Google Nexus 5: hands-on review

"The attention to detail is stunning" – we get up close and personal with Google's KitKat-powered smartphone

It’s without doubt the worst kept secret in technology, but Google has finally fessed up to the Nexus 5 handset, and revealed the five inch flagship will go on sale today. With a full HD 1920 x 1080 display and a 5in screen, it’s a really impressive bit of kit.

The first thing you’ll notice, however, is its dramatic weight loss since the Nexus 4. Now weighing in at a svelte 130g, the Nexus 5 feels incredibly light, and the attention to detail has reached Apple-like levels, with even the buttons feeling solid and crisp to use - unlike pretty much all previous Android handsets.

Google also said the new handset would be more widely available than previous versions. “The prices are without contract, and we are launching in ten countries today, and in more retail -  it will be more broadly available than previous Nexus handsets,” said Sundar Pichai, Google’s Android boss. There’s also a white version - although disappointingly only the rear case is actually coloured white.

First bite of KitKat

The Nexus 5 is our first look at KitKat, and it’s a great improvement - not a radical overhaul, but a real spit and polish that makes everything seems faster and easier than before.

Nexus 5 hands on

It’s significantly more responsive, and Google's integration of Search and Google Now is, unsurprisingly, brilliant - with the search bar appearing instantly when you tap on it, and voice search also getting an overhaul - if the phone is on, you can simply say "OK Google" to trigger a search. Now has also been improved, with new cards and a new way to access it: simply by swiping left from the homescreen.

There’s also a range of new accessories, including some new induction chargers, and a range of eye-wateringly bright cases.

More after the break...

Our initial verdict

This is a clear contender for most desirable Android handset on the market (particularly where the Moto X isn't available). The attention to detail is stunning, and this feels like an incredibly well though out product, in terms of both the hardware and the changes to KitKat.

We'll be delivering our full review as soon as we've had more time with the Nexus 5 – so stay tuned to for that.

Until then, read our full Google Nexus 5 preview here.

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