Tech Review: Nexus 5 Complaints

by Yannis Lam
BHS News


The Nexus 5 is Google Inc.’s current flagship phone, released in November of 2013. Although the Nexus 5 exceeds the expectations for its extremely cheap price, ($350-$400, off-contract), several things must be addressed about regards to its design. The Nexus 5 comes in 6 different variations (as February 2014), with color options in Black, White, and Bright Red, and internal memory options as 16 gb or 32 gb variations. It can used with any international carrier that supports GSM on a mirco-SIM card. After becoming familiar with the Nexus 5 for several months, here are several complaints that I have about the device: Of the following complaints a few can be easily fixed with changes in software, either by Google, or yourself, while the hardware simply cannot be changed.

1. The Battery Life

Battery Usage

The battery life of the Nexus 5 swings too wildly and is too unstable. Some days, the phone would operate for around 10 hours on its battery… while other days it would operate on 14-16 hours. The things that normally drained most of the battery were the screen’s brightness, Google’s services, and Wi-fi/Cellular-Data. The phone’s 2,300 mAH battery is lucky if it lasts one school/work day, with constant texting, gaming, YouTubing, and calling.

2. Speakers


There is only a single speaker grill on the bottom of the phone. Of the two grills on the bottom of the Nexus 5, one is a speaker, while one is a microphone. The speaker only produces average sound and is not the loudest, nor the best speaker that Google could have placed on the Nexus 5. The single speaker can easily be accidentally covered and is not an ideal location for speaker-phone calls.

3. Lack of (Most) USB Support
The Nexus 5 does not support most devices through micro-USB connection. The micro-USB connection only can be used to transfer files to computers or for charging the device or other devices. If you own a USB OTG, you may be lucky to connect a keyboard and/or mouse. However, the Nexus 5 will not support a USB flashdrive and will be unable to recognize its data.
4. Camera

A sample of the Nexus 5 camera function

A sample of the Nexus 5 camera function

The cameras of the Nexus 5 are of exceptional quality. It has a 8 MP back-facing camera and a 1.3 MP. This would not be bad, except for the lack of quality native software for the camera. The camera app is too simplistic and hides the basic functions of changing camera modes. It only has a few modes for capturing and simply does not match the Samsung Galaxy S5’s 16 MP camera or the Nokia Lumia’s 41 MP camera. Few flagship smartphones of this day have such basic cameras and Google needs a much better camera for its Nexus line.

5. Lack of Mirco-SD Card Support
The Nexus 5 has no micro-SD card slot. As with recent Nexus devices, you get the storage that you paid for. Since the storage limits are 16 GB or 32 GB, you will have only about 12-28 GB of free storage for your own pictures, files, and apps. This lack of additional storage is a negative to most users, as it will require constant physical backups and places a firm limit on the amount of stuff that you can do with the phone.

All in all, no phone is perfect. The Nexus 5 is above average for the price range that it comes in. However, when compared to other flagship devices offered by other companies, it has more than a few flaws that needs to be addressed. These flaws may not necessarily hinder the phone’s experience, but are extremely noticeable on a basic usage.

Yannis Lam is a founding member of BHS News. He focuses on clubs and technology