Considering that a good part of what I do as a freelance writer is cover the world of technology and consumer electronics, the natural assumption is that I will always buy the newest and shiniest toy on the block. My cell phone contract just expired, so I became eligible for a hardware upgrade and was on the hunt for a new smartphone. Did I get a Galaxy Note 4? A OnePlus One? A 2014 Moto X? No. My new smartphone is actually something that came out last year: a Nexus 5.
And even though the Nexus 5 was originally released “way back” in October 2013, it has actually aged quite well. Part of the not-so-subtle irony here is that I told myself I had two key considerations for my next smartphone: a better camera and better battery life. For most intents and purposes, the Nexus 5 isn’t exactly much of an upgrade over my old Motorola RAZR HD XT925 in those regards. However, it did win me over for a few other reasons.
- The Issue of Size: Quite literally, a “big” problem with most modern flagship smartphones is that they’re too big. The “phablet” craze is just too much, perpetuated by devices like the Nexus 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. While I had considered the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, I ultimately decided it was almost too small. The Nexus 5 hits a healthy compromise, as its overall dimensions aren’t all that different from my old RAZR HD.
- The Nexus Advantage: One thing that really frustrated me about my old Motorola was the lack of software updates it received. That’s not the case with Nexus devices and I was able to get the OTA update for Android 5.0 Lollipop mere hours after picking up the Nexus 5. It may not be new hardware, but the new software sure makes it feel even newer.
- The Performance Upgrade: Smartphone technology hasn’t made much of a quantum leap in the last couple of years. Given this, the Nexus 5 from 2013 can still hold its own against most 2014 devices. This smartphone gets a speedy quad-core processor and a couple of gigs of RAM. This has helped with the performance of my smartwatch too, since much of the processing is still done by the connected smartphone.
- The Wireless Additions: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE are practically a given on the majority of modern day smartphones. The Nexus 5 adds NFC and integrated Qi support, the latter of which I’m already finding quite convenient.
- The Price of Free: Perhaps the biggest motivating factor in choosing this particular smartphone was the price. By keeping my current plan, signing a two-year contract, and using up some Fido dollars, I was able to get the Nexus 5 for free. If I were to flip this phone to get something like the Z3 Compact or Moto X, I’d have to make up about a $200 difference and I’m not sure either phone is really $200 better, not to mention the added effort of selling and buying.
It’s far too early for me to draw any real conclusions about my buying decision. What I can say, based on these first few days, is that the user experience has been far snappier, Qi charging works as advertised, and discovering Lollipop’s niceties has been a joy.
Now, I can have a new smartphone and still have some money “left over” for Adalynn’s diaper fund.