Google Nexus 5: hands-on review

"The attention to detail is stunning" – we get up close and personal with Google's KitKat-powered smartphone
Google Nexus 5

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 4.95in 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.

What's next?

There was also a quick preview of what's coming up for Android, with apps set to be integrated in the coming weeks, so if you search for a recipe, for instance, app results will appear alongside web searches - something Google believes is a critical step forward for merging apps and the web.

Google said a range of apps, including IMDB and Open Table will be initially added, with the ability for developrs to add their own apps in the near future as well, making their content searchable by the phone. 

We were also promised more updates to Now, with the addition of extra cards for search results 'bundled' together, which will apear within weeks.

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.

Our only gripes would be some sharp edges on the volume buttons, and the rather ungainly inclusion of a sticker with the IMEI number on the back, along with the oddly protruding camera lens.

Overall though, it's a big step forward for Google's Nexus product - and the first that could go mass market.

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.