Dec 19 AT 12:53 PM Nick Gray 32 Comments

Building the perfect Nexus phone: piecing it all together


Over the years, Google has built the highly respected Nexus brand. The idea behind the Nexus phones and tablets is to show off what Google’s vision is for Android. While Nexus phones feature most of the latest and greatest specs and an Android build straight from Google, the expectations of a Nexus phone from the Android faithful outshines what Google and its partner OEMs have been able to deliver. In our Building the perfect Nexus phone series, we explored most of the hardware components used to build flagship Android phones and what you think Google should use to piece together the perfect Nexus phone. A Nexus phone will probably never be the top selling device on the market, but a few improvements could lead to a significant increase in demand for Google’s flagship Android device.

In a perfect world, this is what a Nexus phone would look like:



Having people agree on the right SoC (processor) manufacturer was pretty easy. NVIDIA barely put up a fight. Qualcomm dominated the poll with 81 percent of votes. Qualcomm has had an incredible reputation for delivering well-balanced chips that offer great battery life and performance. We don’t know exactly what Qualcomm’s full roadmap looks like for 2014, but it’s hard to imagine that we’ll be disappointed.


Nexus phones have never been known to take great pictures, so we were not surprised when 83 percent of our readers cast their votes for a Nexus phone with “unique image capture approaches” as opposed to one that leads the megapixel race. Google has had a rough time coming up with a stock Android camera app that can take full advantage of the hardware used inside its Nexus phones. It’s time for a Nexus phone to offer something that’s one step ahead of the camera experiences Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG can deliver.


Getting readers to agree on display size and technology is just as hard as it sounds. Readers were split with 52 percent of the votes supporting LCD (IPS/SLCD) and the other 48 percent of the votes going towards AMOLED display technologies. When it comes to the size of the display, votes were all over the board. Rather than picking the display size with the most votes as the winner, we did a little math and found that the average screen size that would appeal to most of our readers comes in at 4.8-inches.



What’s the point of having the perfect Nexus phone if the battery can’t last a full day on a single charge? Most consumers are pretty happy with phones that sport batteries with roughly 2,200mAh, but we know that people who buy Nexus phones are not your average consumer. According to our polling, the perfect Nexus phone should feature a battery with more than 3,000mAh – if you want us to be more precise, that exact number comes in at 3,150mAh. There’s still a big debate over removable and non-removable batteries. Fifty-one percent of our readers said that a non-removable battery does not affect their smartphone purchasing decision.


Our need for more digital storage increases every year as our digital content libraries grow. Our average reader would be satisfied with 32GB of internal storage, but 57 percent of votes show that devices with expandable storage are still more appealing than the alternative. It will probably be another 2-3 years until most consumers will be able to kick that nasty external storage habit.


Finding the perfect hardware partner to build a Nexus phone is crucial. HTC, Samsung and LG have been chose by Google in the past, but the votes show that it may be time to try something new or return to the original Nexus manufacturer. Motorola was voted as our reader’s first OEM choice with 27 percent of the vote, beating out HTC which captured 26 percent of the votes. Both Motorola and HTC would be great choices and could deliver an incredibly designed Nexus phone with superb build quality.


The ideal price for the perfect Nexus phone lies between $350 and $450. However, more than 42 percent of the votes show that you would be willing to pay $400 or more and 10 percent of voters claimed they would shell out more than $500 for the device. At the end of the day, the magic price for the perfect Nexus phone comes in at $407 for a base model – $57 more than what Google is currently charging for the Nexus 5. While a cheap Nexus phone is extremely appealing, our readers seem to be willing to spend a little more for a bump in specs that would truly set a Nexus phone apart from the competition.

The Perfect Nexus phone spec sheet

  • Processor: Qualcomm
  • Display: 4.8-inch LCD (IPS/SLCD)
  • Camera: unique imaging approach
  • Battery: 3,150mAh non-removable
  • Storage: 32GB w/external storage
  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Price: $407

With 11 different polls and more than 13,000 votes from our readers, the perfect Nexus phone isn’t much different than what Google and its manufacturing partners have been pushing out over the past few years. The numbers show that the screen size, display technology and processor manufacturer are currently spot on. The changes our readers really want to see come down to a larger battery, a unique image capture approach and more internal storage (with the option for external storage as well) wrapped up in a device made by Motorola or HTC. The best part is that most of you wouldn’t mind paying an extra $57 for these upgrades.

With roughly 10 months to go before the unveiling of the Nexus 5′s successor, do you think Google will be able to deliver the perfect Nexus phone?

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • Arthur

    One of my biggest gripe with the Nexus 5 is its size. The Nexus 4 was just beyond my limit for a smartphone and the 5 exceeds that even further. Seeing as how Google will mostly likely never release two Nexus smartphones in two different sizes, the next Nexus is going to be around the 5″ mark again to matched up with the S5 and iPhone 6 and the next HTC.

    Due to this trend of screens being no less than 5″ for a flagship status device, I am unfortunately out of the Nexus brand for smartphones. Just got my Moto G and it feels so right in my hand (I do have small hands) and it’s as close to a Nexus as a non-Google smartphone you can get (X as well) so I will most likely just wait for the next G.

    • Nick Gray

      I completely agree with you on the size issue. If they scaled things down a little and used a 4.7-inch display, i think the phone would be a bit more appealing. We all like things different, so it will be hard to satisfy everyone.

      I’m hoping the HTC M8 will buck the 5-inch display trend and keep the same 4.7-inch display from the HTC One. If they move to on-screen keys and tighten the size up like Motorola and LG have done with their flagship devices, the M8 could be as small as the 4.3-inch toting HTC One mini.

      • Arthur

        4.3″ would be perfect especially if it a good panel, 720p is fine with me. I rather they spend good money on a nice 720p panel like in the Moto G than a mediocre inaccurate 1080p panel.

        I think the 4.7″ to 5″ for flagships is here to stay. I can’t see any OEM marketing anything under that size as their flagship and the “mini” designation for 4.5″ and under I don’t think is going anywhere either.

        • rustic

          I’m fine with 4.7 – 5 inch as a standard for high end devices. What I want is to have 4.3- 4.5 inch devices with similar specs too.

        • tetracycloide

          Not sure what you’re referring to with ‘mediocre inaccurate 1080p panel.’ Certainly not the fantastic panel on the nexus 5.

    • tetracycloide

      The nexus 5 is pretty much the same size as the nexus 4…

      • mattcoz

        True, it has a smaller bezel and longer aspect ratio which lets them keep the size of the device the same. Still, not easy to move your thumb over the entire screen.

        • tetracycloide

          All I’m saying is it’s not appreciably different from the N4 in that regard so juxtaposing the two devices and saying the N5 ‘exceeds that even further’ isn’t really accurate.

    • David

      most phones are big now simply because people use them for several different things. Small screens really are not useful in this day in age of mobile devices where people read books, comics, watch movies, browse the net and post on social media.

      High res plus a big comfy screen means a better experience as a whole.

      • Reedy

        Can’t imagine watching movies on a phone. 5 or more inches us too big for many. Still think they should promote this device for prepaid.. The price makes it the most bang for the buck

    • Anass

      The phone that really felt amazing in my hand is the S4 Mini, but I think moto g will be the same thing too

  • Sir Alex

    1. Nexus users want all this, but for cheap, maybe around half the price of other flagship devices.

    2. There will never be a “perfect” Nexus phone. Why? Because Nexus users are arseholes. That’s why. Nothing but whining and complaining.

    • Alex

      Mate you can tell your a tosser by your title. Bet you wrote this with the other hand while you were looking in the mirror you wanker!

  • Richard Yarrell

    Plain and simple the Nexus line products WILL NEVER BE ANYTHING of any significance all those users want is price breaks.

    • uknowme

      Wow, that is all.

    • clocinnorcal

      Significant enough to come here and make a troll comment.

    • squiddy20

      1. Virtually everyone said the same exact thing of Android when it first came out. Now look where it is. GTFO
      2. “All” the users want is price breaks? How stupid are you? Do you not remember going to all the various tech websites screaming your nonsensical bald head off about how “CHOICE IS KING” and other related sayings? Do you not remember that you used to claim how stock Android is BOSS”? Did it ever occur to you that not *everyone* wants *exactly* what you want; namely a bloated, laggy device with extremely gimmicky features that only work about half the time? Did it ever occur to you that price means more to people than “the latest and greatest”? No, of course not. Because you’re too stupid to make any sort of logical sense or think about anyone but yourself.
      3. You’re one to talk about “price breaks” since you lauded how, since you’ve been on T-Mobile (the cheapest carrier of the big 4), your monthly bill has been so low while simultaneously talking about being able to afford “2 devices per year”, which you haven’t done for the past 2 years anyway. You went from the S3 to the Note 2 to the Note 3. What a joke.

    • redraider133

      And OS updates first, without having to wait months like samsung and other manufacturers take when they load up their skins on top of android.

  • mattcoz

    Well, it’s really only $7 more than the 32GB Nexus 5. That’s very little for a better camera, bigger battery, and expandable storage.

    • hp420

      Actually, expandable storage would eliminate the need for 64gb internal storage because you could still have 64gb with a micro sd card. This would cut the cost of the nand chip used, which would free up a few bucks for the other improvements.

  • Pavel

    When the Nexus brands are not able to get a proper update just after one generation (Nexus4).I think the Nexus hardware badge is not so exciting anymore.

    • hp420

      Google hasn’t announced EOL. Just because we’re at 13 months doesn’t mean we won’t get…..licorice?

    • squiddy20

      Except the Nexus 4 has KitKat?

    • Reedy

      I thought the 4 did get an update.. It was GNex users who got massively screwed with fake promises that made many life faith in Google

      • snowbdr89

        Nexus 4 was updated to 4.4.2 the earlier lines of nexus got screwed!!

  • Juul

    The list of apps from Google I have disabled does not fit my screen anymore. Google’s once clean stock Android has become bloated G-Droid. Even most of their nice apps I disable, because they are always restarting/running (out of system/app). I wish they let people install them themselves via store as normal user-apps. They are killing stock Android with their ever growing amount of bloatware.

  • Steven

    I’m thinking of getting a white N5. I’ve never had a case b4 or a white phone. Lots of cases cover the back of the phone and are black. The Play Store colors are too much for me although I would’ve considered blue. Can anyone recommend a sturdy yet not too bulky case thatwwill let the phones design show through or should I just get black or not worry about. Past phone had removable batteries and the worst that has happened is the backplate fell off

  • donger

    Nice results.

  • john smith

    I have the original Droid Razr Maxx. Give me another (but make it a Nexus device), and I’d be a happy camper. 2-day battery means I don’t need it to be removable. 720p is plenty good enough for a screen of its size (and you don’t waste electrons powering more pixels than you need). It’s still a phone, first.

  • Will Derries

    I love my Nexus 5. I have big hands, so size isn’t a problem and I love stock android. I would agree that the battery is dismal, but, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a small chink in the armour of the Nexus 5.

    As for the camera, I find it’s not as bad as people make it out to be. I love the display, it’s not as cool as Samsung’s, or too warm, just right.

    Its by far the smoothest phone I have ever come across, and, in my opinion, if you’re an everyday normal kinda guy, you’ll be over the moon with the Nexus 5

  • Ryan owen

    I think everything is perfect except one thing no expandable memory that’s bull***t