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Nexus 5 initial impressions from an iPhone 5 user

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besweeet
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Default Nexus 5 initial impressions from an iPhone 5 user

Background: Ever since I switched from AT$T to T-Mobile last month, my iPhone 5's battery life has taken a huge nosedive for the worst, to where it can easily lose 1% every 2-3 minutes, Wi-Fi on or off, and even if airplane mode is on but Wi-Fi is on (Apple Store won't replace it since it's 60 days out of warranty, and a new battery honestly probably won't help since the capacity and other diagnostic readings are showing signs of a normal battery). Popping my AT$T SIM back in, I immediately get much better numbers. Either T-Mobile's network sucks the crap out of batteries, or the phone has yet to be optimized for the network. I'm thinking it's the latter, because I've used other T-Mobile phones, such as the LG Optimus L9, and battery life was really good. Since the Nexus 5 is a very affordable off-contract device, I decided to give it a try.

I understand that the battery life is itself questionable for the Nexus 5, but it supposedly gets better as time goes on.

My white 16GB Nexus 5 arrived yesterday (ordered it on the 6th when it said it'll ship between 3-4 weeks). Using a ghetto paper-based mold for my nano-SIM, it worked just fine in the N5's micro-SIM slot.

It took a number of hours to eventually get things the way I like it, but here's my current setup (the icon and folder setups are nearly identical to how I had them on my iPhone 5, and every third-party (App Store) app I had there was also available on Android, or at least a good alternative was available):


Overall, I'm very happy with Android 4.4 and its general performance on the N5.

So, some complaints.

First, LTE. On my morning commute, I noticed it completely lost a signal (no bars, just an outline) three times in areas where my iPhone 5 would have at least 2 bars (dots) of LTE. I would at least expect it to drop to HSPA+, but it didn't do that... In the building I'm in, I always got at least 3 bars of LTE on my iPhone 5. My Nexus 5 can't seem to hook onto it, even after flicking airplane mode on and off a few times. It's instead connected to HSPA+ (fluctuating between that and 3G when idling, as expected). Yes, HSPA+ works, but I want LTE if I have access to it, which I do. EDIT: Changing the data network from LTE to 2G, then back to LTE brought LTE back. EDIT 2: Well, where I've been at for the past 10 minutes, I get a full signal of LTE. It randomly decided to drop to full HSPA+/3G.

I always also hoping that general compatibility with T-Mobile was better. The raw decibel signal readings do seem to be in my favor, but the LTE problems and prior signal drops are hopefully things that won't happen again.

Next, battery life. Yes, as mentioned, I know that it's supposed to get better. To be honest, my initial battery life numbers don't seem too bad. Here are some of my initial numbers (N5 came out of the box at around 80% battery, used it down to 5% before charging it all night):



At that screen on rate, I'd estimate about 5.75 hours of total screen on usage, and 9 hours of total standby. That's much better than some of my recent iPhone 5 numbers, and I hope that they can increase. Battery life is really the deciding factor if I keep the N5 and sell my iPhone 5 or not.

I've already gone through all of the battery saving tips (turning Wi-Fi auto search off, battery saving location mode, disabling OK Google, etc.). My usage isn't too heavy, but I do leave Wi-fi OFF (yes, off), get hundreds of texts, checking and replying to them, using Twitter (Tweetings), listening to music through headphones (PowerAmp), checking email automatically every 15 minutes via K9, dealing with those from time to time, and opening some pages with Chrome.

Next, the speaker. I was expecting it to be loud, louder than my iPhone 5, but it's noticeably quieter. I guess there's a hardware hack for it, but I'd rather avoid that, should I end up returning the thing. It sounds clear, and seems louder in certain apps than others (even if the volume is up all the way). Not sure if it needs to be broken in first.

I just noticed that music through headphones doesn't get very loud either, even with things turned up to their maximum values in PowerAmp.

I've yet to take a picture with the camera, and I heard it could be better (and probably will with a software update).

Speaking of software updates, I imagine Google could easily improve on almost all of these areas, including battery life?

One of my concerns was whether or not I can deal with the larger phone for one-handed operation. And really, I haven't had any complaints there.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with it. Just anxious to see what my battery life numbers will be as time goes on.
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Smallsmx3
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Battery life probably won't get drastically better. You just need to see what kills your battery the most. If there are things on in the background that your not using such as an app that would save battery life. But most likely is just the screen

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Dr Tone
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If you can live with Google Play Music for listening to your music, it should use less battery then poweramp by using the special kitkat dsp audio engine.

If you don't have stable LTE, it will really suck the life out of your battery. I just run HSPA+ most of the time and my battery life is ridiculous now.
 
besweeet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Tone View Post
If you can live with Google Play Music for listening to your music, it should use less battery then poweramp by using the special kitkat dsp audio engine.

If you don't have stable LTE, it will really suck the life out of your battery. I just run HSPA+ most of the time and my battery life is ridiculous now.
One big thing I really like is when songs crossfade between each other, which the Google Play Music app doesn't do. PowerAmp's equalizer and other audio adjustment settings are things I can't really go without anymore. Battery life when using it seems fine (for now).

LTE where I am is generally pretty stable. I'll do some tests with LTE off since that will probably help a bit (didn't matter on my iPhone 5, since the battery life would decrease at the same rate regardless of which type of data connection I'm on). Think a software or radio update would help?
 
darkgoon3r96
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You are complaining about nearly 6 hours of battery life?!!? If I get a Nexus 5 and get that much screen on just browsing, I'd freaking celebrate!

Let's not forget that you started at 80%!! EIGHTY PERCENT!!
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besweeet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkgoon3r96 View Post
You are complaining about nearly 6 hours of battery life?!!? If I get a Nexus 5 and get that much screen on just browsing, I'd freaking celebrate!

Let's not forget that you started at 80%!! EIGHTY PERCENT!!
Well, my iPhone USED to get really good usage numbers under similar usage scenarios.
 
lwfb
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I've got to admit, I was expecting another "iPhone 5 is way better than Nexus 5" rant...

Kudos to you sir, I thought you made a pretty good review and fair comparison between the two.

I've been having similar issues on T-Mobile as of late, so I understand where you're coming from. The battery and network connectivity issues are most likely on their side.

As for software issues, the sound output being drastically different per app will likely be fixed in an OTA soon. The camera actually exceeded my expectations on a recent family outing to a Texans game last weekend, with HDR+ it takes amazing pictures! The autofocus could be faster, but I'm sure that'll be addressed in an OTA as well.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts bud, it's not often we get unbiased opinions here... It's refreshing to see a review by someone who isn't an iOS fanboy or Nexus apologist.

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rootSU
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Originally Posted by besweeet View Post
Well, my iPhone USED to get really good usage numbers under similar usage scenarios.
Its not similar conditions with a 4" screen.

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sbenson1226
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Battery life is incredibly subjective and can vary wildly from user to user. Location, carrier, usage patterns, etc. are different for everyone so it's hard to definitively predict battery life on the N5.

My experience? My first week I was incredibly worried because battery life was significantly worse than my GS3. Granted, I was playing with it a lot and testing out different things, but I was averaging about 3 hours of screen time and scraping about 12 hours of total life. Pretty terrible for what I was used to. I will say that when I was testing out the Moves app, to test the movement tracker, this absolutely slaughtered my battery.

I lived with mediocre battery life for a few days, then when Franco came out with his kernel (I believe I started at r10) I flashed it and then started getting insane battery results. Each kernel update has gotten better (now on r14) and I'm finally happy and able to easily make it through a full day.

For the past week, I usually take my phone off the charger at 7am and it goes back on at 11pm with around 25-35% remaining. During this time my screen on time is between 3-4 hours. So that's 16 hours with a quarter of the battery remaining and a decent amount of screen time on. I'm very happy.
 
besweeet
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I'm assuming a custom kernel requires a root, which then requires everything to be wiped? I wish I knew that prior to getting everything setup. Probably won't get into any of that for a while.

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