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

Results: GPU Benchmarks, Continued

Epic Citadel

Epic’s Unreal Engine is put to decent use in this benchmark, which simulates a reasonably simple first-person game environment. It’s a little old as benchmarks go, easily maxed out in Performance and High Quality modes by even older SoCs like Tegra 3. Yet, it does use a real game engine and can be a strain in Ultra High Quality mode.

EVGA's Tegra Note steals the show and our Nexus 5 places a pretty close second, only dipping at Ultra High quality. LG's G2 is probably missing out on the Project Svelte optimizations, while the Nexus 4 is definitely beginning to show its age. The HTC One seems to do fine, but then shows a very poor result when resources are stretched thin. Perhaps Sense is hogging the limelight?


Kishonti GFXBench 2.7 (previously known as GLBenchmark) is a cross-platform OpenGL GPU benchmark. It not only simulates scenes that a game might render, but also runs a series of additional tests that cover considerations like fill-rate, render accuracy, and so on. This is a demanding metric, especially the T-Rex scene because it uses many modern effects including motion blur, parallax mapping, and complex particle systems. We will only be concentrating on four main benchmarks in the suite: T-Rex HD Offscreen, Egypt HD Offscreen, T-Rex HD Onscreen, and Egypt HD Onscreen.

Performance is scaling almost perfectly linearly from Apple's Rogue-equipped A7 to Google's Adreno 320-equipped Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro. Our Nexus 5 and the LG G2 are practically scoring the same. EVGA's Tegra Note seems to struggle more than it should, judging from previous tests.

This is pretty much the same story, though we know the Tegra Note and Nexus 4 get the benefit of lower resolution displays. Meanwhile, the HTC One suffers the most for its high pixel count.

Mobile GPUMark

Silicon Studios’ Mobile GPUMark is a benchmark that employs the company’s own in-house engine called YEBIS 2. It focuses on post-processing effects like color grading, bloom, and lenticular lighting to create film-like scenes.

It's telling that the two modern devices with high-end GPUs and low-resolution displays fare the best. Google's Nexus 5 puts in a good performance considering its Full HD resolution, and the LG G2 isn't far behind. The Nexus 4 does pretty well in context to its resolution and slower CPU core clock rate. But again, the poor HTC One suffers extensively for its Full HD display.

Each colored line corresponds to a different resolution, so the playing field evens out. Google's Nexus 5 takes the lead, at least in this particular game engine. Tegra Note does best at the lowest resolution because it's hardly being strained to render a postage stamp, but the device suffers when resources run, thin having only 1GB of RAM to work with. The Nexus 4 surprises with a comfortable lead in two sub-720p resolutions, and yet the device struggles at its near-native resolution. We seriously don't understand what happened to the LG G2 here. It should have fared a lot better, and the same is true for HTC One, but we think that Sense is once again hogging resources on the latter.

  • guvnaguy
    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.
  • MoulaZX
    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.
  • MoulaZX
    Duplicate post. Disregard.
  • shahrooz
    I just bought mine wainting for it to arrive xD
  • beetlejuicegr
    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?
  • beetlejuicegr
    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)
  • davidjan
    Great phone. N4 doesn't support OTG. But N5 supports. So can use Meenova MicroSD reader to add its storage:
  • cypeq
    I'd love to get 'USA price' on this devices... it is 450 Euro here
  • clownbaby
    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.
  • yasamoka
    The LG G2 does not have a microSD slot. Only the Note 3 does out of the 3 handsets mentioned in the article.