Oct 05 AT 5:51 PM Brooks Barnard 122 Comments

The Nexus 5 doesn’t seem to be inheriting the Nexus 4′s good looks


The look, form and feel of a mobile device is a big deal. It’s often the subject of huge criticism; a very polarizing subject. We’ve all seen Apple or even HTC campaigns attacking the use of “cheap plastic,” obviously aimed at Samsung. HTC has been applauded for their aluminum unibody design with their HTC One. Apple fans have always felt that they’ve had high-end, cutting edge equipment with their iPhones. I’m not here to criticize any of these fantastic mobile device designs. What I want to do here is spotlight the Nexus 4, what it brought to the table with its design for Android, and what we may or may not be getting with this new Nexus 5.

When the Nexus 4 came out, in my opinion, it was definitely an attempt to answer to what Android users wanted. It was an attempt to bring to Android, even pure Google Android, a device that felt high-end. As can be seen in the picture above, the Nexus 4 has a glass back. This wasn’t new to the mobile world. It was old news to iOS users. I wouldn’t argue that the Nexus 4 is anywhere near as beautifully engineered as the iPhone, but that’s not the point. We’re not really comparing Apples to apples. Please excuse the pun, but the Nexus 4 and the iPhone are in completely different leagues when we’re talking price point. But when you hold a Nexus 4, after holding a Samsung Galaxy S4 or any older devices from LG, it feels different. And different is better.

LG tried to create a different experience with the Nexus 4. It feels solid. It’s shiny. It sparkles at you when you hold it in the light just right. There hasn’t been another Android device like it.

This glass back does have its tradeoffs. For one, it’s glass front and back. That’s double the normal number of breakable surfaces on the phone. I was a huge critic of LG using a glass back on the Nexus 4. There have been many more since. Those that ended up with cracked phones after extremely minor incidents, maybe even major incidents, or even acts that shouldn’t have broken a decently built/designed device, I’m sure these Nexus 4 owners have formed some pretty strong opinions about the device. It took me a long time to pull the trigger on buying the Nexus 4, and the glass back was one of my biggest hangups. When I did get the Nexus 4, I was almost terrified every time I used it because of all the horror stories I heard about how fragile the device was. However, I fell in love with my Nexus 4. I loved the way it felt and looked in my hands. I often found myself appreciating its glimmer in the sun. I still think it’s a killer piece of kit.Nexus 5 leak 1

Recently, if you’ve noticed, leaked shots of the Nexus 5 have been appearing around the Interwebs. I have a shot for you just to the right leaked by 9 to 5 Google. I couldn’t be more excited about the rumored hardware specs. I think it sounds like the perfect device for me. But when I look at it, it’s nowhere near as nice looking as the Nexus 4. I’m trying to decide how I feel about it.

Before I owned the Nexus 4, I never cared much about how my phone looked. I was all about function over form. A plastic phone back was obviously better because it was more durable and will always serve its function better than a back with a different material. This is fact. You can’t argue that plastic is durable, light, and easy to manufacture. I applaud Samsung for sticking to their guns and continuing to produce phones with plastic backs. I would much rather money be spent on my device’s rippin’ hardware than having a precision machined unibody. But the trade off is, your device isn’t going to feel the same. It’s not going to be as pretty.

So, I’m torn. I think the Nexus 5 will be a fantastic Nexus device. I think it even fits the bill for a Nexus device a little better than the Nexus 4 did. Nexus devices are meant to be developer devices, which, in my opinion, don’t need to be shiny and beautiful. Developer devices need to be functional and allow the developer to push the limits of mobile and Android. And I think the Nexus 5 fits the bill well. Especially with a phone back that looks a lot like the new Nexus 7. It’s a functional back. It feels solid. It’s grippy. It gets the job done and does it well. But it’s not pretty.

So what do you guys think? There are obviously devices out there that are well designed and great looking. But I’m a Nexus guy. I love Nexus devices. I really want the new Nexus 5. Am I ridiculous for feeling a little sad inside that it’s not a pretty as its older sibling, the Nexus 4? Am I ridiculous for even thinking the Nexus 4 is pretty? Or do you think the new Nexus 7 back is the bee’s knees and it’s the best news ever that the new Nexus 5 looks like it may have the same back? Let me know in the comments if I’m ridiculous or justified.

Brooks is an engineer living in the Bay Area recently dislocated from the Great Northwest. He's an Android enthusiast who decided to start doing something (productive?) with his countless hours Android modding and theming. He has a hot wife, is a father of three, an avid F1 fan, and enjoys watching sports when he can. His current devices include the Nexus 6 and 7 (2103) both running stock roms and may or may not be rooted. You can follow Brooks on Twitter @Brooks_Barnard.

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  • John

    I reserve the right to wait until the N5 is officially released. Once I see the final result, then I will comment.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      That’s fair. What do you hope the Nexus 5 is like?

      • John

        I have an N7 and I love the back. I’m hoping it’s a hybrid of the N4 and the N7.

        • monk

          I hate all metal or glass devices with hard edges. The grip is usually bad and does not feel comfortable in the hand. The new nexus 7 has very good ergonomics and seems well constructed. People usually confuses build quality with the materials used, but they are two completely different things.
          The design is also a key element for good quality . A good design in my opinion should not compromise functionality, reparability or durability during the device lifetime.
          I will always choose good construction, grip and durability over first looks.
          Build quality is also only verified after many months of normal use and if the product chirps, scratch, cracks, decolors or breaks is not well done in my opinion.
          Check how an iPhone 4 looks after a year of use without a case or protectors…

          • Chad

            It must be my lack of using my iPhone as a skateboard down a stone road, but after a year plus using it without a case or protector it still looks and feels fine. The only part that looked somewhat beat up was the chrome apple on the back, but after wiping it down it wasn’t actually scratches. Guess some of us just take better care of our phones than others? Doesn’t hurt when you choose something built right. Apple, HTC, and Sony are about the only ones making phones that look as good as what they have in them. Although too bad the screens are crap on the new Xperia Z1 :(

      • Jon Koops

        I currently own a Nexus 4 and I have to say in terms of build quality it’s one of the worst Nexus devices I have ever owned. The glass covering the screen scratches easily and the glass on the back cracked inside of my pocket. It recently stopped working (it made a beeping noise for about half a second and then just died).

        It’s not all bad though. The rubber on the sides make it nice and grippy, and the curved edges around the screen make swiping your finger across the screen even more rewarding. And the screen itself is beautiful.

        I would naturally like the Nexus 5 to be sturdy over stunning, ergo I think going for a Nexus 7 like rubberised back is a good decision. I’d like to see the inclusion sapphire glass on the front of the device to eradicate any scratching (a big problem I had with the Nexus 4). A better camera would be a nice addition, though it wouldn’t be a make-or-break point for me.

        • Me

          Hm, Ive had the Nexus 4 since launch and not a single scratch or crack on it(screen protectors FTW)…..knock on wood that I don’t get any before I retire it when the Nexus 5 comes out.

          • Odie

            But that’s just it, you have a screen protector. Luckily I’ve taken great care of my Nexus 4, as I do with all of my phones (my Nexus One still looks new even the OS killed the phone somehow, just a paperweight now). That being said, the phone is gorgeous, but without the bumper case, it would constantly try to kill itself; the phone would slide on a flat service if it wasn’t 100% level.

            As for the screen, there is a small, maybe 2mm scratch that I have no clue as to how it got there, though it’s not at all noticable when the screen is on. The strangest thing is that the back glass is not scratched at all even though it feels cheaper than the Gorilla Glass on the front.

            I DO love the back of the Nexus 4, but I’ll concede that it never fealt like they (Google or LG) put too much thought into it’s real-world durability. All I have on my phone is the bumper case but I already have a case in mind if the back galss ever cracks.

        • Scott Thumlert

          I had the same problem. The glass cracked in my pocket within 4 days of owning it. Koodo or Google won’t warranty either. I feel scammed by these two companies.

    • Nancy Kerrigan

      Im waiting for Nexus 5, my body is ready.

    • BenderUK

      I don’t know, i like the looks of it, it looks similar to the new Nexus 7′s back which looks very nice.

    • 787 the flying fireball

      Nexus 5 will be godlike

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    I’m getting the nexus 5 regardless, but I agree with you. The nexus 4 was so innovative, when I had my nexus 4 was like when I first had my HTC amaze. The quality was just so nice and the phone was beautiful I could stare at it(yeah kinda creepy lol). The nexus 5 is pretty ugly, lets hope those are prototypes or that the final product looks a lot better.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      I’m also getting the Nexus 5 regardless. And I’m also not saying the new design is bad, but Google needs to make up it’s mind regarding the image of its Nexus line.

    • clocinnorcal

      I hear ya. I was very impressed when I first got my hands on my N4. But I always had reservations about the glass on the back; consequently, I am near ulcer status constantly worrying about dropping it or something.

      The lack of glass on the back is a welcome change IMO but as far as these leak shots go it leaves a lot to be desired compared to the Nexus 4.

    • epps720

      The N4 is a good phone and all, but how was is “so innovative”? I don’t get that at all. I can’t think of a single thing that was “innovative” on that phone.

  • Geremy Roque

    i feel like you really wasted your time writing an article about it.
    the material or prettyness isnt important for most people. at least for responsible users. because, after all, the phone will have a case on.

    however, even though i personally don’t care. to me, the Nexus 5′s back looks very scratch prone. i personally would say that the Nexus’s 4 was not only prettier, but seems more comfortable to the touch. just an opinion. the fact that its glass has disadvantages.

    but in the end, Nexus devices are about specs per price, so that’s what we get. if one really needs premium materials or looks, its better to look at another device.

    i do know, that eventually the “what’s it made of” will greatly affect sales someday in the future, when specs and price are even.

    • Jay

      Way wrong my friend. Do not underestimate build quality. It is the reason many people switch to Apple. Personally I hate android build quality. If you have a high end device which most of us do… All you have left with is the quality of the phone. I hate my gs3 now even though it is pretty much lagless. It looks like a plastic Frisbee. I am looking to HTC one or a 5s and possibly an N5. But if it’s all plastic. It’s out!

      • rhY

        No, people switch to apple because they are morons and lemmings.

        • Joker Tan

          That comment makes you the biggest moron on the internet.

      • M

        So you hate the GS3 because it has a plastic body? Why did you buy in the first place then? Last I checked there are a lot more people switching to Android from IOS. Go check the market share on Android vs IOS, Apple is losing ground left and right. Apparently not everyone is a moron that only cares about having a glass/metal body.

        • Phonefreak87

          Everyone here in mid Missouri are morons they get iphones for some reason as I’m sitting around withe my nexus 4 saying yep I get to customize my phone you get to have the same old home screen for ever lol

  • Adam

    I think the Nexus 4 is a great looking phone but I’m releaved the Nexus 5 (or whatever it will be called) isn’t going to have all that glass. I broke two of them! Also I think the new design shouldn’t be judged until its been released.

  • Stephen

    I don’t mind if the phone isn’t as good looking as the Nexus 4, as long as it’s not as fragile!

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      Amen… I never broke my Nexus 4, but I was usually super paranoid while using it. Less fragile does sound amazing.

  • Fulaman

    As long as the device as killer specs, I am not too worried about looks.

  • Tony

    Totally agree it’s not the best looking phone, sadly I’d rather buy this for $300-$400 then spend least another $250 for a galaxy s4. I will say it’s silly on Google’s part to not spend, what, like $5 more in materials a phone and you could have all metal like the iPhone, doesn’t mean they have to charge hundreds of dollars more. But like I said, I’ll still probably get it, and hey least it doesn’t have those back buttons like the LG G2 :P

  • Allen

    LOL the nexus 5 is a much better looking device. The nexus 4 looks like a little girl’s phone that should be laying on her princess bed. Nexus 5 is the nicest looking phone since the HTC One. Way to keep it simple, LG/Google.

    • inviolable

      A bit extreme, don’t you think?

  • SGB101

    I think the nexus4 may of been a test, to see if a good enough but biocidal device, ie iPhone, but cheap, would sell and how well.

    I think it may of been a failier, in Google eyes, and they are returning to higher end Dev device they was before. Function over fashion.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised if they went back to pre N4 prices.

    • SGB101

      *good enough but fashionable. God knows how it got biocidal

  • hnn

    it matches the new Nexus 7. i love my Nexus 4, but i can see a value of a unified design language for a device family (somewhat remarkable, given one is by Asus and one is by LG).

  • Orion78

    I don’t care. As long as it doesn’t have a glass back, I’m good.

    • Kikkerman

      Agree, plastic is the right choice for me.

  • da9el

    i think the nexus 4 shows a lovely design the nexus 5 probably won’t beat… but let’s wait until we hold it in our hands. if you’re going to use a cover it won’t hurt too much :p

  • Steve

    Yeah that god awful gauky camera kinda kills the look for me but as long as it’s a killer camera I could live with it..

    • TechFirst

      well i mean, the OIS needs to be put somewhere, Better in a slightly bulky camera module (that i actually think looks cool) then not included at all.

  • Piggyden

    For those clamoring for so called “alternative” material (the author included), ain’t you even aware that it is a design flaw to use glass as a backing? While form and function’s debate can rage all the time, all with even a shred of common sense will acknowledge that putting form supreme above all consideration of function is utter stupid (as ifruity tend to do … which you seems to be a fan of). Having a piece of easily shattered material (no matter how strong you make the gorilla glass, it is still brittle) as backing is one of the stupidest idea that people just accept simple because of misleading presentation by Old stevie job.

    As for the so called “metal” phone, do know that the so called metal is in fact aluminium, which is one of the cheapest, weaker and softer metal around. In fact, it is cheaper than many mid tier plastic composites and has a relatively tensile strength. And worse .. because it does not truly have a clearly defined elastic zone, its deformation tend to be plastic (meaning that once deformed, it does not spring back to its original form)

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      Hi Piggyden, my name is Brooks Barnard. When I’m not writing for AAM, I’m a materials scientist. I’m not clamoring for a glass back, or an aluminum one. All I’m saying is that I enjoyed the look and feel of the Nexus 4, and I’m trying to decide how I feel about a less spectacular looking Nexus 5.

      I couldn’t agree with you more about using glass for the back of a phone. You’re also right about aluminum. I always find it funny when people call the materials used on the iPhone or HTC One “exotic materials” One time, I wrote this editorial for DroidDog: http://www.droiddog.com/android-blog/2012/09/editorial-cheap-plastic-its-called-engineering/. You may or may not enjoy the read.

  • SocalTeknique

    I don’t really care what my phones are made of as long as they have a removable battery and good hardware like my Xperia ZR I’m happy. No more Nexus devices for me until they offer one with removable battery.

  • Sam

    Moron Article

  • PaulieG

    Dude.. Its a phone.. If you want something shiny that sparkles in the light on your hand, buy a bracelet..

    It’s this exact mentality why I hate srereotypical Apple fanboys. Its not a fashion accessory that makes you more trendy than the next person.

    • Jay

      No, but how it feels in your hand is a big deal. I used to be an android fan but now I respect both apple and Android. I hate how big screens are getting bc I’m a guy and dont have a purse. I want a 4incb android device with a quad processor but that will never happen. Phablets are the worst thing ever and if you are not a soccer mom you should not own one.

  • Phil

    I can’t believe that this is even a real story….. The nexus 4 is ugly only reason I bought it is cause I love the Nexus device as a whole and experience that’s also why I bought the nexus ten and new nexus 7….. The Nexus 5 looks amazing best looking phone ive seen in awhile!

  • Phil

    Also the camera looks sweet in my opinion!!!

  • Andrew Neuman

    I may alone in this but I never cared for the design of the n4. I Absolutely love my n7! I love simple clean designs that are as non-discript as possible and the n7 and potentially the n5 are exactly that. I’m also a fan of the soft touch material on the n7. I’ll be picking up a n5 whenever it becomes available.

  • Fiddle Castro

    I love it on its back. I get all tingly in my pants just thinking about it. Can’t wait to get deep inside and enjoy its sexy curves

  • MMcCraryNJ

    I didn’t realize that the article author has the final retail Nexus 5 in possession in order to have such articulate and wordy opinions on the look, feel, and build quality of said device as it compares to the Nexus 4.

    Oh wait, they don’t?

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      I never mentioned anything about the feel or build quality of the new Nexus 5. It could be fantastic and I truly hope it is. I only referred to what we’ve seen in leaks, and talked about how it SEEMS it will be very different from the Nexus 4.

      This is an opinion post, not a review.

  • rick

    I would never buy or recommend to anyone a phone with a glass back. Who cares what it looks like as long as it performs and holds up to everday use. I don’t get why people obsess over the looks of a phone.

  • CDF

    I have both the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 7. I agree with Brooks-I had the N4 about 10 months ago and sold it. When I would go into the T-Mo store to look at phones-I kept picking up the N4 again. The glass back makes it feel premium, but I also love the front–the glass feels so smooth and it curves around the sides-it feels like it was designed by an artist to me. I find myself polishing it all the time with a cloth-it is kind of “jewel like” to me.

    So, when the discount price came out, I got anther Nexus 4. Loved it again right away.

    I had one of the glass backs shatter (not even sure when it happened-it was in my pocket), so I just bought another one and replaced it. It really wasn’t difficult to replace.

    The back on the Nexus 7 is fine (reminds me of the back of the HTC One X+) -it is solid but doesn’t feel “premium”. More function than design.

    So-I am holding on to my Nexus 4 and waiting to read all the reviews on the Nexus 5..

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      I was just thinking that a few minutes ago. I think the nexus 5 could feel a lot like the HTC One X. Hopefully it can feel as well constructed as the One X.

  • Justin

    I share your sentiments exactly. I am completely smitten by the beauty of the N4. When I first saw these leaked images of the N5 I secretly wanted to rampage through Google’s offices. I thought “wtf have you done?!” It really is hideous. I like the logo positioning on the N4 as well. The landscape orientation of the N5 logo makes my stomach turn. I’m pretty sure I’ll be waiting this zone out til the N6. I’m really disappointed in what I see but like others have said, I’ll for the announcement before I make my final judgement.

  • Ben

    The nexus 4 is the only phone that I’ve ever put a case on and I’m sure if I hadn’t I would have a smashed back by now. I want the exterior to put function over form. I think that phones should be designed to withstand a 3-4 foot drop without being ruined. Though from a manufacturer’s perspective they’ll sell more replacements if the phone is breaking a lot.

  • Ryan

    I so miss the nexus 4 back. Haven’t scene it in almost a year when I put a slim case on it. I don’t miss those first couple weeks when I was waiting for the case. Damn thing felt so brittle.

    Oh…… Looks way better with the right case. IMO.

    They better keep the pricing. Ill buy one every year if they do. Otherwise I go back to hunting the used kijiji market annually.

  • beetlebailey

    I don’t really give a rat’s ass what it looks like ass long as it’s a kick-ass functioning phone. If you want a pretty phone, go buy an HTC One or an iPhone fer God’s sake. I hope, above anything, that it’ll really work on Sprint, as the radios indicate it should… I work for Sprint as a tech and I get a kick ass deal on my service, plus they just lit up LTE here a month ago or so and it’s wicked fast.

  • Ex Nexus 4 user

    Nexus 4 lasted 2 weeks. Cheap nasty build unquality. Fragile screen and expensive to replace, easily dented metal frame, The only ting that did not break was the glass backing! Had to bring my iCrap 4 back into service ( I hate Apple’s labor exploitation), which works just fine and no broken screen (never used case). What is the point of putting a massive after market armor box around a pretty design? So much wanted to love the N4, but it’s no more then a cheap whore – looks good at a distance but nothing but disappointment in use. Bring back polycarbonate or whatever it was 1990′s Sony Eriksons used to be made of.

  • Kevin Sharp

    Is the device made of polycarbonate or plastic because i feel like polycorbonate is much more appealing and would make me more inclined to get the new nexus if it has that htc one xish feel to it

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      Polycarbonate is plastic. It’s a fairly high performance plastic meaning it’s tough and has good mechanical properties. I’m not aware of any plastic phone backs that aren’t Polycarbonate. There are probably some, I’m just not aware.

    • Ratnok

      Polycarbonate is the word for plastic for people who are afraid of the word plastic.

      • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

        False. Polycarbonate is a word used when people who know a thing or two about plastic are talking about polycarbonate.

  • AndroidIsNice

    None of the issues that plague the minority will keep me from liking Nexus. I’ll always use a case. Just doesn’make sense to have an expensive device that you have with you more than anything else practically, and decide that it’s naked form is better for you. Call me crazy, but I also wear pairs of shoes on my feet regardless of how great it feels to walk without shoes.

  • David

    Personally I looks rubberized to me. And that’s what I think we’ll get. A more drop proof phone.

  • Rachid

    I think you’re confused about what a nexus device is! They aren’t meant for developers.

    They are Googles way of showcasing their own OS.

    If a nexus device was purely for developers, I wouldn’t be seeing huge billboards showing them off on my way to work for example :P

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      Well, they are meant for developers. But you’re right that they’re more for the masses these days. The shift began with the release of the OG Nexus 7.

      • smartphoneblog

        No, Nexus Devices haven’t been meant for developers for a long time now. Google is positioning the devices clearly as consumer products. Just check out their product pages. They happen to be a good option for developers too but that’s not the reason of the program (anymore).

  • Pravas

    Let the device finally launch and we will have an comparison. Surely Nexus 4 has raised out expectation on design but Nexus 5 will be good in every other way.

  • Chuxter

    Aluminum > Plastic > Almost any other material > Glass

  • Allen

    Ditto so many other comments on here.

    My wife and I both bought N4′s in June when our Verizon contracts expired. We caught it just at the right time so she got a white one, and I got the black one. We really did like them–until one day when she didn’t have the case on it and dropped it and the front cracked (including destroying the digitizer). However, that easily could have been the back, as well.

    What I guess my point is (which I think a few others alluded to above in and indirect way) is that hey, if you’re going to put a case on it, which is dumb NOT to do, then you don’t get to look at the “pretty” back anyway, so what’s the difference.

    She’s now using my N4, and I’m using a dumb phone until N5 comes out. Can’t wait!

  • n

    The problem with this kind of talk is that it’s subjective – i love the look of my galaxy nexus, and look and feel of the 2013 nexus 7, and find iphones look ugly, especially with the huge bezels and obvious tacky corporate logo – logos should be subtle. The new colours contrast with the logo poorly, and look like a poor copy of Lumias.

    Given personal preference, a great thing about android is the choice in designs that we have.

    The cheap plastic argument is stupid – that’s an argument that comes from furniture. I don’t want furniture made of plastic. I don’t want a phone made of wood. And high end Samsung phone don’t have cheap components. (And funny how apple fans praise them for making lots of profit – is having a lower cost of components good, or not?) If they mean it looks cheap, iphones look like cheap feature phones these days.

    What i want from a new nexus is plenty of storage (since google hate sdcards), and a decent camera for once.

  • smartphoneblog

    I totally agree with the impression that the hardware design of the n5 looks dull. My main gripe is not the new material for the back though.

    I just hate the big camera on the back and I hate even more the new geometrical form of the device.

    Its neither really rounded nor square. Some kind of hybrid. And it looks freaking ugly. Will keep my n4 until the N6 comes out, cause the hardware jump also doesn’t appear to be that huge. Android 5.0 will be released on n4 too.

    • ben

      I highly doubt we will ever see a Nexus 6. A six Inch phone will (hopefully) always be considered as to large for a mainstream flagship.

      I really like the new Nexus design. Quite a lot as a matter of fact. It is just not as round as the Nexus 4. Calling it a hybrid is misleading. Or you could say the N4 is a hybrid between a square and a circle.

  • timmyjoe42

    I’ll take specs, price, and durability over pretty any day… especially when the device is going to be obsolete in 2 years.

  • ashok pai

    we will end up wrapping the phone in silicon/ rubber/ plastic or any other case ANYWAY!

    • mangax

      i never did…
      why using ugly covers when manufactures craft master pieces for us?

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      Many will, but I strongly prefer my devices without cases. I hated the way the Nexus 4 felt with a case. With its square-ish edges case made the phone feel huge and bulky.

      • reddragonman

        I also prefer my devices without cases. I also don’t want to have to worry about damaging my phone from little drops. I came from a GS2 to the Nexus 4. I have to agree with many different things that you’ve said. I love the feel of the Nexus 4 without a case, but don’t like worrying about damaging it either. One of my big problems with the case is that you loose that nice rounded edge feel of the phone. With the GS2 I never really worried about dropping it accidentally, and it took a few drops completely unscathed. The perception that plastics are a “cheap” material is purely marketing. It’s funny how people rarely talk about how “cheap” the plastic feels in their cars now, and aren’t asking car manufacturers to make all the components out of aluminum and glass. It’s because it has become accepted that the materials used in cars are of high quality, and are designed to take the abuse. People definitely aren’t going to complain that if they accidentally back up into a pole, they may only be left with a scuff or scratch over a big ding. It’s more about educating the average consumer about the durability of these products. Phones should be designed as to not need cases (Otterboxes on iPhone look absolutely ridiculous), but can be used to personalize a phone. I also like the approach Motorola took with the Moto X,, although am disappointed with the exclusive release.

  • Khurram Waziri

    I’m getting the N5 regardless of how it looks, and I think a matte back looks cool too, infact some would prefer it. It’s kinda like “Alienware” vs “Clevo” comparison, some like flashy surfaces while some consider more bland looks better for business purposes (you can’t take an Alienware in a business meeting now, can ya’?)

    Disclaimer: *Not trying to troll or hijack the thread*

    You’re an avid F1 fan, so am I. But Vettel’s recent dominance is pissing me off!!

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      I agree I’m pretty bored if Vettel winning.

  • mangax

    nexus 4 was best phone i ever used so far, i skipped all new phones just to get the next nexus!
    i was going to think the same thing that article writer said.. the feel of using nexus 4 is unique, and the special glowing dotted backside felt different and unique on it’s own.

    But after my nexus 4 back got broken, it was clear for me, nexus 4 is very fragile.. me and my friend bought this device at same time and we end up with broken ones after few months.. it was only a matter of time before nexus 4 gets broken.

    i would kept feeling the same as the writer but since mine got broken, am fully convinced durable phones are the best for long term, no one wants to have a crippled device. i did for the past month using custom sticker on the back.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      I’d expect anyone that ended up with a broken Nexus 4 to have some pretty strong opinions about material choice in phone design.

  • James O’Donnell

    AT&T family here. We have 2 N4s and love em. Will get N5 for one daughter on launch, keep these N4s. Ive dropped mine 5 times, no cracks. I text pictures for work and have never been disappointed with cam quality. I rock mp3 in work truck, never complained about volume. Use TyltVu wireless chargers, no prob with battery. Liked Authors opinion on the beauty/rigidity of N4 glass… also hesitant to get N5 I am so happy with N4. I see no reason.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      You have a lucky daughter.

  • Darren sterland

    I have the HTC one and have to say its a brilliant phone bar the camera which does let it down in my opinion, however I am looking forward to seeing the nexus 5 and am wondering if its worth the purchase?

  • VivEk Jindal

    I care for specs only.. and I love Nexus 5…

  • Ryan

    For me, the best feeling/looking phone in my hand was when I had an HTC Droid DNA for my work phone. The unibody design and soft touch back, along with the curve of the phone, all felt (and looked) great.

    That said, the back of this phone, and apparent curvature of back remind me a lot of the way that phone looked. I only wish the Nexus 5 was going to be available on all the same carriers they made the moto x available on…I’m on US Cellular, and I would sell my GS4 in a heartbeat if this phone would work on my network (love me some Pure Google).

  • Jose

    I have the Nexus 4 as well, and love it looks. But I use a silicon cover to protect it from scratches and minor hits that may damage it. This reduces its good looks significantly. I do not care much about this. I want a good device at a great price. Google and LG have delivered with the Nexus series.

  • Sunny

    I am excited about the Nexus 5 Release :D and I am damn sure, Google will not tag a price for next nexus which is more than $349. And the official specifications are awesome, the price & performance ratio would be unbeatable and I am excited to see what Samsung and Sony will do now. I am little disappointed that official specifications doesn’t include 3GB RAM, just we have to satisfy with 2GB RAM. Here I saw the official list. http://nexus5price.com/lg-d821-google-nexus-5-official-specifications-and-features/

    Whatever, Google Nexus 5 is best so far :D waiting to hold it in my hands :D hope, it would walk faster than my fingers LOL :D

  • Anshuman

    I love my Nexus 4. Inspite of knowing that its a fragile device I have gone for it. Everybody knows what other brands are giving in same price. Basically if anybody has gone for it inspite of knowing that it is an fragile device, then why are they making so much of noise? They should have researched before going for it on what exactly they are getting by buying a Nexus device. Nexus devices rock due to their competitive pricing offering nice features which nobody else can offer the same.

    I believe Google is the only one who understands that there are people out who need stock android experience which no other phone manufacturer ever understood… For such people its a worth buy…

    Now talking about the new Nexus device, it would be fair to comment only after its launch… BTW it doesn’t matter which company produces a Nexus device. Quality of Nexus device would be the one what Google decides and not the company which manufacture it…

    Google needs to understand that they have fans across the world and hence they should focus more towards making it available in all parts of the country.. I being from India, we Indians also expect that get to taste this product soon after it is launched.


  • J.W.

    It’s like a mini Nexus 7 (2013). Which looks superb to me.

  • Downtrodden

    I have both the N4 and N7 but in reality the phones looks might be superficially important but in real life I suspect most people are like me and fit a protective case (the phone has an armoured case with a exoskeleton to protect the back and corner’s. Therefore in the longer term the screen and hardware are far more important.

  • jamal adam

    I think that Google is trying to get all the Nexus devices to be similar and from the shots of the Nexus 5 it looks like that’s the case.

  • Jeffy

    Let’s judge this phone before it’s even announced based entirely upon a prototype photographed under godawful bar lighting! Boo Nexus 5 design!

  • All just frogshit as almost everyone puts a cover on their phone anyway

  • Carlos Fontes

    I really think my Google Nexus 4 is the most beautiful gadget I’ve ever owned. I love the sleek black front with no branding. I love the chrome bezel which looks AWESOME when it catches the light at that perfect angle. The matte, soft touch sides really make the device feel premium in your hand and it’s grippy, too, seeing as it’s so lightweight. The etched ‘sparkle’ effect is SURPRISINGLY understated in person, compared to the press shots that made it look slightly gaudy. I get compliments on it ALL the time.

    Seriously. I work in the front office of my apartment complex in the morning and residents always ask me about that solemn slab of black glass and chrome lounging by my keyboard. I also work for a nationwide GSM carrier at night and still, I stand out in a sea of Galaxies.

    It also leads to my problem: “It’s the most iPhone-ish Droid I’ve ever seen!”

    I hear this JUST a bit too much for my taste.

    I purchased a New Nexus 7 for my mother and even though Google ditched the leather racing glove look and feel of the original 7 incher, the black glass and lack of branding really make a statement of understated luxury. The new backing is again that matte grippy rubber adorning the sides of my Nexus 4 and almost like a new Lincoln MKZ, Its design is quietly confident. It looks and feels high end and makes a statement: Pick me up and use me. Go boldly.

    My Nexus 4 has a slight hairline fracture on the back and I sometimes feel like I’m holding the Holy Grail when I use it without a case. I’m glad that Google and Android are really unleashing a common design language over their hardware. The Nexus line looks sleek. Handle bumps like a champ. It’s silently bold. To the Android faithful, it will have awesome specs and to the Average Joe, a Nexus device will NEVER be mixed up for anything from Palo Alto.

    Bravo, Google. Well done.

  • rashad360

    I always end up wrapping my phone in a thick protective layer of casing so it really doesn’t make much of a difference whether the phone is made of super-premium materials or plastic, functionality always seems to trump aesthetics in my book. Maybe when I’m making more money will I opt for a naked premium-material phone.

  • Neruson

    The nexus 4 is a beautiful phone. My only gripe was the slick glass texture on the back. It almost just slips out of my hand. I normally don’t use cases on my phone since I tend to take freakishly good care of them, but it was a necessity with the nexus 4.

  • JTL

    I respectfully disagree. Both phones are very very good looking. I love the matte black like on the HTC One

  • Bull Durham

    There is still a strong chance that Google will be releasing 2 Nexus models just as Apple did. Personally I like the new design, I would have preferred an aluminum body on it but when you get down to it I am one of those people who adds a screen protector and always keep my phone in a case so I rarely look at anything except the screen and the case. All I hope is that the design is sturdy enough. The Galaxy Nexus was ugly but not flimsy and in my opinion is the best Nexus so far. Using glass in the Nexus 4 body design (without it being gorilla glass) was a huge error in design as was the cheap looking screws at the bottom of the phone. If it had LTE I would have probably purchased one and threw it in a protective case.

  • Tom Howell

    I’ve had G1, G2, and now N4. I had reservations about the N4 but decided Google had not let me down yet so go for it. I have no regrets, N4 has served me well with real issues. I like my N7-2 as well; I have come to trust Google making the right choices and intend to order my N5 as soon as it comes to market.

  • Owen

    I think you should’ve waited for yourself to own a Nexus 5 or at least see and use it in person before writing this.

    I’ve tried my friend’s 2013 Nexus 7 and I fell in love with the built and material. Doesn’t feel cheap and it has a nice grip. If the Nexus 5 is indeed inheriting the new Nex7′s built/material, that would be great.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      I think it was perfect timing to write this post. Yes, I’m speculating. But the post is asking about how we feel about the possibility of a less flashy Nexus phone, not that the Nexus 5 WILL be ugly.

      I mean, I’m sure it’s happened before, but 90+ comments is a lot. It means you AAM friends are interested and feel passionate enough about the topic to comment and get involved. The Android and Me community is awesome. You friends are great!

  • hannnnn

    I’m in the same boat as you. I’m thinking about shelling out an extra 300-400 bucks on a z1 just because of this.

  • theluck

    Cant care less of design. I am pre ordering anyway!

  • corey

    Really disappointed with the nexus 5 form i no longer believe function is a reason to sacrifice form. My nexus 4 is my most resilient phone(and I had a defy), through its life I’ve dropped it on to every surface you could think of with out a case and have not even scratched the glass

  • Martynas

    The biggest issue with Nexus devices is their poor camera. This is the only downside IMHO.

  • Rick

    I have a nexus 4 since day one and I have drop my phone many times and I don’t have a single scratch in the back or the front. I only have the original bumper for the phone. it is protecting the phone very well. waiting for the nexus 5

  • Adam

    LG failed with the styling of the 4 and 5 in my opinion. Samsung should have kept the nexus contract, they are much better at design, style and build quality. The nexus 4 looked tacky and the nexus 5 looks plain. Bit of a shame but I will still purchase because it is the only stock android device with up to date hardware.

  • Dandyroi

    I’m with you..the Nexus 4 ís beautiful. Though I’m not a big fan of a glass back either. But that’s not the case IMHO.
    It’s about the shape of the Nexus 4 that really attracted me, especially the rounded edges on the sides. Phenomenal, never seen before! And the way it felt. I’d like the nexus 5 to have a bit of the rounded back of the Moto X. To me it’s very important how a device feels and holds in your hand.

  • hp420

    I’m excited for the N5 launch, too….but for a different reason. I know this generation will be out of my reach, assuming the rumors regarding price are true. The reason I’m so excited is not because I want to buy one, but because with a new generation on the way parts for last generation will get less expensive, and that means I can buy a new glass back to replace my current shattered one at about half the current price!!

  • jmacg

    For heaven’s sake – all this carry-on about the back of a phone! Nearly all of you will put it in a case anyway. I looked at the sparkly back of my N4 for all of two minutes before I put it in a case. Then it looked almost exactly the same as my Galaxy Nexus. And I didn’t care. It did run better than my GNex, and that was all I cared about.

  • Joro

    I for one could never understand the love for the bricky design of the iPhones since the 4 model. The materials used – yes but the design… no. Call me tasteless but it’s one of the reasons why I left the Apple mobile camp for greener pastures. I liked the curved back shape of the iPhone 3G/3GS. I currently like my Nexus 4 and even though it’s sometimes hard to take a picture with one hand I would not like to use the rectangle that is the current iPhone. It’s boring and a design change is long overdue.
    I hope they don’t start making the Macbooks and Cinema Displays as edgy as their phones because that’s still two things that keep me giving money to Apple.

  • Peter

    i think that I probably wait for the nexus 6. I had the nexus s because everybody had the iphone 3g and i wanted something different with that 4.3 in curved and sexy screen than the nexus galaxy came out. Very powerful device with no battery life and the nexus 4 damn it is so sexy for a phone back on the sun its like magic . So if the picture a true and the back is like the nexus 7 i mean smooth plastic i think ill wait and continue tu use my nexus 4 until i drop it and i broke one of those glass.

  • Chris

    I love my nexus 4, it’s a sexy phone! But there are little things I don’t like, it is very delicate, which doesn’t bother me too much but it is something I constantly have to keep in mind, out of the android phones I’ve had, the galaxy nexus (gsm international) is probably best mix of style and practicality

  • donger

    Come out already.

  • Karan Arora

    I am looking for the release date of new device in nexus series and I found something logical on web http://nexus5news.com/google-lg-launch-release-date-5th-november-confirmed-happy-birthday/. They talk the logical way and have reason for the release date of this dveice. I do not whom to believe online. Some said it is 15th october and then 30th october. I am messed up with it. Will you please help me with the release date so that I can think of buying.

  • 4g63mark

    I agree with this. Nobody is going to see anyone holding a nexus 5 and be jealous of how attractive it is. It’s not the good looking phone Nexus 4 was. the Nexus 4 may have been the midrange phone, but the Nexus 5 is the device that looks more mid range

    • dandyroi

      And that’s a bad thing? You might consider it a good thing as there won’t be people chasing you to steal your super attractive phone ;)

  • Ankit

    I have a nexus 4 that i bought in
    september 7, 2013. It’s in perfect condition,
    not a scratch, or any damage. So i was
    wondering if i can get trade-in value for my nexus 4,
    atleast $225 for a black 16 gb model. So are there any reliabe
    websites where i can sell my nexus 4 ?

  • tessoro

    I have dropped two different nexus 4, one white, one black, on concrete and more than once. All i got was dents o n the bezel, glass on front and back intact. I guess it is just how it hits the ground, but this device is all but fragile or poorly designed.

  • Scott Thumlert

    Poor build quality. Broke in my pocket! Not a scratch on it, no drop, just a crack accross the whole phone which totally ruined the touch screen. Phone is completely broken.