My current phone is a Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Bought it two years ago just as they were being phased out and it’s been a good daily driver. I liked the simple Nexus experience. Several months ago it had been running slower and slower so I rooted it and installed the last official ROM, 4.3, and started from scratch (was able to restore app settings with Helium). Unfortunately I think the hardware’s not totally up to 4.3 as it’s ended up slower than ever, sometimes taking up to 10 seconds from pressing the search box to the keyboard appearing and being able to type.
So I started looking for alternatives. The Nexus 4 was on my list as I liked the look of this when it came out, but the Nexus 5 quickly joined it as its replacement and also packs LTE. Then I saw the HTC One (M8) which looked magnificent, and then read some reviews on the just-released LG G3. This last one sounded like exactly what I was looking for, but wasn’t released and also expected to be priced right up in the $600+ bracket.
It boiled down to a toss-up between the Nexus 5 and the LG G2. The hardware was very similar. LG Nexus 5 vs LG G2 read before purchase – LG – Android phones explains some of the differences, but in short it’s the better camera and battery life on the G2 and larger screen in same sided body, plus oddly placed buttons and custom skin which I was unsure about, vs wireless charging and quicker software updates on the Nexus 5. Coming from a Nexus background I liked the philosophy of the Nexus 5. Most reviews listed them as about equals taking into account the higher price tag on the G2, but by now the G2 is about the same price as the Nexus 5. Eventually I got a 3 month old 32Gb G2 for $350 on Gumtree which feels good since it’s a current model still selling around $600 new.
I’m pretty happy with it so far.
- The screen is definitely an improvement on the Galaxy Nexus, though I’d have to say that either are quite adequate in that the text and images are all quite readable (I don’t believe pixels have to be indeterminable in order for the screen to pass).
- Battery life has been better than expected. I’ve had a pretty quiet couple of days on the phone but I’ve done nearly 47 hours with the battery now down to 2%. Often it’s been minimally used during this time but I’d never get much more than a day and a bit on the old one under comparable use. I’m running it right out a few times in order to flush out any dodgy charging from the previous owner.
- I wasn’t sure about the buttons on the back, but surprisingly I’ve hardly needed to use them! When the phone’s on a desk face up you can’t get to the power button, but the knock-on feature makes that unnecessary – you just knock the screen twice and the phone wakes up or goes back to sleep. Or if you have a quick view cover like mine does, just open or close the cover to wake or sleep the phone. Volume? Slide the curtain down and there’s a volume slider above the notifications window. If you need the hard controls e.g. during watching a video clip they’re a bit harder to get to than in the traditional position, but quite manageable. Airplane mode / onto silent (normally hold power button)? Again they’re in the curtain view when needed. So you can get away with not needing the hard buttons that often, meaning their sometimes inconvenient placement is much less of an issue than one may think.
- Software, haven’t used the custom stuff much, would prefer it if nearly half the curtain view wasn’t taken up with various controls but these can be useful.