news US technology giant Google has finally taken the wraps of its latest high-end smartphone, the Nexus 5, and there’s good news for Australians: The hotly anticipated device will launch at a very competitive price — starting from $399 — in Australia next week, the same time as it will launch internationally.
An ongoing series of leaks have for some months already detailed the specifications and overall design of the Nexus 5. The device will be the first to run the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, Android 4.4 (KitKat), and in Google’s Nexus tradition will run a stock version of Android unencumbered by the software add-ons so loved by manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC.
The smartphone will feature a “stunning 5 inch full HD IPS display” at 1920 by 1080 pixels, LG and Google said in a statement this morning. It will run on a 2.26GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Krait processor, come with 2GB of RAM, an eight megapixel rear camera with LG’s optical image stabiliiser technology, and with either 16GB or 32 of on-board storage. It will weigh 130g, come in black or white and support the 4G mobile broadband speeds available in Australia via the 1800Mhz networks of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, although it is not yet clear whether it will support the separate TD-LTE network running at 2300MHz which Optus has recently launched.
The previous Nexus 4 unit was a very popular model in Australia and represented the first ‘Nexus’ collaboration between LG and Google. Its largest fault for the Australian audience is that it did not support 4G speeds locally. At the time it launched, Delimiter’s review stated:
“Right now, if you take its lack of 4G support out of the equation, the Nexus 4 is the best smartphone available in Australia. Its combination of the latest stock Android experience and stellar hardware build quality boost this model above the competition easily (including, for our money, the iPhone). And when you factor in the price, it becomes almost an insta-buy (probably why it is temporarily sold out right now). The only reason not to go with the Nexus 4 right now, on that basis, is if you’re really invested in the rival iOS or Windows Phone operating systems.”
Since that launch, Apple has launched new iPhone models, and Samsung and HTC have also launched new models supporting 4G speeds and with similar specifications to the Nexus 5, including Samsung’s extremely popular Galaxy S4 model. However, critics have consistently stated that the default stock Android ‘Nexus’ experience has been one of the features which places Google’s Nexus line out in front of other models, and the Nexus 5 will be one of the only smartphone models to offer that platform coupled with 4G support in Australia, and at a competitive price substantially cheaper — in some cases by up to 50 percent — than competing models.
Google’s Australian online Play Store is already taking pre-orders for the Nexus 5 at $399 and $449 price points, with the unit to start shipping on November 8. In comparison, the cheapest Mobicity sells Samsung’s Galaxy S4 model for is $599.
Look, I haven’t reviewed, tested or played with the Nexus 5 at all yet, but I have to say, this is shaping up to be the best smartphone sold in Australia over the next little while. It’s a model which is likely to provide a better overall software experience than competing Android models from Samsung or HTC, given the stock Android install, and I have to say, as a reviewer and a user I still prefer that default ‘Nexus experience’ over iOS at this point, even iOS 7.
Then there’s the price. $399, for a device which is looking every bit as good as Samsung’s Galaxy S4 or HTC’s One? That’s an incredible price, and you have to suspect that Google is subsidising this one in an effort to show what great smartphones can be in the Android universe, as well as getting KitKat out there.
Regular readers of Delimiter will know that I commonly operate two smartphones for personal use — an iPhone 5 (which will probably ultimately get upgraded to whatever comes after the iPhone 5S, because the iPhone 5S doesn’t offer me significant benefits over the iPhone 5), and a Nexus 4, which I consider one of the best smartphones of the the current Android generation.
The Nexus 5 is looking like it will be the next model I will upgrade to. It looks as though it will update the Nexus 4 to most of the same hardware features as the GS4 or the One, but coupled with that awesome ‘Nexus experience’ software platform, and offering the 4G speeds that the ‘Nexus’ versions of the GS4 and the One don’t offer in Australia. And all at an amazingly cheap price. Wow. It’s a good time to be a smartphone buyer.
Image credit: LG/Google