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Pros and cons of the Nexus 5: why I upgraded my Nexus 4

Kris Carlon
15

As more and more Nexus 5s roll out of the Google warehouses, including one to my house, I've been seeing more and more ''I'll stick with my Nexus 4'' comments and just as many ''should I just stick with my Nexus 4?'' queries. After playing with Google's new flagship I said the first to myself and then increasingly asked myself the second, before finally deciding to jump aboard the Nexus 5 train as it steams its way into the future. But why did I do it? What's so good (and bad) about the Nexus 5?

nexus5 kris 2
I finally decided the Nexus 5 was worth the upgrade. But only due to some luck. / © AndroidPIT

Pros

Most of this speaks for itself: the Nexus 5 is going to be getting rapid OS updates for years to come, it packs class-leading specs in a half-price handset (that's mostly true, anyway), and as far as display quality and Android experience go it's hard to beat too. In the $400 smartphone market it's unbeatable, hands down. Sure, other flagships might be a little better in some areas, but they cost $100-$400 more. The Nexus 5 is nothing more than a tool: it doesn't look so pretty, it doesn't have bells and whistles, but it gets the job done better than most tools that are and do. I've written previously about why you should buy a Nexus 5.

Nexus 5 teaser pic
It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a great cup of tea nonetheless. / © AndroidPIT

Cons

This is an easy list: the battery life is nothing tremendous, the single speaker is pretty rubbish, the camera is nowhere near good enough to compete with the best of the Android camera phone crop, and of course there is no expandable memory. Many of the editors at AndroidPIT had issues with early experiences of the Nexus 5 and several were not terribly impressed by how patchy the battery was, how unstable the system was, and how buggy it was out of the box. Check out our video review of the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat features below.

Link to Video

Why I ditched the Nexus 4

One word: opportunity. An offer came up to buy my Nexus 4 for almost what I paid for it. So I saw the opportunity to update to the current Nexus without losing any money on the previous model. If no one had been willing to buy my Nexus 4, I would be sticking with it, no doubt about it. Sure, I would have probably bought the Nexus 5 eventually, but I wouldn't have been champing at the bit to get one. If you've got a Nexus 4 and you're happy with it: stick with it and stay happy. The Nexus 5 isn't going anywhere. You may well stay happy until the next Nexus comes out.

Nexus 5 phone logo
Fans of the Nexus line will be happy with some parts of the Nexus 5, but not all. / © AndroidPIT

But if someone takes an interest in your Nexus 4, why not upgrade: the Nexus 5 is better than the Nexus 4 in every way (except, perhaps, in the looks department). For me it wasn't a ''must have'' impulse, but a slow boil and an opportunistic event that swung the tide in the new Nexus' favor - without the second I'd still be rocking my Nexus 4, guaranteed. The question to ask yourself if you're still considering the upgrade is: do you really need the improvements the Nexus 5 brings? Or is your Nexus 4 still ticking all the boxes?

Are you considering the upgrade? What are your major considerations when upgrading a smartphone?

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Comments

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  • Philipp Junghannß (My1) 9 months ago Link

    "An offer came up to buy my Nexus 4 for almost what I paid for it."
    you mean sell dontcha???

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      Kris Carlon 9 months ago Link

      Nope, someone offered to buy it from me. I didn't offer to sell it. Didn't stop me from selling it once the offer was there though.

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  • CJ Brown 9 months ago Link

    Battery life , single Speaker (its location), Camera problems - these seem to be the main gripes in every review I've read online for the Nexus5 (along with the overpriced official accessories)!

    I believe most of these legit complaints can be solved via software updates (and lowering the price on the Nexus accessories). There's no denying that Google listened to complaints on the Nexus4 (ie there's no glass backing, its 4G lte, they have 32gig models, your choice of black or white) !.

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  • Den Ce 8 months ago Link

    You say "the Nexus 5 is going to be getting rapid OS updates for years to come" isn't this also true for Nexus 4? Thanks

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    • Charles Matthews 8 months ago Link

      No. Google has official 18 month update policy on Nexus devices. The Nexus 4 has six months left. Gen3 Galaxy Nexus will never officially get 4.4 KitKat as its update window passed.

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    • Philipp Junghannß (My1) 8 months ago Link

      I think he was meaning it in a symbolic way...

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  • Charles Matthews 8 months ago Link

    I didn't get the Nexus 4 last year for the same reason -- I had just bought two gen 3 4.65" 720p Galaxy Nexus in July 2012 for me and my wife, and upgraded them with official Samsung 2,000 mAh extended batteries. So a new Nexus 4 with 4.7" 720p display and slightly larger battery didn't appeal to me. Yes, the Nexus 4 had more RAM, yes the Nexus 4 had quad core CPU vs the Galaxy Nexus dual core. But I wasn't about to spend $800 to buy two more phones when we already had "new" phones.

    However, I JUMPED at the chance to upgrade to the Nexus 5, buying TWO Nexus 5 immediately after released. LTE, Snapdragon 800, 5" full HD 1080p, YES.

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  • Mark R. 8 months ago Link

    I think nowadays the rate of improvements model to model of any brand is much less noticeable and quality much higher so provided you don't drop your phone down a toilet by mistake (that did happened to me once) then you can comfortably 'skip a model year' of phone and not get left too far behind. Of course you need to be prepared to be branded a 'skin flint' by all your mates...I only change now when things are falling apart or if performance is too far below par so I will go straight to the N5's replacement.

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    Kris Carlon 8 months ago Link

    The funny thing is I think upgrading once a year isn't so bad, but every six months (as most manufacturers would like you to) is just plain ridiculous. Especially for $700. Even a Nexus at $400 once a year is a little unreasonable, but when you think about it, it's half the price of updating other devices!

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  • Robin Evers 8 months ago Link

    No battery problems here. Holds more than 24 hours using Snapdragon BatteryGuru

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  • Mark R. 8 months ago Link

    @Kris I definitely used to upgrade once per year when I was on contract and there's no reason not to really but in the last 3 or 4 years I've found myself holding off.

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  • Paul Fairbrother 8 months ago Link

    I'm really happy with my N5 purchase I was about to get tied into a 2 year contract with orange plus they wanted £209 for the phone and I'd pay £26- 83p a month yes I like the galaxy note 3 but I had a nexus 4 and if I hadn't bought a N5 on the 1st November I would know have a note 3, ok the camera isn't as good yet but there's a few updates on the way to improve the camera.

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    Kris Carlon 8 months ago Link

    Yeah I'm really looking forward to the camera software patch and the new API with RAW. I've only used the Nexus 5 heavily during the review period and everyone else's issues here in the office seem to have calmed down, so I'm psyched to be making the jump. Still, I do love my Nexus 4...

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  • TOSHIT JAIN 7 months ago Link

    I am really satisfied with it's camera and its sound quality.

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