Nexus 5 hits Australia from $399



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


  1. For the record, there are two SKUs of Nexus 5, one with North American LTE bands (D820), and one for the rest of the world (D821). The one for the rest of the world won’t support Optus’ TD-LTE 2300 Mhz (which is band 40). It will support band 3 (which is the 1800 Mhz one used by Optus, Telstra and Vodafone).

  2. At that price point all I can say is wow; just wow. There must be zero or negative margin on that, so here’s hoping it puts pricing pressure on Apple et al to make their offerings fall in to line. I can’t imagine the release of the Nexus 5 going unnoticed on eBay either, as I reckon this will have a pretty hefty impact on the second hand phone market too.

  3. FYI the Play Store is shipping immediately if they have stock – the November 8 date is when they expect more stock after selling out initial allocation.

  4. It puts an interesting spin on bundled contract phones – for example, once my contract expired I was able to shift over to a different Optus reseller proving nearly exactly the same ‘cap’ and data allowance saving $34/month. So the phone hadn’t cost me $5/month over 24 months, it had cost $34/month because I was locked into a plan I couldn’t get out of. So much for a ‘subsidised’ phone – more like me subsidising their business model ;-)

    Not that this will affect many people – I have spoken to maybe hundreds of Telstra customers over the past decade who stick with Telstra despite the rational arguments against it, even when shown how many thousands of dollars they can save annually moving to another provider. Telstra customers make decisions based on fear – fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of foreign owned companies, fear of things not working – they don’t know enough to be able to make informed, rational decisions, and to be honest most of them seem afraid of acquiring knowledge because that might lead to them actually being responsible for their decisions – far easier to let someone else tell you how to spend your money (so add fear of responsibility in there for good measure).

    *blah blah blah conjecture, generalisations blah blah blah lack of evidence blah blah communist!*

    Yes yes, Mr Telstra shill, I can preempt your criticism – this is just my opinion based on my experiences, not thorough qualitative research from which meaningful predictive models could be constructed. My opinion. Just like it’s ‘your opinion’ is that Telstra is wonderful. Because they pay you lots of cash ;-)

    • Fear of not being in a coverage area of another service provider. I go to a lot of places here in Western Australia that are just barely able to get Telstra, so i have a Telstra prepaid phone.

      • Yes, anyone who is regularly out of the metro area pretty much needs to be with Telstra, I grant you that – Optus and Vodafone have abjectly failed regional West Australians in that score (and perhaps other parts of Australia too, but I have limited direct experience with that – my Optus coverage in regional Victoria back in 2004 was quite good).

  5. If the iPhone 5s is ~220 to produce there would be a margin on the production for this as well.

    I was hoping the prices would have matched those of the n4 release price as if your looking at a 2 year contract for another phone the price difference narrows considerably

    • The price difference only narrows if you go with Telstra or Optus, who offer abysmal value for BYOD customers. I went with an Optus reseller a few years ago when I had my HTC Desire, and the difference in monthly price was enough to fund my purchase of a Nexus 4 early this year. Right now, I’m paying at least $30+ per month less than the equivalent plan with Telstra/Optus, and no contract so I can leave whenever I choose with no penalty.

      • I do agree with you , i use an optus reseller with my nexus 4 , but a lot of australians are used to the 2 year contract / upgrade cycle.

        If a carrier here bundled the nexus 5 i’d probably upgrade , but for me i cant justify the $420-$470 for a new device so soon after the N4 in Feb.

    • Genuine question TrevorX. Not trolling. I moved to Sydney a couple of years back from NZ. All my mates said go Vodafone or Optus for the best deal. I said that I’m not too worried about price (I’ll tax deduct it anyway) I only care about getting the best possible coverage. They all immediately changed their tunes and said go Telstra. I’m going to be shopping for a new contract in a month or two. Is the the coverage argument still valid? Does Telstra offer me any real advantage for coverage or data speed? I’m not wedded to them I just want the best.

      • I can’t speak from experience with NSW and Eastern States networks ’cause my travel is almost exclusively limited to major cities, but over here Telstra has far better coverage once you leave the metro area – I don’t know anyone who lives or works regionally who would even consider another network. AFAIK Optus are more competitive in regional areas over there, probably because the population density is so much greater, but if you need the most reliable network with the best coverage Telstra still retain a significant advantage. They currently have more than double the number of LTE enabled towers across Australia than Optus.

        So Yea, you’ll pay more and their customer service is terrible (but then, so is Optus’ if you go direct, but that would be a bonehead move), but as above if you need reliable coverage outside metro areas, Telstra are your best option.

        (and you find me saying this because those are the facts, kids – I may hate Telstra (based on a variety of other facts), but my predisposition does not materially alter the facts, and I’d be a dishonest hypocrite if I didn’t represent those facts truthfully. See how that works?

        Although I can’t think of any other circumstance where I would actually recommend Telstra to someone, so good on you Eli for pinning me down on it ;-))

      • Telstra won’t give you much speed/performance advantage over Optus if you’re within reasonable range of both carriers’ 4G towers, but Telstra have more towers, thus you’re more likely to have access to their 4G service at this stage.

        That’s the area that will be interesting to watch in another two years – who has the most 4G overlap, particularly in CBDs. Once lots of people are using LTE we will start to see the same impact of heavy contention that has plagued the 3G networks, where you simply can’t get data services to work or they are slower than dialup. The only solution to this is more towers, so you can have fewer customers connecting to each one. This is why fixed line broadband isn’t going anywhere any time soon, particularly in high density living.

        So, ummm, yeah… Oh, that’s right – Telstra all the way, baby. Woot.

        • Thanks very much for sharing your insights. Much appreciated. Im a VOIP engineer by trade but its taking some time to get the feel for Australia. Work takes me to a lot of locations and I’m pretty much just dead weight without being able to use Google. ;)

          • I know precisely what you mean – I’m mostly at executive/Director level these days, but I still find myself resolving technical issues on a fairly regular basis; most things are resolved within minutes, often thanks to my search skills, Google and Technet more than actual experience (because MS products can break in a seemingly infinite number of new and interesting ways ;-) )

            And, of course, you’re most welcome; glad I could help :-)

      • On a different slant, you can also go with a Telstra reseller and save a bundle… just like an Optus reseller. The Telstra reseller uses the 3G network so that limits this Phone but for those not within the 4G network area it is a great alternative and lets face it if you’re going with Telstra for the coverage ,it’s only 3G on the fringe anyway.
        I have had some experience in fringe areas, mining in central Queensland, no coverage at one location, at the second location Telstra covered most areas and Optus a little less. If I go back I will go Telstra reseller prepaid.

  6. Good to see the prices are basically identical to the US once u factor in tax. I read some comments that in the US some people are payin 349 + 30 tax which = $380 compared to $399 in Australia. $20 for the currency conversion and or the “Australia tax” is a pretty good deal.

  7. In my opinion this is the best value phone on the market. $400 for such a beast is incredible value and blows much of the Android (and maybe even Apple) competition out of the water. It’s great that Google has managed to maintain the stock Android experience.

    But would it really kill them to include a tiny microSD slot somewhere? The lack of Band 40 (2300 TDD) is also disappointing to Optus customers.

    • “But would it really kill them to include a tiny microSD slot somewhere?”

      It must reduce the incentive for consumers to purchase the 32gb version when microSD storage is vastly cheaper than the upgrade cost to the higher model. Also introduces some complexity to the device, but only a miniscule amount – I’d say it’s just a marketing decision as it results in higher sales of the flagship model.

      It happens to be my only real criticism of the device, otherwise it is utterly brilliant. But I use my current phone to its storage capacity including the microSD card – might have to wait for the Galaxy S5 :-\

      • I’d say it’s just a marketing decision as it results in higher sales of the flagship model.

        I agree. I suspect its purely economics. It’s a bit of a blemish on an otherwise excellent product. Given that even 64GB MicroSD cards are widely available, restricting storage choices to 16GB and 32GB seems a little draconian.

        • And I’ll add my voice to both of yours. The lack of a SD slot is the only reason I won’t be buying one of these (otherwise) wonderful phones.

          I keep my data files on the removable SD for the same reason I keep my computer’s software and data on separate disks – if the OS or the hardware ‘breaks’, it’s convenient to be able to easily remove the ‘data’ disk and stick it in another machine.

  8. Was tempted to get one, but NA and AU LTE bands not working on the same device rules it out for me.

    Also, Nexus devices typically don’t have SD slots because, apparently, most app coders don’t know how to cleanly address external storage, and it makes a mess of things.

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