The Nexus 5 Has A Sensor Called “Hall Effect”, What is it?

Nexus 5-3

So the Nexus 5 specs list something under sensors called “hall effect”.  I’m still trying to figure out how exactly it’s used, but based on some limited research it might relate to the phone’s compass.  From what I’ve gathered, it should make for a more accurate compass that can determine orientation more quickly than a standalone “compass” on a phone.  And perhaps, though this is conjecture, it might make for a compass that is less susceptible to that of interference, which I’ve widely experienced using the iPhone 4s or any older generation device.

Wikipedia has some info, albeit rather technical and convoluted.


The Hall effect is the production of a voltage difference (the Hall voltage) across an electrical conductor, transverse to an electric current in the conductor and a magnetic field perpendicular to the current. It was discovered by Edwin Hall in 1879.[1]

The Hall coefficient is defined as the ratio of the induced electric field to the product of the current density and the applied magnetic field. It is a characteristic of the material from which the conductor is made, since its value depends on the type, number, and properties of the charge carriers that constitute the current.


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Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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  1. I think it’s a switch that turns on or off in the presence of a magnetic field. Like if your phone is in a dock that has a magnet.

  2. Looking at the wiki page you linked, the hall effect is going to be for the new charging feature. That way you can charge it when the phone is on a specifically desgined charging pad with no need for cables or anything plugged in

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