Since we now got all the details of the OnePlus One and the hype settled along with their brilliant “Smash the Past” campaign and the invite system that comes with it, I think it´s time to focus again on what´s coming next. In this article I wanna take on the next Nexus and my thoughts on what I want it to be…
Personally the biggest excitement about the OnePlus wore off due to it´s massive size even beating the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in length and this is what already leads me to my first point. I want the next Nexus (let´s just call it Nexus 6 here to make it easier, no hint on size though) to actually be a phone and not a phablet or whatever you wanna call those things today. The line between big smartphones and so-called “phablets” seems to blur more and more with every new device coming to the market. Last year 5.5″ was still considered as phablet and everything below was still a “phone”, so this makes the OnePlus a phablet for me. The Nexus 5 should end up being 5.2″ at best I´d say, last year LG has spectacularly proven that´s possible to put in a chassis that doesn´t really feel any bigger than the Nexus 5 due to bigger curves on the sides. I´d even dare to say it actually feels better in hand mostly because of that. The size around the Nexus 5 is my personal sweet spot, same goes for the LG G2, and since the Nexus 5 is widely popular I´d still say that´s the size Google should go with. We all know the Nexus 5 is sort of G2 lite and according to rumors the G3 is supposed to get a 5.5″ screen, but similar rumors also say the Nexus 6 is again supposed to be a G3 lite, so chances are good it´s going to get a slightly smaller screen again, and with those impressive small bezels on the LG Isai which is kinda the Asian version of the G3 we might end up with a device actually still fitting nicely in the hand being ready for one-handed use. Even if the G3 has nothing to do with the Nexus 6 and someone entirely different makes it, I still hope it´s not getting any bigger than the current Nexus 5 and if at least give it more curves, and this leads me to my next point…
…be a pleasure to hold!
I can´t say much bad things about the Nexus 5 but if there´s one thing I personally can´t stand about it since the very first moment I picked it up it´s this edgy design with all those sharp and hard lines. Don´t get me wrong it looks very nice but the actual feel in the hand is something totally different. The side edges of the back where you hold it are pointing in the wrong direction in my opinion, instead of becoming slightly wider toward the back it would feel much nicer if it would become narrower with a slight curve towards the back, just like the G2 already did, I don´t get why they didn´t keep this more organic design. But the design part that bugs me even more is the unnecessary rough and slightly sharp lip around the front of the device. It doesn´t just feel awkward sliding along the edge, especially for me using all sorts of bezel gestures but the gap between the lip and the display is a perfect home for any sort of dust and lint which makes the device look pretty nasty over time if you don´t clean it all the time.
I know I´m the minority here when I say this but for me the Nexus 5, and I´m only talking about the black soft-touch version since the white one isn´t affected by this, feels extremely slippery especially with my dry hands. I didn´t really like that soft touch on the Nexus 7 and I don´t even know what made me go for the black one in the first place besides preferring the black color of course. The soft touch doesn´t feel nice in the hand to me and any point, at best it feels like holding a smooth potato and at worst it feel like holding a piece of soap. Granted no hyperglaze sort of soap but not really much better. Personally I felt the S4 feels even less slippery as the Nexus 5. And this weird feeling soft-touch coating is also the main reason why I´m still rocking my XGear EXO-skin black leather vynil skin. I tested 3 different brands like dbrand, slickwraps but also as mentioned XGear. The first 2 didn´t really convince me (you can check out my reviews here and here), not because of the grip, both provided a very solid amount of grip but it was the rough sharp edge on the sides of the vinyl that made me take off both again. The good thing about the EXOskin is that it´s a one-piece solution that actually wraps around the size and not just improved the grip of the Nexus 5 but also improved the overall feel in hand of the phone due to adding a bit more curve to the sides, an aspect that shouldn´t be underestimated. But as stated at the beginning of this paragraph I´m in the minority here since most think it feels right but I think there´s room for improvement on the Nexus 5 design nonetheless.
…be fast, smooth and lagfree!
Sure there´s no denying the Nexus 5 is already blazing fast and super smooth but everything is constantly improving and of course so should the Nexus 5. Most current or soon to be released flagships are powered by the Snapdragon 801 which is a beast of a SoC and also very power-efficent. The G3 is rumored to also come with exactly that mentioned SoC but I think no matter of what phone the Nexus 6 will be based of it should already be packing the Snapdragon 805 and the reason for that is obvious. All 801 devices are either already available or will be very soon but the Nexus 6 isn´t up for until late october or early november. By than the 805 could already be in the first phones and not to fall behind same as they did last year with the S800 in the Nexus 5. They should again take the best out there that´s available. Jumping from a 800 to only a 801 would not be enough for a year passed.
Almost all tech reviewers but also most users had one thing to complain about and that was the battery life. Sure, it lasts me for a whole day with ease with plenty or juice left for the night but even I have to admit, a bit more would be no bad thing. After using it for about 6 months now I usually get around 3h of screen on time paired with 24h and more and that´s OK, but on certain days when I push it harder it can get tight and then there are so many people out there with a lot of more stuff syncing, using GPS and all sorts of stuff going on in the background, so it´s easy to understand why they are longing for more and complaining about it. After all, I always said right from the beginning the Nexus 5 should have had at least 2600mAh inside. I don´t wanna name any mAh values here but i´d say I wish for something like 30% more battery life on the Nexus 5 paired with some sort of quick charge technology, until later this year they still have enough time left to figure out how to achieve that I think.
…be sharp and crisp!
I´m talking about both the camera and the display. Let´s cover the camera first. First of all, I´m still fine with the camera of the Nexus 5 but mostly because I barely use it and when I do it, it´s nothing that has to look spectacular. I know reviewers will complain the most here, most Nexus users won´t, with good reason. The Nexus phone isn´t suppose to be a phone for the photographer but for the tech enthusiast or geek if you wanna call it that. But even I see potential for improved camera performance, better/smarter focus and sharper images would definitely be something nice to have but then again as said, “nice to have” and not really a “must have”.
Now let´s get to the display, I´m sure until late fall we will already see a bunch of QHD devices (2560×144) which a lot of people refer to as 2k but that´s a different story. So, should the Nexus 5 have a QHD screen? I´d say it depends, it depends on 2 factors mostly. If it stay close to 5″ and doesn´t get much bigger, I think it´s not really necessary to go any higher in terms of resolution, I really don´t see that much benefit in doing that. Most OEM just do it because they CAN and to keep the spec race going. Rather than focusing on optimizing their software and overall experience they keep boosting specs instead of doing something actually useful or innovative. But the 2nd factor is the battery life, if it doesn´t affect the battery life I´d say go for it, why not. No harm, no foul. But then again I hardly doubt a QHD display drains the same amount of battery than a 1080p screen with the same size, but feel free to disagree if you think I´m wrong here. If we reached the point where a battery lasts a full day of even the hardest workload then we can play with these sorts of things. But until then I´d say it wiser to focus more on battery life since current screens already are beautiful to look at. But resolution aside here for a moment, when talking about the display of the Nexus 5 and how to improve it, the one thing I see that could really need some would be the viewing angles. They aren´t bad by any means, there are way worse examples here but especially at 45° angles it quickly starts to wash out and turn black into white. No big complaint but it would be still nice to see this being worked on.
I wanna makes this one short. A lot of people complain about the speaker of the Nexus 5 but personally ever since the first update that noticeably boosted the overall speaker volume and sound quality I´m mostly fine with it. Sure, it´s miles apart from Boomsound but then again which other phone isn´t. The Z2 this year also brings stereo front facing speaker to the table but first direct comparisons show even that one gets crushed by Boomsound. If they intend to make changes though they should rather focus on better speaker placement. If not using any sort of stereo speaker that´s actually more than just a few millimeters apart, check the position isn´t exactly there where most people have their finger. I stopped getting annoyed by how often this happens to me while supporting the phone with my pinky and blocking the one grill at the bottom where actual sounds gets out of the device.
What I mean by this? I mean the phone by laying flat on a table. Thanks to the camera hump it always wobbles around while using it laying flat. I´m not saying it has to be perfectly flat, mostly due to ergonomic reasons but there has to be a way to make it stay steady on the table and still allow for a nice feel in the hand. In case of the Nexus 5, what they should have done is just make the device thicker to make it even with the camera lens to prevent the wobbling. The extra millimeters also could have perfectly been used to fit a slightly larger battery into the chassis, I know a lot of people think the same here.
OK, I think it´s time to end this here, I think I made my point and wishes clear. I know most of what I wrote basically is nothing else than getting rid of the few flaws of the Nexus 5 and improving further on last years model but be honest, is that wrong? The Nexus 5 is a fantastic phone that 5 months later still easily can compete with the latest and greatest out there, there are enough video comparisons with current flagships proving me right. But with those “bugs” fixed the Nexus 6 could become even more than just the fantastic phone it already is…
What do you think? What do you wish for? Do you agree/disagree with me? Feel free to let me know in the comments