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Google Nexus 5: A few neat Easter eggs and tips

Whether you’ve finally got your hands on Google’s new Android 4.4 flagship or you’ve got one on backorder, there’s no shortage of cool things for you to learn about the Nexus 5. Then, once you’ve poked around in Android KitKat a little bit and played a few games on that incredible screen, there’s still plenty of fun to be had.

Let’s start with something hidden – it’s not exactly what we’d call useful, but still kind of cool. The Nexus 5 has a feature which was left out of the final build of the battery icon, namely, some code that put the battery percentage inside the icon so you didn’t have to pull down the notification shade in order to see how much juice you had left. This is a cool idea, just not a finished one.

As it is today, the battery percentage shows up in white, which is the same colour as the icon itself. This means that when the phone is above 40 per cent, you can’t really see enough to know how much battery you have left (see the above image). Once you get below 40 per cent, however, it’s a nice little add-on to have.

If you want to enable this feature, the guys at XDA have made a simple app to activate it. You have to reboot the phone after it’s installed, but it will start working right after that.

Next up is voice search. The Nexus 5, or more accurately the Snapdragon 800 under the hood, is always ready for your voice as long as you are on the home screen. It’s ready to spring into action immediately when you say “OK Google” in almost the same way as the Moto X US-only handset does, but there’s one major difference that will make any geek smile. If you instead say “OK JARVIS” to your Nexus 5, it will also wake up and be immediately prepared to answer you. The voice that responds isn’t any different, so as long as you accept that JARVIS can also be a girl’s name everything’s cool.

While you’re playing around with Google Now and the voice command function, go ahead and ask some amusingly existential questions. Start with “When am I” to get a response that will cause Doctor Who fans much delight. This, by the way, is the second Doctor Who reference baked into the Android OS. The first is the icon for the calendar widget, which references a Time Machine demo for Sergey Brin over at the Blue Police Public Call Box.

There’s bound to be more where these came from, so keep your eyes peeled!

For more on Google's new smartphone, see our Nexus 5 review, and our guide to rooting your Nexus 5. We've also got a piece looking at five of the best new features of the Nexus 5.