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Round-up: everything you need to know about the Nexus 5!


Boy, was yesterday a wild day. Google decided to straight out release the Nexus 5, with no announcement or warnings. It was all way too exciting and we were running around the office trying to cover all the news and details for you. What about today? Today we are suffering from what I will start calling a “Nexus hangover”.

We now have our heads back where they should be, though. We are all calm and relaxed, so it’s time to take a look back and examine everything we saw about the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat.

The sudden unveiling of the Nexus 5


This has to be one of the weirdest launches in tech. There were no announcements or details from Google. We were literally about to start our weekly podcast when BOOM… the Nexus 5 is now available for purchase.

As it can be expected from a Nexus device, the Nexus 5 started selling out very quickly. We are sure many of you (us too) just went for it and bought it on first impulse. We can’t blame you, the phone is a beauty, with awesome specs and a price that is beat by none. What exactly are we getting for $349?Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 3.12.29 PM

Nexus 5 specs

  • 5-inch display with 1920×1080 resolution
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800, 2.3GHz
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front camera
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 16GB / 32GB of internal storage
  • WiFi ac, NFC, and Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • 2,300 mAh battery with wireless charging built-in
  • microUSB with SlimPort

Yes, the phone is not “the best” in terms of specs, but it is very capable! More so than some of the other $600+ devices. And for the price, you really can’t complain.

Finally – a Nexus device with a decent camera!

We have some sample images from the Nexus 5 and boy are things looking good! Nexus phones have never been popular for having quality cameras, so this comes as a great Halloween treat to all of us. Below you will find one of the images, you can check out the Nexus 5 image samples post to see more.


Nexus 5 official accessories

You probably want to protect your investment with a case. Google has some nice ones for you, but they won’t be as affordable. We have a bumper case and a Quick Cover case, going for $35 and $50, relatively.

What carriers can I activate the Nexus 5 on?

We talked about this a bit in the podcast. A phone is really not much without service, and having nice options is always good. This is an unlocked device, so you can activate it with any GSM carrier of your choice. The “big guys” will be AT&T and T-Mobile.

Nexus 5What about CDMA carriers? After all, the phone does sport CDMA radios. Well, you can leave Verizon out of the picture here. Verizon will not support anything that doesn’t come from them. Unless Verizon releases a Nexus 5 (and there seem to be no plans for that), you will not be able to use the Nexus 5 in their network.

Now let’s go into the juicy stuff. The following news really threw me off my chair – you can purchase a Nexus 5 from the Play Store and activate it on Sprint! This is huge a huge move for a CDMA carrier. Such carriers usually keep things locked to their own devices, due to compatibility and support.

Why is Sprint allowing this? Chances are their own device is the same and they are just going easy on it. Sprint and T-Mobile will have the Nexus 5 available soon, so you can also get the devices straight from them.

Let’s talk Android 4.4 KitKAt


Along with the Nexus 5 comes Android 4.4 KitKat. In many ways, software is much more important than hardware, so this could have been the biggest news for you. The improved Android version comes with some good updates, which you can read all about in our official Android 4.4 announcement article. You can also watch 56 minutes of video that will tell you all about Android 4.4 KitKat.

The biggest step that Android 4.4 takes is that it is optimized to run even on lower-end devices (only needs 512 MB of RAM to run). Now this doesn’t mean all of our old phones will be updated. That is based on the manufacturer and how they choose to spend their time and resources. All this means is the manufacturer CAN update lower-end phones if it wants.

Moto X video leak Hello Google NowMy favorite feature is the ability to launch Google Now via voice from the home screen. Simply say “OK Google” and you can start voice searching whatever your heart desires. This is not as awesome as Motorola’s always-listening features, but it’s cool nonetheless.

Other improvements include the new Hangouts app, which is not complete yet (needs Google Voice calling), but it does support SMS and MMS now. There is also Caller ID for unknown numbers (mainly to identify local businesses), built-in Cloud printing and more.

When will my phone get Android 4.4 KitKat?

nexus devices nexus 10 7 4If you don’t have a Nexus or Google Play Edition device, you will more than likely have to wait months before you get a taste of delicious KitKat. We know what devices Motorola is planning to update, as well as HTC, but we don’t know when. Now if you happen to be under Google’s wing, things are very different.

In fact, Nexus and Google Play Edition devices will be getting Android 4.4 within “a few weeks”. This includes the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition and HTC One Google Play Edition.

We suppose those with older Nexus devices are out of luck. Everything that is born has to die some day, guys. Who knows, maybe Google will update those older devices later!

Download the Android 4.4/Nexus 5 apps!

Excited about Android 4.4 KitKat but won’t be getting the Nexus 5? Maybe you want to get a taste of what the improved experience will be like, so we took the Android 4.4 factory image and took it all apart. The result? The APK files for the new apps and software!

Now, be warned that some of these apps won’t work. That or they have to be installed directly into system/apps, and even then they may crash. You have to know your way around. It’s kind of a hit or miss situation, but you can join the conversation in the articles’ comment sections to see how it is all working for others.

The most popular problem we found was that Voice Search was crashing when installed (from the Google Experience Launcher article). One of our readers found a quick way to fix it, but we are not sure it will work for everybody.

Here is the fix:

  • Long press the home screen, select Settings.
  • Select Voice.
  • Select Language to change the default.
  • Change to another language, I choose English – UK.
  • Hit Home.
  • Do a Google Search.
  • Repeat the first three steps.
  • Change back to English – US.

If this doesn’t work, you may have to have root access in order to make this work. The library file can be replaced if you have root access, which can fix the problem permanently. Or the problem can come back after a reboot. Like we said, it’s all hit or miss… and can get complicated.

Should I get the Nexus 5

We put together an awesome comparison post. It includes the Nexus 5 (of course) and other popular phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5S. The Nexus 5 fairs very well against the big guys, but is it worth your hard-earned cash?

It depends. If you are looking to get a phone off-contract and your carrier of choice supports the device, we say HELL YEAH! You won’t get more bang for your buck. There is simply no better phone at the Nexus 5’s price range.


Check out all of our Nexus 5 and KitKat coverage to learn more. And don’t forget to join the conversation at the Nexus 5 forums!

Edgar Cervantes

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  1. Hey Phandroid, any way you guys can get any sample shots of the front facing cam?

    1. Tough until we get our hands on the device, which should be very soon as I think both Chris and Quentyn’s have shipped

  2. I just think for the price any one with compatible carrier should buy the N5 even to use it as backup phone.

    1. Agreed, you just can’t beat this type of deal!!

  3. If I wanted to be contract free, then I’d get this phone. Right now though, carriers won’t give me a better deal even if I’m off contract, so there’s no advantage to me. For the same price or cheaper (by 50%), I can get a Note 3/Xperia Z1 or Lumia 1080. This phone is not for me, but still looks pretty good.

    1. T-mobile.

      1. I’m in Canada, don’t think it works the same way

        1. Yeah you’re screwed by the Canadian carriers.

          1. yeah that was my understanding lol

    2. Do what I do, use my upgrade to buy a phone and sell it full price. Covers the cost of the Nexus.

      1. That’s how I used to as well.

    3. Have you considered your MVNO options? Or is your motive to keep the “unlimited” 7GBs unthrottled data?

      1. MVNO? I’m in Canada, haven’t heard of this

        1. Forget I said anything;-) based on the phones you listed, I thought you were with At&t, but I can see where you’re coming from. Telus, though may be offering this direct. BTW, an MVNO(mobile virtual network operator) is a company that sells mobile service, but is using a larger company’s towers.

    4. The only advantage to me is the fact that the Nexus line gets the new Android versions 1st, but since most American carriers don’t give a discount for bringing your own device it may not be a benefit to all.

      1. yeah canadian carriers don’t either

      2. First of all, that alone is a pretty substantial advantage. You also get untouched Android which is something I’ve come to really love after just a few months of Nexus 4 and 7 ownership. But if you’re using this phone with a standard carrier plan that you would get from buying a subsidized device, you’re doing it wrong.

        1. Go on.. Cause right now I’m using my nexus 4(5 soon) on AT&T. I’m on my family plan 2GB with 3 lines. I don’t use any updates I leave that for them and I just use my nexus. I’d switch to tmob but no LTE in STL plus.. I’m not paying for anything! So that’s good. I’d really love more data tho is the main thing 2GB for me is not enough. I’ve thought about straight talk..

      3. T-Mobile gives you a discount for bringing your own device.

    5. That sucks. Over here (UK) i’ll be changing from a contract on £35 a month (had a free Galaxy Nexus on that) to pay as you go for £15 a month. Will still get uncapped, unlimited 3g (and then 4g when it rolls out) data.

      The pricing on the Nexus devices makes it a no brainer for me compared to a 2 year contract – save around £200

    6. T-Mobile will give you a better deal. so there is a HUGE advantage…….. especially with their unlimited data plan, no limits, no caps, no throttling.

  4. Slow day huh..

    1. Understandably, right? I’m happy either way, as the N5 will be in my hands soon!

      1. No it won’t.

        1. I beg to differ, hipster, as I just got shipment notification. Leave now troll.

  5. That is a very attractive phone in specs, price, and appearance. Well done LG.

  6. Not mention of what Verizon and Google will do?
    Is there a CDMA LTE version coming?
    Snap Dragon, HD res, 2GB of RAM, Wifi AC :) etc..
    I never thought I could afford to buy a phone cash.. Now the reality of owning a decent phone with top notch features LOOKS real. Just waiting for my carrier to be included in all this KitKat sweetness.

    1. No. This phone is never, ever coming to Verizon. Get a new carrier.

    2. You can get this on Sprint.
      Just a FYI, the Galaxy Nexus was actually not a Google/Verizon collaboration. Verizon and Samsung actually partnered to bring the GNex to their network. I got that info directly from a Google representative about a year ago.

    3. You need to punish your carrier for this BS. Leave.

      1. Totally agree, the carrier loyalty people have to Verizon pains me to no end… I understand if you’re in a rural area and it’s your only provider, but for everyone else, take your money to a company that treats their customers better.

        1. The only way to get Verizon to change their ways is for people to leave them in droves. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case–Verizon continues to gain customers.

  7. F-U Verizon.

    1. Only 2300 mah battery? Lol the nexus 4 probably lasts longer.

      Sad really.

  8. Congrats to those of you that are getting this next week! Can’t wait for user feedback and the reviews that are sure to come soon! WOO HOO!

  9. the Nexus 5 supports Verizon towers correct? so why can’t I just purchase one from Google and add it to my Verizon account?

    1. As tomn1ce said, you’ll need CDMA for voice until VoLTE comes, but the other matter is that it doesn’t support Verizon’s main LTE band, 13, only the newly launched band 4.

    2. you can insert a verizon LTE sim card into a Nexus5…….. and use it for LTE but not for voice minutes, because Verizon is a pain…. that’s why…

      1. The N5 doesn’t support Verizon’s LTE band.

    3. It doesn’t support Verizon’s LTE band. And Verizon would won’t activate phones they don’t approve of. If you want Nexus phones, leave Verizon… they’ll never be another Verizon Nexus after the disasterous Verizon GNex.

  10. I think I’m going to wait a month or two so whatever bugs and or kinks the nexus 5 has get fixed. if any.

    1. I think that you’ll need CDMA for voice at this time with vzw. Besides vzw has to approve the device before it can get on its network. Look what happen with the new N7, vzw still hasn’t approved it to work on its network even though it has its LTE bands.

  11. F**K U LG.
    No Update to G, G Pro, G2

    1. What’d you expect? those phones are not Nexus phones……. This is why you get a Nexus phone.

      1. Nexus : No EXternal battery & Upped Storage version 5.
        This is What I hate about nexus.

        1. if you use google’s auto photo/video backup, where you get unlimited cloud storage for standard size photos/videos, you could still access all those videos/pics you take, keep them private or share them easily, plus, with the 32gb Nexus5, its not the perfect solution, but its the best solution at the moment, in my opinion.

  12. One of the rumors from the reddit post yesterday mentioned an offer for 100 GB of drive storage and a full backup solution a la iCloud, did that prove to be false?

    1. I would totally like to know this as well… I’ve been wondering…

  13. It was forgotten to mention that the battery is AGAIN non removable. What a pain. These devices consume so much battery. Htc one has a battery case from a repectable company. Please don’t call Zerolemon or muggen battery cases.

    1. It’s pretty much a given that any Nexus device beyond Galaxy Nexus will not have a removable battery. Google just isn’t going to do it.

      1. I agree, Come one people.

    2. Welcome to…. 2011? Oh and throw micro SD into that old rant.

      1. Just to let you know there are services to use as dropbox among others to help with your needs for extra memory. But since you are still living in the 2011 as you mentioned ,you probably have not heard of Samsung Galaxy S 4 google edition with a remov. Battery. Anyway….just get updated man and live the 2013.

        Good luck.

        1. Yeah it’s 2013 so we have to settle for tiny amounts of internal storage and really slow online storage
          Actually we don’t. Thank you Samsung!

          1. I wonder if USB OTG will work on the N5, that plus a fat USB stick should work for me.

    3. The nexus 4 battery was replaceable with only a couple screws, I imagine the N5 will be the same for when the battery gets old.
      For the few times I need more than a day of charge and I’m not going to be near an outlet, a USB cable for laptop charging, or a car charger, or a battery case, or portable charger should suffice for most.

  14. IMHO the only thing fail about the Nexus 5 and KitKat is the announcement. No press release, and any hands-on videos were very short and lackluster. This is not your first rodeo, Google and most of your product releases were much more organized. Not sure what happened here..

    That being said my Nexus 5 is on the way and I’m glad it finally came out :)

    1. They already got plenty of hype with the leaks. They didn’t need any special announcements and they already sold their inventory out for 2-3 weeks.

      1. That is not, I believe, the point which the author was begrudging. The whole marketing strategy was a game of informational embargo and teasing to a degree that was perhaps superfluous. Indeed, the announcement procedure, or rather lack thereof, was a testament to this trend of not communicating directly with customers, but rather seizing upon hype and throttling information through third parties.

        People are very excited about the new products. However, there also people who are less excited. In either event, both groups shared a common aspect of thought yesterday amidst the clamor from both groups, and that aspect was one of confusion as to the nature of the launch and the specifics of the product.

        There are reasons for holding out on information to the last minute, but they are reasons benefiting the producer rather than the consumer. In the past, Google has billed themselves as a customer focused company, and they are continuing to run with that claim in their marketing of G+ as the social platform that “meets the needs” of the consumer. However, their Nexus and KitKat marketing campaign speaks to a company with a focus that is not directly concerned with the human needs of the customer.

        Google is not evil, they are just changing into a different kind of competitive company. I am not entirely comfortable with the recent shifts in their ethical commerce philosophy, but it is what it is.

        1. The main point he made was that the announcement was a failure, but considering the outcome it wasn’t much of a failure. It was more of his personal opinion on how it happened.

          1. Precisely, I do not see the misunderstanding. Success is more than selling units, and the manner by which or “how” can still be a failure even if there’s a commercial success… I can think of many successful business practices that are of questionable integrity that fail to meet certain standards of responsibility and ethics.

          2. In this situation I would see a big announcement event as just persuasion and convincing people that the phone is some magical device. Just releasing it and letting people decide for themselves seems more ethical.

          3. Well, that isn’t illogical. However, I ask you to consider the following:

            They had lots of simple events for lesser announcements (enter G+). These are events that they did not hype up either, they just announced it. Add further that they announced these events very quickly and in the building tension of a hardware release that they themselves created. Witholding information about a product is often about protecting yourself against the competition so they can’t come in and undercut you or, to protect backlash from customers when the final specs of a device aren’t fixed and might change.

            With no information released, and no option for pre-order, Google essentially set themselves up for a demand issue. By dropping the pin in the middle of the day, people were encouraged to make split-second purchases on a product of questionable supply. People were confused about what exactly they were buying and were frustrated they had to go through a patchwork of third parties to piece together the whole image. Now, if people want to buy a product on impulse demand, that’s their business, but I don’t think it is proper to prime an environment that leads to such an incidence of impulse demands and purchases.

            The fact of the matter is, Google invested a great deal into the launch of this product, the least they could have done was hold an event where their excitement was explained and questions could be addressed. For instance, what’s the deal with android and tablets? How’s the Nexus 10.2 coming? Is that slated to be soon as well?

            A large grandiose event isn’t necessary, but a simply video made in their conference hall explaining the device and addressing questions would have been the responsible thing to do at such a launch to make sure that the market was clear about your product.

            If Google had announced a few weeks back that they had planned to release the Nexus 5 right now, they could have taken stock of the demand and released the phones such that more people had them in hand during the release, and people knew the product they were purchasing. However, that would eliminate the incidence of impulse buying by a great deal, since people who might have had interest in the phone would have a few weeks to decide that, perhaps, it wasn’t a product that matches their needs completely.

            Thus, the lack of announcement taken by itself isn’t as much an issue, unless you consider the stage upon which this was set. They’ve already done the “making people think its magical” thing by hyping the device up and letting the rumor and leaks hit a fever pitch. An announcement wouldn’t have been a marketing strategy to convince people “its magical,” but a way to help introduce the product and dispel rumor and otherwise address any confusion. That’s why it is ethical, not because the people need a spectacle.

          4. While I agree that there should have been some kind of official announcement (at least a G+ announcement), you have to remember that the Nexus phones have never really been marketed to the masses. They’ve always been intended primarily for developers and those of us who must have the latest and greatest version of Android. Having said that, Google really ought to market this more broadly, and perhaps push the advantages of an off-contract, unlocked phone. Most Americans just don’t get that when they buy a cheap discounted (locked) phone on 2 year contract, they end of paying more in the end. Buying a Nexus through the Play Store is cheaper than most off-contract phones as it is, you’ll save on the service, and can switch carriers as you like.

          5. In past years they told people that it was coming out soon and there was complaints why it wasn’t just available. The Nexus One launch, people pretty much ignored the event after it was stated that the order page was available. There was no point to taking stock on how many people wanted it since there is a lot of people who wanted it. Google announced it to the Dev blog which was where most of the demand was coming from. They announce it and it was available for purchase. google stocked up themselves and in other retail channels to get this out. Out of all the launches, this one went off relatively well. There was plenty of information on their site when it launched. Most of the people were already to buy it anyways.

      2. exactly…. if they would have announced it, Chris would of said “Today Google announced the Nexus 5, while we did not learn more than we already knew from previous leaks, the new list of Android 4.4 gives us a much more in depth look at the new features available.”

    2. Meh.

      Personally, I’m tired of the big, expensive, lavish laser light convention shows that have typified recent product/OS releases.

      Waste of time and money.

      It doesn’t matter if Google rents out Carnegie Hall or just sends out notifications to setup a massive Hangout, in the end us nerds will find out about it from the internet and will likely already know if it is good or bad. Normal people won’t care about the release day and won’t know about the change unless the company spends money to advertise on TV.

      1. I happen to know a normal person who doesnt follow the tech news…. they Purchased a Galaxy Nexus phone in october of last year….. of course one month later the Nexus4 was released…. for the same exact price….. If there would have been some announcement on tv or somewhere where average people see, perhaps that person would have waited until November…

        1. That’s exactly why manufacturers and carriers try to say as little as possible ahead of time about new phones, they don’t want people to stop buying the older model and wait for the new, leaving unsellable inventory of the older model.

          1. I was refuting Dan’s point where he said normal people don’t care about the release day…. because apparently they do care…

    3. I’m glad they didn’t have some big announcement event, it ends up being a bunch of persuasive garbage just to announce a little bit of info on a product and then release it.

      1. Perhaps so but next time I would at least like a countdown timer just to be prepared (mentally and monetarily)

        1. ALWAYS be mentally and monetarily prepared for a Nexus.

  15. Hey Edgar,

    I posted this in another thread (from Chris Chavez). Can either yourself of Chris please write an article on nexus 5 compatibility w/ AT&T? Thanks!



    1. You do understand that the N5 is fully compatible with At&t, HSPA+ and LTE, as they currently stand, right?

      1. No, not when I first posted this. But after getting replies from other posters and online research its staying to make more sense. I was, initially, concerned that N5 was only compatible with only a few AT&T band and I would not have signal in some areas where AT&T did have coverage. But, from the sounds of it, Nexus 5 does indeed support all of the AT&T bands. Thanks!

  16. Not “everything.” What about the type of SIM it will use on Sprint? If your current phone uses a microSIM can it be used in the Nexus 5? If so, can we activate it online, or do we have to call *2 to tie the SIM to the account? So many questions here.

    1. Yes to the micro SIM q, but the activation for CDMA is unknown, though I’d bet so since Sprint’s behind the phone.

  17. Why should I possibly spend $35-50 for a case when I can get a Cruzerlite Androidified case for less than $13?! I just bought a Cruzerlite case for the third time.

    Seriously, go check out Cruzerlite before you spend big bucks on on of the cases in the Play Store.

    1. TPU rocks, enough said.

  18. Dumb question here. I’ve been stuck with my Evo 4G, and was going to finally replace it this weekend. I’ve had a lot of low memory issues lately, even to the point of removing apps and putting everything I could on SD card. This looks like cool phone from what you say, but should I be concerned about the lack of SD card?

    1. I’m more concerned about the smallish and non-removable battery. This is the only issue that might me to have to send it back.

    2. Don’t know if this helps http://www.meenova.com/st/p/m3r.html .
      Apart from that, go for N5 eyes shut!

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