Looks like a red Nexus 5 will arrive in the near future. The Nexus 5 has been ruimours to get a bit of paint thrown at it much like several other leading brands out there and could be set to launch in the Google Play Store as early as the beginning February 4th. It would be unlikely for the Nexus 5 will have anything different under the hood and still boasts the 5-inch 1080p display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, an 8 megapixel camera, either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage and more. No mention of price just now however, this being Google, we have no reason to believe they would ask you to pay more for simply a colour.
Tag: Nexus 5
Something that I learned this week was that the Nexus 5 and many other Android smartphones have two different (and in the case of the Note 3 a third) charging modes. I have verified that this is true of the Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra
I have been finding that my car stereo was struggling to put enough power out through its USB port to even maintain the battery level, let alone charge it whilst I was using it to play music over bluetooth. This seemed strange as it had no problems providing plenty of power to charge my older iPhones even whilst I was using them for navigation and music playback.
A little investigation revealed that when plugged into a standard USB port with a standard cable, a slow charging mode is enabled and that when the same cable is used with the wall charging plug that came with the phone, the Nexus charges much faster. This is known as AC mode.
Proof of this can be seen in the battery status section of the settings App.
So how can we speed things up when in the car or elsewhere I hear you ask?
The options that I have come up with are:
- Use the original charger that came with the phone or another high output 2.0A third party adapter.
- Get a dedicated charging cable (this will not provide the ability to sync if connected to a computer).
- Find a dedicated 12v car charger that has the correct functions.
As my particular issue was in the car, I decided to pursue the second two options and a quick trip to a popular online store highlighted a couple of viable options.
PortaPow Specialised Fast Charging Micro USB Cable and PortaPow 2.5A Universal Dual USB Car Charger. As I have a car stereo which should have a pretty decent output from the on-board USB port I decided to give the cable only solution a go.
And the results are….
A 10 minute car journey using GPS and bluetooth streaming of music and navigation instructions adds around 5% to the battery! The added benefit is that it frees up another normal sync cable to stay in one of the areas where I will normally need them or a spare for a bag or pocket. For the low cost of either of the options above and the benefit of having what is essentially a dedicated charging point for the car it seems almost an essential piece of kit for anyone who ever travels in a car
Post script – A further option is available with a software only solution for users who have rooted (jailbroken) their devices but I am not going to suggest this unless you absolutely understand what you are doing. Those that understand the rooting process and risks that are associated with it will probably already be aware the fast charging options and what is required
Just a few days after the Android 4.4.1 update for the Nexus 5 another alert appeared on my phone this morning advising that there was an update available, this time Android 4.4.2 provided over the air.
This latest Android 4.4.2 update promises further camera improvements for the Nexus 5 with faster shooting, less shutter lag, less motion blur, faster and more accurate auto focus, better white balance and more accurate exposures.
Whist it’s too early for me to pass much of a judgement, I can say that there is a marked improvement in the shutter lag but I’ll need to take more pictures to comment on the other improvements.
This OS update does state that there are ‘Other Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements’ but does not provide a list. I haven’t seen anything as yet…
UPDATE: As Steve Wilson points out, 4.4.2 is also available for the Nexus 4,7 and 10.
If you have your hands on a Nexus 5 one of the things you may not like so much about the phone is the battery life. While the Nexus 5 battery life isn’t terrible by any means, it’s certainly not one of it’s better features and many of us are just about able to get to the end of the day before the phone is screaming for power.
There are lots of battery optimisation apps on the market and some work better than others. I’m personally using Snapdragon BatteryGuru which seems to work well and gives me up to an extra few hours from each charge. One good thing about BatteryGuru is that it spends a couple of days gethering data about your own actual usage and optimises the battery saving features based upon how you use the phone rather than a stock set of profiles.
If you have a Nexus 5 there is another option that you could try in order to get a little bit more from each battery charge: Switch from Dalvik runtime environment to Android RunTime or ART.
Nexus 5 battery life better with ART
Whilst you may not have heard of Dalvik, it’s the underlying runtime environment for every Android phone and Google have spent a lot of time optimising it of the years. However, the new kid on the block is Android RunTime.
ART comes as part of Android 4.4 KitKat and while you may not notice much of a performance difference, Android RunTime operates in a totally different way from Dalvik as it’s an Ahead-Of-Time compiler. This directly affects how applications run in the background and should have an impact on battery life.
In practice switching to ART does indeed have an impact on battery life and definitely the Nexus 5 battery is life better with ART.
How to enable Android RunTime on the Nexus 5
Switching to Android RunTime from Dalvik is really simple, takes only a few minutes and doesn’t require unlocked boot loaders or a rooted device or anything scary like that.
First of all we need to enable the developer options on the Nexus 5. Head in to Settings > About Phone and then at the bottom of the page tap repeatedly on the Build Number row. You’ll see a message telling you that developer mode is enabled and this provides us with the developer options under the Settings menu.
Once in developer options go to Select Runtime and switch to ‘Use ART’. After a reboot and a short update the phone will restart.
It’s that simple and you can always switch back if you need to.
We’ve discovered that the batter life is certainly better with Android RunTime and while all the apps we’ve tried work just the same under ART there’s no performance improvements to be seen either.
Give it a try and let us know how you get on!
Over the coming days/weeks those with the Nexus 5 should see the OTA update being offered to them but as is always the way with these OTA updates the roll out will be gradual.
Some users have already got their hands on the update and the most significant change appears to be in the Camera department where a number of changes have been made that improves the overall performance of the camera. Good news for those of us that felt that the camera was lacking on the Nexus 5.
If you cant wait for the update to arrive through the official channels over the air then you can force the install if you are happy to jump through a few hoops.
I’m currently updating my Nexus 5 and will return with news of the update!
Possibly one of the most disappointing things about the otherwise-excellent Nexus 5, apart from the battery life, is the camera. Whilst it may be 8 megapixels and offer an optical image stabilizer, the image quality still leaves much to be desired. This is a real shame when pitched against excellent cameras in the Xperia Z1, Nokia 1020 and the HTC One.
Many other reviewers are calling the Nexus 5 camera ‘terrible’ or ‘awful’ but personally I don’t think it’s quite as dire as others are making out but certainly think that it really lets the Nexus 5 down.
Nexus 5 Camera Fix
There is potentially good news for Nexus 5 owners. Thanks to one of the developers over on on the xda-developers forum, Jishnu Sir,has been working on a Nexus 5 Camera fix and has released a camera patch which is said to improve the camera quality in a number of key ways:
- Sound Recording now in Stereo with the secondary Mic.
- Faster Focusing for the camera.
- Front Camera also records 720P Videos@ 20 Mb/s.
- Front camera Audio Bitrate@ 192000 Kb/s.
- AntiBanding default set to 50Hz
- Focus Range Adjusted.
- Enhanced Smooth Zoom.
- Turned Edge Enhancement ON.
So that’s definitely good news. However, if you want to apply the Nexus 5 Camera Fix package you’ll have to have a Nexus 5 with an unlocked bootloader in order to install it. This will certainly deter many a Nexus 5 owner.
However, what it does point to, is that the Nexus 5 camera can be improved with a software patch and reveals that the camera hardware, optics, sensor etc. are actually quite good.
So there are now calls for an official update to be released for the Nexus 5 to address the issues about and, hopefully go even further with help from the manufacturers and development team.
I’ve had my Google Nexus 5 for just over a week and one of the questions I’ve been frequently asked via twitter and Google+ 1 was whether or not I had experienced any issued with the WiFi in the Nexus 5.
Up until yesterday the answer I gave was no. Despite using a large number of WiFi networks almost daily, from the few WiFi access points I have at home to the WiFi on the train I commute on to the WiFi at work and in coffee shops in London, none had given me any WiFi issues with my Nexus 5.
That’s until yesterday. Suddenly my Nexus 5 dropped off one if my home WiFi points, it connected to the other but then despite showing as connected would not transfer any data. Initially I thought this was a problem with my internet connection but soon realised that my Mac and iPhone were still working fine over the same WiFi.
I switched to a different access point but the problem persisted. I rebooted the phone… the problem remained. I’ve tried removing the WiFi networks and re-adding them but that also had no effect.
WiFi access points I have tried using are a D-Link DSL-3680, TP-Link, Airport Extreme, Airport Express and a Vodafone Mifi. All have the same issue: The WiFi shows as connected but there’s no internet connectivity. Furthermore, the WiFi disconnects and reconnects frequently.
Reading other posts on the internet it would see that many other Nexus 5 owners also have the same issues and this seems to be related to an existing Nexus 7 problem too.
Possible Nexus 5 WiFi bug solution
After literally hours of playing around with settings on the Nexus 5, a hard reset, and pulling out old WiFi access points to try I have managed to get my Nexus 5 working again and this is the solution that works for me…
Connect to the WiFi network and then go and ‘Modify Network’. Under the IP Settings I’ve switched to static and have specified an IP address and DNS server addresses. In both instances I’m using the same addresses that were being assigned through DHCP anyway.
Having done that my WiFi comes back to life. The only drawback so far is that I’ve had to do this with each WiFi network that I use. Switching back to DHCP breaks the connection again.
Give it a try and let me know if it solves your problem!
Questions such as “How bad can the Nexus 5 camera be?” and asking us to rate it against the HTC one have been common on our YouTube channel.
What we have here is a series of photos taken with both the HTC One and the Google Nexus 5 so that you can make up your own mind. Looking at them myself, I think there are images that are good and bad in both sets.
Just to recap, the HTC One has a 4MP Ultrapixel camera with F/2.0 Aperture and optical image stabilizer (OIS). whereas the Nexus 5 has an 8MP camera with F/2.5 Aperture and optical image stabilizer (OIS). The HTC also has a dedicated image processing chip whereas the Nexus 5 does not.
The shots you see below are straight from the device with no manipulation or editing on either the phone or PC.
As much as possible I have taken the photos standing in exactly the same location so where you see a difference in the framing this is largely down to the field of view of each camera being different. I’ve set the scene modes to normal on both phones and used auto modes.
In the two columns below you can find the Nexus 5 on the left and the HTC One on the right. Click each for a larger version.
There has been a long tradition of including hidden messages or features in software. These hidden messages, called Easter Eggs, have featured in each version of the popular Google Android OS and with the latest release of Android 4.4 KitKat the included Easter Egg is a pretty good one.
Accessed by entering the Settings menu and clicking repeatedly on the Android Version number we’re treated to a spinning ‘K’ and then a series of tiles with logos from each of the Android versions including KitKat.
So here’s a quick video of the Android 4.4 KitKat Easter Egg in action on the Nexus 5 for a little Sunday fun.
In my Nexus 5 unboxing and hands on video yesterday, I ran a quick benchmark test on the Nexus 5 using Quadrant. As I mentioned in that video, the Nexus 5 benchmark scores seem to be a bit ‘off’ and I suspect that this is largely down to Quadrant not being updated for Android 4.4 KitKat yet, giving us some false values, although the graph seemed to be about right, the numbers were wrong.
So, further to several requests that I’ve had over the past few hours, here is the Nexus 5 running an AnTuTu benchmark. You’ll be able to see for yourself how it runs and what the final score is be watching the short video below.
The Nexus 5 is now coming along with me as my everyday phone and I’ll keep you posted on my experience with it. If you have any questions please submit them below.