Nexus 5 rumor roundup: specs, design, software, and release date [Updated]

October 14, 2013

Nexus 5 at Android 4.4 KitKat statue unveiling

Update, October 14: we’ve updated the roundup with new info on the naming, specs, software, and release date of the Nexus 5.

It’s that time of the year again. Android manufacturers lined up their offerings for the all-important holiday season, Apple released its new iPhone, and now it’s Google’s turn to unleash a new version of the iconic Nexus.

With its absurdly low price tag, the Nexus 4 appeals to a wide audience, not just to a narrow niche of “pure Android” enthusiasts. Will the next phone in the series go down the same road? It sure seems so.

Thanks to some credible leaks and the usual mixture of unverified information coming off the rumor mill, we think we have a pretty good image of the next Nexus. Let’s break it down.

Name and code number

It’s very likely that the new smartphone in the Nexus series will be called Nexus 5. The name makes sense: first, the 2013 model is the fifth smartphone in the Nexus series; more importantly, the device will have a 5-inch (or approximately) display.

Google kept the Nexus 7 moniker for this year’s 7-inch tablet, and the tech giant is probably going to apply the same naming convention to its smartphone. However, having a 5-inch phone called Nexus 4 (2013) wouldn’t make much sense, so, unless Google decides to shake things up with a brand new name, Nexus 5 seems the safest bet.

Another clue is the wallpaper on the Nexus prototype leaked by TuttoAndroid, which shows a stylized “5″ figure, similar to the stylized “7″ on the wallpaper of the Nexus 7 (2013).

The Nexus 5 name appears in a log file that was allegedly downloaded from the new device, though the file also contains references to Nexus 4, as well as in the 7-minute hands-on leaked video. 

As for the code number of the device, FCC docs indicate that the Nexus 5 bears the LG-D820 designation. However, it is believed that LG-D821 (seen at Bluetooth SIG) also refers to the Nexus 5. Google apparently uses the codename Hammerhead to refer to the new Nexus internally.

Nexus 5 specs and features

Like its predecessor, the Nexus 5 is based on the hardware of an LG flagship, featuring specifications that are similar to those of the LG G2.

Knowing that, and using information extracted from several credible leaks, we can fill out most of the blanks in the Nexus 5 specification sheet.

  • 4.95″ Full HD IPS display
  • Snapdragon 800 clocked at 2.3Ghz
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16/32GB of storage
  • 8MP rear facing camera with OIS
  • 1.3MP front facing camera
  • 2300mAh battery
  • NFC
  • Slimport compatibility
  • UMTS/GSM/CDMA/LTE compatability
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, Pressure

Display

All rumors point to the Nexus 5 having a 4.95-inch Full HD IPS LCD display, slightly smaller than the 5.2-inch panel of the LG G2. This configuration translates to a pixel density of roughly 445ppi.

The display of the LG G2 received praises for its brightness, viewing angles, and color calibration, making us optimistic that the Nexus 5 will perform just as well. With that said, there’s no guarantee that LG will use the same type of panel on the Nexus, so better wait for the official release before drawing any conclusions.

Processor, RAM, and storage

It’s likely that the Nexus 5 will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 system-on-a-chip, comprised of four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.3GHz and an Adreno 330 GPU.

The Snapdragon 800’s 28nm CPU is faster and more efficient than the Snapdragon 600 chip that powers devices released in the first half of 2013. In benchmarks, the 800 consistently ranks at the top, and implementations of the processor in devices like the Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1 show that performance in real life is just as impressive. Running at 450MHz, the Adreno 330 GPU incorporated in the MSM8974 chip is another benchmark buster.

LG G2 Benchmarks

The Snapdragon 800-powered LG G2 does great in benchmarks

The Nexus 5 will feature 2GB of RAM, just like the LG G2. There will be two storage versions: 16GB and 32GB, with no microSD card support.

Camera and battery

Following the launch of the G2 and the release of FCC docs containing an image of the camera module of the alleged Nexus 5, there was some speculation that the new Nexus would feature the same 13MP camera as the G2. However, new leaks show that the Nexus 5 will be equipped with a different, 8MP rear camera.

The camera module includes a Sony-made IMX179 sensor, which prompted some to believe that the Nexus would come with a MEMS camera, though that rumor has been refuted.

We were initially skeptical that the Nexus 5 would feature an OIS camera, similar to the G2’s camera, but that seems to be the case now, after references to optical image stabilization were spotted in the leaked service manual. This gives us hope that the Nexus 5 will be the first device in the series to come with a more than mediocre camera.

Leaks show the Nexus 5 will have a 2300 mAh built-in battery compatible with Qi wireless chargers. That’s 200 mAh more than on the Nexus 4, but the Nexus 5 also has a larger and denser display to power. Last year’s Nexus had mediocre battery life at best, so we just hope Google and LG manage to surprise us somehow in this department.

Sensors and connectivity

The Nexus 5 will feature LTE, which is great news for all the potential Nexus customers put off by the absence of LTE on the 2012 model.

The recent GCF certification of the LG-D821 reveals that the Nexus 5 will support LTE UE Category 4, with download speeds of up to 150Mbps. Supported bands:

  • LTE: 2600(B7)/2100(B1)/1800(B3)/850(B5)/800(B20) MHz
  • W-CDMA: 2100(I)/1900(II)/1700(IV)/900(VIII)/850(V) MHz
  • GSM: 1900/1800/900/850MHz

We expect the usual laundry list of connectivity options (NFC, Bluetooth 4, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac) and the log file reveals an assortment of sensors on the Nexus 5, including a magnetometer and a barometer.

Nexus 5 design

While the Nexus 5 is based on the same hardware platform as the LG G2, leaks indicate that the two phones will have very different designs.

First off, the Nexus 5 will have a conventional button setup, with the power button and the volume rocker on the side, unlike the G2, which sports unique rear-mounted buttons. Several leaked images indicate that the Nexus 5 will adopt design cues from the Nexus 7 (2013), apparently in a bid to unify the image of the Nexus family.

Nexus 5 leak

LG Nexus 5 in bar

Just like on the Nexus 4, the front of the Nexus 5 will be an uninterrupted piece of glass. On the back, the glass and shimmering pattern from last year’s model are replaced by the rubbery texture of the Nexus 7 (2013). The wide ring around the camera and the landscape-aligned Nexus logo are two other traits borrowed from the 7-inch tablet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2ksOJl0PDDg

In terms of size, leakers say that the Nexus 5 is slightly larger than the Nexus 4, though the device appears to be lighter.

Nexus 5 software: Android 4.4 KitKat

Without doubt, the Nexus 5 will launch with Android 4.4 KitKat on board. Unusually, Google announced the name of the new version of Android in advance back in early September, but that’s all we know officially about KitKat for now.

Unofficially, some speculate that Google will optimize Android 4.4 to improve resource consumption and thus make the OS compatible with older devices. Google seems to hint to something along this direction on the presentation page for Kit Kat: “it’s our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everyone”.

Another rumor that has been making the rounds is that Android 4.4 would be a 64-bit operating system. A slide from a recent Intel event supports this theory, though that might have been just a long-term roadmap and not an outline of what’s to come in 4.4. Moreover, a recent report from Korean media says that Android will only transition to 64-bit next year. Overall, we’re skeptical that Google would push for 64-bit in KitKat, though we can’t rule out the possibility.

In terms of appearance, leaks show a lighter grey-white theme might replace the neon blue that has been a staple of Android since ICS. Google already uses a lot of white and pastel colors on its web properties and some of its apps, such as Google Now, so it’s possible that Matias Duarte and his team are giving Android a matching makeover.

alleged-Kitkat-screenshot

The TuttoAndroid leak shows that the navigation bar and the status bar transparent are transparent, though they retain their black background in apps. There’s a camera button on the bottom right corner of the screen and the camera can also be launched from the lockscreen by swiping from the right. Google seems to have operated changes to the design of the icons, which are now flatter. The apps in the app drawer are larger and arranged in a 5×4 grid, as opposed to 5×5 on the Nexus 4.

An interesting rumored feature is a new launcher called Google Experience, that integrates with Google Now and may be offered as a standalone app in the Play Store. We also heard reports about a revamped Downloads manager, better Location settings, a Cloud Print feature, new Payment settings, and the integration of SMS with Hangouts.

Nexus 5 release date and price

Most pundits expects Google to release the Nexus 5 in October, roughly a year after the announcement of the Nexus 4. The kickoff of Nestle’s KitKat-Android campaign may be a clue that the release of Android 4.4 is imminent, as it is the presence of the LG-D820/821 in the databases of various certification bodies. Another potential clue is the price cut received by the Nexus 4, which could be a sign that Google is trying to clear out stocks in advance of the Nexus 5.

There have been some rumors pegging the Nexus 5/KitKat launch for mid-October, but they seem suspicious to us. A more credible report claims that Nexus 5 and KitKat will launch on October 31 or soon after.

What about the price? The Nexus 4 was a hit thanks to its low price tag, and we think that Google will continue on the same path with the Nexus 5. If that turns out to be a correct assumption, the Nexus 5 may go for $300-$350 for the 16GB version.

The Nexus 7 (2013) is slightly more expensive that the 2012 model, so it may be that Google will also increase the price of the Nexus 5, possibly to cover the costs of better components or just to increase margins.

Wrap up

The planets are aligning for the release of the Nexus 5 in the coming weeks. We think we have a pretty good idea of what’s coming (at least on the hardware side), but experience tells us that surprises can never be ruled out. For now, remember that, with a few exceptions, all the information presented in this roundup is unofficial and therefore not totally reliable.

Last year, the Nexus 4 leaked extensively in the days preceding its launch, and it’s possible that the same will happen with the Nexus 5. As the launch approaches, we’ll be updating this roundup with the most credible leaks and rumors, and of course, with any official info that comes our way.

Are you excited about the new Nexus? How credible are the leaks that surfaced so far? Do you expect any surprises? Sound off in the comments.

Comments

  • Tom Clowes-Whitby

    take my money now

    • MasterMuffin

      I’m happy to give you my address if you really want to give your money. How big amount are we talking about? :P

  • heat361

    KitKat is not the only android desert announced ahead of launch, ice cream sandwich was also announced ahead of launch at Google I/O.

  • http://geekspertise.net/ Elise Hines

    No 32GB model and they don’t get my money.

    • WarGasm

      It might happen
      16GB as base

    • Scott Ricketts

      I tried so hard to live with the 16GB version of the Nexus4 and ultimately I couldn’t. T-Mobile gets spotty out in the hinterlands and I shoot a lot of video of my kids. I really need that extra 16GB of storage in the 32GB models.

      • Mayoo

        Backup your videos on G+ and clear the space. When is the last time you viewed 16Gb worth of videos? I think the battery can’t even hold up to that.

        • Wavefunction Collapse

          I think he means day of the shoot, he fills his storage with footage. I don’t think he means he goes to the boonies with a mini library of films and the intent to shoot. Although with kids in the car, that might also be the case.

        • Scott Ricketts

          Mostly it’s music and because T-Mobile is spotty in the boonies or off the Interstate, I can’t do my normal Google Play, Amazon, or Spotify streaming. But yes I do fill up with videos and pictures that I haven’t gotten around to deleting even though I’ve already done a full size upload to G+ and I pay for extra space as well. It’s having music on hand to listen to when coverage goes bad. And it does go bad.

      • Jillxz

        Companies need to do away with the 16gb and make 32gb the standard with options for 64gb and 128

    • rutvij kulkarni

      i think 16gb is sufficient,elsie

      • http://geekspertise.net/ Elise Hines

        For you. Don’t speak for me. And my name is Elise.

      • Jillxz

        No 16gb is ever enough. So little space just slows down the phone , causes freezes , failures to upload certain videos and websites. No , I would never under any circumstances have a phone that has only a 16 gb . I’ll gladly pass that phone up and choose one with options for more.

  • TechDevil

    Depending on the changes and price tag, I may just stick with my Nexus 4. If they plan a Nexus 6 in 2014, I might just skip to that one. But I will wait for the official announcement before making a final decision. I do, after all, drool over the sound of a Full HD Nexus smartphone.

  • EvenInTheDarkestHour

    CDMA love???? What??? FCC shows both CDMA/EV-DO and Sprint Tri-Band LTE. Saints be praised! Take.My.Gold.

  • GW

    My galaxy nexus is ready to be put to pasture, come on boys make a VZ version!

    • Scott Ricketts

      FTFO. After the Galaxy Nexus I gave up hope of VZW ever getting another Nexus phone.

    • Oli72

      Sorry for good news. Verizon sucks. They is called big red for a reason. Running a closed network.

      • rk

        hey guyz,what is this verizon and t-mo-pls explain to me in brief.
        i m n indian guy who is unaware abt this stuff.

    • John Garlits

      Mine too, but I’m about to ditch VZ. They slowed and then stopped updates to this supposed Nexus. Going contract-free on T-Mo, and I’ll also buy the 2014 Nexus or any other updgrade whenever I want, no stupid extra fees or restrictions.

  • gojohn

    “However, having a 5-inch phone called Nexus 4 (2013) wouldn’t make much
    sense, so, unless Google decides to shake things up with a brand new
    name, Nexus 5 seems the safest bet.”

    the Nexus 4 is a 4.7 inch smartphone…

    • p1x44r

      It’s all about battery life for me. My Nexus 4 is very disappointing in that regard and, for me, it’s by far the biggest drawback of an otherwise excellent phone (camera & lack of LTE aren’t as important to me). If Nexus 5 offers a considerable upgrade over Nexus 4 I will buy it. I don’t want to be hugging walls looking for power outlets all the time. :)

      • p1x44r

        Sorry, I hit reply by accident. Nothing to to with your post gojohn.

  • droidtrade

    Sold my last phone two weeks ago and my money awaits.. please sooner than later!

    • APai

      how are you surviving without one ? :|

  • Jaun Lombard

    The look of the Nexus 4 is better!

    • APai

      but the *feel* of nexus 5 might just be better!
      that matte finish is really looking very practical!

  • http://www.androidauthority.com Derek Scott

    Very few products I have bought before they are released. Nexus 5 you are one of them.

  • azoucool

    what about thr battery

  • cretinick

    I think that this metallic circle, around the camera, is for magnetic clip-on lenses…

  • Oli72

    I’m excited. ?ever the price I’m on this.

  • samsparkin

    They need to make the battery last longer…

  • manish

    nexus 5 is not going to have the same camera as G2
    rather it’s going to have a 8 MP sensor

    • rutvij kulkarni

      it might also feature 13mp or 16mp,bro

    • John Garlits

      8 MP should be decent, especially if OIS is truly included.

  • Cal Rankin

    If the 16 GB model starts at $299 or $349, and a 32 GB model at $50 more, I will be waiting for the “Buy now” or “preorder” button on the play store

  • Valtheus

    Well i guess one thing is for sure… Nexus 5 is going to be a better version of Nexus 4 in the same or almost same amazing price. And it is going to be another exiting product from google, with a sold out label on it! ;-)

    • ruk 9621

      *exciting*,right

  • AndroidBrian

    I’m buying this phone. I just wish that Google would make a phone that has the best hardware to go along with its superior software. I would spend another couple hundred $ if they made a phone with a 13mp camera and a bigger battery. I know Google will never do this but I wish they’ll come out with some kind of premium edition Nexus. My battery life and camera suck on my Nexus 4.

  • GN Supporter

    Not the first LTE Nexus, that milestone (for better or worse) goes to the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon. Some may not consider it a “true” Nexus phone, however, while some are still waiting for JB 4.2, I’ve had it for months. There are still new phones releasing with 4.1

  • NO GOD = LGBT RIGHTS

    The one!

  • Gerhard

    “The G2’s camera features optical image stabilization (OIS), but that seems out of the question for the Nexus 5.”

    Not according to this article on Android Authority :/ “Alleged Nexus manual leaks online, reveals OIS camera and other specs”: http://www.androidauthority.com/next-nexus-service-manual-leak-280600/

    Oops.

  • Brendon Brown

    I will miss that sparkly effect of the Nexus 4

  • monkey god

    looks great but i keep wondering what is up with the protruding glass that is sticking out of the camera lens. It’s just begging to be scratched. Hopefully, this doesn’t make it into the final product.

  • John

    One sentence roundup: Nothing new to report, move on.

  • Alexander Sofinskiy

    http://mobiltelefon.ru/post_1381743810.html

    New n5 photos from Russia ^_^

    • Bjajjull

      Only four pictures, but thanks anyway.

      • Alexander Sofinskiy

        Yeah, and it is also have nontransparent navbar…. another old build or italian version is fake?)

        • Bjajjull

          Well, it’s in the lockscreen, not the launcher. This could also be an older build. We’ll see in a few days ;)

  • Oli72

    lets go google. LTE is overrated stop the hype with it.

  • RanRu

    My body is ready.
    My spirit is willing.
    Let it happen.

  • Ashutos Don Jain
  • GasparIPerez

    Just release it already, show them what Android is all about.

  • Jillxz

    Small battery . Thick end bezels . A big fat NO to this phone.

  • srhjn123

    I’m big fan of Google Nexus 6 because of its attractive looks and cheap price.Google is always known for its nexus series.

  • http://nexus6google.com/ Manish Balyan

    Now time come to see the specification of Nexus 6 and also the release date.