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Nexus 5: The Phone I Left Apple For

Ben Robinson

I wanted something different, something fresh and exciting.
There are 3 colours available. Black, White and Red.

There are 3 colours available. Black, White and Red.

I've been entrenched in the Apple ecosystem since the iPhone 3G. With each new iteration I'd upgrade without a second thought. And then this came long, the Nexus 5 from Google, and I have to say... it's pretty great. I was actually late on the boat buying one. By the time I got mine the Nexus had already been released almost 6 months prior. The red became available in Australia through the Google Play Store on Valentines Day. (Well played, guys.) However, it wasn't the phone that got my attention, it was the colour. The red jumped at me. I wanted something different, something fresh, exciting. This filled that gap.

8MP camera with Optical Image Stabilisation.

8MP camera with Optical Image Stabilisation.

I barely took notice of other smartphones on the market, but this made me reconsider that.
It's thin, and light. 4.59 ounces (130g).

It's thin, and light. 4.59 ounces (130g).

Okay, so let's talk why I left Apple. In short, it just made sense. And to be honest, I didn't need to think too hard about it. I had been using iOS forever and I was bored. I wanted to see what all the hype with Android was about. They currently hold a 58.5% marketshare over iOS at 33.9%, a good enough reason to contemplate switching. Practically all of my family and friends use an iPhone so it was difficult to get a real sense of the Android OS in person, so I did what anyone does, I researched the hell out of it online. I'll elaborate more below on why I decided to go with the Nexus 5, and what I like / don't like.

You form such strong habits with technology now that it was hard to break the usual steps of accessing something.

Firstly, it's built really well. It grabs your attention. The display - something holding me back but eventually pushed me forward was the size. It has a 5" screen, which looks gorgeous by the way. Navigating apps and browsing the web are a pleasure and it shines with HD video. There have been reports of the display being a little too bright or over saturated but I haven't noticed. It has to be said though - Instagram looks blocky and rough, which may be a real deal-breaker for some, it almost was for me. This is an issue with the app, not the phone itself, which I'm sure the developers will fix in time. The handset is relatively large, which in the beginning did concern me as it felt too wide to grip, but you adapt to it. I have average sized hands, but someone smaller may struggle.

Instagram looks blocky and pixelated on Android. The developers really need to fix this. Also note the red earpiece.

Instagram looks blocky and pixelated on Android. The developers really need to fix this. Also note the red earpiece.

A beautiful display, hit and miss camera and clean design.
Running Android 4.4 KitKat with a custom theme applied.

Running Android 4.4 KitKat with a custom theme applied.

The camera is really hit and miss. It's fairly poor in low light, but redeems itself in well exposed situations. Being someone who uses the camera often this did concern me. I'm happy to say that I've started seeing improvements. Maybe it's just me but the quality of images has gotten better in the last week or so. I still firmly believe that the iPhone 5S has the best camera compared to any other smartphone, but the Nexus isn't shy of taking a great picture too.

There were some teething problems to begin with.

As I mentioned earlier this is the first Android phone I've owned and there were some teething problems to begin with. You form such strong habits with technology now that it was hard to break the usual steps of accessing something or sending a simple text message. You have to change your thought process. Not because it's necessarily hard or anything. It's not. It just takes time to move into a new way of thinking. KitKit 4.4 is straightforward to use. One of my biggest complaints is the SMS predictive text and auto-correct. It's pretty terrible. The simplest of mistakes is ignored and not changed automatically. And the keyboard does struggle with input recognition. Maybe it's me, but it really becomes frustrating after a while. So much so I groaned out loud several times. It really was that annoying.

The lens doesn't sit flush with the back of the phone.

The lens doesn't sit flush with the back of the phone.

The information is presented clearly and feels really organic.
Google Now Interface. 

Google Now Interface. 

Google Now is fantastic. The speech to search works extremely well and even outperformed iOS' Siri at times. The information is presented clearly and feels really organic as it delivers relevant news and updated information such a weather, sports results and news. You can even set your journey directions to and from home or work. I used the public transport option and it saved me a lot of time. It's constantly updating based on your location. This feels what Siri should have been and what it could be. Google have really nailed the design. No doubt it will improve and shine ever further once the lineup of Google Wear products are released. The Moto 360 in particular, which I'm buying on day one. I need that in my life.

Again, here's another drawback - The battery. With the screen brightness fully lit and regular daily use (watching videos, social networks, taking photos) I barely got a 7 hour charge. I know, that sounds bad. But a couple of weeks and charges later it has improved and I do get a full 8 - 12 hour work day out of it, but once you turn up that brightness and use it heavily the battery fades away fast. There are steps to improve this obviously - turning off push emails, notifications and other background tasks. But for me personally I keep these running as it fits my daily lifestyle and I regularly have access to charging. Google specifies that you should get "Internet use time up to 8.5 hours on Wi-Fi, up to 7 hours on LTE".

A surprisingly high quality cheap 3rd party case purchased online.

A surprisingly high quality cheap 3rd party case purchased online.

So, would I recommend this to you? Absolutely. Should you get your hands on one first and try out the Android OS? Most definitely. Did I make the right choice changing? Perhaps, but it's starting to become clear that I did. I need to stress that I was a dedicated Apple-only user. I barely took notice of other smartphones on the market, but this made me reconsider that, and so should you. Who knows what the future holds, but for now and for me, it's the Nexus 5.

Design: A, Camera B+, Battery B-, Price A+.