Nexus 5 vs. iPhone 5s

Both Apple’s and Google’s flagship devices of 2013 are out in full force. In one corner, weighing in at 3.95 ounces with a 4-inch display, we have the iPhone 5s. And in the opposite corner, coming in at 4.59 ounces with a 5-inch display, we have the Nexus 5. Both phones are the flagships for iOS and Android, respectively, and as we go into the holiday shopping season, we’ll see what phone becomes the top seller.

If you’re someone who’s still deciding on which one to get, we’ve decided to give you a direct comparison between the two devices, as explain some of the bigger differences between the Nexus 5 and the iPhone 5s. We’ll also talk about some of the shared qualities between the two as well, which might make the decision process even more challenging, but hopefully we can help you make the right decision for you.

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Size

Obviously, one of the biggest differences between the Nexus 5 and the iPhone 5s is the size. The Nexus 5 is slightly larger than the iPhone 5s, and that’s mostly thanks to the inch difference in screen size, where the Nexus 5 sports a 5-inch 1920x1080p display and the iPhone 5s has a smaller 4-inch 1136×640 display. A lot of power users love the bigger displays, but if you’re like me and want a more portable device that fits better in your hand, the iPhone 5s is the winner in this category.

However, the Nexus 5 really isn’t all that much bigger than the iPhone 5s. Photos will make you think otherwise, but holding a Nexus 5 in your hand will most likely have you questioning how Google managed to fit a 5-inch display in such a small handset.

IMG_1595Speed

Speed is pretty important; apps need to open quickly and navigating around your device should be smooth and snappy. As far as pure numbers go, the Nexus 5 absolutely demolishes the iPhone 5s with its quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz, compared to the iPhone 5s’s dual-core 1.3GHz A7 chip.

Of course, though specs aren’t everything, and you’d be surprised how fast the iPhone 5s, thanks to its extremely-optimized iOS 7 operating system. If you’re a numbers guy and need the phone with the fastest processor, go with the Nexus 5, but you likely won’t be able to tell a difference in real-world speed between the two handsets. This one’s a tie for the most part.

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Operating System

The Nexus 5 runs Android 4.4 KitKat, while the iPhone 5s runs iOS 7. Obviously, these are two completely different operating systems, and your decision will most likely come down to which platform you prefer. These days, it’s all about the ecosystem and what platform offers the best apps and overall better experience. Ultimately, it comes down to whether you like Android or iOS, rather than the decision coming down to which specific phone you like better.

But whichever platform you pick, you have an excellent phone waiting for you to buy that will give you the best possible experience on its respective operating system.

Camera

The camera is one of those features that many users are picky about. A lot of people want a phone that can replace their traditional point-and-shoot cameras, and from our experience, the iPhone 5s can do exactly that. Since the Nexus 5 was just recently launched, we haven’t gotten the chance to thoroughly test out the camera, but from our experiences so far, the Nexus 5 is capable of delivering some great photos and video.

However, the iPhone 5s comes with Burst Mode that can shoot 10 photos per second, and a Slo-Mo feature that records video at 120fps. These features alone can be the icing on the cake for someone looking for a handset with a good camera.

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Battery Life

Battery life is one of those things that no one is ever happy with. With that said, you might be pleased to know that the battery life on both the Nexus 5 and the iPhone 5s are pretty decent. According to Apple, you’ll be able to get 10 hours worth of LTE surfing time, while Google says that the Nexus 5 will last seven hours on LTE. Of course, your mileage will vary, and each user will have their own experiences as far battery life goes, but it’s usually a safe bet to knock a couple hours off of what companies give you as far as battery life numbers.

Cost

Here’s where boys become men and girls become women. When it comes down to it, the cost of a device is the ultimate deciding factor, and difference in price between the Nexus 5 and the iPhone 5s is substantial. Off-contract, the Nexus 5 starts at $349, while the iPhone 5s starts at $649. Fortunately, you can get the iPhone 5s on-contract starting at $199. The Nexus 5, on the other hand, can only be bought off-contract right now.

So, if you’re wanting a contract, the iPhone 5s ultimately wins as far as up-front costs go, but the Nexus 5 is cheaper when buying outright, and essentially, even if you’re on a contract, you’re definitely paying a lot of money over two years, which is far more than just the $199 up-front cost of the iPhone 5s.

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Above is a quick-to-read table of the differences between the Nexus 5 and iPhone 5s — a good resource for those who rely on specs and features when choosing the right phone. In the end, though, you’ll also have to consider the platform and the app ecosystem that surrounds it, as a phone is only as good as the apps that comes with it.

Comments

  1. Brandon says

    You forgot Wireless Charging (Qi) in your chart. The Nexus 5 has it, the 5s does not. For most people this isn’t even a thing they’re aware of or they care about… but for those of us who use it, it almost becomes a deal breaker.

    • orthorim says

      The processor comparison is about on a level that my mom could do. It’s about as accurate too.

      Show us the JavaScript and app start benchmarks. CPU speed or number of cores is irrelevant; for example the 5S has 3D graphics that destroy anything available on Android. The chip is specially tailored to the OS whereas the Nexus 5 is just the fastest generic chip you can get. Comparing apples to oranges. The only thing that counts is benchmarks. My iPhone 5 is really fast – for example the delay from pulling the phone out of my pocket to taking a picture with the camera is not even .5 second, almost instant. The 5S is twice as fast….

      • kmaheynoway says

        Dude, when dealing with the camera, the iPhone and nexus five are the same speed. Because both their operating systems are optimized for their phone. At this point, the 64 bit processor doesn’t do much until they make some apps for it.

      • Dan says

        if the processor in the iPhone is that great why don’t Samsung use it in their own phones seeing as its made by them?

        Hmm i wonder…… maybe cos it’s inferior to the processors qualcomm make, only reason iPhone 5s scores decent in bench marks is cos it runs on tiny screen thus less work to do.

        • Jonny Bingham says

          the processor is Apple’s intelluctual property, because it is Apple’s design based on an Arm v8 RISC, so the fact that the A7 is manufactured using Samsung facilities is irrelevant. Samsung have some of the best fabrication plants in the world but as a company thus far they have opted for Qualcomm’s chips (i.e. the Snapdragon 800). The A7 is built bottom up to deliver maximum performance for the iPhone.

    • orthorim says

      Whoa – didn’t know the 5S destroys the competition quite so thoroughly in the benchmarks. That’s remarkable, almost unbelievable.

  2. George says

    so the nexus beats the iphone comprehensively on every category, and yet the author still rates the apple product as ‘best’.

    another typical article from this site when it comes to an iphone review, actually amusing if you already expected it when you started to read it (as I did)

    they’d still rate apple as ‘best’ if the firm re-released the 3gs next year against the new nexus

  3. Hildy J says

    For a quick overview, I think the post is fair. I would add one thing as far as the camera, the Nexus has optical image stabilization (OIS) which will help in the real world but won’t show up in many comparison tests.

  4. John D says

    Not just Qi he skipped over, but NFC. Wireless payments are extremely useful to me (Google Wallet), as are phone to phone transfers. I use Google Wallet all the time!

  5. Charles C says

    Another (subtly) biased review favouring the device that the author prefers and probably uses as his daily driver. There are many who prefer larger screens as opposed to how it fits into your hand. Let’s not forget that the N5 has a 5 inch 1920×1080 p (445ppi) screen resolution, wireless charging, NFC, Optical Image Stabilization.

    In terms of the camera, I am pleasantly surprised at the quality of the pictures and videos taken with the N5. Apple has always been a leader in the camera department, but for once we have a Nexus device that gives the top of the line iPhone camera a run for its money (if not surpass it in certain/many situations).

    I just wish that people would give credit where credit is due. The iPhone 5S is a great phone, and so is the Nexus 5 (add the G2, S4 and HTC One to this list, amongst others). But, since we’re giving our opinions and preferences… Nexus 5 all the way!

  6. Bricio G says

    Iphone 5s biased article. Overall better processor, battery life, screen resolution, and the sweet new os, make the Nexus 5 the winner in my book.

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