In this review of the Nexus 5, I will attempt to answer one simple question: is Google capable of making a flagship, best-in-class smartphone it can sell for $349 off-contract? And I don't just mean a nice, okay, swell, good, decent, better-than-the-last-one phone. I mean a phone that stacks up against the iPhone 5S, Galaxy S4, HTC One, or Lumia 1020. A phone that people want to buy. A phone that can win hearts and minds.

I'm asking this question because I believe Google is asking the same one. The Nexus line of phones may have just started as developer editions, or platforms for the latest version of Android, but unless Google's marketing department and PR team are reading from different sheet music, it seems like Google wants its Nexus phones to be the kind of consumer facing devices that its Nexus 7 tablet clearly is.

And why shouldn't it be? The Nexus 5 is stacked in the hardware department, touts a handful of future-facing improvements, and most importantly runs the latest version of Android — a visual and functional upgrade called KitKat (or 4.4, if you love numbers). It's a big deal.

Google clearly wants you to see the Nexus 5 as the ultimate Android device. Hell, that’s what they’ll tell you if you ask them. This is supposed to be the best the platform can offer. The best hardware combined with the best software. But is it?