Nexus, a programme started to give Android developers a platform to create and test applications and games on has now been transformed into a brand that has much wider appeal. After Google started releasing high end hardware at rock bottom prices through Google Play Store, the Nexus brand became an instant hit. Starting with Nexus 7, there has been an immense amount of amplification in general consumer interest about Nexus devices. The LG G2 was released before the Nexus 5 and we’ve reviewed it already. It comes with some really interesting features which aren’t present on the Nexus device. Which is a better device? What should you buy? Here are some interesting observations which could clear your confusion.
Almost Similar Hardware
If you follow smartphone news, you would know that almost all the Nexus devices are “cleaned down” versions of smartphones or tablets which are already released by original manufacturers. Nexus One was based on HTC Desire, the Nexus S was based on Samsung Galaxy S, the Nexus 4 was based on the LG Optimus G and the Nexus 7 was based on the Asus MeMo Pad. Similarly, the Nexus 5 is based on the LG G2. Almost every piece of hardware is similar except the smaller battery and outer shell.
The Nexus 5 is slightly thinner, shorter and lighter than the G2. The LG G2 has the power button and volume rockers at the back, just below the camera lens and that makes it weird, completely weird. There was no need to move it at the back and now LG is compensating its decision by advertising the advantages of power button at the back while practically there aren’t any. Even the plastic material used to cover the LG G2 feels cheap and is prone to a lot of smudges and scratches. On the other hand, Nexus 5 has a more understated look with rubberised plastic feel to its outer shell. Also, it has its buttons where they are supposed to be, on the sides. Overall, the Nexus 5 has better build and confident feel than the G2.
Both come with Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 2GB of LP-DDR3 RAM and either 16/32GB of internal storage. Both of them lack a MicroSD card slot which could be important for some. Both of them perform admirably due to ultra-powerful SoC used. There is no performance difference between them.
The G2 and Nexus 5 share the same display with difference only in the screen size. The G2 has a 5.2 inch True-HD IPS+ screen while the Nexus 5 has a five-inch screen of similar quality. The brightness and contrast are slightly better in the LG G2 but still both of them have excellent sunlight legibility and viewing angles. Both have clear loudspeakers albeit not very loud.
Completely Different Software Ideology
As we all know, Nexus 5 comes with latest version of Android 4.4, KitKat. On the other hand, the G2 comes with two versions older software; Android v4.2.2 JellyBean. Where Google focuses on simple and understated software design, LG has added a lot of eye candy in the G2’s UI, be it lock screen bubble animation or multiple configurable transition effects.LG still has to learn a lot when it comes to simple and unobtrusive software design. There are too many configurable options that are not only mediocre but also resource heavy and bogs down the device performance. Things like options for setting one of six different fonts on the G2, all of which look bad. There are multiple configurable bottom bar options, none of which feature buttons for multitasking menu — this annoyed me the most.
The LG G2 is equipped with a 1/3 inch camera sensor while the Nexus 5 has a 1/3.2 inch camera sensor. Both of them are equipped with single LED flash lights at the back and lenses with optical image stabilisation. They have almost similar performance in both bright and dark conditions. Although there are a lot of options to tinker with in the LG G2. It even has a manual focus option for those who want absolute control over their images. In spite of similar hardware, the Nexus 5 lacks 60FPS video recording but the G2 has it. But it doesn’t mean that Nexus 5 is lower in actual image and video quality. Nexus 5 has improved a lot in terms of image quality and speed after the recent Android 4.4.1 KitKat update. Apart from features like VR-Panorama, object removal and burst shot, you wouldn’t find much difference in your day-to-day life.
Thanks to a larger 3000mAh battery and some optimisations, the LG G2 lasts much longer than the Nexus 5. More than 10 hours of continuous video can be played back on a full charge or continuous web browsing for more than 10 hours is possible on the G2. On the other hand, Nexus 5 has a 2300mAh battery and isn’t very power efficient. Video playback is limited to six hours and web browsing is limited to just over four hours which is almost a no-go improvement from last year’s Nexus 4.
Verdict: Who should buy what?
If you want a smartphone with very long battery life, there can’t be a more straightforward answer than “don’t buy an LG Nexus 5”. Nexus smartphones have always been low in battery performance and that hasn’t changed. Apart from the G2’s insanely long battery life, you can buy it if you want all that eye candy and extra features like manual focus and IR blaster.
For the Android purists or those who are extremely fond of clean UI design, the Nexus 5 is the perfect choice. The Nexus 5 has a cheaper price tag in comparison to G2 and offers excellent value for money. It’s a similar case with the LG Nexus 4 which now competes with much weaker competition such as recently released Samsung Galaxy Grand 2. This goes on to show that Nexus devices hold more value even after a year or more after its original release date. But for the ones who value battery life and a feature rich phone, the LG G2 is the choice for them.