A Requiem for the Nexus 5

Nexus 5 (x3)

It’s not exactly dead just yet, but your options for getting one are far fewer as of this morning.

After a brief window of availability over the weekend, sometime yesterday Google quietly removed the white and red options for the Play Store listing of its 2013 flagship Nexus 5. Then rumours started circulating that production had wound down for good, which kind of makes sense—why would Google want to cannibalize sales of their new Nexus 6 with hardware that’s still very competitive? Now the official message sounds like something from a Monty Python sketch: “It’s not dead, it’s on hiatus.”

Whatever. Today, I’m taking a moment to celebrate my favourite Nexus phone. Ever.

For the past four years this fandroid has been faithful to the Nexus line. And with the possible exception of the second-generation Nexus S, every new iteration of the phone has had at least one standout feature to justify an upgrade. For me, it’s all about the data speeds:

Galaxy Nexus – HSDPA
Nexus 4 – DC-HSDPA
Nexus 5 – LTE

For the few of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure, the speed benefits of LTE cannot be overstated; for me it was just like going from dial-up to broadband, but on my phone. After I had my first taste of it—via a rented LTE hotspot in Japan in the spring of 2013—nothing less would do.

The Nexus 5 had—sorry, has—a lot more than just speed going for it. It was the first Nexus phone with a 1080p screen. While the fairly terrible microphone undermines video recording quite a bit, for photos the OIS lens does a really decent job. Its now-diminutive size hits the sweet spot for me. And the price? Let’s just say we won’t see another Nexus priced like it anytime soon…

It’s no secret that I’m so enamoured with the N5 that I bought a second one—partly as a vanity play and partly to upgrade my girlfriend’s hand-me-down Nexus 4 with the gift of LTE.

Of course, you can still get a fifth-gen Nexus through your carrier, maybe even a white or red one. But here in Canada at least you’ll be limited to the 16GB model. For the 32GB edition you’ll have to wait for Google Play to restock it. Good luck with that. And anyway, its spiritual successor is already on the market—no, not the Nexus 6, the OnePlus One.

The Nexus 5 is still, a year later, my favourite Nexus of all. I’m holding on to mine for dear life.

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