Any AndroidPIT reader will know that we absolutely love the Nexus 5. It was ahead of its time when it was released, and continues to enjoy huge popularity despite Google ceasing to sell it on the Play Store. Google went in a bold new direction for the Nexus 6 in 2014, but now in 2015 it looks like they might be looking to draw on the success of the Nexus 5 (for one of their two expected 2015 phones, at least).
Based on all the rumors we've heard so far, Google could release two Nexus phones this year - one made by LG (codename 'Bullhead') and one by Huawei (codename 'Angler'). The LG-designed Nexus looks set to be the spiritual successor to the Nexus 5, so that's the phone we're going to refer to in our early Nexus 5 vs Nexus 5 (2015) comparison.
Nexus 5 vs Nexus 5 (2015): release date and price
The Nexus 5 first graced the world back in October 2013, launching for an absolute bargain at $349 in the US, and £299 in the UK. Google sticks fairly rigorously to the annual release cycle, so we expect LG's 2015 Nexus to be released in October this year.
As for the LG Nexus 5 (2015) price, it’s really not easy to tell. Customers were a bit disappointed when the Nexus 6 broke with Google’s tradition to push its phones for laughably low prices (even though the Nexus 6 specs perfectly justified it). There have been rumors that the 2015 Nexus would come in under the $500 mark. While more expensive than the the Nexus 5 upon release, such a price point would still undercut other flagship phones.
Nexus 5 vs Nexus 5 (2015): design and build quality
The Nexus 5 was released at a time when it was still the norm for flagship phones to be made of plastic. At the time we liked this look - the rubbery plastic finish made the phone nice and "grippy," and many people felt it looked more elegant than its heavyweight successor, the Nexus 6.
Times have changed in two years though, and plastic just isn’t the done thing for a flagship phone these days. All the major manufacturers have gone for either metallic, glass, or even leather with their 2015 flagships, so we can't see Google going for humble plastic again unless it comes in quite a bit cheaper. With that said, the non-leather LG G4 is plastic, so it's not out of the question.
Back in April, Google released a video promoting Project Fi, which showed a mystery phone that has left everyone speculating about whether it could be one of the 2015 Nexus models. The phone in the video appeared to have an offset front-facing camera, and a large speaker above the screen. Of course, the phone in the video could also have been a generic Nexus template, but why would Google have used this rather than one of their own phones?
Nexus 5 vs Nexus 5 (2015): display
The Nexus 5 has a 4.95-inch IPS LCD display with a full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution. When we wrote an updated review of the Nexus 5, we praised its screen for still looking great nearly two years since the phone was first released. It has great sharpness, high contrast, and doesn't look inferior to many of today's flagships.
LG's Nexus 5 (2015) is expected to have a 5.2-inch display, though other details are fairly scarce so far. However, Google jumped on the QHD bandwagon with the Nexus 6 last year, and LG has been one of the pioneers of QHD resolutions on phones, with both the LG G3 and LG G4 packing 2560 x 1440-pixel displays. The combination of Google and LG bodes well for a QHD resolution on the Nexus 5 2015, though this is only educated speculation for now.
We also know that LG has a fondness for making its displays curvy, as exemplified by the LG G4 and - more extremely - the LG G Flex 2. It's possible that Google won't want LG imprinting its identity quite so firmly on a Nexus phone as to include a curved display, but it's not out of the question.
Nexus 5 vs Nexus 5 (2015): specs
The Nexus 5 packs a quad-core Snapdragon 800 chipset, handling most multitasking and gaming scenarios with no problems. Even in today's octa-core world, the Nexus 5 chipset is still a solid mid-ranger that runs very well on Android Lollipop, and should suffice for most smartphone tasks for another couple of years.
One of the trickles of information leaked to Android Police about the LG Bullhead was that it could feature a Snapdragon 808 chipset, just like the LG G4. This is a hexa-core chipset, that's become a bit fashionable of late due to offering similar performance to the octa-core Snapdragon 810, while ostensibly being more energy-efficient.
In our Snapdragon 810 vs 808 comparison however, we found that the Snapdragon 810 offers decidedly better performance than the 808, so if the LG's next Nexus opts for the 808, it will fall short of competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 in terms of horsepower. That's not to say it'll be a weak phone by any means, as it'll still rub shoulders with the best of 'em.
Nexus 5 vs Nexus 5 (2015) : camera
The 8 MP Nexus 5 camera has done a great job of improving with the times, thanks to the Lollipop update and a host of new features it's delivered. Even today, the Nexus 5 camera is a good mid-range offering thanks to a powerful HDR+ mode, which really squeezes the most out of a camera that on paper doesn't seem that impressive.
Not much has hit the grapevine on the Nexus 5 (2015) camera front. There have been a few murmurings of a 13 MP snapper which apparently isn't of flagship quality, but there just isn't enough information to take these suggestions too seriously. Nexus phones haven't traditionally specialized in cameras, and the 2015 Nexus' quality in this department will certainly depend on the price bracket Google is planning to sell the phone at.
If, like we think, Google is aiming for the Nexus 5 (2015) to undercut rivals' price by coming in at under $500, then perhaps it's best not to expect the most powerful camera onboard.
Nexus 5 vs Nexus 5 (2015) : battery
The 2300 mAh battery was one of the few things we had serious gripes with in the Nexus 5. Things got a bit better when the Lollipop update was released, but you'll still be lucky to squeeze a full day's use out of the Nexus 5 under moderate usage.
The LG Nexus 5 (2015) battery is rumored to be getting a bump up to 2700 mAh, according to Android Police, which will bring it in line with rival flagships. For a sub-phablet-sized phone, keeping the battery under the 3000 mAh mark has become the norm, as more efficient processors have meant that batteries have become a bit smaller - allowing for slimmer phones.
Nexus 5 vs Nexus 5 (2015) : early thoughts
It goes without saying that the LG Bullhead, Nexus 5 (2015), or whatever you want to call it will be a more powerful and objectively 'better' phone than the Nexus 5. The big question is, will it be able to make as great an impression on us as the Nexus 5 did when it first launched?
It'll certainly be a challenge, but early signs are suggesting that Google is looking to have some of that 'Nexus 5' factor in one of its 2015 flagships. To do that, it'll need to pull off that magic trick of offering flagship specs at a price that'll force you to do a double-take. Google did it before, so why shouldn't it do it again?
Has our Nexus 5 vs Nexus 5 (2015) comparison got you thinking about what you want from a 2015 Nexus? Tell us in the comments below.