There are no active ads.

Nexus 5 Hands-On and Android 4.4 KitKat Tour: The Smartest Android In the Land

Android 4.4 KitKat may not seem like the huge sea change some people were expecting, but it’s an important release for Google. Not only does it bring Google Now more to the forefront, but the software is designed to reach a broader audience by being more device-friendly—though, admittedly, it still depends heavily on what specs your handset has under the hood. Be that as it may, KitKat is a big release that comes with some neat features, and improves upon the foundation laid down by Jelly Bean.

Among the features included in Android 4.4 KitKat are improved contact and phonebook interfaces (and a revamped look throughout the OS overall), more voice control, deeper media integration and better multitasking, among much more. Unfortunately—there’s always an “unfortunately”—KitKat’s new emphasis on voice doesn’t quite seem as intelligent as Motorola’s implementation in the Moto X, which learns your voice and even listens when the phone is locked. There’s also no Active Display, though that wouldn’t even be possible on a device like the Nexus 5 cause it’s not AMOLED.

What KitKat does introduce, however, is the ability to dig through apps by voice search, and a smarter dialer so you can easily call businesses in your area. Caller ID is now smarter, too, messages show up in the same place with Hangouts, and, better late than never, emojis now available on Google Keyboard. Android 4.4 KitKat is available on the Nexus 5 out of the box, and will come to many more devices in the coming weeks and months. There’s a lot that’s different, despite it one point differential, and plenty of intangibles, including built-in support for IR blaster, built-in pedometer and NFC tap-to-pay support.

We’re just familiarizing ourselves with Android 4.4 KitKat, so stay tuned for more thoughts on Google’s latest mobile OS in the coming days.

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.