Update: Google has announced via Google+ that the update is rolling out today, and that in addition to speeding up focusing, it will add faster white balancing, less shutter lag, and the ability to pinch-zoom the viewfinder in HDR+ mode. The company also shared a handful of photos showing the difference between normal mode and HDR+ following the update.

Camera1 Camera2

Camera3 Camera4

Android 4.4.1 is scheduled to roll out to the Nexus 5 over the next couple of days, and when it arrives, expect an improved picture-taking experience. In an interview with The Verge, Dave Burke, Google's Director of Engineering for Android, confirmed what we already knew, that the Nexus 5 takes longer to focus than it should. In an effort to produce a higher-quality image, the team opted to "make the shutter time longer, reduce the gain even longer, and get better shots." This resulted in slower-than-expected shooting speeds, a drawback the next version of Android is aimed at fixing.

In addition to speeding up the framerate, increasing how quickly the Nexus 5 can fire off a picture, the camera app should launch a second faster than before. There will also be a progress indicator in the HDR+ mode that makes the mode easier to manage. Yet while the update focuses on speed, picture results will be altered in other ways. See for yourself.




The update should also fix the Nexus 5's face unlock bug, where relying on facial recognition to unlock the device would occasionally ruin the camera app until the entire phone was rebooted.

The Nexus 5's camera is already a solid shooter in its current form, but its drawbacks have kept it from being the perfect shooter for any moment that Google has made it out to be. With this new update, owners should soon be able to whip out the phone with more confidence.

Source: The Verge

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • Johnny Bravo

    so its only a camera update?

    • bozzykid

      Obviously it will include other fixes. Google already said the mic issue would be fixed soon too so that one should be included.

  • Mystery Man

    No other changes? As in no other devices will get this update?

  • http://www.westagemusic.com/ Marc

    Camera API incoming?

    • bozzykid

      There is already a camera API. The upcoming changes to the camera w/ RAW support was grossly misrepresented. However, I doubt this release includes any major changes to the camera SDK.

  • Ivan Martinez
  • Christofftofferson

    Good stuff.
    5 weeks isn't too bad to fix something that shouldn't have been that broken

  • Dr Tashique Alam

    so this is only for nexus 5? what about all the broken google now i keep seeing on other devices with kitkat including mine?

    • Thomas’

      Google Now is mostly included in the Google Search app, so it shouldn't be fixed via an OS update.

  • Faris Fitri

    I hope this update fixes the stuttering audio that occurs while playing flac files.

  • Dan Carter

    This is the most important line in the Verge article in my opinion:

    "It's the first of what Burke says will be a series of interface changes, as Google tries to make Android cameras a little more controllable and obvious."

    • Thomas Phillips

      Lets hope the interface changes are massive, because the camera app is a disaster.

      • Josh Crumley

        One super minor interface change: The settings icon on the quicksettings panel has changed :O

    • Michael Lavi

      Hopefully they won't need to update the Android OS every time they want to make a change to the camera app. Play Store?

      • sweenish

        Maybe eventually, but the core API's are still needed by the OS, as far as I know.

        I don't think this is the "big" camera update that was reported a week or two ago. When that happens, camera apps on Android will explode.

        • Casin

          When the new camera API is built into Android, I'd bet the camera app will be separated onto the Play Store.

  • chris

    Lots of bugs in the nexus 5. I hope this update addresses them as well.

    • Haunter

      I'm genuinely curious... besides a slower than desirable shooter, what other bugs are there? I don't have many issues outside of some apps maybe, but that's expected on a new Android version as devs catch up.

      • Brad

        I'm getting the GEL closing with memory management... so if I back out of apps - it takes me into things that were long closed unless I press home. That's about it, besides camera.

        • Haunter

          Weird. I've never experienced that, but that certainly doesn't mean it doesn't happen to others. The other dude said "lots of bugs" so I assumed I was missing something, as my experience has been far from bug laden.

      • bhake
        • Haunter

          I've read this article. While there are a couple of legitimate concerns/confusing actions in Android as a whole, a good amount of the things listed are nitpicking personal preference. Things like "This icon is a slightly different size than this icon" isn't really a bug.

      • Andrew Gallagher

        Two big ones, that I think are restricted to a subset of cell carriers, are:

        - Voicemail notification doesn't show up until the phone is rebooted
        - If you call a number and get a busy signal, you can't end the call. The hangup button turns from red to grey, but the call doesn't actually hang up

        • Haunter

          I have experienced the weird hang up thing once or twice now that you mention it. I have all my VM go through Voice and haven't experienced that bug.

        • Michael Fontenot

          I did notice the voice-mail thing when I first got my nexus 5, but I didn't think anything of it until I saw this comment. I use Google voice for voice mail so it doesn't affect me. I do have that problem though.

        • Andrew Gallagher

          Confirmed, both are fixed. With these and the camera update, I'm now completely satisfied. What a great phone.

          • Gauthierf

            Hi Andrew, are you sure that 4.4.1 is fixing the voicemail notification problem?

          • Andrew Gallagher

            Yes, already installed and tested it. Works perfectly now.

      • templeruins

        Sharing is broken, one app turns default across all apps.

        Thousands experience "emergency only" signal drop outs that you have to toggle airplane mode to fix

      • Thomas Phillips

        Wlan_rx_wake wakelock. Lots of people have this issue, although it effects certain wifi networks more than others. It doesn't allow the phone to sleep at all because the kernel no longer filters out useless packets the router is spamming. I think Google already committed a fix to this issue, so hopefully a fix is incoming.

      • d123456

        My N5 started playing the audio from my work pc browser. I suspect it had something to do with the chrome browser since I am signed in as the user on both and that Chrome was using a good amount of my mobile data when I hadn't used the mobile browser that day.

      • rslh

        There's a minor bug with VPN access.

  • Mlibbey

    is it just me or is there no difference in those side by side pictures lol

    • ThePhanein

      It's just you. There is a clear difference in sharpness and clarity. There is a slight difference in saturation and contrast.

      • Fatty Bunter

        The difference is so slight I bet if someone were to put up the images side-by-side without labeling and take a poll, it would be a 50-50 split on which was old and which was new.

        • NinoBr0wn

          I think it's pretty obvious if you look at each comparison longer than a second.

    • NinoBr0wn

      It's probably not just you, but you're still missing something.

    • tym0

      It's easier to see on this picture.

      • tym0

        Btw is that a Nexus Q on the table?

  • Shitiz Garg


  • evertjr

    Bla bla bla Google doesn't care about its Nexus devices /s

  • DrMacinyasha

    Here's to hoping the Nexus 7 also gets 4.4.1, and that it fixes the NFC crashing bug.

  • Matt

    i am READY. Hopefully they added the ability to zoom in on HDR+ mode as well. Never understood why that wasn't an option

    • ThePhanein

      Digital zoom degrades the quality of a picture and can cause problems with overlapping images.

    • Steve B

      If you use digital zoom on ANY camera phone you're doing it wrong. Take a normal picture, then crop it. Zooming degrades picture quality terribly.

      • http://nicholsonrecords.com/paul Paul Nicholson

        agree but it is still confusing to users. quality issues are no more true for non-HDR than for HDR. If you allow zoom in one place, allow it everywhere.

      • Ark

        Well when you sure just snapping a pic to share with someone, sometimes you just want to zoom in on the subject if it's too far away. Quality doesn't matter as much in that context. That's what 90% of the pictures I take with my phone are for anyways.

    • Claw

      HDR works by taking 3 pictures with different exposures very quickly. (that's why hdr photos take a bit more to capture). Imagine what would happen when you're zoomed in, and (naturally) you shake your phone a little bit because of your hands. Your hand shaking is much more amplified when you're zooming, so the 3 pictures could not be combined anymore because they're completely different, even with the OIS of the N5

      • Matt

        "Your hand shaking is much more amplified when you're zooming"? That doesnt make any sense. How does zooming make your hand shake more? haha. You zoom and go back to exactly what you were doing. iPhone lets you zoom in on HDR too

        • Claw

          Your hand shaking reflected on the viewfinder! I didn't say your hands shake more because you're zoomed, but the movement of the actual image your sensor captures is much more amplified when you are zoomed.

      • Victor Loureiro

        Question: my wife has a iPhone 5S and HDR is (almost) instant. 5S's shutter is really quick - burst mode is insanely fast - but I don't think it makes sense. I figured it should be a "software" HDR, like an HDR-effect of some sort, but not actually taking 3 pictures.
        Does anyone know if it has indeed real HDR? If it is, once Nexus devices get burst mode, will it be possible to have HDR this fast?

    • Claw

      HRD works by taking 3 consecutive pictures ideally in parallel, practically in series, with different exposures, and combining them. Zooming in amplifies you hand shaking and the 3 resulting pictures would be so way off of each other that they won't match anymore, even with the N5 OIS.

    • tym0

      I would assume that it is disable in HDR because it takes multiple picture and if you were to move with the zoom activated, the multiple pictures wouldn't be aligned enough...

  • Eric Vaughan

    Dear Google,
    The next time you launch a new Nexus/Android version, please put the camera at the top of your priorities list.

    • Scott

      Also add battery life.

      • Ryster1

        The battery life ain't too bad :) I got around 4 hours of screen time/wifi last night with 40% remaining. I'm quite impressed.

        • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

          Wow, that just crushes my Galaxy Nexus. I can't wait for my contract to be done.

          • Ryster1

            I know what you mean, I upgraded from a 2008 Samsung Slyde lol No wifi, no apps, slow internet. It was a big upgrade!

          • http://www.maverickcreative.ca/ Joshua Richards

            lol, contracts.

          • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

            Upvoting this.

        • Michael Fontenot

          I've actually been incredibly impressed by the nexus 5's battery. I got probably 40 hours of moderates usage out of a charge. That's witchcraft, that is.

        • Whyzor

          4 hrs of screen ontime is setting the bar too low. I returned my Nexus 5 and got a LG F3 (not in the same class I know). But first charge has a screen-on time of 9 hrs.

          • Ryster1

            That's cool, how much you pay for it? I paid $350 +tax and shipping :) For me, It was very much worth it for the price.

          • Whyzor

            I paid the same for Nexus 5 (lost $10 shipping after returning). $145 total shipped & unlocked for the LG F3 :)

          • Gabernasher

            Looks like you missed the "40% remaining"

          • Whyzor

            4-5 hrs screen on-time is about all I could squeeze out of the Nexus 5 in about 3 charge cycles. Same usage patterns on my current LG F3 is over twice the screen-on time.

          • Gabernasher

            Except the N5 has 5.4 times the pixels and a much larger screen with a smaller battery, very impressive. Shame the processor is shit on the F3. Good thing the F3 excels at being a barely midrange phone for a long time, as opposed to the N5 being a top end that lasts a day. Most of us are not away from electrical outlets for more than 12 hours at a time, be it car or wall, we manage to stay in range of electricity. Enjoy your shit phone, quit acting like it's better than the N5 because it has a bigger battery, smaller screen, substantially lower res, and terrible processor.

          • Whyzor

            Somebody's getting a little defensive. I never claimed the F3 is a better phone, just that the battery is better even for a budget phone.If you think everyone values a big screen and high performance gaming phone, you need to get out more. Just like in the rest of the mobile computing world, performance of todays devices are all acceptable for a majority of users.

            I gave the Nexus 5 a chance, ordered it within an hour of release. But its time to hop off the hype train and accept that the Nexus 5 battery is not competitive for a flagship phone.

          • Gabernasher


            Excellent battery life.

            Not sure how a full days use is not competitive. Could it be better? Of course, is it as bad as people make it out to be? No.

            For those who don't value big screens and high performance:
            Don't buy a fucking Nexus 5.

      • UCLAKoolman

        battery life is just fine....

        Check out Anandtech's review of the N5.

        • OhYeah!

          None of them are any good. Lets make them all 2 mm thicker and get an extra day or 2!

          • Rishab

            No I don't want my cellphone to look like a brick. I'm satisfied with 1day+ of charge on my nexus device. You should turn to 2g mode when you don't watch videos or surf internet (what's app/texting apps don't require 3g/4g speed for texting bytes worth of info).
            Second turn your screen brightness to 15% (for me that alone is quite bright enough). Though I live in Germany, relatively cold country, so I don't have sunlight issues while using my device.
            Third, use some power saving app and put some cycles into it. You don't need your smartphone functionality in night (just normal updates etc). My cellphone goes into deep sleep until I wake up automatically.

          • OhYeah!

            No, they don't need to make it a brick. I said just add a mm or 2 which nobody will notice anyway and then people don't have to mess with all the bs you just listed. If I have to turn features on and off all day to get the battery to last 1 full day then it's built wrong. With everything on phones should last 24 hours minimum.

        • Guest

          Download AppOps and turn off "Keep Awake" for Google Play Services. Myself and others have yet to see any problems doing this and your battery life will increase noticeably. This should work for any device.

      • brkshr

        Download AppOps and turn off "Keep Awake" for Google Play Services. Myself, and others, have yet to see any problems doing this and your battery life will increase noticeably. This should work for any device.

        • duse

          I did this and Google Play Services still had high Keep Awake time.

          • brkshr

            Almost every app (if not every app) uses Google Play Services for something. There's no way around the high keep awake times unless you want to disable Google Play Services all together and lose a ton of functionality. You should still notice increased battery life regardless.

          • Joseph

            I turn off everything that uses sync, but I've been doing that since my LG optimus 2x/G2X which by far had the worst battery life, I have ever seen in a phone lol.

    • SpoorthyVemula

      I donno bout you but I'd rather have the s800 instead of a better camera. You can't just ask for more because the price is a serious limitation for what they can do. If you're gonna ask for a bigger battery or a better camera you should also say what you would change.

      • Eric Vaughan

        I didn't necessarily say a better/more expensive camera. I said put the camera at the top of the list...ie, fixing weird software issues BEFORE it comes out, so that the your flagship doesn't get killed in reviews due to a less than perfect camera and app.

  • O’s Fan91

    "Whip out the phone with more confidence" *Giggles*

    • Ryster1

      I'll whip it with confidence anyday ;)

  • Simon Belmont

    This is great news, but I hope that Android 4.4.1 isn't just strictly a camera fix update. There's a bunch of bugs that need to be addressed in Android 4.4 in general (and not just on the Nexus 5).

    The stock email and exchange app are a biggie. I can't even download my attachments in the stock email app in KitKat (on my N5 or N7), but I can on my G'Nex running Android 4.3. Thanks for the fast turnaround on the camera, Google. Please check out the other KitKat issues and fix them, too, ASAP.

  • EE-EHN

    I wonder if it fixes the video camera dropping frames. Would also be nice if we got the slow motion feature from the iPhone and Note 2/3 in an update.

  • http://jefferai.org/ Jeff Mitchell

    From looking at the pictures on The Verge's original site, it seems like it just ups the default contrast. Not much I can discern other than that, and that was easy to fix in Snapseed or the like anyways. Still kinda grainy.

    • @bleakneonblack

      Also jacked the vibrance up like crazy

  • Marcell Lévai

    To be honest, I see zero difference between the images, so I'd be glad if someone could explain what I should be looking for. Thank you in advance!

    • Cesar

      I didn't see much if any difference in the first two, but there's definitely a difference in the third one. If you look at the concrete that the signal is sitting on, you'll notice it's brighter and more detailed. The signal itself seems brighter as well.

      • Marcell Lévai

        I suppose it's because it's focusing there, and on the first pic the focus is somewhere else. Meanwhile, someone posted an image, that has more visible changes :) Thanks!

  • TheLastAngel

    No word on RAW support and camera API?

  • Rehan Ahmed

    I wish Nexus 4 was as dear to Google as the new Nexus is!
    Not everyone can afford to buy a new phone each year.

  • http://www.ScienceProUSA.com SciencePro

    Any OTA zips available yet? Official Google+ posts imply that it's rolling out starting today.

  • Gabernasher

    Will there be more to this than just an APK? I really don't want to wait for my ROM to implement it and would love to just be able to flash the new file.

  • Cory Wilson

    Wow so that's it? How and bringing full transparency and official GEL to all the rest of the nexus devices? The 4 also could use some camera tweaks too!

  • jamaall

    If only Motorola will do this with the Droids

    • BrandonWhite116

      They already did this with the droids...

      • jamaall

        They sent out an update. This didn't mean they actually improved it. Pictures are still terrible in anything less than ideal lighting.

        • BrandonWhite116

          It was the same exact improvement the moto x received. Every review says its better, my Droid Maxx shows its better. I think its safe to say they improved it.

          • jamaall

            I have a droid maxx also. I took a picture in the same spot as before after the update and the picture so came out just as bad. I compared it with a droid DNA and it blows this phone away.

          • BrandonWhite116

            What does the Droid DNA have to do with anything? Your one photo doesn't tump the several of reviews with several side by side pictures showing its improved.

          • jamaall

            What does several of the reviews have to do with my phone and my own experience? Point is the camera isn't up to par for a high end $299 on contract phone.

          • BrandonWhite116

            Well lets see, sitting in front of me right now I have a Note 2, a Nexus 4, a Nexus 5 (with the new update), an iPhone 4s, and a Droid Maxx. The Droid Maxx takes better pictures than all of those phones. I always get comments about how great the photos are on the Droid Maxx. Maybe your HDR setting isn't turned on or you are using HDR at the wrong times...

          • jamaall

            It's on automatic. I've checked and it usually only uses it when I'm outside. Pictures during full daylight are good, but when the sun is at an angle or there is low light, the results are worse then my RAZR m or even my old droid RAZR. Any picture with back lighting or low light comes out bad. It focuses on the wrong area a lot and there's no way to manually tell it to focus on a certain thing. The touch to focus simply focuses on the entire picture again, not a specific spot

  • whispy_snippet

    Mother of God.

  • perhac88

    so since the camera on Nexus devices haven't been to well because of the camera software does this mean the update will get to my Nexus 4? Or will it be exclusive to the Nexus 5?

  • Alberto Brigandì
    • Josh Crumley

      Upvote! Sideloading it now!

      • matteventu

        Can you confirm that it works?

        • Josh Crumley

          Side loading now, will confirm shortly. Pretty sure though, url is from google and has the new KOT49E version number

          • matteventu

            Waiting for you ;)

          • brkshr

            Nand backup and give it a shot. The beauty of having a Nexus phone...

            BTW, I've seen others say this same link is the real deal. Flashing meow.

          • Josh Crumley

            "Android is upgrading" in progress, optimizing my apps. May take a while cuz i think ART (which im on) takes longer on this. But, confirmed for working! I'll post a screenshot of about phone when its done.

          • Josh Crumley
        • Daniel Pogue

          I couldn't get it to update. says it's missing 'android-info.txt' and 'android-product.txt' then errors, anyone got a solution? What am I missing? I do have custom recovery if that would affect it?

    • http://dylandersen.tumblr.com/ dylandersen

      You rule! Upvote city!

    • daniel schneider

      Anyone Confirm this works?

      • matteventu


        • rasty++

          yeppa.. :)

          • matteventu

            Ahaahhahahhh XD
            Già installato?

    • matteventu

      Ciao! Come/dove/quando hai ricevuto l'OTA? :D
      In che nazione vivi?

      • Alberto Brigandì

        Ciao. L'ho ricevuto qualche minuto fa in Italia

    • Max McQuirter

      Just sideloaded this and can confirm it works so far.

  • Arthur Dent

    Ok, this tipped the scales for me. Order for Nexus 5 32GB placed.

  • Badges
  • rslh

    How is N5's speaker sound compared to GNex GSM? Mine is hardly audible when I'm out and about.

    • NeedName

      depends. . . it seems as though some N5 have glue blocking the speaker, thus they are as bad as the gNex — some people have taken the phone apart and fixed this issues, and probably voided their warranty. devices without the glue blocking the speaker are apparently loud enough, though the quality is rather random.

    • Mobile Phones Fan

      It's not a perfect solution, but do yourself a favor and install mxPlayer, available from the Play Store.:


      The dev uses a workaround to boost apparent volume (indicator goes to 15 LOL), plus the app can handle just about any media file. I use it for everything from music to podcasts.

  • 20legend
  • rasty++

    Anything on the speaker?

  • Jordan Thoms
  • http://www.fullmoonblog.com/ Flatlinebb

    The current Nexus 5 camera is lightyears ahead of where my old Nexus S 4G was, so I have adjusted my expectations accordingly. I have very little to complain about with the Nexus 5.

  • George Av

    Guys, just a question, why can't HDR+ be ported to other devices? i'd love to have HDR+ on my s3, the stock hdr isn't that great..

  • Shafeeq Zaman

    I have trouble with lock screen on my encrypted N5. If I'm holding it in landscape after using the camera from the lock screen, upon pressing home it will take me to the PIN unlock but this time the screen is in landscape. As soon as I hit the 1st digit, the phone switches to portrait and enters Emergency Dialer.

  • deltatux

    Hopefully the camera improvements will also find its way on to the Nexus 4 as well...

  • David Van Cleef

    Does this fix the 3G-only setting not working bug?


    • David Van Cleef

      Actually I have heard that this _is_ solved in 4.4.1 although there has never been any acknowledgement from Google about this bug's existence.

  • ToPFeE

    what about 4.4.1 in nexus 7 2012? it isn't have back camera, what is update

  • manish

    i think battery also improved =D

  • Ramsey

    How do you check full screen pictures (originals) on this website? I believe it's better than the resized pictures.. Thanks.

  • Azeem

    What does this update entail for non-Nexus devices?

  • Srdj

    Wow that is really impressive... it's amazing how a few software tweaks can affect the quality that much... nice work Google.