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Nexus 5: Dispelling the Myths
As it usually is with every new phone release, especially those of importance throughout the year, there's typically a few things about these phones that people latch onto as "fact", causing others who were considering the phone to either dismiss it completely or hesitate. It's frustrating for these people as they may have intended to buy the phone, only to second guess their decision based on an outpouring of opinions on a forum like this. Having used over 50 different smartphones over the past 3 years, I believe I'm more than capable of providing some insight on these subjects and hopefully help make the decision process a little easier for those still on the fence.
History with battery life on high-end smartphones tells us that the phones with smaller battery sizes typically are pretty awful on battery life. In late 2013, 2300 mah isn't exactly a large battery when compared to the 2600 mah of the Galaxy S4, 3000 mah of the LG G2, and the 3200 mah battery of the Note 3. More specifically, the Nexus 4 last year shipped with a 2100 mah battery, making the Nexus 5 only a modest increase in battery size. Adding LTE, a 1080p 5-inch screen, and a higher-clocked CPU would tend to make one think that the battery probably won't be that big of an upgrade over the Nexus 4. So with that said, there's a lot of "Nexus 5 has terrible battery life" lines out there, from forums like this to reviews from tech sites. The truth? It's not terrible at all. In fact, it's actually above average.
The Snapdragon 800 is an efficient CPU that handles processes very quickly, rarely needs to use the full 2.3ghz, and handles LTE as efficiently as I've seen. With a full charge starting at 7AM, I'm on LTE for 11 hours during the work day. I send a fair amount of text messages, typically have around 20 minutes of voice calls, and spend most of the time syncing 2 email accounts and browsing Facebook/Twitter. On the way to/from work, I'm listening to Google Play Music that's stored locally on the device for about an hour and a half total. By 6PM, I've usually put between 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes of on-screen time and have anywhere between 50-60% battery life left. From 6PM until whenever I decide to go to bed, I'm on WiFi the remaining time. From there, I'm putting another 30-40 minutes of voice calls on it, spending time on Youtube, and generally ending up with about 3 to 3 and a half hours of on-screen time with roughly 14-17 hours of use. On weekends, with primarily WiFi, it's been 16-19 hours with over 4 hours on-screen.
Is that as good as the Note 3 or G2? No. It's not as good as the Moto X, either, but it's not nearly as far off as some have claimed it to be. If that usage pattern, which I would deem as moderate-to-heavy, is something you can compare to, you should be pretty happy with battery life.
A 1080p IPS display is going to be good no matter what you do with it, but there's been a lot of "washed out" comments as it pertains to the screen on the Nexus 5. Can the screen look washed out compared to other screens, specifically an AMOLED? Sure. What you're actually seeing, however, is color accuracy. Outside of the iPhone 5 with it's SRGB configuration, the Nexus 5 is probably one of the most accurate screens available. If accuracy appeals to you, you'll love this screen. If more vibrant colors and higher saturation are a must for you, this might not be the best choice. It's all down to preference. Are there other screens that tend to meet more in the middle? Of course. The HTC One and LG G2 are prime examples. Either way, the display on the Nexus 5 is nothing to be disappointed with.
Finally, the camera is always the most highly-debated part of a smartphone, but this has gone to another level. I could go into some long rant about the hardware vs software thing, but I'm going to keep this short. The Nexus 5 has a good camera that needs to be tweaked on the software side to bring out it's full potential. Focus speeds are slow and there's a good amount of shutter lag. What does this mean for the end user? Taking pictures of moving objects are going to be a pain in the ***. If you have time to frame a shot, however, in good or even low light, you'll get a good shot with the Nexus 5. It can hang with any smartphone camera out there (outside of the Lumia 1020 and some Sony models). If you have faith in Google to fix the software issues plaguing the camera, you have nothing to worry about as far as the camera goes.
If this helps you make the decision to buy or not buy the Nexus 5, then great. If this affirms your purchase, then great. If you disagree and hate this phone, also great. I just wanted to provide some insight on issues that are being blown out of proportion.