Android 4.4 KitKat on the Nexus 5

Come take a look at the future of Android

The Nexus 5 is upon us, and with it Android 4.4 KitKat. The latest Nexus handset combines high-end Android hardware with the latest pure Android straight from Google. In the new OS version, KitKat, the stock UI has seen its biggest visual overhaul since Android 4.0, with brighter colors replacing the old "Holo" blue. Many of the staple Android apps have been overhauled too — text messages are now handled by Hangouts, the dialer has turned into a sort of digital yellow pages, and Google Now is now built into the stock launcher.

Software often soaks up much of the attention when there's a new Nexus phone, but the the Nexus 5's hardware is impressive in its own right. The (very soft) soft-touch back and sides . The jury's still out on the device's camera — we'll need to test it some more in the days ahead — but if nothing else it's a welcome improvement on the Nexus 4's disappointing shooter. And as we've seen on other high-end Android phones, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 CPU screams with performance.

All in all, we're looking at one of the most impressive Android phones of the year. Check past the break to watch our video walkthrough of Android 4.4 KitKat and the new Google Nexus 5.

More: Nexus 5 photo gallery, Nexus 5 forums


Reader comments

Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat video walkthrough


I agree! Really great review Alex! I can't believe you squeezed that all into 6 minutes! Your professionalism and the thought that you put into your first impression are really phenomenal, unlike some other unnamed high traffic tech blogs. Oh, and the new dubstep intro is pretty dope

How long were they sitting on this device to have one in their hands the day after? Guess they couldn't say they had one with a NDA.

It also pays to have mobiles in the UK as we hardly pay as much as in the US.. Although data speeds are shit!

Posted via Android Central App

In absolute terms the disparity looks bad, but as a measure compared to average income it's not as bad (still bad, but not as bad). And in the UK we have to pay more for the devices outright.

And yeah, data speeds bite.

Posted via Android Central App

Get your facts correct before posting stuff like that. Just because you the full price of the phone doesn't mean you pay more compared to those in the US.

Did he say that? He's referring to the full price in both cases.

Have you looked at what the full price of phones cost in the Europe versus the full price of the same phone in the US? In most cases I believe you will pay more in Europe if you consider exchange rates.

If you are going to parse someone's post looking for something to nitpick then at least try to understand what they are saying before you spout off.

Everything is really expensive in the UK. They pay like double taxes on everything compared to the U.S. which is why everything there is more expensive.

Hey everyone phandroid has the nexus experience launcher and hangouts 2.0 and a couple other of the updated apps I'm running the launcher on my G2 it's pretty good but can't seem to find a way to add pages to the home screen. Other than that the "Ok googl" from the home screen works perfectly.

Posted via Android Central App

Coming from a Galaxy S3 I used to have 3 home screens two with apps and one blank, does anyone know how you add a blank home screen on the Nexus 5?

It's a pulsing white notification light on an all-black phone. Not the easiest thing to capture. But it's there, in the same place as the Nexus 4's.

I think it's set to white as default (like the Nexus 4) but you should be able to use lightflow or something to change that. Mine hasn't arrived yet, so I can't tell you for certain for a few days.

Some guy on Reddit that has one already says that lightflow was able to change the colors. Awesome. i dont think i could go back to a single color LED again.

That is my only big worry. It is an awesome phone otherwise but I am really getting fed up with recharging before the day is up and am looking at the G2 or Note 3 instead as a result.

My only gripe thus far with the Note 3 is that it's probably going to be impossible to ever go back to a smaller phone. I picked up my Evo LTE the other day and I felt like a giant holding that thing.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon A800 SOC is why significant power consumption efficiency is achieved.

This information has been available on Qualcomm's Website for about 6 months. Look it up yourselves and learn.

Qualcomm's A800 SOC comes with a really power-efficient radio tech. But N5's battery is only 2300mAh which bothers me.

Still, anyone watching TheVerge Show yesteday watched in horror as Josh tried to make just one decent photo with the Nexus.. not looking good, no matter what you think of TheVerge (on which I kinda agree).

I'm torn between this and the Note 3. Alex, would love to hear you opinion once you are able to complete the full review of the Nexus 5.

If you like a phone that has horrible menus and has bloa... 'Enhancements' get the note 3

Posted via Android central app on my rooted LG Google Nexus 4

If you want poor multitasking and pitiful battery life with a busted camera all hallmarks buy the Nexus 5.

Posted from my Galaxy Note 3 on Tmobile via Android Central App

"pitiful battery life"? How would you know? The phone was made available only last night, not even 24 hours ago, which is certainly not enough time to make an informed decision about battery life. You're only saying this because you got butt hurt with your "crappy ass" Galaxy Nexus on Verizon with its "piss poor" battery life, according only to you that is.
"poor multitasking"? Be honest now, how often are you really using multi window to watch a video and compose a text, IM, or email? The stock app switcher works just fine. Just because you think Nexus devices are "boring" or "useless"(despite your recent claims of getting a Nexus 7 by the end of this month), doesn't mean that everyone else thinks that way too. Grow the f*ck up.
"Busted camera"? Again, the phone hasn't even been available for 24 hours, and you claim all this BS with not one shred of proof? Oh right, I forgot that you think just because a previous Nexus device sucked in those areas, that absolutely must mean the new one will too. What an idiot.

Richard you are completely forgot to use all caps with definitive statements like "PERIOD.", "BEST.", "BOTTOM LINE.", "FACT." - and combine them all into a single sentence, like "BOTTOM LINE FACT is Samsung is BEST. PERIOD." - you know, one of those lovely sentences that are entirely subjective and can have no basis of truth or fact whatsoever. :-)

I bet you that there will be a stock aosp 4.4 rom on the HTC one very soon. Just flash that when you feel the urge for a Nexus. :)

Posted via Nexus

Yeah I will but I have been using Themer latley aha I just don't get it. My addiction is terrible is there a helpline for people like me

Posted via Android Central App

Heck NO.

In fact I'm looking forward to the early 2014 release of the HTC One upgrade to Qualcomm's Snapdragon A800 with all of HTC's innovative features. Notice how Google incorporated HTC's Zoe feature as with other past HTC innovations.

The Nexus 5 will make a great replacement for the Nexus 4 if the camera is better than substandard.
And a great replacement for Samsung's old school physical button bloat fork with exception for those disconnected wilderness aficionados.

Im keeping my HTC One as my main phone but using the 32gb N5 as my second phone w backup number.

Posted via Android Central App

I have the HTC One and ordered N5 yesterday. I'll take it for a spin then will decide which to keep!

Google really need to get the hotword activator into the UK voice search, most of the things that don't cross the Atlantic are pretty understandable, licencing issues et al, but I can't see a reason for this.

Posted via Android Central App

Things I'd like to see cross the Atlantic: Google Wallet NFC payments, Google Voice, Cronuts.

Posted via Android Central App

+1 to that. It would be great especially Google Voice>

As another idea especially if you are an Oyster user how about integration of that too, plus hotel keys etc. I'm sure NFC's capabilities could extend to those too.

Great video Alex, its good we can finally see official hands on now.Finally will get my hands on one of these this Christmas. Goodbye verizon!

Nice walkthrough Alex! Much appreciated. I noticed when you swiped to the end of the wallpaper, you launch Google Now. Is there a way to disable it?

I'm not so sure about that. I'm on 4.4 now and I don't see a way to disable the swipe action. You can disable Google Now entirely.

Posted via Nexus


Edit...It appears that you can only disable Google now entirely.

Edit 2...Or maybe he wants to disable Google now entirely.
Posted via Nexus

I am wondering about this as well. I don't want to disable Google Now entirely, but just to disable having it as a left swipe from the homescreen and just use the normal bottom swipe upwards. Is that possible to do? Otherwise Nova here I come...

Unless Nova updates to support 4.4, and they should, it will have the black nav and status bars. I tried it today.

Posted via Nexus

The biggest part of the story here is that kit Kat... Software is the real winner here. I need it.... Get in my belle kit Kat!

Posted via Android Central App

I read somewhere that Google will push an update out within a few weeks that will fix that..allthough I don't recollect where.. maybe in my sick imagination

Its a big issue for some including myself and No i didnt expect an sd card slot, however the maximum storage is 32gb and that is a huge issue.

Same with no IR blaster hmmm as reported that Kitkat was supposed to be media focused, just a bit strange.

That said the Nexus 5 would make a great secondary phone to my Note 3.

Posted via Android Central App

Their aint a point to that as you cant expand so no point in posting price comparisons lol

And to answer Jimbo many aspects for a secondary phone, work and personal is one example, a back up in case of damage is another, and many more, so why does that baffle you?

Posted via Android Central App

There IS a point, because you are comparing the features of two phones and saying one is better. The one that is "better" costs twice as much and has more "features". You are surprised by that?

At what point did i say better? And there isnt a point as the topic was storage and the nexus is not expandable there for you cant make a comparison in price. If the Nexus did have expandable storage then you could. That said you do get great value from the nexus 5, is it the better device in my opinion No, there NOW i have said which is the Better device the Note 3 and read very carefully IN MY OWN OPINION to which i am entitled to.

I never put down any device i just make a personal prefference, each has its own merrits.

Posted via Android Central App

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. For your needs the lack of expandable storage is a feature that just doesn't appeal.
For a long time I also deemed expandable storage essential and is the main reason why to this date the Nexus S is the only Nexus phone I have never owned. Once I realised Google were not for turning and the number of SD cards that went faulty in my phones, losing (corrupting) all the data I personally decided SD cards weren't for me or necessary. All I did was carry large media files for which I rarely accessed and I have, with management, lived with the limited space on my Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4.
The other issue was not being able to push apps to the SD card as was possible pre Android 4.0

These are my reasons why for me expandable storage is not necessary but is in no means a criticism on your choice.

Depends on carrier. With a sim card it is as easy as switching them out.

Still determining the process with sprint

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

I am now in the camp that I don't care as long as it has 32gb.

If you are taking a flight that is more than 6 hours, ok I can see it.

If not use no big deal. My entire 8 track collection doesn't have to fit on there, I just need 6 hours or so of it

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

8gb works fine for me and will work better once I get kit kat on my phone, honestly don't know how 'only 32GB' is small

Posted via Android central app on my rooted LG Google Nexus 4

Can you please post some photos taken with the Nexus 5 soon? And possibly have comparison photos taken with other high end smartphones would be great. Thanks.

It kinda does. Im not sure from the lock screen or when its off but from what Ive seen in other videos you can say OK Google from the home screens and it launches Google Now. So it does have the always listening to a certain point

well I'm glad about it doing it from the home screen, however, it doesn't work when the phone is off unfortunately. The other feature I'll miss is the active notifications when the screen is off.

Download utter beta and you can get this and dynamic notifications for active notifications

Posted via Android central app on my rooted LG Google Nexus 4

Why they are two different companies? Sure one owns the other, but they are still different

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

I see comments like this so often lately and they drive me crazy. If you want the damn Moto X then buy one! Why do people act jealous of the Moto X then want the Nexus have to have the same features?

Lol man crush. "Loved your voice."

Posted via Android Central App from my 56th Android phone. #iPhonesSuck

Lol how could they not?

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

A rumor in the hours leading up to the release had google giving out 100gb of google drive storage with the purchase of a Nexus 5. Haven't seen confirmation of this. Does anyone know?

Did they get the USB OTG working this time? Also wondering if the phone is a bit louder than the N4 (the speakers on the back look huge).

Posted via Android Central App

Thanks for the great video. I'm curious about the RAM usage improvements. Some comparison numbers would be nice in the full Kit Kat review if that's possible.

Posted via Android Central App

Hey Alex did you forget about the LG G2? Alot better then Sony or Samsung.. But again if it wasn't for the Nexus line no body would be talking about LG.

Posted via Android Central App via bad azz VZW LG G2 ROOTED!

Isn't that is eol yet?

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

:| still didn't address much like the new stuff on the lock screen, the widget adding options and etc..
everything shown in the video we already knew, sigh time to wait for MKBHD to do a real review

Nice phone but I think I'll just mess with 4.4 on my Nexus 4 and keep my Note 3 as daily driver.

Posted via Android Central App

Does anyone know if the transparency for the notification bar and bottom navigation bar will be available to Nexus 4 phones with the KitKat update?

Posted via Android Central App

I wonder whats the quality and volume sound... On the nexus 4 the output volume was awful. Id like to get rid of my iphone 4s for listening to music. Funny almost nobody has mentioned quality sound

If your talking about headphone output you can always unlock the bootloader and flash a custom kernel to improve the sound. Faux kernel should be a good one, when its available.

Posted via Nexus

Headphone sound is good, much better than nexus 4.New Kit-kat icons are too big for my liking just seem blown up, using apex launcher instead but lose the transparency. Phone is super fast and camera is definite improvement over nexus 4 especially in low light but can't help feel I'd rather have HTC one in black.

Posted via Android Central App

Mine arrives on Monday!!! I've been hyped for this phone since May... I can't wait!

I'm really interested to see how the camera performs. Early rumors suggested it would be poor again; based purely on the fact that it was an 8 MP shooter, while other phones have moved on to 13 MP or more. But the inclusion of OIS, HDR+, and the special lens components might make it a fairly decent competitor to phones like the HTC One or Galaxy S4.

Regardless, Android Kit Kat looks fantastic... can't wait to play around with it.

how does the speakers sound? the nexus 4 speakers sucked so bad. now that i have my htc one, every cell phones speaker sounds bad lol

I don't want a phone with a non-removable battery.

I don't want a phone with no SD card option.

I don't care for on-screen buttons.

And yet... I'm really drawn to this phone. It looks really slick (although I'm a bit accident prone, so I would have to put it in a case anyways). It will be a few months before I'm technically "upgrade eligible", but it looks like I have a hard decision ahead, especially since I would insist on having the 32GB model (which Sprint has not yet announced as ever being available for upgrade).

I bought it outright since my renewal doesn't come up until next summer... I had spare batteries for the EVO & EVO 3D and found I rarely used them because of the hassle of taking the case off etc. They were great to have on long trips but that's about it, after the EVO LTE I got used to USB battery packs and even prefer them to an extent (no rebooting, larger capacity, etc).

Holding the G2 & Moto X next to similarly sized phones sold me on the on-screen buttons too... Previous phones with on screen buttons just had more bezel and no size advantage, but the G2 & X both bucked that trend. New API in Kit Kat further reinforce that IMO, since it's now easier to have apps go full screen and hide the buttons.

Besides, no one gets the capacitive button arrangement right anymore (Samsung's menu button, HTC's lack of dedicated app switching button, etc). As far as removable storage, meh, you'll never convince me there's any real benefit to taking it away; but I can certainly live with 32GB (wish it were 32GB/$350 tho). USB OTG and stuff like that Meenova OTG/microSD reader go a long way.

Won't even really miss the EVO/EVO LTE kickstand, the Clearshot kickstand from Kickstarter works much better for reading and taking pictures. I'm gonna miss a couple HTC software tweaks but I've already found suitable replacements and getting updates straight from Google without worrying about root status etc will be fun.

I just hope this isn't a one off and Sprint continues to support the Nexus line! TBH, if it wasn't for all the tangential benefits of owning a GSM/CDMA Nexus device, I would've probably kept the EVO LTE for two years. Maybe I'll make it that long with the Nexus 5... ;)

Ok I need some honest opinions here. I'm debating if I should sell my note 2 for the nexus 5 but two things worry me are going from a 5.5 to a 5 (4.95) inch screen and battery life. The Big screen has spoiled me and not having to worry about being near a place to charge my phone keeps me from pulling the trigger. Thanks for the help.

Posted via Android Central App

We can all adapt, but I think the luxury of a big screen (if that's your thing) is hard to beat. I would imagine that the lure of a 5.7" Note 3 in a smaller footprint than the Note 2, will appeal with some great features and the fact that you may be accustomed to Samsung and TouchWiz.

On the other hand you have the LG devices of either the Nexus 5 and pure stock Google or the LG G2 which has a 5.2" screen and from all reports also worth considering.

In my own unbiased opinion I would say Nexus 5
(but if you knew me and read all my posts you would realise I'm a Nexus Groupie) Lol

I didn't order soon enough. 2-3 week wait. Then I'll see if I prefer this or my HTC One. I kiss wireless charging from my Pre soo much. The wireless charging is what made the decision for the N5 over the Moto X

Posted via Android Central App

Thanks. Great review and definitely something I'm considering. One, hopefully constructive, comment on the narration that may help in the future... Can you please slow down? I'm almost certain the narration is from a script and it seems rushed, to the point it begins to sound garbled and like the legal disclaimers you hear at the end of a pharmaceutical commercial. That said, I depend on these reviews and they have a great influence in my buying decisions. I appreciate them very much.

OMG! The Nexus 5 looks amazing. There was no lag at all. I wonder if the Galaxy S3 would see Kit Kat.

The phone looks like it's going to be an amazing device and if I owned any phone other than the HTC One, I'd be all over it. But fact is I do own an HTC One and I believe I would miss it dearly were I to switch.

id be all over the HTC One if I could by if upfront for the price of the nexus 5...HTC is the best looking android by far

I've got a S3 and im so tempted to sell it, and just buy a nexus 5, then pick up the latest HTC or Samsung when when my upgrades due

Even tho I was just getting used to adding widgets from the app drawer I am glad they've gone back to long pressing the home screen.

Posted via Android Central App

I'm thinking just like the G2 that is not two speakers on the bottom but one speaker and one mic.

HI Brzfld,
I live in Brazil and I whant to buy one. Can you give me some information ?
1) Its available only in Play Store ? Or in a retail store ?
2) When you bought? When was shipped ?

My problem is: in Brazil i cant buy one in Play Store . My friend will travel to Orlando in 11/18 to 11/28, and I ask him to order one. Can you give me some tips ?

If i buy in 11/15 , arrives in the period of 11/18 to 11/28 ?

Is anyone having issues with the gain (volume) of the headset mic on the Nexus 5? People who are talking to me on the phone have commented that when speaking directly into the mic on the phone the volume is fine, but when I plug in my headset mic, it is much lower in volume. I've been able to replicate this with multiple headsets. Is anyone else having the issue?