What you should know about the Google Nexus 5 by LG

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It’s been several days now, but Google’s new flagship smartphone – the Nexus 5 by LG – has finally been announced and released to the public. After lots of leaks, false rumors, and speculation, Google decided to release the device on Halloween, last Thursday, perhaps in homage to the candybar KitKat, which also happens to be the sweet treat after which Android 4.4 is named.

Now that a bit of time has passed, and you’ve been able to let everything sink in, here are the most important things you should know about the Nexus 5.

Specs

The Nexus 5 features a 4.95-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS display with 445ppi, crafted from Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for extra durability. It’s got a Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.26GHz, 2GB RAM, a 1.3MP front facing camera, 8MP rear facing with Optical Image Stabilization, and – finally – LTE. There are two versions of the Nexus this time: the LG D820, which has compatibility with practically all US carriers except for Verizon, and the LG D821, which is the version for the rest of the world. The US Play Store, along with all US retail outlets, will only sell the D820, so no need to worry about models.

The Nexus 5 also features dual band WiFi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, wireless charging, and a 2300mAh battery with talk time of up to 17 hours, a standby time of up to 300 hours, and an internet use time of up to 8.5 hours on WiFi and 7 hours on LTE. The entire package will only weigh 4.59 ounces (130g), coming in at 69.17 x 137.84 x 8.59mm. It’s available in black or white (although the white is still black on the front), with either 16GB or 32GB of on board storage for $349 or $399 respectively.

Android 4.4 KitKat

The Nexus 5 is the first device to ship with Android 4.4 KitKat, and the first device on which KitKat will run. The official factory image for the Nexus 5 has already been posted on Google’s developer site, with factory images for other Nexus devices coming soon, along with the corresponding OTA updates (the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 2012, Nexus 7 2013, and Nexus 10 have all been named as receiving the update, so if you have a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, it looks like official support from Google has ended).

KitKat has lots of new features and improvements under the hood, but here the some of the biggest that new Nexus 5 owners will notice right away:

  • Say “OK Google” to activate Google Now voice search from any home screen.
  • Full screen movie and album art on the lockscreen when casting content to the Chromecast.
  • A translucent status bar and navigation buttons that intelligently appear and disappear depending on what you are doing, for a more intuitive and immersive experience.
  • Fast multitasking.
  • A new phone and contacts app that intelligently ranks your contacts and gives you information from nearby businesses, even if they are not saved in your contacts (including caller ID).
  • SMS integration with Google Hangouts (note that Google Voice integration isn’t available yet, and SMS messages you receive on your phone are not synced to Hangouts on your computer or tablet).
  • Emoji built into Google Keyboard.
  • Google Cloud Print and Quickoffice built in, with intelligent file picking by Google Drive.

Retail availability

As of publication, Google is the only retailer actively selling the Nexus 5 right now. However, it’s currently on backorder with expected ship times between 2-4 weeks, depending on which configuration you want: black seems more popular than white, and 16GB seems to be more popular than 32GB, so the white 32GB version will probably have the shortest wait time.

Best Buy is currently taking preorders for the Nexus 5, although it is marketing the device as a Sprint phone (it’s not – Best Buy’s Nexus 5 is the same as the Play Store’s Nexus 5).  It is selling the 16GB version in black or white for $149 on contract or $449 contract-free. There is no word yet on a release date.

The Nexus 5 will also be sold by Sprint and T-Mobile. Sprint will offer the device at the same price as Best Buy starting on November 8, while pricing and availability have not been announced by T-Mobile. While AT&T won’t carry the device in its stores, it is fully compatible with all AT&T HSPA+ and LTE bands. Sorry, Verizon customers – the Nexus 5 isn’t compatible with Verizon LTE in most markets, and Verizon won’t activate the device on its network.

The Nexus 5 is also expected to be sold at Amazon and Radio Shack, although pricing and dates have not been announced yet by either retailer.

[Google: 12, 3 | Best Buy: 1, 2]
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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.