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The best thing about Google’s Nexus 5

Updated Nov 8th, 2013 12:27PM EST
Nexus 5 Review
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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We know, Android fans, we know. It’s finally here. Google announced and simultaneously launched the Nexus 5 last week and initial stock of the highly anticipated handset was sold out within a day. New orders placed now for any Nexus 5 model won’t ship for several weeks and while Google may never share any sales data, it looks like the company’s new pure Google phone is a winner. BGR reviewed the Nexus 5 earlier this week and while there were a few flaws that stood out, we found that Google’s new hero phone is easily one of the best smartphones that has ever been made. And while there’s plenty to fawn over, there’s likely one thing in particular that makes the Nexus 5 such a stellar smartphone.

That’s right — the amazing value.

The phone’s shockingly low price tag has been discussed ad nauseam even before it was made official. $349 for the 16GB version or $399 for the 32GB model with no contract required… it’s just crazy.

Compare that to the price of Apple’s iPhone 5s and you can see why people are so taken aback. For the 16GB version of Apple’s new flagship smartphone, the company charges an eye-popping $649 off contract. Up the internal storage to 32GB and you’re looking at $749.

That’s a difference of between $300 and $350. And while the iPhone 5s is built from premium materials such as aluminum, Gorilla Glass and even some sapphire crystal, the phone’s bill of materials and manufacturing cost combined add up to just $199 per unit for the 16GB model, according to IHS iSuppli.

The Nexus 5’s price tag alone isn’t what is making jaws drop across the country. After all, the Nexus 4 launched at the same starting price. What’s so impressive this time around is that the Nexus 5 is a high-end smartphone with cutting-edge specs and performance that tops almost all of its rivals. The Nexus 5 is no clunker — this is a phone with a 4.95-inch full HD 1080p display, a quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, an 8-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, either 16GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0.

That’s why the price is so impressive.

Now, the Nexus 5 is only a tremendous value if you’re smart about it. If you bought a smartphone from a carrier at $199 in the past and signed a two-year contract, the rest of that smartphone’s price is being added onto the cost of your service each month. If you then switch to a Nexus 5 and stay on the same smartphone plan, you’re completely erasing any value the Nexus 5 might have had.

Think of it like this: You purchase an iPhone from your carrier for $199 and sign a two-year contract. As such, the remaining cost of that phone — $450, since the full retail price is $649 — is added to your service plan and spread out over the following two years. If you then buy a $349 Nexus 5 and use it for two years without switching plans, you’re still going to pay an extra $450 over the course of two years for a total cost of $799.

Our example is oversimplified but you get the idea — the Nexus 5 loses all of its value unless you use a carrier and smartphone plan that doesn’t factor in a device subsidy.

Google’s new Nexus 5 is an amazing smartphone for a number of reasons. It’s sleek and slender, the design is gorgeous, the display features full HD resolution, it sports Android 4.4 KitKat with the latest and greatest Google has to offer, and the performance is very impressive. But beyond all else, the Nexus 5 offers tremendous value when combined with the right smartphone plan that simply cannot be matched or even approached by any other smartphone on the planet.

BGR’s full Nexus 5 review can be found here, and a piece on the worst thing about the Nexus 5 can be found here.

This post is part of a new feature on BGR that supplements our standard product reviews. In this series, BGR takes a closer look at the best and worst qualities of some of the most popular consumer devices in the world in an effort to dive deeper into exactly what makes them stand out.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.