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The worst thing about Google’s Nexus 5

Published Nov 8th, 2013 12:20PM EST
Nexus 5 Review
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

BGR reviewed Google’s new Nexus 5 earlier this week and while the phone certainly isn’t perfect, we said it definitely lives up to the hype. In fact, we went even further to state that the Nexus 5 is probably the only smartphone big-time Android fans should care about at all this holiday season. It’s that good. Nothing is perfect though, and the Nexus 5 has its fair share of shortcomings — though we really only had a handful gripes with the device. The poor low-light images and bad camera software are disappointing, the lack of removable storage support is upsetting and the tinny audio quality on voice calls can get annoying. But there’s one flaw that rises above the rest and stands alone as the worst thing about Google’s Nexus 5.

You guessed it — battery life.

Battery life is an issue for all modern smartphones, not just the Nexus 5. Handsets are getting thinner, displays pack in more pixels than ever before, mobile operating systems are getting more resource intensive, and battery technology simply can’t keep up. The issue is more evident in some smartphones than it is in others, however, and the Nexus 5 finds itself among the worst performers we have tested in recent months when it comes to battery life.

Reports have been mixed and other reviewers have apparently seen some erratic behavior, with the time in between required charges varying greatly from one day to the next. For us, the Nexus 5 has been fairly consistent. With typical usage that most smartphones can easily handle for more than a full day, the Nexus 5 burns out pretty quickly. In fact I have found that unless I charge the phone at least partially twice each day, the battery level is alarmingly low by early evening.

Thankfully, all hope is not lost.

Many people have grown accustomed to keeping a cell phone charger at home and at work. A third car charger is commonplace now as well. Chargers are dirt cheap on Amazon or eBay and portable charging cases and accessories are smaller and lighter than they have ever been before.

What’s more, there are some things Nexus 5 owners can do to stretch out the phone’s battery life as much as possible. CNET’s Sharon Vaknin has compiled a good list of five easy ways to increase the Nexus 5’s battery life and they’re all quite simple. Examples include enabling the battery saving mode in the phone’s location settings and disabling the feature that allows users to initiate voice searches simply by saying “OK Google” while on the home screen.

Nexus 5 owners should use common sense as well, of course. If battery life is a big concern, set the display to time out relatively quickly, turn the brightness down and don’t use live wallpapers.

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