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Google Nexus 5 video review: A flagship Android smartphone for half the price


With some help from LG, Google is back with the Nexus 5 smartphone. And despite a price bump, it's still the cheapest flagship smartphone on the market at just £299. See also: The 15 best smartphones of 2013.

The Nexus 5 has simple and understated style – none of the spangled glass rear cover of the Nexus 4 that divided opinions and made the phone slide off anything you put it on. The handset is also thinner and lighter than before and feels small for a 5in phone. See also: Nexus 5: Where to buy.

The soft to the touch matt rear cover is slightly curved helping it to sit nicely in the hand but it's a separate piece of plastic so there is a seam where it meets the edging. The build quality doesn't quite match up to rival flagship devices and although we'd prefer a uni-body, it somehow has that desirable feel to it.

The Nexus 5 large Full HD screen is flagship quality. It's beautifully rich, clear and responsive with great viewing angles, too.

Performance is up there with the best thanks to the formidable combination of a speedy quad-core processor, GPU and 2GB of RAM. Storage has doubled to 16- and 32GB which is one reason for the price increase, but once again there is no microSD card slot for expansion.

An 8Mp rear camera now comes with optical image stabilisation and although it takes decent photos, it's a little way behind its rivals. Video quality isn't as good as we'd hoped with a lower amount of detail than we're used to for 1080p.

With the Nexus 5 comes a new version of Google's mobile operating system, Android 4.4 KitKat which comes with a new look interface and a plethora of new features. This 'vanilla' experience is clean, colourful and intuitive. It's a joy to use.

Google Now is at the forefront more than ever, only a swipe from the main homescreen.

Visuals are better than ever with transparent status and button bars, full screen album artwork on the lock screen and an immersive mode which lets apps like Play Books take over and make the most of the entire screen. Other big changes include moving text messaging to the hangouts app, combining it with instant messaging.

The handset is average when it comes to battery life. It will typically need charging every night unless you're a light user but wireless charging will help you keep the non-removable battery topped up.

The Nexus 5 is a very desirable phone at an outrageously low price. It's the best value-for-money smartphone out there right now but doesn't have the best build, camera or battery life.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

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