Having been an iPhone user since 2007, Android always left me feeling a bit cold, mainly due to the lack of polish in Android apps. That’s changed somewhat over the years, with Google starting to take big steps to surpass its mobile rival.
When Google finally confirmed the Nexus 5, I immediately decided to buy it. It’s my first Android device since the Galaxy SIII — a device that worked well but was a total nightmare to hold. I received my new Nexus yesterday and have spent a day customizing and getting to grips with Google’s new Android 4.4 KitKat operating system.
Here are my first thoughts:
- The device is light and easy to hold in the hand. While it features a 4.95-inch display, I don’t feel that it’s too big (and that’s coming from the 4-inch iPhone 5).
- The camera is good, not stand-out good but decent. Quality suffers in low light conditions (as expected), but for the shots I want to take on a daily basis, it performs exactly as I need it to. Android is still let down by the default Camera app.
- The battery lasts around a day, depending on usage. I ran it flat yesterday evening when I literally didn’t put it down for 5-6 hours, but it’s lasted 14 hours so far today and it’s got 19 percent left.
- KitKat is buttery smooth, the lag previously associated with Android devices appears to have been eradicated. That’s helped by the Nexus 5’s Snapdragon 800 processor, but apps load super fast and I don’t feel like I’m waiting for the OS to catch up any more.
- While the KitKat UI is really slick, there are some annoyances. Firstly, homescreen app icons are gigantic and waste a lot of the device’s big 4.95-inch screen. There’s currently no way to resize them. Secondly, if you look really closely, you’ll notice the mobile signal indicator is a couple of pixels lower than the Wi-Fi indicator and the battery icon. CAN’T UNSEE.
- Dialer search is really cool, makes finding and calling people a breeze.
- Photos app is brilliant, fuses both your online and local photos and splits them into numerous categories. I upload all of my photos to Google+ for safe-keeping, so this is perfect for me.
- Not sold on Hangouts as the default SMS app. I understand Google is trying to unify services but it feels a bit alien. I’m looking for a replacement SMS app but most don’t seem all that worthy.
I’m only 24 hours in so I’m not going to do a full review. I can say that I have finally found an Android device that earns its place as my daily driver. I spend a lot of time using Google services for work so Android increasingly feels like a better fit for me. I intend to take the Nexus 5 to some different locations to test the camera, I’ll post them up here in due course.
I just realised I didn’t update people on where I went after I left The Verge — let me rectify that.
I’m proud to share that I am now Associate European Editor at Engadget, working to build UK content and bring more relevant news, reports and features to the site. It’s a pretty awesome team and I’m already enjoying sitting around the Engadget table. There’s a lot coming, I’m excited to share it with you all.
Monday was my last official day at The Verge after six months and over 300 posts. While I am (and have been) spending some quality time with my family — as we cling on the the last of an unexpectedly decent British summer — I’m very eager to share news of my next steps, but must keep that excitement on hold for now.
I can be contacted via my personal email address until that time.