This is the smartphone duel that both Fandroids and Apple Fanboys everywhere have been waiting for. The Google Nexus 5 vs. Apple iPhone 5S ultimately represents Apple’s best against Google’s best, in this epic smartphone showdown. Which device will reign supreme? I will let you be the judge as I give you my Google Nexus 5 vs. Apple iPhone 5S full review and breakdown.
Hardware & Design:
Colors & Build - The ultra-thin design and light weight of the Nexus 5 makes this phone easy to handle and very pocket friendly. Although the device does look much bigger next to the iPhone 5S, the phone is still very easy to operate. The iPhone 5S on the other hand starts right where last years iPhone 5 left off. The slick aluminum build and slim design still makes it one of the best looking devices on the market. Now that Apple has thrown a new Gold color in the mix, the iPhone to me is looking better than it ever has. I will give the Nexus 5 credit that it does look and feel better than all previous Nexus models, but the iPhone takes the “gold” when it comes to build and design.
Winner – iPhone 5S
Screen - The iPhone has set the standard for screen quality since it released the iPhone 4 with a retina display back in 2010. Since then, Android has stepped up to the plate with bigger, brighter, and bolder displays. The screen on the Nexus 5 is no exception. LG has given the Nexus 5 a beautiful 1080p 4.95-inch display that produces fantastic colors along with great clarity. The Nexus provides a nice 445 pixel per inch display, while the famous 4-inch retina display found on the iPhone 5S is only 326 pixels per inch. The iPhone 5S does have a great display, but at 4-inches with a lower PPI, the Nexus steals the show.
Winner – Nexus 5
Camera - When it comes to the camera, the iPhone 5S proves to be one of the best in the industry. Apple has increased the sensor size by 15% meaning improved low-light photos. The new lens also has more aperture than the iPhone 5, increasing from F/2.4 to F/2.2. This allows 25% more light in to the frame. Apple has placed a new True Tone dual-LED flash, which helps not only with low-light performance, but better accuracy in color reproduction. The Nexus 5 on the other hand provides a somewhat mediocre camera at best. However, the latest Android 4.4.2 update has brought some enhancements like faster auto-focus and better color tones to the table.
When push comes to shove, the iPhone and other Android handsets (GS4, LG G2, and Xperia Z1) provide much better imaging capabilities than the flagship Nexus 5 device. The iPhone 5S along with iOS 7 prove to be an overall better experience while providing more accurate and clearer shots over the Nexus 5.
(iPhone 5S on left, Nexus 5 on right)
Winner – iPhone 5S
Battery Life: The non-removable Li-Po 1560 mAh battery on the 5S offers over 250 hours of standby time with 10 hours of talk time and 40 hours of music play. Although the battery is bigger than last year’s iPhone 5 (1440mAh), the 64-bit chip does consume much more power. One of the biggest shocks when they announced the Nexus was the inclusion of a small 2300mAh battery. LG rates the battery to last up to 17 hours of 3G talk time with 300 hours of standby time. With both phones offering almost identical battery life throughout my reviews, I will call this one a draw.
Winner – Draw
Features & Operating systems:
With both phones rocking the latest version of their operating systems, each device offers the very best smartphone experience all-around. With the iPhone 5S you get iOS 7, which brings new features like Control Center, Activation Lock, Air Drop, and an improved Notification Center. Check out our complete review of iOS 7 for all the details on Apple’s new operating system. The Nexus 5 with KitKat 4.4 delivers a refined user experience as well as some new tricks. New voice actions through Google Now give you instant access to a variety of tasks like search, navigation, and even translations.
One of the best features of the iPhone 5S has to be TouchID. The new fingerprint scanner from Apple works by touching the home button and the sensor will take multiple 500ppi images of your fingerprint, to be processed by the A7 chip to get your iPhone 5S unlocked. KitKat on the Nexus 5 represents a very solid upgrade to Android, although it is not a complete overhaul like iOS 7. The iPhone wins on its new features, but KitKat wins on customization options and interface. Split decision here folks.
Winner – Draw
The iPhone 5S starts at $199 on a 2-year contract for the 16GB model. The 32GB model will cost you $299 with a 2-year contract and $399 for the 64GB version. If you just want to grab the phone contract free or from T-Mobile, it will run you $649, $749 and $849 respectively. The Nexus 5 on the other hand starts at only $349 for the 16GB model, as it costs almost half as much as a Galaxy S4 or Apple iPhone 5S (contract free). Unlocked competing smartphones with the same specs typically start at $500-$600. This low price point makes the Nexus 5 one of the best deals around when it comes to performance vs. price in smartphones.
Winner – Nexus 5
At the end of the day, both devices offer up something that the other does not. With each of these smartphone representing the top of the smartphone food chain, it really comes down to operating system personal preference. Yes, the iPhone does provide increased speed, better camera, and better battery life; however, the Nexus gives you a fantastic, larger screen, solid hardware, KitKat 4.4, and the overall best bang for your buck.
For me to pick a true winner, I would need to ask everybody just one question…are these phones truly worth upgrading to? For Android owners using any other handset, I would say yes. The $349 price point along with KitKat 4.4 gives you the best Android/Google experience you can get. When it comes to the iPhone, however, the case for upgrading is somewhat less evident. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone 5S still does represent the best iPhone ever produced by Apple. For those iPhone owners with a 4S and lower, the iPhone 5S is like stepping out of a Honda and into a Ferrari. For all the current iPhone 5 owners out there, the upgrade doesn’t really feel like a necessity this time around. For me the Nexus 5 is a worthy upgrade for all Android users at one hell of a price.
Winner – Nexus 5!!!
Google Nexus 5 vs. Apple iPhone 5 Video Review: