The Nexus 5 is a fascinating phone. In an era where Apple has set the luxury tone, and everyone is trying to follow suit in colors and chamfered edges, Google just said no. No, it won’t be luxury. In fact, it’ll be unapologetically cheap.

That’s a refreshing breath of honesty, and a clever way to sidestep one of Apple’s core strengths. If Google doesn’t have to compete on bringing luxury to the masses, they can compete on other things.

What’s scary for Apple is just how well that strategy appears to work when the main interface of the device is just all glass. Because while the Nexus 5 comes in a cheap plastic wrapping, the screen itself is gorgeous. Big, bright, and appealing. It’s very clear that this is where the bulk of the $349 purchase price went. Well that and the fast processor.

What it comes down to is that Google has made an appliance. A boring, no-thrills appliance. This is not a work of art. But it doesn’t pretend to be a work of art. That’s what has made all the Apple imitations so pathetic for so long. Remember the HP Envy (and can you believe that HP has left that embarrassment of a video online)? If you stand in the shadow of Apple’s luxury and design prowess, you will shiver.

It takes real vision to reject the prevalent frame of the market. Google has done just that with the Nexus 5. An appliance so good for what it is, that you realize that luxury is optional.