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Christmas Gift Guide

Meet the Google Nexus 5

Matte textured back

Crisp 1080p screen

Volume rocker, power button

A slimmer profile

Two color versions

Break me off a piece

Internal specs

Now with image stabilization

More of HDR

Front-facing camera

KitKat and fragmentation

Deeper integration with Now

2,300mAh battery inside

Cases available

Google unveiled its latest flagship smartphone of the season, the Nexus 5. The unlocked device runs Android 4.4 KitKat and costs $349 (16GB) and $399 (32GB). Sprint and T-Mobile will carry it, with the former selling it for $49.99 on contract. The device will work on AT&T's network as well, though the carrier will not sell it in stores.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Similar to the Nexus 7 tablet, the handset displays a simple vertically lined Nexus logo, and a subtle LG logo on the back. Subdued and restrained, the Nexus 5 has done away with the lustrous, tile-patterned back that we saw previously, and replaced it with a matte material.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Sporting the biggest screen yet in relation to past Nexuses, the phone has a 4.95-inch Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display. Keeping up with its competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, the Nexus 5's touch screen has a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution and 445ppi.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The physical control keys are made out of ceramic, and unlike the previous model, they don't have soft, rounded edges. As small as they are, they feel sharp when you press them.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The device measures 5.43 inches tall and 2.72 inches wide. It's thinner and lighter than the prior model, at 0.34 inches thick and 4.59 ounces. Comfortable to hold, the Nexus 5 feels sturdy and dense in the hand.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Similar to the Nexus 4, there are two color versions of the phone: black and white. The white sports black edges and bezels, however.

Caption by / Photo by Josh MIller/CNET

Of course, a Nexus just wouldn't be a Nexus without it running the latest edition of Android. With high hopes of limiting fragmentation and increasing the number of devices compatible with Android 4.4 KitKat, Google slimmed down the OS to a 512MB memory profile.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Inside, there's a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor and either 16GB or 32GB of storage, depending on the model you choose.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

On the back, there's an 8-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, which cuts down on blurry pictures due to unwanted hand movement.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The camera also has HDR+. Like the HDR mode seen in many camera phones, this feature takes several shots at different exposures and combines them to make an ideal image. However, HDR+ also detects moving objects and takes a burst of photos to select the sharpest image.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

On the front is a 1.3-megapixel camera for web chatting and vanity shots.

Caption by / Photo by Josh MIller/CNET

With KitKat's smaller memory profile, Google can really influence equipment manufacturers to ship only one version of Android by 2014, then KitKat will be Android's most important update yet.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Since the advent of Google Now, which has been around since Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, users have been able to begin a Web search by saying, "OK, Google." But with KitKat, you can also access it by swiping left on your home screen, in addition to holding down the home button.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

With Wi-Fi turned off and LTE activated, the Nexus 5's 2,300mAh nonremovable battery has a reported talk time of up to 17 hours. When both are activated, Google says, the device lasts 300 hours on standby. Internet tests reportedly yielded 8.5 hours on Wi-Fi and 7 hours on LTE.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Google will also sell Nexus 5 cases for $34.99 in various colors like white (pictured here), orange, and gray.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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