Did the unprecedented rumor spectacle of the past few weeks months spoil everything? Or has Google and LG’s Nexus 5 delivered and impressed despite being as big of a public secret as NSA’s surveillance programs? That is the question, but it’s not the only one.
Here’s another for you. Is it worth upgrading from the now “dated” N4 to its follow-up?
Not quite a simple and straightforward yes or no question, so instead of giving a half-assed answer I’ll try to pit the two against one another, highlight as objectively as humanly possible the similarities and differences between them and then let you and just you decide. Deal?
Nexus 5 vs Nexus 4 – What’s new
- Overhauled design, new build materials, smaller bezels
The N4 was quite the looker back in the day, you can’t deny it that, yet a lot has changed in the space of 12 months. For instance, glass has failed the test and is no longer viewed as an economically wise build material to use in a mobile device. Why? In a nutshell, because it cracks far too easily.
And with aluminum losing steam too (also due to frailty, not to mention cost), it certainly makes sense for Google to now go the plastic route all the way. N4’s bezels are another design element that simply wouldn’t have cut it for a 2013 Nexus, so it’s nice to see LG shrinking them enough for the width to basically stay the same and height to only grow with 4 mm despite the N5 rocking a screen that’s 0.25 inches bigger.
Besides, the N5 is lighter than its predecessor too (130 vs 139 grams), which begs the obvious question: how in the hell did the designers pull that off?!?
Finally, as far as the design “language” goes, the best way to describe the N5 is like a cross between LG’s G2 and the Asus-made Nexus 7 2013. Which in lack of a better word is positively peachy.
- Bigger, better, brighter display
This choice was also a no-brainer seeing how the Android landscape has mutated and, though “perfect size” is primarily a matter of taste, I think we can all agree 4.95 inches is close enough to everyone’s preferences.
As for the resolution, it can’t get much better than 1,920 x 1,080 pixels… for the time being.
- Moar processing power
A quad-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor was enough to decently handle most everyday tasks on the N4, especially as it was aided by a whopping 2 GB RAM. But you know what’s better than decently handling everyday tasks?
Get every app and game known to man to run smooth as butter, courtesy of the current standard in blazing-fast mobile processing solutions: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 CPU, clocked at 2.3 GHz and paired with the same 2 gigs of RAM.
- Double the storage, OIS camera, LTE, KitKat
You can file these all under minor upgrades, only for true Nexus fans they’re probably much more important than even the processor bump. The storage options are now 16 and 32 GB instead of 8 and 16, the 8 MP rear-facing snapper has built-in optical image stabilization, 4G LTE is standard (sort of), plus there’s a delicious chocolaty treat waiting for you on the software side of things.
Now granted, Google could have upped the ante even more on storage with, say, microSD support (sweet dreams). As for software, 4.4 could land on last year’s Nexus 4 by the time I hit “publish” on this article, so yeah, that’s probably minor.
Nexus 5 vs Nexus 4 – What’s the same
In sickness and in health, for richer and poorer, Google has taken LG under its wing in 2012 and the once unlikely partnership goes on. Good or bad news? It depends on exactly what has LG learned from Nexus 4’s availability woes. Hope you understand this is your last chance to step up to the plate, eh, LG?
- Battery life (probably)
At first sight, the battery has been bumped up, now rocking 2,300 mAh capacity compared with 2,100 mAh one year ago. However, as the display is larger and brighter and the processor zippier, the fresh cell is unlikely to be more effective and resistant in real life.
I wouldn’t rule out autonomy being actually worse, which sounds like the phone’s number one Achilles’ heel, what with the N4 barely capable of running for 14 hours in continuous talk time.
Look, I appreciate a nifty gimmick as much as the next guy, but is OIS really going to improve photo quality on the Nexus phone despite the sensor remaining the same, at 8 MP? Everyone says yes, but before getting my grubby hands on the N5 or seeing the thing thoroughly tested, I’ll play the bad guy and assume nothing drastic has changed.
- Pricing (sort of)
I’m well aware the Nexus 5 starts at $349 outright via Google Play, whereas the N4 was $299 and up at first. Yet the base model rocks 16 GB of built-in storage, so exactly as much as the 2012 top-liner, which used to cost, you guessed it, 350 bucks.
Oh, and by the by, when weighing in the pros and cons of scoring a Nexus 5, be sure to put this under pros, as there was absolutely no way for Google to go lower than $350. Bottom line, not all change is good and, in this particular case, no change is exceptionally good.
Over and out and now the floor is all yours. Are you getting a Nexus 5? Is it all you fantasized about? More? Less? How come?