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Gadget DuJour: Google’s Nexus 5

It’s quick, contract-free and reasonably priced—but is the new Android device right for you? iPhone users, read on

Do you ever feel like you’re in a loveless marriage with your iPhone? The relationship is stable but predictable, and the notion of leaving seems too far-fetched? Perhaps you’ll find that the perfect transition out of your iOS comfort zone lies in Google’s new Nexus 5—an LG-manufactured Android device officially released last week.

But how do you know if it’s the right device for you? To help guide your choice, here are a few questions to ask yourself before making a decision.

What is your current service provider?
If you’re a Verizon customer, feel free to stop reading now. The phone is only compatible with AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. That’s not to say a Verizon agreement won’t happen in the future, but it doesn’t look promising.

How soon will you be eligible for an upgrade?
One of the Nexus 5’s biggest selling points is that it doesn’t require a contract. Unheard of! If you’re eager to switch devices but still have a while before upgrade eligibility, the phone offers a great no-contract alternative. Plus, if you lose or break your iPhone, buying a brand new iPhone 5s at retail starts at $650. The Nexus 5 costs $350.

Are you bothered by dirt and fingerprints?
If so, you’ll probably find yourself frustrated with the Nexus 5. Its 5-inch screen is sleek, but a breeding ground for visible fingerprints. And while we like the soft touch cover on the back of the phone—available in black or white—the matte material is susceptible to dirt and scratches. (Of course, that’s without a case.)

Are you worried about the size?
Don’t be. At first glance, the Nexus 5 gives the impression of a larger device, but it’s actually not much bigger than the iPhone 5s. The Nexus weighs .29 pounds and measures 2.7 inches wide by 5.4 inches tall by .34 inches thick. The iPhone clocks in at .25 pounds and is 2.3 inches wide by 4.9 inches tall by 0.30 inches thick.

How much do you rely on Google?
Does Google play a significant role in every aspect of your digital life? And by that we mean: You prefer Gmail to other mail platforms; you’re a devotee of Google Drive; you upload photos to Google+; you turn to Google—rather than other sites—for weather, sports scores, directions, stock quotes, news and more. It goes without saying that the Nexus 5 is tailor-made for those who rely on Google. It comes equipped with “Google Now”—just swipe to the left for a Google “homepage” that offers a custom summary of helpful information like traffic reports, weather, the evening’s TV schedule, appointment reminders and, well, you get it. Another added bonus: you can initiate voice commands or voice searches by saying “OK Google” from anywhere on the desktop.

Are you an experienced photographer?
A major quip about the phone among reviewers (this one included) is the Nexus’s camera quality. It has the same 8-megapixel rear camera as its competitors, but for some reason photos taken indoors or in low-light are underwhelming with funky tones. However, with a steady hand in the right lighting, capturing a picture-perfect photo is entirely possible—especially if you shoot in HDR+ mode.

The overall verdict
Google’s Nexus 5 is a great entry-point into the world of Android for those in search of a new iPhone alternative. It has a clean and simple interface, typing is a breeze, and it operates with lightning speed. If you’re likely to take advantage of Google Now, the Nexus 5 will fast become an essential life management tool.

The underwhelming camera and the fact that it’s fingerprint-prone are the phone’s major drawbacks, but at $350 with no-contract required, it’s arguably the best new smartphone option on the market.



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