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Anyone who owns a Nexus 5 should equip it with, at minimum, a screen protector and case. But Google packed a lot of gadgets into the Nexus 5, including wireless Qi charging, Miracast functionality, wireless-AC and dual-band functionality (2.4 Ghz and 5 GHz). You can get a lot more out of your Nexus 5 with a variety of relatively inexpensive peripheral devices, if you shop using discretion.
I set up a notification system which monitors several online forums, including Slickdeals and FatWallet. The system combines Yahoo Pipes and IFTTT. Whenever deals show up, it fires off notification texts or emails. I wrote a guide for how to create your own Yahoo Pipe for monitoring deals. Or you can track Nexus 5 deals using my custom IFTTT recipe.
By using my system, I managed to score dozens of online deals. I present the following purchases for five categories: cases, screen protectors, wireless Qi chargers, dual-band AC routers and wireless display adapters.
The Essential Protectors for Your Nexus 5
The two most essential protectors for your Nexus 5 are cases and screen protectors. While the Nexus 5 includes Gorilla Glass III, something as simple as sand in your pockets (used to distress jeans) can scratch your screen with ease.
When the Nexus 5 first came out on Halloween afternoon (in the United States), very few cases showed up on Amazon. Many manufacturers offered cases before actually manufacturing them. These had actually been preorders. Other cases, such as the well-regarded Acase Superleggera, were pre-sold to customers and won’t ship until November 25th.
You can find several cases on Amazon that sell for approximately $5. Some require coupon codes, others don’t. Be sure to check reviews for signs that the case was improperly cut. In the rush to produce the very first Nexus 5 case, many manufacturers rushed production, without properly testing the designs. Unfortunately, many examples of shoddy design lurk about on Amazon. Caveat Emptor.
For cheap cases, a good place to get started is eBay. For example, you can get TPU cases for $2.99.
Caseology offers a TPU/carbon fiber case for around $5. It’s currently close to a five-star rating on Amazon.
One of the best deals you can get on any screen protector comes from Xtreme Guard. Xtreme Guard protectors provide some of the best drop protection you can find, anywhere. These provide a rubbery, organic feel – some, like myself, swear by them. On the other hand, detractors complain of the “orange-peel” effect. Over time, if you occasionally scratch or dent the surface, it gains the pitted appearance (and feel) of an orange.
As of November of 2013, Xtreme Guard offers a 50% discount on all its screen protectors, with free shipping. The Nexus 5 protector released not long after the device went on sale.
To get 50% off, just use coupon code ’50OFF’. This deal won’t last forever, though. If you can’t find a code, try a bit of Honey.
You can order either, or both, the front-facing protector and/or the rear-facing protector. Remember, Xtreme Guard protectors use the “wet-apply” method – follow the directions carefully.
Other Peripheral Devices
You can use your Nexus 5 entirely without wires or boost its connectivity to your wireless network.
With the official Nexus 5 charger released at the wallet-breaking price of $49.99, cheaper alternatives are in desperate demand. The absolute cheapest Qi-charger compatible with the Nexus 5 showed up on Amazon, selling for $14.99. It uses non-proprietary microUSB ports and comes in a tiny form factor.
Another charger, selling for slightly more, sells for $18.98. It also doesn’t use proprietary ports.
Dual-band AC Router
The Nexus 5 offers the latest in wireless connectivity: Wireless-AC. If you use the right router, you get excellent improvements in speed and connection reliability. Fortunately, wireless-AC routers dropped in price in recent months. For example, you can get a refurbished wireless-AC router for $107.99 (coupon code: EMCWWWS38), or a similar model for $129.99. Not exactly cheap, though. If the code expires, try finding another one using a coupon-code finder, like Honey. They really work.
To track wireless-AC deals, I strongly suggest searching the Slickdeals forum for references to ‘802.11ac’, which is the main keyword for wireless-AC.
It’s important to note that the Nexus 5 will function perfectly well with any wireless router. However, wireless-G and N routers will not allow “Beamforming”, which is exclusive to wireless-AC. I’ve written before about the advantages of upgrading your router to the latest AC or N standard.
You may not want to upgrade your router just for getting faster smartphone WiFi speeds. However, if you have more than a few wireless AC or N devices sitting around, and an older router, upgrading may solve many of your connection woes.
Wireless Display Adapter
Like many modern Android devices, The Nexus 5 includes Miracast functionality. Miracast allows your device to output its video and audio signal, wirelessly. While many adapters (to my knowledge, all of them), won’t output high definition video, they will output music. Some have even reported Netflix functionality.
While the price of Miracast adapters has come down in recent months, they’re still pricey, at over $50 for the NetGear Push2TV PTV3000. However, you may want to hold off on getting a wireless adapter as RockChip developed an inexpensive, Miracast dongle, which may get imported into the US and elsewhere.
Getting your Nexus 5 fully outfitted doesn’t cost much, particularly if you use some of the deals presented in this article. For those of you seeking more detailed reviews of Nexus 5 cases and screen protectors, keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming review.