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Test Setup And Methodology

Google Nexus 5 Review: A Fast, Affordable Phone With LTE For All
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Test System Specs

We decided that in order to give a fair and reasonable picture of performance variance, we should test with a variety of different devices. From Qualcomm, we included last year’s Nexus 4 with the Snapdragon S4 Pro along with the currently mid-range Snapdragon 600 in the HTC One. The LG G2 was also included as it carries the same high-end Snapdragon 800 chipsets as the Nexus 5. The recently reviewed EVGA Tegra Note 7 brings Nvidia’s Tegra 4 SoC to the table, while Apple's iPhone 5s shows off the latest iPhone’s A7 SoC.

Nexus 4 was added to show that Android 4.4 optimizations can't and won't make that older device run at the same level as these newer chipsets. It's a sanity check, if you will. The reason LG's G2 was added was to illustrate the performance deficiencies of our retail-purchased Nexus 5. As we will demonstrate, when the benchmarks aren't being hampered by the slow CPU core of this specific Nexus, its Adreno 330 can compete and in some cases even beat the best of performers.

Both Nexus devices are running Android 4.4.2 KitKat, while the Tegra Note, LG G2, and HTC are all running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

Device
SoC
CPU
GPU
RAM
Display
Apple iPhone 5s
Apple A7
ARM v8 (dual-core) @ 1.3 GHzPowerVR G6430 (four-cluster) @ 300 MHz1 GB DDR34" IPS @ 1136x640
EVGA Tegra Note 7
Nvidia Tegra 4T114 ARM Cortex-A15 (quad-core) @ 1.7GHzGeForce ULP1 GB DDR37" IPS @ 1280x800
LG G2
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800Krait 400 (quad-core) @ 2.3 GHzAdreno 330 (quad-core) @ 450 MHz2 GB DDR3L5.2" IPS @ 1920x1080
Google Nexus 5
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800Krait 400 (quad-core) @ 2.3 GHzAdreno 330 (quad-core) @ 450 MHz2 GB DDR3L4.95" IPS+ @ 1920x1080
HTC One
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600Krait 300 (quad-core) @ 1.7 GHzAdreno 320 (quad-core) @ 400 MHz2 GB DDR34.7" SuperLCD3 @ 1920x1080
Google Nexus 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 ProKrait 200 (quad-core) @ 1.5 GHzAdreno 320 (quad-core) @ 400 MHz2 GB DDR34.7" IPS+ @ 1280x768

Benchmark Suite

Our gadget test suite consists of five major sections: CPU, GPU, Web, Display, And Battery.

CPU Benchmarks
AnTuTu v4
CF-Bench Pro
Primate Labs Geekbench 3
Principled Technologies MobileXPRT 2013
GPU Benchmarks
Futuremark 3DMark
Rightware Basemark GUI Free
Rightware Basemark X
Epic Citadel
Kishonti GFXBench v2.7.2
Silicon Studios Mobile GPUMark v2.0
Web Benchmarks
Rightware Browermark v2.0
JSBench
Futuremark Peacekeeper v2.0
Impact HTML5 Benchmark
Principled Technologies WebXPRT 2013
Display Measurements
Brightness (Minimum and Maximum)
Calibrated Black Level
Calibrated Contrast Ratio
Calibrated Gamma
Calibrated Color Temperature
Color Gamut Volume (sRGB and AdobeRGB)
Battery Tests
Gaming (Mobile GPUMark - Loop)

Let's begin with CPU testing and see how our Nexus 5 (with its slow-rated CPU core) stacks up in computational performance.

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  • 8 Hide
    guvnaguy , January 21, 2014 12:18 AM
    Nice review. I think the whole $600-700 price for an off-contract phone is pretty much theft anyway, when the phones cost <$300 to make. Kudos, Google.
  • 5 Hide
    MoulaZX , January 21, 2014 12:31 AM
    The Nexus 5 is extremely susceptible to thermal throttling which this article seems to gloss over or entirely miss.

    Yes PVS scores do indicate something. They indicate the efficiency of a chip at a given frequency. The lower PVS numbers will heat up faster, and thus be at the optimal 2.23Ghz frequency less often, thus giving the perceived impression of being significantly slower.

    I have a Nexus 5 myself, same PVS scoring (1). Running Antutu in my hand, and I'll score 22,000 - 23,000. However, out of curiosity, I rest the phone on an AC vent for 15 minutes, started the Antutu benchmark while leaving it there, and managed to score 29,500. All results easily and consistently repeatable. And my phone has never been unlocked/flashed. 100% Factory ROM, 4.4.2.

    The issue purely heavy thermal throttling under heavy sustained loads.

    In day to day operations though, it is absolutely flawless, and felt ever so slightly snappier then my previous HTC One (M7). Still incredibly happy with this device, and the only one I have never felt the need to unlock and flash silly. My only gripe was Camera issues, but the 4.4.2 update resolved those problems.
  • -4 Hide
    MoulaZX , January 21, 2014 12:31 AM
    Duplicate post. Disregard.
  • 0 Hide
    shahrooz , January 21, 2014 2:39 AM
    I just bought mine wainting for it to arrive xD
  • 0 Hide
    beetlejuicegr , January 21, 2014 2:51 AM
    So a friend bought Nexus 5 and i bought his nexus 4 for me. Really happy with it even if its a last year's mobile. Economy crisis in Greece just won't give me space to buy Nexus 5 :p . Nexus phones are always on the the top list in quality and especially on price/quality mark. It is just that the way google sells them in Europe that is incompatible with the mentality of mobile buyers here. I bet my right thumb :p  that if they had few actual shops inside shopping centers in Europe that they would sell like crazy. Now that i think about it, they know it, they just let other mobile companies for this, for android dominance perhaps? Just like what IBM did with PC and DoS? All were awed to see my Nexus One just when it was released few years ago, which i still have and still works fine, i doubt if an iphone or any 600+ $/euro mobile can survive that long right?
  • 0 Hide
    beetlejuicegr , January 21, 2014 2:52 AM
    Oh and to add, this heating throttling might be annoying if it is used on a warm country like Greece i guess? Can the article elaborate on that? (room temperatures vs performance)
  • 0 Hide
    davidjan , January 21, 2014 3:14 AM
    Great phone. N4 doesn't support OTG. But N5 supports. So can use Meenova MicroSD reader to add its storage: http://goo.gl/2iJ6gf
  • -1 Hide
    cypeq , January 21, 2014 3:49 AM
    I'd love to get 'USA price' on this devices... it is 450 Euro here
  • 0 Hide
    clownbaby , January 21, 2014 4:56 AM
    I finally pulled the trigger on a Nexus 5 and am upgrading my trusty old GNex. The unpolluted android system is by far the most underrated aspect of the Nexus devices. Paired with a crazy enthusiastic development community, Google offers a device experience that can't be had for any price by other manufacturers. To all of this, top end quick hardware is just icing on the cake. I would take a Nexus device with half the performance of an Iphone or Galaxy 4 just for the software environment.
  • 0 Hide
    yasamoka , January 21, 2014 5:51 AM
    The LG G2 does not have a microSD slot. Only the Note 3 does out of the 3 handsets mentioned in the article.
  • -2 Hide
    the1kingbob , January 21, 2014 5:57 AM
    Great article. One thing I would like to see is comparing the ~$350 N5 to other phones of equal price from apple and android. Like to see what a GS3 and a iP4S can do against it.
  • 0 Hide
    chazzmatt , January 21, 2014 6:16 AM
    The Nexus 4 was NOT the first "bleeding edge" Nexus smartphone. So, was the Galaxy Nexus (aka gen 3 Nexus), made by Samsung for Google. Released at end of 2011, had 4.65" 720p HD display, dual core 1.2GHz CPU, 1GB RAM -- and NFC. The Verizon models had LTE. It was one of the first Androids with HD display and had many of the attributes of the Galaxy SIII, released by Samsung a few months later. Yes, those were VERY much cutting edge specs at the time.
  • 2 Hide
    ballerslife , January 21, 2014 7:03 AM
    Err, bit late for a review. The phone came out november
  • 0 Hide
    RooD , January 21, 2014 7:13 AM
    I love my nexus 5, much nicer than my galaxy nexus. I like it more than my wife's S4 and the money I save from being off contract will pay for the phone in the 2 years I'll keep it.
  • -5 Hide
    Zachasaurs , January 21, 2014 7:59 AM
    wow smartphone companies are bathing in money this is the price of a budget gaming pc why would you pay this for a phone? you could but 3 good tablets instead or a pc or laptop
  • -4 Hide
    Zachasaurs , January 21, 2014 7:59 AM
    wow smartphone companies are bathing in money this is the price of a budget gaming pc why would you pay this for a phone? you could but 3 good tablets instead or a pc or laptop
  • 1 Hide
    koolkei , January 21, 2014 9:09 AM
    cloud based storage is all good and fine..... ON MOST OF THE 1ST WORLD NATION...but when they brought it on to the third world nation, our internet just sucks. 1mbps DL and 0.15 mbps UL (that's bit not byte). what are you gonna accomplice or store with that speed here? not to mention the price and the limited bandwidth. a micro sd card is WAY faster and WAY cheaper in the long run here.although i understand why they are doing this, it's just not really gonna work in places where the internet infrastructures are still way behind. btw, where i live, we still struggle to get 3G speed. yet korea is already 4G LTE, and so close to 5G, so they got minimum every day average 3G LTE at least right? and i believe 3G for america and england
  • -2 Hide
    unsivilaudio , January 21, 2014 10:49 AM
    Hilarious they left out the Moto X out of this review comparo, let alone this test; given the claims of superior battery it has made.
  • 2 Hide
    chazzmatt , January 21, 2014 12:07 PM
    Well, Moto X is mid-tier specs, not top tier like the Androids with Snapdragon 800 and 1080p. Why should they mention phones like the Moto X?
  • -1 Hide
    unsivilaudio , January 21, 2014 12:26 PM
    Quote:
    Well, Moto X is mid-tier specs, not top tier like the Androids with Snapdragon 800 and 1080p. Why should they mention phones like the Moto X?


    They mentioned the Nexus 4, which is right alongside spec-wise with the Moto X; also its probably to the 2 most compared phones out right now.
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