and the device looks great. For anyone looking for a smartphone with subtle exterior but powerful specs, this should be a clear choice. The iPhone 5S continues to be the best looking smartphone available featuring top-notch build quality, while the Nokia Lumia 1020 with its candy colored polycarbonate shell and big bar shape is gaining popularity of late.
With the prices starting at $349 for the 16GB Nexus 5, it looks like the best Android device considering the price and the powerful specs. The ceramic buttons on the side and silky textured rear cover goes on to show the premium build quality. Then there is the vanilla Android 4.4 KitKat. All in all it’s an amazing smartphone, and even as I am writing this, I have been informed that the 16GB Nexus 5 is already sold out on the US Google Play store. The massive price difference between the Nexus 5 and the iPhone 5S might be the deciding factor in the rest of the world in not in the US. The Nokia Lumia 1020 however feels out of the league.