Google Nexus 5 Review

This review was originally done for Bad Voltage, but I figured it may also be of interest to my general readers.

In this episode I’m going to review the recently released Nexus 5 phone, manufactured by LG. While the 5 in the product name is a reference to the device’s nearly 5 inch screen, it’s also the 5th iteration of the Google Nexus line (the predecessors being the HTC Nexus One, Samsung Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the LG Nexus 4). The exterior of the Nexus 5 is made from a polycarbonate shell, unlike the Nexus 4, which used a glass-based construction. At 5.42 inches tall and 2.7 inches wide, it’s a big phone but is shaped to feel smaller than it looks. It’s surprisingly light for its size, at only 4.6oz, and is 8.6 millimeters thick. The phone feels a bit more solid than a Samsung Galaxy S4, but sitting next to an HTC One it looks a bit, well, plain. But being flashy or ostentatious was never Google’s goal with the Nexus line. It was to showcase the unbridled, unadulterated and bloatware free vanilla Google Android experience. And the phone’s 445 pixel per inch, 4.95-inch, 1080p IPS screen helps a great deal in doing that. At the time of this review the Nexus 5 was the only phone officially running Android’s latest version: Kit Kat. And that’s a big part of the Nexus experience and something no other phone is going to offer. Manufacturers often take many months to port new versions of Android to existing handsets and in some cases ports you think will come never do. Even the new Google Play edition of phones will likely never receive updates as quickly as the Nexus line. If that’s important to you, most of this review probably doesn’t matter. Get yourself a Nexus 5. It’s hands down the best Nexus phone to date. On that note, Kit Kat is the best Android version to date as well, and is a fairly significant change from previous versions of the software. It’s sleeker, cleaner, more refined and more modern looking while being considerably more responsive. Google Search and Google Now are integrated much more seamlessly than in previous versions. And while I’m not personally a fan of Hangouts replacing SMS and MMS, one nice thing about Android is that you can easily change that.

Now, back to the phone itself. Some good: The quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2G of RAM means that the phone is astonishingly fast. By far the fastest phone I’ve used to date. The display is absolutely gorgeous. The battery life has also been better than most Android phones I’ve used. The  overall build quality of the phone is high and the form factor is extremely usable. The Nexus experience is also difficult to beat. Some bad: While battery life has been better, it’s still fairly unpredictable at times. The camera is probably the weakest part of the phone and is considerably worse than other flagship offerings. That said, Google claims that much of the issue is software related so we may see some marked improvement here. The speaker, while fairly loud, is also frustratingly distorted at times. While I like the overall form factor of the phone, it is quizzical that they chose to give it such a large bottom bezel, especially considering the phone has only software buttons. The lack of an SD card slot is also disappointing.

So, what’s the Verdict? If you want the Nexus experience or would like to buy an off contract phone, at $349 for the 16GB model and $399 for the 32GB model I think the Nexus 5 is going to be impossible to beat. I’m certainly extremely happy with the device myself. That said if you’re in a position where you have to buy a phone on contract, the HTC One (which I’ve seen as low as $75 with a 2 year contract) or possibly the Samsung Galaxy S4 are probably better options.

–jeremy
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Bad Voltage Season 1 Episode 4: Fat Drone Backups

Stuart Langridge, Jono Bacon and myself (Bryan Lunduke is unable to make it again, although we do of course hope that he recovers from whatever horrific disease he’s contracted) bring you:

  • Open Source Health: are the open source community more unhealthy than most? Perhaps the trend for health-related gadgets will save us
  • Review: Stuart talks about Ender’s Game, the film, the book, and the author
  • Chris Anderson, CEO of 3dRobotics, ex-editor of Wired, and author, talks about his current venture, creating pilotless autonomous “drones” and what they might mean for Amazon Prime Air, agriculture, and society at large
  • How do the team actually back up their stuff? Surprisingly, we all actually do (as should you), but how do we do it?
  • Your feedback: video podcasting, Bitcoin, new phone OSes, and pod love

And now… Bad Voltage.

–jeremy

Bad Voltage Season 1 Episode 3: Hear My Lung

In our third episode, your hosts Jono Bacon, Stuart Langridge, and myself (our compadre Bryan Lunduke is away cavorting around Europe) bring you discussion, argument, and amusement on:

  • We delve into the new Playstation 4 and XBox One consoles and discuss whether this is the next generation of gaming, or a rehash of the same-old-same-old
  • Review: I provide an in-depth review of Google’s new Nexus 5 phone
  • We talk about biohacking and discuss what it is, what people are working on, the implications of the technology, and whether it is a good thing in the first place
  • Interview: in this episode we interview prominent kernel hacker, Greg Kroah-Hartman, about life as a kernel hacker, the pressure of working on such a core piece of technology, and his physical relationship with Linus Torvalds
  • We had a bucketload of letters, so we read out our favorites, and share the very best dirty haikus

Go and check out the show here

–jeremy

Good Listening, Bad Voltage

What do you get when you combine an ardent but realistic Open Source evangelist, a bearded heavy metal community manager, an author/Linux game creator and a raconteur web developer who all have a modicum of podcasting experience? You get Bad Voltage; a new project I’m proud to be a part of. From the Bad Voltage site: Every two weeks Bad Voltage delivers an amusing take on technology, Open Source, politics, music, and anything else we think is interesting, as well as interviews and reviews. The show is presented by Jono Bacon, Jeremy Garcia, Stuart Langridge, and Bryan Lunduke. We’ve just released the first show and are keen to get any feedback you may have. We’ve been working behind the scenes on this for a little while now and I think this has the potential to be a genuinely great show. Do note that Bad Voltage is in no way related to LinuxQuestions.org, and unlike LQ it will be decidedly NSFW. That said, head over to the Bad Voltage website, take a listen and let us know what you think.

–jeremy

LinuxQuestions.org Turns Thirteen

Another year, another woeful lack of blog posts. I’m extremely proud to announce that exactly thirteen years ago yesterday I made my very first post at LinuxQuestions.org. As has become tradition, here’s a quick post looking back on the past year and ahead to the next. 4,957,366 posts and 499,844 registered members (730,795 members have actually registered, but we have a very active pruning policy for members who have never posted) does not even begin to tell the story. The community that has grown and flourished at LQ is both astounding and humbling. I’d like to once again thank each and every LQ member for their participation, dedication and feedback. I’d also like to thank the dedicated mod team, whose level-headed decisions have been a cornerstone of the site’s success. As part of our birthday celebration, we’ll be giving away Contributing Member updates, LQ Merchandise and even a gratis pass to OSCON 2013 in Portland. Stay tuned for more details.

This year has been another year of solid growth, both for LQ and The Questions Network. We recently launched ChromeOSQuestions.org, which joined AndroidQuestions.org and LQ. While we delayed the code update that we had planned for LQ, both CQ and AQ are running the latest platform. We have a couple items to work out, but LQ should be moving to the the new platform some time this year. Once that happens, we have some exciting new features and functionality we think you’ll enjoy. Thanks again to all members for your participation, dedication and feedback. If you think there is anywhere we can improve, don’t hesitate to let us know.

–jeremy

Happy New Year & Browser and OS stats for 2012

I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year on behalf of the entire LQ team. 2012 has been another great year for LQ and we have quite a few exciting developments in store for 2013, including a major code update that we originally had planned for late 2012.

Unfortunately, 2012 has been another quiet year from a blogging perspective, but I do regularly post to the LQ twitter account. Posting more lengthy commentary here is something I’ll try to be more cognizant of this year.

As has become tradition, here are the browser and OS statistics for the main LQ site for all of 2012 (2011 stats for comparison).

Browsers
Firefox 46.47%
Chrome 33.27%
Internet Explorer 11.66%
Safari 4.02%
Opera 2.64%
Android Browser 0.69%

Firefox usage at LQ continues to decline and now represents less than half of all pageviews, while Chrome usage continues to increase and now represents more than a third of all pageviews. Note that Konqueror completely fell out of the top 10, representing just 0.09% of all pageviews.

Operating Systems
Windows 53.56%
Linux 35.54%
Macintosh 8.26%
Android .95%
iOS .64%

Windows and Macintosh usage increased for the second straight year, while Linux usage is once again down slightly. Android usage almost hit one full percent.

I’d also like to take this time to thank each and every LQ member. You are what make the site great; without you, we simply wouldn’t exist. I’d like to once again thank the LQ mod team, whose continued dedication ensures that things run as smoothly as they do. Don’t forget to vote in the 2012 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards, which recently opened.

–jeremy

LinuxQuestions.org Turns Twelve

I’m extremely proud to announce that exactly twelve years ago yesterday I made my very first post at LinuxQuestions.org. As has become tradition, here’s a quick post looking back on the past year and ahead to the next. 4,693,050 posts and 469,470 registered members (659,324 members have actually registered, but we have a very active pruning policy for members who have never posted) does not even begin to tell the story. The community that has grown and flourished at LQ is both astounding and humbling. I’d like to once again thank each and every LQ member for their participation, dedication and feedback. I’d also like to thank the dedicated mod team, whose level-headed decisions have been a cornerstone of the site’s success.

To say that feedback has been absolutely critical to our success is an understatement. It would be impossible to enumerate the features we’ve added or changes we’ve made as a direct result of member feedback. With that in mind, I’d like to use this thread to collect as much feedback as possible about LQ. What are we doing well and where can we improve? What should we be doing differently? As part of our birthday celebration, we’ll be giving away Contributing Member updates, LQ Merchandise and even a gratis pass to OSCON 2012 in Portland. Stay tuned for more details.

You may be wondering what’s next for LQ. I’m happy to say that after twelve years, our mission remains as unequivocally unchanged now as it was when I started the site; to be the absolute best resource we can be for the Linux and Open Source community. We have a large code upgrade coming to LQ in the near future, which will bring it in line with the other Questions Network site, AndroidQuestions.org. The new code will bring many long awaiting features, including a much improved search. It will also allow us to iterate faster and add functionality that will improve usability for members and mods alike. After we’re sure the new release is stable, we’ll look at whether or not it makes sense to add any new sections to the site. We’ll also explore the possibility of adding new sites to The Questions Network. Feedback on both, including possible topics for the additional site(s), is very much encouraged.

–jeremy

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