Nexus 5 unboxing

We usually don’t cover too much on the Android side of things, but every once in a while a device comes along that catches our attention. The new Nexus 5 from LG and Google is one such device.

Android has matured greatly over the last two years, and the hardware has done likewise. The Nexus 5 looked like a solid device on paper, and that has been reaffirmed by our hands-on time with the device.

The Nexus 5 is one of the first iPhone 5s competitors to hit store shelves that made us look. Check out the full unboxing video for a brief look into the phone’s form and function.

First impressions:

  • It’s big, but doesn’t feel monstrous
  • It’s cheap plastic, but it feels well built in hand
  • I hate how the camera protrudes on the rear
  • Google Now is a bit scary because it listens for your “OK Google” command, but it’s really convenient
  • The device isn’t a world beater performance wise, and the iPhone 5s still beats it handily in single core performance benchmarks

Benchmarks:

GeekBench 3 Nexus 5 vs iPhon e5s benchmarks

*Click the image above to see the full benchmark comparison.

We’ll have a deeper head-to-head comparison coming up, but in the meantime, this should be enough to whet your appetite.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Wow factor.. Price.

    • Nate McKelvie

      Seems like always on would be a waste of battery for something not really that needed ( I don’t know if it actually does eat battery or not just how I would see it ) but other than that, looks like a good quality phone

      • n0ahcruz3

        The always on feature is powered by a different chip like the moto X. So it will achieve a great battery life.

      • Jeff

        Ah, didn’t know that. That makes it even better then. I REALLY like that feature. It’s a bit weird to know that it’s always listening if you have the feature enabled while on the Home screen. But you can’t deny how convenient that is.

      • n0ahcruz3

        Actually jeff im just specualting. My apologies for not clarifying.

      • Hwang Lee

        The Snapdragon 800 has low power voice activation

    • Cameron Chao

      i much rather press a button to use a voice command, im very sure it eats up battery if it has to keep turning on when it detects voice.

      • n0ahcruz3

        Its powered by a separate chip like moto x(speculation), So it will still achieve a good battery life. And beside we dont always say OK google. Do we?

      • Cameron Chao

        something has to turn on to listen to ‘ok google’ doesnt it? powered by whatever chip still draws power from the same battery, doesnt it?

      • Nate McKelvie

        That’s my same thought about the battery, but it’s pure speculation

      • Same applies to the M7 motion sensor chip in the iPhone 5s; want to to use the feature, enable it, don’t want it, disable it and save battery life.

      • Cameron Chao

        its not the same, turning off the feature completely means you have to go to the settings to turn it back on if you want to use it. My point here is that with auto speak recognition, the mic has to be on listening at all times just to hear you say ‘OK google’ which im sure wastes battery, and is kinda creepy. With the iPhone, you hold the home button, for the mic to turn on to listen to you. If the Nexus has an option to assign this to a button like the iPhone, i wouldnt be stating my point in the first place.

      • TeChNoStyLeZ

        You are right it obviously drains some battery but since its powered by a separate chip it doesnt drain too much , the nexus 5 does still offer a pretty good battery life …

      • You could easily find an NCSettings like tweak on the PlayStore for easy access to the toggle. Accroding to reviews, battery life on the Moto X is the same as, if not better than, the iPhone 5s, and it has this same feature. If it was turned off, it’ll probably last even longer. So, not sure why you’re complaining…

      • Cameron Chao

        whos complaining? i just pointed out the fact that it wastes battery, and so what if the Moto X has a better battery, then ill still say you can further improve it with the feature of pressing first. I use an iPhone and have no intentions of switching anyway.

      • Raashid

        The way you typed it sounds like a complaint. It uses very little battery life to provide a some-what creepy (wouldn’t use it if I ever got an Android device) but useful (to some) feature, so, it’s not wasting it. Wasting would be if the feature didn’t work or the battery life was terrible…which isn’t the case.

  • Nipasaurus

    Very nice, very nice.

  • erod434

    Looks awesome, especially for the price. It’s nice to see an apple blog like this one take a look at the competition from with an open mind rather than bashing it for not being made by apple. Oftentimes we find ourselves wanting to see the opposition fail, but in reality successful competition drives innovation. However, it says that “this device isn’t a world beater peformance-wise and that the iPhone still beats it handily in a single core performance,” but isn’t that another way of saying it beats the iphone where it matters, in multiple core performance and actually is a world beater or is there another phone which tops it?

    • Jeff

      No, because even in multicore performance, it’s not much faster than the 5s. I have a benchmark video uploading which shows it. Or you can click the image above. It’s a good device, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not bleeding edge. Admittedly, I don’t know enough about Android devices to know if this is always the case with Nexus device, or what. Perhaps you can educate us?

      • Hwang Lee

        The Nexus’s generally aren’t the best internally, and they’ve all had problems with battery and cameras. But Android users love the Nexus because it’s pure Android. This Nexus was exciting because not only were we going to get the next version of Android, but we were hoping to get a Nexus with fixed issues from the previous generation (better battery, camera, LTE). The Snapdragon 800 looks good, however, there have been reports that the camera and the battery aren’t very good, which is disappointing. However, Google says that the camera is a software issue, so hopefully they can fix it OTA! (Does have OIS though, which is awesome).

      • Jeff

        Yeah I can vouch for the terrible camera… It’s bad out of the box. :-/

      • erod434

        Okay, yeah that’s what I figured because since the nexus is so much cheaper I figured the iphone would beat it in most benchmarks, but I was confused by the way you worded it. As a proud owner of every nexus and iphone since the galaxy nexus and the iphone 4s (I’m waiting for my nexus 5 to arrive), I agree that the nexus’s aren’t really bleeding edge, but with the specs they do have they are able to compete fiercely with the iphone (especially for the price) in performance while also giving me the freedom out of the box that the iphone has jailbroken, but I still love ios’s app selection.

      • Jeff

        Thanks

      • mehrab

        First time a fandroid with brains a fandroid finally admitted benchmark wise the 5s is faster most of the time real world usage wise the 5s beats the nexus 5 in performance but yeah the nexus 5 is incredibly cheap mostly bcos its a software company but yeah

  • Tom Brady

    Fye!!

  • Brandon Weidema

    i would dearly hope that an iPhone 5s would beat a $400 phone in all benchmarks… lol

    • Kash Gummaraju

      I hope you realize that both phones have the same cost to build and the “$400” phone you speak of should in reality if Google was aiming only for profits be 800 dollars unlocked. Google priced the galaxy nexus at that price, but stopped with the nexus 4. The only reason an iPhone beats a Nexus is due to the lightness of ios. But never rely on benchmarks, they don’t reflect real world performance. You wouldn’t notice the difference between the two phones when using them. Only that one is Android and larger while the other is iOS and smaller.

      • Tom Brady

        You lie

      • Kash Gummaraju

        Really? Go find out yourself. I have a HTC one and an iPhone 5S neither have lag or performance differences.

      • Tom Brady

        But its totally untrue to say that bench marks don’t ”reflect real world performance”. That’s the same thing they said at best buy to me and got me to buy this nexus tablet and my girl iPad is better and faster and smoother. And I believe she’s is an iPad 3 or maybe even 2

      • Kash Gummaraju

        Well check your system, go to developer options and remove all animation effects for the nexus.

      • BeatModz

        its true i have both also and love both of them.

      • Brandon Weidema

        Eh, i know what youre talking about, its just not what i really meant.

      • mehrab

        On ios benchmarks make a deal on android the gs4 had an amazing score but guess what it was 5x laggier then my iphone 5
        Apple always lost benchmarks this year they did things differently ios always lost at benchmarks but won at real world performance even if the android phone was 2x its power on benchmarks. Now the 5s shreds benchmarks and in real world usage elinates everythingg

      • Guest

        Is this your full time job; defending Apple with dingbat logic 24/7? Loser…

      • mehrab

        Is it yours to try to offend me cos you really suck at it. Btw what i said was valid 5s won geekbench cpu tests and gfx gpu tests. It won. Sorry it just did its faster.

      • Kash Gummaraju

        I hope you realize you’re comparing a GS4 running touchwiz not GPE. Of course lag will exist.

      • dialogueanalog

        But that’s sad in itself isn’t it. You are getting effectively a defected product and paying top dollar for it. Knowingly people will buy GS4 even though it lags due Samsung’s own stubborn interface.

      • Ashton wilson

        but thats also whats great about android, you can easily root it and put cyanogenmod on it to get pure android.

    • mehrab

      Yeah it does in 80 percent of tests like on geekbench add the multi core and single and the 5s is 300 points forward and this is some gpu gfx tests see how much faster the 5s is.

      • Kash Gummaraju

        And how does this translate to everyday usage and performance?

      • mehrab

        I would have no answer to that question if the nexus 5 results were the 5s and the 5s ones where the nexus cos android bogs down things and is laggish in some parts even in stock. This translates very well actually apps open a second quicker some even by 2 secs and games perform MUCH MUCH better andl oad wuicker also web pGes load 1.2 secs quicker. Theres a comparison on yputube from supersaff doing a speed test between the two

  • Scott Curry

    I can’t wait for the first jailbreak for iPhone 5s (shout out to the Dev team!), then the subsequent ‘Ok Siri’ tweak….lol

    • Jeff

      There was already a tweak like this actually. You don’t say OK Siri, but Siri is always listening.

      • Jo

        It’s called voice activator, and it is made by Chpwn.

      • Jo

        It is called Voice Activator, and it is created by Chpwn. It costs 4.99 but has a lot of features. Another one is Hands Free Voice Control , cheaper but less cool.

    • n0ahcruz3

      Yeah and suck the life out of your battery fast.

  • Derp

    Android unboxing on apple site? Makes sense….

    • Jeff

      Yeah, because it’s a significant competitor. We usually cover Nexus devices because of this. i.e. Nexus 7.

      • Hwang Lee

        Wouldn’t Samsung / Motorola be the most significant competitor? Google has never really pushed their Nexus devices into the masses (except for this year’s Nexus 7, loving the ads haha).

      • Jeff

        Yes, but as far as being pure Android. I honestly can’t deal with Samsung’s add-ons. I much prefer stock Android.

      • Hwang Lee

        Yeah I understand, Samsung is way too bloated and has way too much power over Android.

      • Kash Gummaraju

        However as and Android purist, I’d like to point out that stock Android is android without any Google core apps. What you see on a nexus is Google’s own Android that hasn’t been spoiled by any carriers or manufacturers.

    • n0ahcruz3

      iDB is starting to evolve into a techsite than a Apple centric blog. I use to go BGR all the time but right now i find myself going to iDB more often for tech news. And others are infested with trolls. Lol

  • jack

    I can’t stomach android

    • Tom Brady

      Yea but it looks kinda cool tho

  • Matt

    The camera button on the bottom of the lock screen didn’t look exactly the same as iOS 7 on the exact same spot but whatever. Anyway i like the nexus 5.

    • Kash Gummaraju

      If you meant to say that it looks exactly like how it is in iOS 7 please stop. iOS 7 looks like Android. So please stop. The only thing that looks remotely ios is the little page indicators

      • Vijay Panjwani

        nooo….. ios isnt a rip off of android! it actually just removed all the skeuomorphism! you just compare ios vs ios and u’ll get the point!
        Dont be this blind, this lockscreen is a ripoff of ios7 lockscreen!

      • Kash Gummaraju

        What? So now condensing the font that has been used before ios 6 in Android is ripping off? I’ve used versions of ios 4-7 starting with betas. I know that no skeumorphism exists, but to call Android a ripoff? you’re stuck in the gingerbread era. Please stop and open your eyes, iOS 7 lockscreen ripped off of Android ice cream sandwich’s lockscreen and also many features. Don’t be blind? Maybe you should follow your own advice. I will however admit that the bottom arrow on the lockscreen is copying, but things such as transparent status bars have been featured in many ROMS and launchers for years.Please stop with the staunch iOS defending, we all know that it’s Android with square icons, no widgets, and some tweaks here and there.

      • mehrab

        The look of ios 7 is unlike anything. Android,windows,webos NOTHING LOOKS LIKE IT. Only some elements of windows phone look very similar to it for e.g the messaging app, and when you get a call the caaling flashscreen. Thats it the icons (neon based fat ones never before seen) to the details (small tweaks like spotlight search and the simplistic button layouts) to the animations to the motions (paralax on the home screen mutitasking paralex effects and also paralex inside safari, wearther app) to the fonts blurs tranparencies to the black and white colors used with a sub color in the built in apps for e.g calender app has 3 colors black and white everywhere and the sub color red for buttons and showing busy days etc.

      • Kash Gummaraju

        What kind of twisted logic is this? Windows phone ‘s design came way before

      • Kash Gummaraju

        You’re nothing but a troll who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The whole tech community has already pointed what I pointed out. That ios 7 is just a ripoff of all of the other mobile OSes.

    • Hwang Lee

      They only did that because not many people knew how to access the camera from the lockscreen.

  • Muhamad Amru Eldan

    Nexus 5 impressions in the best apple blog ^_^ what we are waiting
    please every one told that it’s performance screams and better than iPhone 5s

    They hate Camera and some of them argue about the battery life
    the 4 inch display on iPhone is very small and the IOS 7 still far behind the kitkat

  • jay

    will use it for work. looks nice but my iPhone is nicer lol but the smaller screen but never was a problem. but we know that the iPhone 6 has a bigger screen because need room for battery and hardware…

  • Michal Král

    Please, that white dot above the screen.. its a sticker or what?

    • Erick Alexander Chaviel L

      Earpiece

      • Kash Gummaraju

        speaker

  • diggitydang

    Does the “OK Google” always listening drain battery life? I found that when I tried Android, battery was draining so fast that I would turn off all of those types of features and delete widgets in hopes of extending that battery. If it doesn’t drain it, this looks like a solid device. Would still stay with my 5s though! That’s just me. Ps. Love the price of the Nexus 5 though!!

    • Hwang Lee

      No, the Snapdragon 800 has a core for low memory voice listening.

      • diggitydang

        Cool. Would love to test that out in real world, day-to-day. Again, looks like a nice device!

  • Ricky

    Does the camera has slow-mo feature

    • mehrab

      Nope

    • Every Androlid device has that available on the Play Store, here’s a nonn-english example (http://bit ly/1hfbmv4).

      • mehrab

        Please just please are you freaking serious?

      • Yeah, I’m serious, unbiased and reasonable…are you?

      • mehrab

        No ret**d thats not what i. Was talking about on the app store there are over 30 different slo mo camera apps none are even as close as to the 5s ultra smooth 120 fps at 720p you were literally misguiding the person who asked the question. For example its like comparing the real deal google now to the other voice assistants in the play store

      • Can’t have a conversation without name calling, how mature. You’re the one misleading, ’cause your comments never align with conventional logic. It’s still slow-mo kid, depending on the Android device you get, the performance will vary. Plus with Android, it can be integrated into your camera app (as a tweak) instead of being another stand-alone app for just that one function.

      • mehrab

        Its never going to be as good as a stock feature. And sppecialy an apple implemented flagship camera features

      • That’s true in the case of iOS, ’cause it’s tougher to integrate tweaks smoothly. Apple will always do it better ’cause they own/have the entire system code.

        However, since Android was built to be flexible (lots of API supporting flawless integration), that’s a questionable claim you made. It depends on the dev to take full advantage of the advanced integration APIs to get a better feature experience; it’s doable.

  • Kenny Woodard

    Doesn’t matter if you’re a Apple fanboy or not. The Nexus 5 is an amazing phone. Especially when it’s just over half the price of an iPhone 5s.

  • mehrab

    Add up the multi core and single core and the iphone 5s wins by 300 more points also this is from gfx

  • Vijay Panjwani

    That lock screen is a rip off of ios7!!

    you suck google!

    • Kash Gummaraju

      yeah lol right? I mean iOS 7’s multitasking and overall lockscreen isn’t ripped off of webOS or Android jellybean right? Or the color choices aren’t from Windows phone right? And what about the control center obviously never seen in the notification center of every android phone out there right? Yea iOS 7 is truly the most original OS ever. Come on Apple can get away with ripping off so many features but if Google adds a little arrow to the bottom it’s copying all of a sudden? Maybe it’s time to stop being so biased.

    • Did you just live your mama’s basement after the past 4 years? ‘Cause you really seem to have been misinformed of past news (http://bit ly/Hxlv6p)

  • s0me

    Jeff is Google Now creepy? What if… Apple had Siri listenting to you like that? It would have been an innovation trust me.

    • To Google: “How dare you spy on us! Silly stalker”

      To Apple: “Who cares if they’re spying on us 24/7…I got nothing to hide”

  • Kash Gummaraju

    The problem I see with people hating on Android and the Nexus 5 in general is the preconcieved notion that has been placed upon everyone who buy anything Apple, that Android is bad, android is inferior, android is dangerous, android is a copycat OS, and that all android phones have horrible build quality and battery. That’s why when someone who becomes super infatuated with an Apple product ends up hating Android when they use it. They’ve become so fixed on finding th bad stuff that they lose sight of the the increasingly high number of good things in it. Android is the exact opposite of these preconcieved notions. It was like that before ICS, but not anymore. Trust me I speak from experience. I’ve beta tested so many Android phones and each one I’ve tested with the assumption that they were bad and I never saw how good they were. I quickly grew bored and assumed that Android was bland, boring, and old. But then when I officially switched I saw the options and good things, because I switched with a positive attitude towards Android and a slightly sour one towards iOS and iPhones due to Apple’s legal actions and lack of true innovation.

  • Yehya Mansour

    Dear Jeff, We know you are secretly switching to Android but you are trying to hide it.JK.
    I did the same, I miss Apple’s old days. And I hate that every event is now a rerun for the older one. I got the Nexus 7 (still didn’t ship) and I have an iPad 3 and an iPhone 5. I’m getting a new phone this march for now its a 5s but if I liked the nexus 7 so much it will be the nexus 5. Apple is loosing ground! I don’t care about most costumers. I’m a geek and my geeky heart loves beefy hardware and tweaked software

    • Tom Brady

      You honestly like these nexus 7’s ?? I really want to switch to iPad now. Im thinking of giving this away

      • Dan

        Are you talking about Nexus 7 2013 or 2012?

        I just bought the second version (2013) and was really surprised how smooth and quick it was. HD video is great and apps run very well.

      • Tom Brady

        2012 is what I have. I don’t like it bro. It lags for no reason. And no back camera gets on my nerves

      • Dan

        That I can understand. Having compared the two, I find the 2013 version feels more solid (better quality), it’s thinner, nicer screen, has a camera etc.

      • dialogueanalog

        Hey does Project Butter still exist in Android or have they scrapped it?

    • mehrab

      Ios is mostly for the average consumers for music video watching using apps best gamaing and is highly integrated with good services and works well with other ios devices and macs. Its advanced inside but outside everything will always be simple. Android was literally designed for geek with the open sourcing and all.

  • @sexyhamthing

    Hey, last point under first impressions ‘better’ is spelt ‘beater’ 😛 and given the price… this is a competitor to two iphone 5s’

  • Cosies flatten

    You say that single core is more important for games which is absolutely not true, maybe casual games like candy crush angry birds but games like gta or any heavy games often use four or more threads.

  • mrcrtnd

    kudos for doing a fair first impression roundup of a nexus device on an apple related site. IMO neither iOS or android is objectively better than the other, they’re just different and both of them have their advantages and disadvantages. everyone has to decide for themselves which one suits them better.

  • TeChNoStyLeZ

    And as we see apple gives you the memory they promise, the 5s has almost exactly 1gb of ram while the nexus 5 has 200 mb less than it should and thats the case on most android phones. The note 3 gives you only 2,4gb of ram instead of 3gb …

  • Arthur Geron

    What does jeff do with all those smartphones and tablets? O.o I mean, he could even build an “iLibrary” with all the stuff he buys only for doing reviews.

  • Gabriel

    My iPhone 4 is already 3 years old, and needs to be replaced (home button dead, slow, etc…), and I naturally wanted to buy an iPhone 5s, but the price has kept me away since the launch, but when the Nexus 5 launched, I’m seriously thinking in changing for a Nexus 5. It sure isn’t as good on benchmark as the iPhone 5s, but it sure scores a good result. The only thing I have never deeply tried out is Android, and I’m not sure I will get used to it…
    Does anyone own an Android after owning an iPhone? If yes, how was the transition? Syncing with OS X?
    Thanks

  • Carson Greene

    “Always” listening is only on the home screen and it doesn’t work when the screen is off. So it isn’t “always,” and considering the amount of time spent on the home screen typically it isn’t really that big of a deal, at least for me.