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Video: Nexus 5 Camera With 4.4.1 vs. Nexus 5 With 4.4

With the Android 4.4.1 update now available for the Nexus 5, we took its updated camera for a spin, but also compared it to the 4.4 camera on a non-updated Nexus 5. It’s pretty obvious through a few simple tests that the 4.4.1 camera is indeed improved. Google told us that we should expect to see “faster focusing, especially in low light, faster white balancing, for truer colors,” and “less shutter lag.” I’d say all of that is true.

We’ll try to put together some camera comparison shots here in a few, but for now, take a look at this quick video to see the differences. 

Everyone update using the sideload command? If not, we have instructions here.

  • Wayne Moore

    Awesome info….I LOVE the Nexus 5 – I NEED one!

  • rocket658

    LG G2 is still way better!

  • Google is SOO SMART. They first release software so everyone hates it, so when they “fix it” EVERYONE loves it 🙂

  • Chris

    come on people, it’s a 350$ phone don’t expect it to be as good as a 600$/700$ phone! It’s a pretty damn good phone for it’s price, and to have compared iPhone photos, nexus 5 photos, and GS4 photos the nexus 5 isn’t as bad and this update won’t make me lie.

    • Adrynalyne

      Wow, you are a marketing rep’s wet dream.

    • Liderc

      The Nexus 5 has some of, if not the best, hardware in any current phone. Screen is top notch, processor top notch, GPU top notch, incredibly powerful radios, and I’ve had great battery life but some have complained about battery life. Maybe dropping the brightness down a bit will help them, I dropped it to 40% and don’t notice a difference in screen quality and it helped my battery a ton.

      Cameras have always vexed Google for some reason, but this camera takes great shots honestly, even prior to the update I was getting great shots, they just took for freaking ever to take (which means the hardware is fine, software is buggy). Now they’ve fixed that, and I imagine they’ll continue to tweak considering how quick this update came out.

      • J Dub

        40%? Are you outside all the time? I just bumped mine up to 5% to help combat the florescent lighting in my work place. I can the screen pretty easily while outside with sunglasses on at 40% brightness.

        • Liderc

          I’m assuming you’re saying 40% is high? Either way I get great battery life, so I don’t really care if you have to drop it to 5%.

  • Piyush

    does Android 4.4.1 improves the speaker sound?

    • Steve B


  • ObviousNinja2

    Yeah…i think what people are complaining about is RIDICULOUS!!! seriously, this is what bothers you? A half second longer to open an app. OMG!!! OH THE HORROR!!!

    • Steve B

      Obviously you don’t have this phone, otherwise you would have been bitching too.

      Pre-update and post-update is a night and day difference in all around performance. Not just the launch time but the quality of the pictures is a massive bump.

      Pre-update I would have given this camera 6/10. Mediocre most of the time, but capable of taking stunning shots in ideal conditions.

      Post-update I would now give this camera 9.5/10. Interface is fast. Auto-focus is fixed. Shutter speed is quick and snappy. Colors are more accurate. Motion blur is gone. This is an excellent camera now.

  • Chris Ta

    I think this update also fixed the sound quality of the speaker. Can anyone else confirm or am I crazy?

    • Steve B

      Sounds significantly better to me.

  • Aaron White

    Looks like I will continue to miss pics of my toddler. Even after the update any movement, including using the soccer icon, results in blurry pics

    • jnt

      Yeah I haven’t seen any improvement in the movement category. Other improvements definitely exist – like contrast, auto-focus, etc. But I have a feeling that the shutter speed is the main culprit for the motion blur, and the N5 simply has a slow shutter. I don’t think shutter speed can be tweaked with software, but I’m no expert.

  • Anthony Bottari

    So is the camera better or on par with the Moto X now ? (not that the moto x has the greatest cell camera these are just my narrowed down choices) Also any update on increased battery life with this update?

    • jnt

      To be honest, since day 1 I’ve thought the Nexus 5’s photo quality was better than the Moto X’s – in pretty much every scenario. Speedwise the N5 lagged, though… so even small speed bumps help. It also helps that the N5 no longer (or much less frequently) re-focuses after you tap to focus then tap the shutter button.

      Would be great if they added a tap-to-capture option like the X and HTC One have… incredibly handy.

      • Anthony Bottari

        Great to know ..thanks for the replies guys..sorry took so long..Right now I’m in a huge decision to leave VZW for either Sprint or Tmobile since they offer better plans than my grandfathered VZW plan that I’m paying out of the ass for ..but other than that it’s either N5 or Moto-X …I hate that I’m so damn picky

    • Steve B

      It was already better, now it completely crushes the Moto X.

      • Steve B

        A down vote for speaking fact?

        • Liderc

          There’s a ton of Moto X fanboys now, they don’t like people saying the screen looks considerably worse than the 5’s and that you’re paying more for crappier hardware.

    • Chris York

      On par? The Moto X cam is mostly horrible in anything but full daylight. The Nexus 5 is cleaner, better low light and more saturated (which is better because you’re compressing the data at capture and you can always desaturate with no real penalty). I had the Moto X and thought the lens was amazingly sharp but the software is really holding that camera back.

  • Kelly Caffrey

    Now the commercials actually make sense.

  • Chad

    Why is it that apple is the only company that can produce a good cell camera?? Dislike, but you know I’m right.

    • Godzilla

      Ever heard of Samsung?

    • Nikuliai

      Nokia has the best cell camera, and samsung has pretty decent ones too, google sucks on it, but give them time

    • Robert Landrum
      • Chad

        Lol WOW, you found a video that says the Nexus’ camera is better than the iPhone’s?? Well golly gee, I’d best buy a Nexus!!

        • Robert Landrum

          How many videos do you need? lol. Would 10 videos showing the same thing be any different? The camera isn’t going to change from one video to the next. And this video was made with the OG Nexus camera. It’s 10x better now. Once again……you were saying?

          For the record, Apple’s best feature within the past 3 or 4 Iphone’s has been their camera. Their cameras have always been great. But saying they are the best and no one else can produce a good camera? That’s just ignorant.

  • turco320

    Google needs to improve this, despite the upgrade is slow, other Androids or iPhone a couple of years ago, are much faster in this regard.

  • Liderc

    Looks pretty good so far, glad Google is pulling through with improving the camera.

  • MistaButters

    I had somebody use my phone to take a picture of me and friends the other day and I left HDR on. Every picture was blurry. 2 of them were of the floor.

    • Brian Utne

      It’s amazing how many people can’t take a decent picture with a phone, whether HDR is on or not. lol.

    • interstellarmind

      HDR+ only yields good results with landscape or far away shots. It is not good for portraits or group pictures – Google has said this and never claimed otherwise.

      • MistaButters

        I absolutely 100% beg to differ after using the phone for plenty of group pictures. Even close up things like food like significantly better with HDR+ on.

      • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

        I think the biggest issue is people don’t know that you have to hold the phone still until the process is done.

  • Kyle

    Motion blur seems reduced too!

    • Steve B

      This was the first thing I noticed, well besides the speed.

  • Bob G

    Will this affect the Nexus 4 camera app too?

  • contagous

    Woot the camera finally leads to the new Photos app now 🙂 Can’t wait till Gallery goes away lol

    • Tim242

      Gallery is local, Photos is cloud. I prefer local.

      • rthvk

        I’d even more prefer a full merger. This kind of stuff confuses your average Joe

      • silentbob2003

        With Google’s continued push for integrating all of their products (specifically Google+), saving any camera pics onto the cloud makes me paranoid.

        • Tim242

          Yeah, I like to have control over what is backed up. I deleted my G+ profile because I didn’t want anything appearing there without my knowledge.

          • Steve B

            You have complete control with G+ auto backup. Nothing goes public unless you personally share it.

          • Tim242

            Having to unvheck a box in YouTube to keep your comments from posting to G+ is not cool. They’re getting too close to forcing g+ posts.

      • Robert Landrum

        Me as well. Plus I don’t care for the UI on “Photos”. I like having folders when I open the app instead of pictures and a folder for my folders. Smh

  • wayfaast

    What happened to RAW?

    • Taaangerine

      Not part of this update.

  • CaptainHowdy13

    One panda, one stealth fighter. I always think the white in my speaker grill is a notification light and check my phone.

  • CaptainHowdy13

    Much faster for sure. I tested mine a bit and liked it quite a bit so far.

    • tharealoc

      All the better to get some good shots at an A’s game!

      Let’s Go Oakland! *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*

      • CaptainHowdy13

        I like your style sir

  • Can’t wait for the comparison photos!

  • jimt

    How do the pictures compare with the Moto-x after the update of the Nexus 5?

    • Severo Rivera

      Exactly what I’m wondering.

      • tomn1ce

        I’m pretty sure the’ll have comparisons up and running pretty soon.

    • Chris Caldwell

      The Nexus 5 camera has always been better than the Moto X, it just got blasted for the delay, which is now gone (as they have been saying it would all along). If you are focused on a camera and want to stay Android, get the Nexus 5.

    • Steve B

      I can’t test first hand but I assume it destroys the Moto-X. It was already better, it just suffered from painfully slow performance.

      I’ve tested it side by side with a GS4 and it’s on par or better in the majority of situations I tested them in. I wish I had a G2 and a Lumina to test against to see how it stacks up to the very best. Probably not quite as good, but no longer can people say the Nexus 5 has a bad camera. The camera is now excellent and just solidified this device as the best on the market.

  • h_f_m

    hopefully they fixed how your homescreen icons and groups would get screwed up if one of those apps was updated

  • kolson76

    Awesome, love the new update.

    Maybe it’s just me but I also noticed that the speaker seems a bit louder, especially with the lock and unlock sounds?

  • Geoffrey Gunter

    Any predictions on what the 4.4.1 update will change with the Moto X?

    • fartbubbler

      I would guess (hope) that any update to the Moto X would address the occasional lag when unlocking from Active Notifications.

      • Diablo81588

        Yes very annoying that wasn’t present before kit Kat.

  • keincc

    I’ve noticed since 4.4 brought that camera icon on the lock screen that people seem to grab it and swipe over as if it was required to get to the camera. But if you just swipe from the right side it opens the camera

    • Samvelavich

      good tip! I didnt know that.

    • DoctorJB


    • mikeym0p

      A lot of people didn’t even know you could launch the camera from the LS. The Icon is there as a hint, and the animation is used to teach the user they can swipe from the right side. I think the icon is good, but I wish it wasn’t there because symmetry

      • Steve B


        I showed a co-worker that this was possible on his Nexus 4 and he thought I had conjured up some sort of wizardry. I couldn’t believe that he didn’t know about it then I realized 1. I’m a tech nut and need to understand the common user, and 2. Google really didn’t make it obvious you could launch it with a swipe.

        I think the camera icon is a good move.

  • Ryan Gullett

    First world Kellen problems: I have two Nexus phones

    • ReturnOfTheMack

      I’m goingt ot guess that the other one is Tim’s.

  • Junaid Ansari

    Is it just camera tweeks? I’m running a Custom ROM so this might be a bit late for me.

    • I’d imagine Google did more than just camera tweaks, they just haven’t given us those details yet.

      • Junaid Ansari

        Alright. Thanks.

      • sc0rch3d

        I heard 4.4 had some Email Exchange sync issues (my company sent out an email to not update to KitKat) and that 4.4.1 was rumored to address it. Have you guys done a quick review of the new Email app? I didn’t see it.

        • James R.

          The Google forum tracking the issue has a Google engineer claiming some relief in 4.4.1.


        • Raven

          That is good to know since I just ordered a Moto X which recently got 4.4. I need Exchange to work, so if the Moto X has the same problem, I hope that they hurry up with getting 4.4.1 on their as well.

          • sc0rch3d

            Just got my Moto X / FedEx email – YOUR ORDER IS OUT FOR DELIVERY (i does a dance). I’m in the same boat as you. B/c of my job, I need 24/7 access to corporate email. It would suck to have a nice shiny new phone sitting in a box while waiting for an update.

            Did some research also on how to flash custom ROMs on non-dev MotoX. That’s another route I’m prepared to take as well.

          • Raven

            This is one thing I love about ordering a phone online instead of the old days of walking into a store and buying a new phone and having it activated right away. I fully intend to install software and test things like this via WiFi before I ever switch my service from my old phone to my new phone. (Still waiting to do my happy dance. I ordered my Moto X DE on Monday at 1:37 CST and no shipping email yet)

          • sc0rch3d

            A word of advice. FedEx requires an indirect signature. I bought mine Tuesday morning and was estimated to get the phone Monday. I hadn’t heard a peep from Moto since the order processed then 800 number calls me this morning (FEDEX) telling me the package is on the way. 5 min later, Moto sends a shipping email. It was a good thing that I decided to work from home today.

    • Bob G

      They fixed the Nexus 5 speaker issue.

      • Junaid Ansari

        Can you confirm that from a legit change-log?

    • rthvk

      Nope, it adds transparency on the lock screen for the N4 and some people have reported an Exchange fix. And the N5 apparently gets a speaker fix.

      Nothing too big in my opinion though.

      • Junaid Ansari

        Ohh speaker fix. That’s good. Cause the speaker on the Nexus 5 as you might already know sucks!

  • Wow. That was fast. Thanks for the video!!