2It’s Losing Out on the Display Front
It’s certainly nice to see Google and LG, the device’s maker, up the Nexus’ screen size to about 5 inches, but that’s not enough any longer. There are devices available now, like the Samsung Galaxy Mega, that are hitting on the 6-inch mark. The Galaxy S 4, the world’s most popular Android smartphone, also comes with a 5-inch screen. The onus was on Google and LG to deliver something bigger and better.
3No Verizon Means Trouble in the U.S.
The Nexus 5 will be made available at carrier stores across the U.S., save for Verizon. That’s right. The Nexus 5 will run on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile networks, but one of the largest carriers in the country won’t be shipping the handset. Google must do something about its strained Verizon relationship; the omission in this case is conspicuous.
4The Off-Contract Price Is Good, Not Great
Much has been made about Google’s ability to offer the Nexus 5 contract-free for $349 to start. While that is certainly a better price than the $649 customers will pay for the iPhone 5S contract-free, it’s still not where budget-conscious customers want it. In fact, the Nexus 5 finds itself in an odd place between being a bit too expensive for casual users and somewhat cheap for high-end users who want the latest functionality. Cheap might be good in some cases, but when it comes to the advanced users, it only means one thing: It’s not worth it.
5It’s the Same Old Design
The Nexus 5 comes with nearly the same design as the Nexus 4. The device has a bigger display and the thin bezel on either side is a welcome addition, but it’s by no means a groundbreaking change in smartphone design. The Nexus 5 is, from a design perspective, a standard, run-of-the-mill smartphone.
6Android 4.4 KitKat Isn’t a Major Step Up
Android 4.4 (KitKat) was designed in part to fix some problems with the mobile operating system, including widget handling and odd scrolling problems. More than anything, though, Google has crafted KitKat to work with low-end products to reduce fragmentation in the Android ecosystem. The operating system is also optimized for wearable technology. Seasoned Android users, however, won’t find many major improvements to make them want to jump at the chance to get the world’s first KitKat-equipped handset.
7More Storage, Please
Google and LG took a conservative stance in the Nexus 5’s design since it is limiting the storage options in the new handset. The Nexus 5 has two versions—16GB and 32GB—leaving those customers who want 64GB of space on their devices out of luck. Google has been able to sidestep the problem by offering the Nexus 5 at a cheaper price, but that might not be enough. Again—Google is trying to position the device as a flagship offering. If that’s the case, the Nexus 5 needs more storage.
8Near-Field Communication Isn’t Catching On
There’s no question that near-field communication could be a major technology and it should be in more devices. But recent history has shown that the average Nexus user doesn’t use NFC that much and doesn’t buy Nexus models primary to get access to this feature. Google, however, continues to offer NFC in the Nexus 5 in hopes that it’ll somehow catch on. Of course, Google’s desire to get users to employ NFC is based in its hopes of getting its digital-payment service Google Wallet off the ground. For now, however, it appears the market isn’t ready for NFC.
9It’s Got a Middle-of-the-Road Camera
In the land of mobile cameras, the Nexus 5’s 8-megapixel lens will do little to excite consumers. At 8 megapixels, the device is in line with the iPhone 5S camera, but is far behind competing Android handsets, like the LG G2, which has a 13-megapixel camera. The Nokia Lumia line is even further ahead in the camera-quality department. It’s an unfortunate oversight on Google and LG’s part.
10Nexus 5 Doesn’t Challenge the Market Leaders
A new smartphone must, at the very least, compete on the same level as the market leaders to really catch buyers’ eyes. But it’s impossible to say that the Nexus 5 will match those leaders. Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 comes with a nicer design, while the LG G2 proves more powerful. The one advantage the Nexus 5 has over those devices is its off-contract pricing, but for the vast majority of people, that’s not enough to make them ditch a better product. That will prove troublesome for the Nexus 5 throughout the next year.
11Initial Sales Don’t Mean Much
Currently, the Nexus 5 is selling like gangbusters. In fact, the device was quickly sold out after its announcement, mimicking the success of the Nexus 4 last year. But as the Nexus 4 proved, the excitement surrounding the device was short-lived and it eventually fell into the middle of the pack in sales. Look for the same to happen with the Nexus 5. Somehow, the market corrects itself as it places the best products at the top of the heap. Early adopters aside, Google might face some trouble finding a suitable market for the Nexus 5.