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Google announces Nexus 5 and unwraps KitKat

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Google is advertising optical image stabilization as a major selling point of the
Nexus 5's camera.

Android fans, your moment has finally arrived. After months of speculation, leaks (intentional or not) and rumors, Google has announced the Nexus 5.

Available today in the Google Play Store, the Nexus 5 comes in white or black and will start at $349 for 16GB of built-in memory and $399 for 32GB. With a 4.95-inch, 1920 x 1080 display, Snapdragon 800 processorand a 2,300mAH battery, Google claims the Nexus 5 can handle up to 17 hours of talk time.

For photographers, the Nexus 5 does not exactly stand out from the competition. Its 8MP camera looks an awful lot like the Nexus 4 camera, and compared to the pixel-packing competition, the Nexus 5 falls short at first glance.

Google's main selling point of the Nexus 5 camera is optical image stabilization — a feature present on the Lumia 1020, LG G2 and Galaxy S4 Zoom, and those cameras all boast more megapixels. With OIS, the device should offer improved performance over the Nexus 4, but is that enough to compete with other top smartphone cameras? We're still waiting to hear more details from Google about the Nexus 5 camera (we still don't know about sensor size or aperture), and we'll want to conduct our own testing before we can come to any conclusions about what the device will mean to photographers.

Nexus key specifications

  • 8MP rear-facing camera with Optical Image Stabilization
  • 1.3MP front facing camera
  • 4.95” 1920x1080 display (445 ppi)
  • 2300 mAh battery
  • wireless charging
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800, 2.26GHz
  • 4G/LTE and Dualband Wi-Fi
  • 16GB or 32GB internal storage
  • 2GB RAM
  • running Android 4.4 KitKat

In what may end up being a more infuriating than entertaining attempt at appealing to photographers, Google has released a video of people using their Nexus 5 smartphones to capture weddings. Since smartphones seem to be the #1 enemy of professional wedding photographers, we thought this was a funny choice for a promotional video. Watch it below.

KitKat brings an Android update to the masses

Google's release of its new operating system KitKat is an attempt to unify its users. Most Android users are still using Gingerbread — software that was first released in 2010 — because their devices couldn't handle an upgrade. KitKat will be available for all Android devices that have as little as 512MB of RAM, and if you get a Nexus 5, a new photography feature comes standard: HDR+.

From Google's long list of KitKat updates:

HDR+ mode on Nexus 5 automatically snaps a rapid burst of photos and combines them to give you the best possible single shot. Daytime pictures are vivid with clean shadows, and nighttime photos are sharp with less noise.

But there’s not a lot of KitKat features to appease photographers who have older devices. One perk is that the update lets you print photos or documents straight from your smartphone as long as your printer has an app in the Google Play store or connects to Google Cloud Print. You can now also remotely wipe your device in case it gets stolen to protect your personal images from ending up in the wrong hands. 

KitKat will ship on all Nexus 5 smartphones but users of older devices will have to wait for their carriers to issue an over-the-air update. (All Android users can always manually check for operating system improvements in Settings>About>System Updates.) See the rest of KitKat's new features here.

Comments

Total comments: 14
techmine
By techmine (5 months ago)

waiting for the full review. The camera is marred with a lot of problems like slow AF and horrible audio in Video mode. I have the phone and dealing with these right now. A lot of others have the same. But we need a big name review to send a message to Google.

0 upvotes
Fred Dominic
By Fred Dominic (5 months ago)

At 0:42, I first thought she threw her Nexus 5 over a cliff!!

0 upvotes
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (5 months ago)

"For photographers, the Nexus 5 does not exactly stand out from the competition. Its 8MP camera looks an awful lot like the Nexus 4 camera, and compared to the pixel-packing competition, the Nexus 5 falls short at first glance."

Compared to 1020 and 808 yes but compared to iPhone5 it has the same horrible image of the iPhone. Funny thing is, in your iPhone5s article, you are praising it to death when the truth is, it is just another horrible phone from iPhone and not even worth-considering for serious photographers.

2 upvotes
nofumble
By nofumble (5 months ago)

1 of 4 Nexus 5 that I ordered has been shipped.

For just over 50% the price of an iFony 5S, it is a no brainer.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Michael Ma
By Michael Ma (6 months ago)

Amazing price. No RAW? Get with the game Google!

0 upvotes
HappyVan
By HappyVan (6 months ago)

"In what may end up being a more infuriating than entertaining attempt at appealing to photographers, Google has released a video of people using their Nexus 5 smartphones to capture weddings. Since smartphones seem to be the #1 enemy of professional wedding photographers, we thought this was a funny choice for a promotional video."

Actually, this is wrong. Pro wedding photog don't fear smartphones.

Pro wedding photog provide value in a package. Pictures are nicely presented. Video is smartly edited and audio mixed.

Clients hire pro because they depend on the photog capturing the key moments in focus. Does that matter?

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (6 months ago)

I'm guessing Lauren meant that smartphones are the #1 enemy by getting in the way of shots taken by professionals.

4 upvotes
nofumble
By nofumble (5 months ago)

If you don't get a wide-zoom, you will end up photograph smartphone people butts.

0 upvotes
antares103
By antares103 (6 months ago)

"For photographers, the Nexus 5 does not exactly stand out from the competition. ... but is that enough to compete with other top smartphone cameras? "

Really? Does any one who cares about image quality care about their smart phone performance?

3 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (6 months ago)

Google Nexus 4 has very ordinary battery life and the Nexus 5 uses a larger 1080p screen that'll require even more juice. The 2300mAh battery is a bit of a joke and given how little Google spends on battery optimisation, the Nexus 5 should also be poor.

As for the camera, who cares, 8MP is about 7MP more than most people need for their facebook snaps.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (6 months ago)

"As for the camera, who cares, 8MP is about 7MP more than most people need for their facebook snaps."

1. The best camera is always the one you have with you.

2. I've secretly hoped the Nexus 5 would have the same video recording capabilities than the Note 3 (but, at least the G2). The Note 3 records excellent, detailed and stuttering-free 4K footage and very good 1080p60 / 720p120 video. Its dual camera and pano capabilities are also excellent.

Too bad it seems the Nexus 5 can't do any of these.

1 upvote
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (6 months ago)

An unlocked Note 3 also costs $300+ more than the 32GB Nexus 5, at least in the US. $300 can buy quite a bit of electronics.

2 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (6 months ago)

"An unlocked Note 3 also costs $300+ more than the 32GB Nexus 5, at least in the US. "

Yup, the Nexus 5 is exceptionally cheap there. Not here in Europe. Here, Note 3's are "only" about 50-60% more expensive - the Nexus 5 prices are outrageous (as usual), particularly in the UK.

0 upvotes
Impulses
By Impulses (5 months ago)

The Nexus 4 ran S4 Pro, this runs S800... Big difference in efficiency. The G2 got just about the best battery life of any smartphone ever in Anandtech's testing, but it has a larger battery, if you extrapolate for the smaller battery here (and the lack of extra bloatware) it should still be pretty darn competitive.

Battery size is still on par with the likes of a One or SGS4. Resolution is also not the sole factor driving a display's power use, although displays remain the biggest power hogs in a phone (unless you find yourself with borderline signal strength, constant tower searching will destroy battery life even quicker).

1 upvote
Total comments: 14
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