For a smartphone that everybody knew was coming this fall and that started making the rumor rounds… essentially as soon as its predecessor saw daylight (almost a year ago), we have to admit Google’s Nexus 5 was covered in a darn thick veil of mystery for quite some time.
Just think of what we knew about the N5 a month or so back. Exactly, nothing. Not even the name of the OEM that was going to help Big G with the handheld’s manufacturing. And let’s not remember how we all got fooled into trusting the fifth-gen Nexus phone was to come pre-loaded with Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, which, as it turns out, is not a real thing.
In the meantime though, plenty of things have come to light in a seemingly synchronized avalanche of revelations. As if someone (cough, Google, cough) wanted it all to be unraveled in order to raise hype and awareness.
Hopefully, the KLP hoax came to a full end once KitKat became official and at least a big chunk of the intel that I’ll summarize below will gain credibility as time goes by. Without further ado, here’s everything we (think we) know as far as the Google Nexus 5 is concerned.
Design and build quality
Before sinking our teeth in N5’s looks and probable build materials, let’s get something out of the way really quick. Something that’s now obvious, but that wasn’t until a few weeks back. Just as its forefather, this year’s Nexus phone will be co-branded by Google alongside LG. End of story.
Now, about that design. There’ve been a number of legit-looking fan-made concepts flying around the new media in the past weeks or so, but by far the strongest, most credible hints we have concerning N5’s exterior appearance came by way of the infamous Android 4.4 promo, several FCC internal certification documents and, last but not least, two awfully short “hands-on videos”.
Based on all of this (though I find the latest leak, caused by the alleged forgetting of a working N5 prototype in a bar, a tad fishy), we can be sure (or close enough) the LG G2 worked as an inspiration for the latest “pure Google phone”. And in a way, the new Nexus 7 too.
As far as we can tell, the Nexus will be ever so slightly smaller than the G2, chunkier, with thicker bezels and, the most important change of all, with no physical buttons on the back. Likely entirely made of plastic, the N5 will not be shallow or cheap-looking, but it won’t breathe elegance through its every pore (like the HTC One or Galaxy Note 3) either.
Hardware features – display, processor, camera
There’s absolutely no way Google and LG will go for a screen resolution clocking in below Full HD numbers (1,920 x 1,080 pixels), but the size is not yet set in stone. There’s concrete proof from the FCC that the LG D820 will boast a 5-inch panel (give or take 0.05 inches), albeit I’d personally like to wait for more evidence supporting the D820 and Nexus 5 are one and the same. And I mean something other than @evleaks’ notorious retraction of one of his tweets.
Meanwhile, if Google wants to take on today’s Android heavyweights, a quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU and 2 GB of RAM should run the beneath-the-hood show. Other rumored yet not so certain features include a state-of-the-art 16 MP rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization, plus all the works in the connectivity department (NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and even 4G LTE).
As far as software goes, it should all start with 16 gigs this time around (not 8), almost definitely sans external expansion options, whereas the battery is tipped to pack 2,300 mAh, which is 200 mAh more than the Nexus 4, but a whopping 700 mAh less than the G2.
A fairly bonkers theory is being currently circulated online following the fishy discovery of that purported Nexus 5 pre-release unit in a public house, namely that the handheld might actually end up running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out the box and not 4.4 KitKat. Chances of that becoming reality? Zero.
More so as details about specific 4.4 updates and tweaks have started trickling in. Like redesigned notification widgets and new Gallery Visualization. Now granted, KitKat is unlikely to considerably up the ante in the aesthetics or performance departments compared with Jelly Bean.
But that’s exactly why there’s absolutely no logical reason why Google would want to hold off on flavoring the N5 with the new OS. And besides, who doesn’t like Kit Kats? They’re sweet, crunchy and just all-around scrumptious.
Release date, pricing and availability
As the Nexus 4 has been officially unveiled on October 29, 2012 and made available a couple of weeks later, the rumor about the sequel getting a formal intro on October 14, 2013 sounds just about right.
But where does that put the commercial launch? Sometime around November 1, one would assume, though who knows, maybe Google will want to surprise the world and thus roll the thing out a week or so after the announcement.
In terms of pricing, I hope you’re up to date with your heart medication, because chances are the Nexus 5 will start at an incredibly cheap $300. Off-contract. With 16 GB of internal storage space. No LTE, of course, but even the 4G-enabled variant could cost as less as 400 bucks. Sheesh, next thing you know, Larry Page will be handing these for free on the streets. Not that anyone’s complaining. Far from it, eh?