Nexus 5 First Impressions: A Great, Search-Centric Smartphone

Google Nexus 5Google shipped out demo versions of the Nexus 5 late last week. People are still receiving them today. I got one on Friday and have been using it on WiFi ever since. (I haven’t tried it on a wireless network and can’t speak to the LTE experience.)

The phone immediately sold out of its initial supply online. Both the 16GB and 32GB versions now require a wait time of at least 3 – 4 weeks (4 – 5 weeks in the case of the 16GB version).

This won’t be a comprehensive Nexus 5 handset review or a complete review of Android 4.4 “KitKat.” If you’re looking for complete rundowns on the handset or its specs and how it compares to other so-called flagship phones, below are a few representative reviews:

Basically I agree with the thrust of these reviews: the Nexus 5 is the best unlocked phone on the market for the price.

The 16GB version is $349. Its screen is larger and the device is lighter than its immediate predecessor the Nexus 4, also made by LG. It also runs on LTE networks; the Nexus 4 does not. That’s a meaningful difference and a reason to upgrade if you have a Nexus 4.

Nexus 5 search results

Overall the phone felt quite a bit snappier and faster than the Nexus 4 and the Galaxy Nexus, both of which I have.

Several reviews have complained about the camera. I haven’t tested the camera extensively but haven’t had any noticeable problems. In general I think the Android camera is more difficult to use and takes lower-quality pictures than the iPhone’s camera.

Having said that this is a helluva phone for $349. An unlocked 16GB iPhone 5s costs $649 — almost twice the price. Is the iPhone 5s twice as “good”? Probably not. If you want an unlocked phone and don’t have money to burn the Nexus 5 is clearly the way to go.

Google has pushed Google Now and search even more to the center of the Nexus experience with KitKat. Google Now can be accessed with the familiar up-swipe but also by swiping left-to-right on the home screen. The search bar is more persistent. And just as with the Moto X, users can initiate a hands free search by saying “OK Google.”

That’s a very useful, even addictive feature. Indeed, I found myself using “OK Google” a lot over the weekend. In fact I noticed how much more I was searching (and using Google Now) on the Nexus 5 vs. the Nexus 4 and my iPhone. Apps took something of a back seat for me on the device. This is clearly what Google wants: more mobile searching, less non-Google app using.

The bright, 1080p 5-inch screen makes conventional Google search results both more visible and practical to use. Often there are three mobile ads in response to commercial queries, leaving only one organic result above the fold.

When you first “unbox” the device it doesn’t necessarily feel like the “new Google flagship.” There’s a missing “wow” factor. Nonetheless it’s an excellent phone overall — especially for the price.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Android | Google: Google Now | Google: Mobile | Top News

Sponsored


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



SearchCap:

Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://www.inmarketingwetrust.com.au/ Albert Mai

    I totally with you that Nexus 5 is the best smartphone at $349. Integrated Google Now into home screen is a bit annoying at the start and takes time to get used to it. Search and Google Map is integrated into phone dial so you even can search for location and business to call them directly in dial mode. Caller ID feature will pull information and image or logo of local business when a call from number is not in my contact. This stresses the importance of setting up Local SEO for businesses.

  • http://www.inmarketingwetrust.com.au/ Albert Mai

    I totally with you that Nexus 5 is the best smartphone at $349. Integrated Google Now into home screen is a bit annoying at the start and takes time to get used to it. Search and Google Map is integrated into phone dial so you even can search for location and business to call them directly in dial mode. Caller ID feature will pull information and image or logo of local business when a call from number is not in my contact. This stresses the importance of setting up Local SEO for businesses.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide