Top 5 reasons to get the Nexus 5

The Nexus 5 is one of the best Android handsets currently available, especially when it comes to unlocked smartphones. But if you're still unconvinced, here are five reasons to reconsider.

It's been more than three weeks since the Nexus 5 made its way onto the market, and the momentum hasn't stopped. Here in the US, the black and white 16GB models sold out quickly after their launch (though both are now back in stock), and the Google Play store in India also experienced a shortage within hours of posting the phone.

True, the handset does have its faults (which we'll get to), but despite its drawbacks, the Nexus 5 is still an excellent device for the reasons we list below. Of course, if you have other reasons why you like it (or even hate it), be sure to let us know in the comments.

It runs the latest Android OS
Android 4.4 KitKat may not be an overhaul when you compare it with the previous OS version, but the update still brings plenty of punch. This includes a more seamless integration with Google Now, the ability to search for unknown numbers directly from the dialer, and a built-in framework for cloud printing. And as a Google-branded device, you will be able to receive OS updates the moment they roll in, so you won't have to worry about getting left behind.

It's a powerhouse
Quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor? Check. Adreno 330 GPU? Check. Support for LTE bands? Check. Indeed, when it comes to its innards, the Nexus 5 is packed with top-notch hardware. In addition, the handset offers built-in wireless charging and NFC (near-field communication), so you can juice up your phone and transfer files without any cables. Other specs include a 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, and a sizable 2,300mAh battery. Put that altogether and you have one robust handset that doesn't skimp on specs.

It has great call quality
A phone is a phone is a phone. And if your so-high-tech-it's-on-the-bleeding-edge handset can't deliver a simple call, well then, it's pretty much useless. Now we know call quality depends on several factors (your location, carrier, coverage, even local weather can influence signal), but when it came to our call tests with the Nexus 5, the device scored high marks. Calls that took place both indoors and outdoors sounded excellent, and voices came in (appropriately) loud and clear. Be mindful, however, that if you're a T-Mobile customer and rely on Wi-Fi to make calls, the Nexus 5 doesn't have that support .

Its camera has HDR+
Like we mentioned before, the Nexus 5's camera is not the best camera phone under auto settings. (In fact, if you're looking for a tricked-out camera, check out the Nokia Lumia 1020 or the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom instead.) However, with the HDR+ feature under its belt, you can still take excellent photos. That's because the camera not only takes several photos of different exposures, but it also takes a burst of photos at the same time. Overlaid altogether, these effects can churn out one top-notch picture.

It's affordable
Surely, however, the biggest draw of the Nexus 5 is its price. New customers on Sprint can currently nab it for $49.99 on contract, and T-Mobile customers can purchase it prepaid for about $450. And if you want it unlocked through Google, the device goes for a very reasonable $349 (16GB) and $399 (32GB).

For a handset of this caliber, that's an incredibly affordable price. To put it in perspective, Google editions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One run $649 and $599 unlocked, respectively. True, the Nexus may not have a removable battery or expandable memory like the GS4, or the stunning looks of the One, but with a price tag that's at least $200 less than its competitors, you definitely get a lot of bang for your buck.

About the author

Lynn La is CNET's associate editor for cell phone and smartphone news and reviews. Prior to coming to CNET, she wrote for the Sacramento Bee and was a staff editor at Macworld. In addition to covering technology, she has reported on health, science, and politics.

 

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