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Slight Hardware Tweaks Already Being Made to the Nexus 5?

According to a couple of users over at XDA, the Nexus 5 may already be undergoing slight hardware modifications. This report claims that early units of Google’s latest flagship suffered from noisy, rattling volume/power buttons, a protruding SIM card tray, and speaker grill holes that were too small to produce decent audio. In the images below, they appear to show that buttons have been tightened up and that speaker grill and mic holes are now slightly larger. 

Some users are claiming that the batch of Nexus 5s determines the final hardware tweak, with a handful under the impression that the 311K serial number group has the updated speaker holes and buttons. There are also phones with a serial beginning 310K that may have the older setup, though it’s tough to tell if that theory is correct.

In fact, we have two Nexus 5s in house (both black and white versions) with one showing 310K in the serial, and the other showing 311K. Neither seem to be any different. In the image at the top of the post, you can see that the speaker holes appear to be the same size on each. I’m also not noticing a difference in buttons, as there is a rattle on both if you shake them. I have not had an issue with the SIM tray on either.

Below, you can see two pictures taken from XDA that claim to show the differences.

nexus 5 change1nexus 5 changes

If Google has indeed made changes, this wouldn’t be the first time. You’ll recall with the Nexus 4 that little nubs were added a few months after launch to help protect the glass backside and to level the phone off with the camera housing.

How is your Nexus 5? I know that it would be tough to tell without two sitting next to each other, but are seeing larger or smaller speaker holes? How are your volume and power buttons acting?

Via:  XDA
  • eddie9ee

    I have a launch day nexus 5 and the wonky power/volume buttons, not-flush sim card tray and small audio grille are all on my phone

  • droidfan17

    Does anyone have an issue with light bleeding?

  • I can concur that volume level increased. I received a replacement today, and the serial number started with 312. This is my third replacement and it’s the best one yet. It came with 4.4 installed, and the speaker volume was still louder than my old nexus 5 with 4.4.2.

    • Kyleinstyle

      I’m about to click the link to authorize my replacement (light sensor issues). What shipping did you choose for the replacement? I’m just curious b/c I was going to choose overnight since they don’t charge me anyway. Thanks so much!!

      • I chose overnight. But I have a feeling they will charge for overnight. If I remember, it says shipping will not be charged in “normal” circumstances.

        • Kyleinstyle

          Thanks for the help!!

  • Neurolytic

    I have a Nexus 5 with a 310K starting serial number. Yes, the buttons stick out just as in the pictures above(presumably the one before the minor refresh) but there is no rattle. Coming from the HTC One, I do notice a big sound difference but it isn’t that bad to the point of having to do the hardware mod that some XDA members are doing.I moved from the One to the N5 for the finest Android experience as opposed to premium hardware and construction. Maybe that’s why I am able to just live with it.

  • h_f_m

    Thankfully my buttons are tight and I don’t have a problem with the speaker loudness. I have a feeling there’s going to be an influx of RMA’s due to this…

  • Tyson

    My buttons dont bother me at all. My speaker was quiet until the latest update

    • Tyson Stone

      I spoke too soon. I started getting all sorts of signal problems. That, with the rattly buttons and a dead cable I decided to send it back.

  • Liderc

    I may switch out my Nexus 5 if they’ll let me, the rattle is a minor inconvenience, but it’s definitely there and bothers me a bit.

    • Liderc

      I get 4 downvotes for mentioning that the Nexus 5 has buttons that rattle? lol, worse than iphone fanboys.

  • Ant

    Can we get a hardware modification to the camera also? lol

  • Keith0606

    I have an original nexus 5 ordered on day 1. So far i haven’t really noticed any issue with either of the buttons. Perhaps the speaker is quieter than some but if someone hadn’t said it wasn’t loud enough I probably would never have thought about it.

  • David Wanless

    I had some rattling from the buttons, I just opened it up and put a piece of paper in there and it’s been fine since

  • TheDrizzle

    I believe the rattling is due to the OIS Camera. I just recently took my N5 apart and came to this conclusion.

  • Bobby Cornwell

    My Nexus 5 power button is fine, but my volume rocker is rather loose and annoying at times. I’ve kind of forced myself to get used to it because I can’t go without a phone during the time that Google is sending out my replacement device.

    • JMonkeYJ

      Google lets you keep your device until you get the replacement 😀

      • Bobby Cornwell

        Oh, do they really!? Well that’s certainly nice to know. I might just do that then. Thanks 🙂

  • Renjamin

    No issues whatsoever with the buttons and frankly (I may be in the minority) I love the sound from my N5. With the 4.4.2 & 4.4.1 updates I’m over the moon with this phone.

  • R

    Mine is fantastic, can’t complain about rattling buttons. I mean….if that’s all people have to bitch about as far as build goes then maybe those few need to get lives. This phone rocks! With KK 4.4.1 the sound quality has improved greatly, so the idea that larger speaker holes will make things better is absurd. With a cleaned up rom and a good kernel there’s no phone that I am aware of that can compare. That includes the holy moto x! The camera still sucks imo, but thats software and its coming along. I can live with that. This is my first Nexus phone, and I am glad I made the switch!

    • jbdan

      You haven’t received 4.4.2 yet? I agree with all that except the camera. I think it’s great. I have a 17 month old son and I’ve captured better pics than my GS4 which I think is great in it’s own right

      • R

        Oh yeah I have 4.4.2. I was just saying that since 4.4.1, the sound quality has improved.
        Don’t get me wrong, the camera is good…just not what it could be. I guess I shouldn’t have used the word ‘suck’s’.

        • R

          Actually, the video camera SUCKS! Especially, in low light.

  • paulqg

    So what does it mean for a 309k serial number?

    • jbdan

      idk, but there is a thread @ xda that explains this

      I think this is it : http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2534423

      • paulqg

        Thanks for the link but didn’t see anything. A guy has a 309k like me but no one responded to his comment.

        • jbdan

          dang sorry thought that was it

  • I should be getting my N5 today or Monday, will check and report back on if mine has any hardware tweaks.

    • jbdan

      Congrats on your new N5!

      • I’m excited to get one, though the reason behind getting one is both sad and awesome. My wife dropped her N4 and cracked the screen, but SquareTrade gave us the full retail value of the phone of $600 despite only having paid $350 on Google Play for it. They basically covered the cost of the phone AND the warranty.

        • jbdan

          Wow! If that isn’t a reason to go squaretrade for warranty!

  • A.J.

    Anyone else have an issue with their screen? Mine is dimmer around to speaker, right at the upper center of the screen.

  • MistaButters

    I have to have my head right next to the phone to notice the button rattle.

  • David

    I realize there’s a rattle when shaking my N5 because I always thought it’s coming from the camera.
    This article confirms it’s just the button producing rattle is something I want fix. Hope they can recall my phone to get this 🙂

  • CompCrash

    I have to find out, I just got my Nexus 5 in the mail today.

  • Or could they just have switched suppliers or manufacturing process for reasons unrelated to improving design? Might just be that it’s a different batch that coincidentally has some slight manufacturing variations that happen to be an “improvement.”

  • jim

    why is every Nexus phone just riddled with problems, I bought the gnex, but will never waste my money on one again, this Note 3 is so much better, pure android is not really that great of a thing IMHO

    • scott62185

      I disagree big-time. IMO, Samsung products have no soul while Nexi/vanilla Android do. Just my opinion…

      • jim

        no soul ? really ? now that’s funny

      • jim

        you do realize we are talking about a phone right ?

    • Michael

      Ah yes lets downvote the guy for having an opinion that is different then yours. It’s about as stupid as arguing over whether Android or iOS is better.

    • Sirx

      Was with you up until the end there. But that’s my question too, and I haven’t been able to get an answer from this site nor any other: Why is every Nexus phone just riddled with problems–almost always related to hardware. Yet people worship like it’s the greatest thing since pure stock :-/ It’s called being a fanboy, and a lot of folks round these parts have it bad.

      • Aaron C

        I’d be the first to complain, but the only issue with my Galaxy Nexus (not really a Nexus device, but still) was horribly poor battery life. Part of that was Verizon’s fault. Meanwhile, my Nexus 4 and my stepson’s Nexus 4 have been completely trouble-free hardware-wise. Don’t have to be a fanboi to love Nexus phones. I won’t buy anything but from now on. I’d pay extra just to have a pure Android UI or be able to try out other ROMs, so it’s awesome that I actually have to pay less (1/2 price in most cases). I will never go contract again, so I can’t afford $600-700 phones for the family. I had a Thunderbolt for a year or so and there was very limited dev support for that phone, so I was saddled with phone problems. Also had a Droid X2 before that and it suffered from a terrible POPPING every time the audio channel opened. Limited dev support for that one as well, so I was stuck with the manufacturer ROM or go to one that had camera bugs at the time. This is why people go with unlocked bootloaders and Nexus devices — so they’re not stuck with whatever “experience” the manufacturer wanted for your device.

    • MistaButters

      I’d rather take my risk with having slightly rattling buttons than have to deal with TouchWiz for 2 years.

      • Allen Byrd

        This. I can’t stand Touchwiz. It was even worse before the Galaxy S3.

      • jbdan

        True that. Both my GS3 and GS4 have wobbly power buttons. It’s really not an issue (for me)(my N5 is solid as a rock)

      • jim

        doesn’t bother me at all ,its all in getting used to how it works, maybe someday ill root, maybe I wont, but I wouldn’t trade this Note 3 for a box full on Nexus phones

        • Adrynalyne

          Yes you would, if for no other reason than to sell said Nexus devices and buy another one. Doesn’t it bother you that Touchwhiz found a way to tax that hardware?

          • jim

            lol, well there are a lot of fools in the world ,so im sure I could dump them somewhere

          • Adrynalyne

            There is one, at least. Why your opinion makes others fools….its beyond me man.

          • glimmerman76

            till you crack the screen and need a replacement phone. then the 349 a nexus 5 costs looks a whole lot better than the 749 a note 3 costs retail

          • Adrynalyne

            I agree, but I think you meant to reply to jim.

      • CHRIS42060

        In Touchwiz’s defense I have yet to find an OEM skin I liked period. This would explain why I have a Nexus 5. I am one of the stock Android fans.

    • Adrynalyne

      That is why there is such a large developer community trying to put AOSP on non-Nexus devices.

      Because it is not that great of a thing 😉

      • jbdan


      • Michael

        Except, the version of Android that comes on a Nexus device isn’t AOSP. It’s Google’s version of Android.

        • Adrynalyne

          Not really relevant, because AOSP is the closest to stock that you can get.

          What does everyone do when they get an AOSP rom? Flash all the closed source bits to get back what AOSP leaves out for stock Android.

          You will also notice, I never said the Nexus came with AOSP.

    • For some of us, pure android isn’t the big thing. It’s the ability to unlock the bootloader and load whatever I want on the device, free from any manufacturer restrictions. I could load a pure, modified or ported ROM, a custom kernel, or advanced frameworks like Xposed. It’s all about tweaking for us Nexus users.

      • jim

        I had the gnex, well I had 8 of them trying to find one that worked like it was supposed to, then I gave up and went that route, but you should have to go that route if you want to, not because you have to, but to each his own, was running Bamf

        • Adrynalyne

          The problem here is that the Gnex is a horrible representation of a Nexus device, especially on Verizon.

          Under-powered, too small a battery, and too slow of updates. It needed TWICE the battery it came with just to be viable and the GPU was too weak for 720p.

        • jbdan


          • Adrynalyne

            I would have caught the hint at 2… :p

          • jbdan

            Yes yes, wow..

          • jim

            hell they kept sending them to me, didn’t cost me anything lol

          • jim

            when they sent one with a battery, id keep it and send the phone back, so I have four regular an extended I bought and a 3800 I bought, wondering if I could get anything out of them on ebay

          • Adrynalyne

            Even if you used a real 3800 (most are not), it would have made it a day at best.

            The Gnex was a 1st gen LTE device, and they all sucked.

          • jim

            it was only 25 bucks I think, but no it wasn’t the work horse I thought it would be

          • jim

            I tried to trade out of it for an s3, but all they would offer was a regular razr, I said, you are kidding me right

    • dmbass

      sounds to me like you need to switch to a crapple. IMHO

      • jim

        And give e this Note 3 ? No way

    • Ivo Shandor

      GNex is made by Samsung, Note 3 is made by Samsung O_o

      • jim

        Gnex is a nexus. Note 3 is not

    • Bob A Fett

      My N5 has been flawless. Bought the black 32GB. Very tight. No issues since I got it. KitKat is excellent. Love it!

  • MasonMathews

    Almost unnoticeable differences on the same phone? Call it the Nexus 5S!

    • Alessio D’Addario

      haha. brilliant 🙂

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    I don’t have an issue with the SIM Tray. I have an issue with the rattling buttons. Power Button, and Volume buttons rattle. And obviously the speakers are pretty damn low compared to other phones.

    Soooo Kellen? How do we go about getting our phones swapped? We need the right combination of words for the support reps.

    • jbdan

      Call them. Tell them of your issues and you’d like a replacement. Pretty simple GOP 😉

    • See the comment by @Abousteif:disqus. Sounds like a quick call to Google Play fixed things up.

    • Cory_S

      Google is probably if anything too amenable to OCD people. Their support is among the best I’ve seen. They even replaced my N4 when the glass back spontaneously busted. I really hadn’t dropped it.

      • Tyson Stone

        I agree their service is top notch. Goes on my wall of best customer service, next to Amazon, Netflix, and Redbox. Comes close to beating out my all time favorite: Netflix. That is really saying something because Netflix is really amazing and never thought service could be better. I have been connected in under a minute each time I have called (about 6). They are friendly, helpful, and speak flawless English. They are also willing to bend over backwards to help you out if you need anything at all. I feel extremely comfortable ordering from them and knowing my device is truly protected by the one year warranty. I never felt near so comfortable owning my Galaxy S2.

  • Curtis

    I can’t stop thinking about how far off the screen that “screen protector” is in the first shot!

    • bitpimpin

      First thing my OCD noticed too lol

      • Curtis

        We aren’t looking for lunar landing precision here. Just plastic on glass. Ya’ll be trollin’!

        • bitpimpin

          Every time I try to even imagine the phone going in and out of a pocket with the screen protector like that I cringe lol

          • Curtis

            It’s far enough off the screen that I would worry about it cutting the seams of my pocket! Or worse yet, lifting the screen protector and getting pocket lint underneath.

            Kellen has got to be trollin’.

          • bitpimpin

            Oh god the lint under the screen protector is the bane of my existence… I’m glad there is at least one more person out there as crazy as I am… Why would kellen do that to us? Lol

      • Miguel Angel Portela

        I figure you OCD must murder you when you realize that those speaker grilles are just for show and only one of them actually produces sound. It’s…ugh.

        • 3C0T3CH

          Microphone, basically a speaker, but in reverse, kind of like the difference in transmitting and receiving antennae, only for pressure waves instead of electromagnetic ones.

          Long story short: OCD Approved

    • jeff manning

      so he puts a screen protector on when putting one phone on another but not when putting a phone face down on a rock?

      • Bob G

        QED Phone is more dangerous than Rock.

        Rock, Paper, Scissors, Phone.

        • E A butler

          Rock, Paper, Scissors, Phone,Spock.

      • RAZR_FANN

        Lol, I don’t think these are Kellen’s pictures.

  • blackjaguar25

    Look how badly that screen protector was applied on the bottom N5 in the first picture. It’s hell to my OCD.

    Take it down.

    • bitpimpin

      I’m glad me and Curtis aren’t the only ones who noticed lol

    • Liderc

      lol yeah it’s terrible. I didn’t even use a screen protector on my N5 because I didn’t want to deal with all the reapplying to get things perfect.

  • Pdiddy187

    If you shake the phone the buttons will rattle although they feel solid. My biggest beef is with the hissing noise in videos recorded in a quiet environment. http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/nexus/0hvTK4eMVGk%5B151-175-false%5D

  • jbdan

    I have one from launch day (1st came with DOA vibrator) and the buttons are solid and the speaker sounds good. With the update to 4.4.2 the speaker is very loud now. The vibration is perfect imo. Sim card tray flush. I’m holding on to this one as some have reported getting “too warm color temp” screens.

  • interstellarmind

    SIM tray us not flush on my N5 (I ordered it in day one).

    The volume button difference in the XDA Poster’s photos seem to be due to perspective of the camera angle.

  • Maxim∑

    So what about people who recieved the previous revision?

  • KleenDroid


  • Abousteif

    hey guys. I have a deficient volume rocker and speaker grill. Called Google and they were willing to replace my phone for free. just FYI.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      What did they say? Did they ask you those random troubleshooting questions? And is it one of those siutaions where they put hold on your card until you ship back the one you have?

      • Abousteif

        I told them whats wrong with it and they basically said that they will do an RMA. So they will send me a new phone and i would have to send them the old one.

        Side Note: The first customer rep. i talked to was asking for IMEI and i couldn’t reach the settings from my phone because 1) my display is off when i take it off my ear, and 2) if i press the power button the call would end. So, whoever doesn’t want that and has the habit of pressing the power button to trun their display on while on a call then go to Settings>Accessibility>Power button end call (uncheck it)

        • MistaButters

          My Nexus 5 definitely didn’t have that checked by default. I use my phone all the time while on call.

        • That was turned on by default?

          • Abousteif

            for me it was. oh well.

          • BSweetness

            Strange. I’ve never come across an Android phone that has that on by default.

          • Abousteif

            u know… i could have been playing with it in my sleep cause of how happy i was that day LOL! It could be my fault that i somehow pressed it while exploring.. but i could have sworn i would have remembered that it was an option.

      • Tyson Stone

        My Nexus 5 has a rattly volume rocker, a loose vibrator, and what seems like a bad cell radio (inconsistent signal problems). I got an advanced replacement where they put a hold on my card until they receive the old one. Took two seconds for her to start the RMA process:

        Her: “Hello, thanks for calling Google, my name is…”
        Me: “Hi, my Nexus 5 is have various problems and I would like a replacement sent out”
        Her: “Okay, let me get that started for you. Sorry for the inconvenience of a bad device. Would you like an advanced replacement or a standard RMA?”
        Me: “I would prefer an Advanced Replacement.”

        She put me on hold for a few minutes while she filled out stuff on her end. She then sent me an email detailing instructions on how to send my current device back and a link to order the advanced replacement. Google covers all shipping costs. Took maybe 5 minutes to get it all sorted away. The replacement is supposed to arrive Tuesday. I am nervous because I have terrible, terrible luck with electronics and I worry that the new one will have problems of its own, most likely worse. But chances are everything will be fine. I hope…

    • livin

      Which number did you call?

  • Josh Carroll

    I hope one of the “tweaks” is to fix the obnoxiously loud and buzzy vibrator. 🙁

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      I heard they like it like that.

      • Josh Carroll

        Not sure if joking or serious… :/

        • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

          Cross reference a “that’s what she said…” joke… and you’ll see what I’m saying.