The Nexus 5 is absurdly fast

I bought one from the Carphone Warehouse today and it's very, very impressive. I've just been playing around with Chrome and it's actually smooth which is a first for me on mobile. Even on Slashdot, which for those of you who haven't tried it has the most ridiculous hard on the browser mobile site I've ever seen, scrolls nice and smooth. I don't know if they've improved Chrome to accomplish this or if the S800 just brute forces it to usability, but it's so, so much better than it was on my old Galaxy Nexus, where it was utterly unusable, or on my 2012 Nexus 7.

Everything's just super fast in generally really, which I guess is to be expected when such an absurdly overpowered SoC is crammed into a phone. One good thing is that the storage seems, though I haven't formally benchmarked this, to be a lot better than it is in my Nexus 7. I could happily use the device while Google Play restored dozens of apps. That would be hopeless on every other Android device I've used.

And, obviously, the screen is glorious. I can't say it's really any better than what I have on my Lumia 920 or my retina iPad, I think the density race has reached some seriously diminishing returns at this point, but the quality is there in all the ways you could want to my eyes: density, contrast, brightness, etc. It's quite lovely.

The build feels nice in my hand, too. It lacks the solidity of the Lumia 920, but then it's very noticeable lighter and thinner which is pleasant and probably not unrelated. It's also not much bigger in widthxheight despite the .5" bigger screen. In fact, it's actually slightly narrower due to the minimal bezels. This isn't a phone that needs its own parking place despite the large screen.

Other things I like in no particular order:

  • Swipe to delete in the stock e-mail app and it setting up emails without any need for manual fiddling with server URLs and ports and what-not. It's about time ordinary email got some love.
  • Google Now being a swipe away on the home screen makes it a great deal more accessible. I may actually use it now.
  • The launcher is also much improved. There are no huge changes, but all the little nips and tucks make it much better. Just not having five home screens whether you want them or not is a big improvement for me, not wanting more than a single page of short cuts. I've given up Nova for the stock launcher which says something given how much I loved Nova. The only thing I could do without is that damned search widget which still seems to be locked in place on all your home screens in the stock launcher.
  • The fact that you can get to the camera from the lock screen is now a great deal more obvious. They've planted a camera icon at the bottom right and when you press it the camera screen hovers into view to let people know they just need to swipe over. Not having those translucent rectangles fade in and out is a big aesthetic improvement, too, I think.
  • I'm not sure what update or hardware boost causes this, but asking for music to be kept on the device from Google Play seems enormously faster now. I don't feel the need to plug it in to my PC and drag folders over anymore.
  • I like the toned down colours. The neon blue is mostly gone.

On the other hand,

  • Hangouts isn't a great name for the SMS app. People are going to miss that if they skip through the intro screens (as I think most probably do). The SMS backup app I use (SMS Backup+) doesn't seem able to restore my old SMS messages to it either which is midly irritating though far from the end of the world. I suspect that it might just need updating for the new SMS framework changes, but I don't really know. Something to keep in mind if historic messages are deeply important to you, maybe.