Last weekend, my BlackBerry Curve stopped working. I think the battery ran out of life. That set me out in search of a new phone. What I had in mind was uncomplicated: It should have a big screen and should come loaded with features, it should be stylish yet sturdy, it should be easy to navigate and fast, and, most important, it shouldn't be prohibitively expensive. Spending Rs 50,000 or thereabouts on a phone that will be used, in order of priority, for voice calls, SMS and internet browsing, is not my idea of rational economic behaviour. There are school fees to be paid, retirement to be planned - there's a lot one can do with that kind of money.
That was the time Google's Nexus 5 got launched. Truth be told, I have been a great fan of Google - everything it does is of great practical value. The customer is always at the centre of its products. I had secretly longed for the Nexus 5 ever since LG, which has a tie-up with Google to sell the handset, had announced its launch. Compared to the Nexus 4, this phone is 9g lighter. If you do 20-pound dumb-bells in the morning, the reduction is too small to notice. But if the combined weight of all that gets into your pocket bothers you - car key, office key, credit cards, identity card, driving licence et cetera - it will surely provide you some relief.
The Nexus 5 is easy to grip, not too broad, and has a nice feel to it. A button on the side brings the screen to life, which is big and bright. The images are sharp. The phone is tall and gets noticed in a crowd. The sound output is good. Unlike the Nexus 4, it comes with headphones - they are not great but they aren't bad either. This phone uses the Android 4.4 (Kitkat) operating system which, many will tell you, is the best Android product till date. The phone has got blast processing with a speed of 2.26 GHz. The phone has a quad-core Snapdragon processor. The 16-GB version of the phone is priced at Rs 28,999, but the features are comparable to any Rs 50,000 handset. The battery life is long. It can easily run for 36 hours if you use the phone moderately; heavy usage will bring it down to 24 hours. That is pretty cool. An hour or so is all it takes to charge the phone. So you can plug it in when you leave for your morning walk; once you are back, it is ready for use.
I know that a critical factor while buying a mobile phone these days is the quality of its camera. Personally, I feel the mobile camera has encouraged inappropriate social behaviour. It is artless, intrusive and irritating. The worst form of it is the selfie. But I know I am in a dismal minority. Mobile camera is a terrible idea whose time has come. I can't stop the tsunami. So here goes: The back camera of the Nexus 5, which you can use to click others, is eight megapixels, but the front one, which you can use for selfies, is only 1.3 megapixels. The output is not comparable to the best in class. I can say it with a fair degree of certainty that the iPhone camera is way better than that of Nexus 5.
In the final analysis, should one go for the Nexus 5? Remember the Maruti Suzuki ads which talked about the Indian's fixation with fuel efficiency - kitna deti hai? In the current case, it boils down to asking if the Nexus 5 is value for money or not. The short answer is, it is.