Google Nexus 5: Not Everything Is Right About It!

By | April 3, 2014
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According to reports, the first batch of Nexus 5 (32 GB) phones was sold out within a week of its launch. Favorable reviews have also coupled with the mighty impressive sales numbers of this handset. However, it does have certain shortcomings – and we highlight them here.

The initial sales figures of the Google Nexus 5, officially launched on the 31st of October last year, compares favorably with that of the super-successful iPhone 5S. The reviews of the Google-LG smartphone (powered by Android Kitkat) have been overwhelmingly positive too – among users as well as sites like CNET. However, fact that the device is a hit does not mask the few problems that it is plagued by. Let us here highlight these glitches, without which the Nexus 5 would have been an even better handset:

  1. Unreliable connectivity with wi-fi networks – The wi-fi settings of the Nexus 5 are not particularly stable, and there have been complaints of frequent connection drops on it. This, in turn, has made the task of using software developed by even top mobile apps companies on it a rather tricky task. Putting the phone on Airplane Mode and then back to General generally restores the connection. In certain cases, the phone has to be rebooted – for getting wireless internet access.

  2. No option for battery replacement – Google Nexus 4 had a glass back that did not allow users to replace the phone battery, and the plastic shell rear of its successor does not provide this option either. Problems can arise when the pre-inserted lithium polymer batteries start losing their efficiency – after an extended period of usage. On the brighter side though, since the battery is non-removable, the device capacity is relatively high.

  3. Battery life is a headache – Ah, the eternal bane of all smartphones out there. While not strikingly bad, the 2300 mAh battery of the Nexus 5 is nothing to write home about either. Google executives, as well as general mobile app developers, have demonstrated that slightly more battery juice can be generated, by deleting unnecessary applications, and putting the phone on standby (whenever it is not being used).

  4. Camera features – The 8 MP camera of Google’s flagship handset is decent enough (probably the best in the entire Nexus series) – but it can’t hold a candle to high-clarity iPhone 5S camera. The optical image stabilization feature, introduced in Nexus 5 for the first time, does not always prevent pictures getting blurred, at least during the first few attempts. The shutter speed is impressive though – and there is always the chance that there will be at least one ‘perfect’ snap, along with the other ‘defective’ ones.

  5. Loose power button? – Probably, if the slight knocking sounds near the button area whenever the handset is moved is anything to go by. It is always a good idea for Nexus 5 users to get a protective case for the phone. There have also been cases (rather rare) of the power button being too loose – necessitating owners to look for a replacement handset.

  6. Touchless Control not available – ‘Ok Google’ works on this handset (provided that it is not on standby) – but the device is not supported by any other handsfree technology. At a time when Motorola’s Touchless Control and iPhone’s Siri are proving to be huge hits, and everyone is looking forward to Windows Phone’s Cortana – it would have been great if the Nexus 5 packed in voice control features as well. Among the high-end smartphones currently available, this one is among the most competitively priced – and the lack of handsfree options may well be correlated with its low cost.

  7. Poor sound-quality of videos – Video-based applications created by reputed iPhone app development experts are always fault-free – but videos taken with the Nexus 5 fall way short of such perfection. Most videos have sub-par sound quality, with a low humming/hissing noise accompanying the playback. There are no options to block out external sounds either. Thankfully, there are alternative apps at the Google Play Store – which can more or less address this problem.

  8. Build structure – Make no mistake, the relatively tougher body of Google Nexus 5 has definitely contributed to its success. However, the overall build structure of the phone is nothing more than ordinary. Since the rubber rings of the Nexus 4 have been done away with, the plastic body might seem just a tad too slippery. The camera protrudes slightly as well, highlighting that elegance is not a high point of this phone – whatever its other virtues might be.

  9. Poor-quality speakers – Irrespective of whether you are on a call, or are listening to music on the go – you won’t get sharp audio effects on the Nexus 5. The audio has a muffled feel about it, and remains relatively low at all times. Since the speaker is placed right next to the mic (on the bottom edge of the device), users often accidentally block the former with their hands – compounding the problem further. Switching off the virtual surround sound option can make the audio slightly clearer. Modifying the equalizer settings can help somewhat as well.

  10. GPS features not up to the mark – At least when the ‘High Accuracy’ mode under ‘Location -> Settings’ is not activated. Getting a third-party map application is not a viable option either – since the phone’s GPS can drop unexpectedly at times too. The fact that the inaccuracies in the Nexus 5 GPS system are recurring (they often make a comeback even after being apparently ‘fixed’) irks users even more.

 

Rather inexplicably, Google Nexus 5 is not available on Verizon Wireless – and this has, at least to some extent, affected the popularity of the device. At a price of $349 for the 16 GB model), the handset definitely offers more than optimal value-for-money – but that does not imply it is an absolutely perfect smartphone.

Google is planning to release Nexus 6 around July this year – and we can certainly expect it to do away with the shortcomings of its predecessor!

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
Hussain Fakhruddin
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