Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 Video

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will soon arrive on store shelves as a flagship Android smartphone that can compete with the best Android smartphones on the market, including the Nexus 5.

The Nexus 5 is made by LG, but is just as much a Google product. Unlike many Android smartphones sold at U.S. carrier stores and the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Nexus 5 offers a vanilla Android experience and a much lower price tag.

While Samsung looks to add features on top of Android with the Galaxy S5 and TouchWiz, Google uses the Nexus 5 as an example of what a pure Android device can do without carrier add ons and manufacturer overlays.

Samsung offered a nexus style version of the Galaxy S4 as part of the Google Play Edition series, and while the company would not confirm a Galaxy S5 Google Play Edition release it would not be a surprise.

Here is a look at how the Galaxy S5 and Nexus 5 compare in the areas that matter most to buyers.

Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 Video

The Nexus 5 and Galaxy S5 will offer widely different user experiences from a software perspective, but also when it comes to hardware. The short Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 video below highlights the differences in specs and features.

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Release Date, Price & Carriers

The Nexus 5 release arrived in late 2013, and the phone is available unlocked at a lower than normal price. The Nexus 5 price is $349 for the 16GB model and $399 for the 32GB model without a contract. Users can buy the Nexus 5 direct from Google or from a carrier or retailer like Best Buy or RadioShack. There is no Verizon Nexus 5 available, but users can buy an unlocked Nexus 5 to use on AT&T or T-Mobile and Sprint sells a Nexus 5. The cheap off-contract price also makes it an attractive phone to use on pre-paid carriers like Red Pocket Mobile and Straight Talk.

The Galaxy S5 is available on more carriers, but at a higher price.

The Galaxy S5 is available on more carriers, but at a higher price.

The Galaxy S5 release date is set for April 11th, and while U.S. carriers have yet to announce the details we expect to see it arrive on the top five carriers on the 11th or soon after. There is still no official Galaxy S5 price, but contests show Sprint and T-Mobile expect the off contract price between $620 and $650. There are five major Galaxy S5 carriers in the U.S. including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular. We also learned that Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile will also carry the Galaxy S5 at some point.

Design and Durability

The Nexus 5 design is a big step up from the Nexus 4 it replaced and while it is not made of aluminum like the HTC One or iPhone 5s the material is not a traditional plastic. The soft touch finish on the Nexus 5 and ceramic volume and power buttons give this affordable device a premium feel. One thing the Nexus 5 is missing is any type of water-resistant feature, so users cannot expect it to survive a drop in a puddle like the Galaxy S5.

The Galaxy S5 and Nexus 5 take different design approaches.

The Galaxy S5 and Nexus 5 take different design approaches.

Samsung sticks plastic back for the Galaxy S5, but delivers a new look and a dimpled texture. During our Galaxy S5 hands on we decided that it feels similar to the Nexus 7 back. That is a step up over the glossy back of the Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S5 offers a removable back that allows users to swap out a battery and add more storage with a Micro SD card. Even with a removable back the Galaxy S5 is water-resistant and dust resistant.

  • Nexus 5 – 137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm
  • Galaxy S5  – 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is taller and wider than the Nexus 5, but is still slightly thinner. The Galaxy S5 weighs more at 145 grams, compared to 130 grams for the Nexus 5.

Samsung will offer a wireless charging back for the Galaxy S5 at some point in the future. The Nexus 5 includes wireless charging built-in so users only need to buy a charger, instead of a back and a charger. Traditionally Samsung’s wireless charging backs add additional thickness to the device.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a physical home button that includes a fingerprint reader capable of unlocking the phone and unlocking files as well. With a physical home button Samsung opens up the ability to double tap for a second option. The Nexus 5 uses three on-screen buttons.

Display

The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Nexus 5 offer a similar size display, but Samsung packs in several display-linked features that are worth taking note of. The Nexus 5 features a 4.95-inch display with a 1920 x 1080 display and the Galaxy S5 offers a 5.1-inch display with the same 1920 x 1080 resolution.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Nexus 5 displays are similar, but Samsung packs in extra features.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Nexus 5 displays are similar, but Samsung packs in extra features.

The Nexus 5 display looks nice, but users do not get much control over the display other than brightness and the software does not make tweaks to deliver a better looking image or screen based on the environment.

With the Galaxy S5 software and the Samsung display users get several features not found on the Nexus 5. The Galaxy S5 display can adapt to the environment to deliver a better look. This includes an enhanced contrast mode that makes it easier to use the Galaxy S5 in the sun. There is also a Super Dim mode that drops the brightness significantly so that you don’t bother someone while using the Galaxy S5 next to them in bed or a dark room. Tack on the Ultra Power Saver mode that cuts some features and turns the display black and white to extend battery life and the Galaxy S5 stands out here.

Camera

Samsung packs a bigger 16MP sensor in the Galaxy S5 but that’s not all users get with this device. While the Nexus 5 is only a few months old Samsung’s new phone packs in features not found on the cheaper Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 includes a 8MP sensor that is capable of taking nice photos, but some users complain about a noise while recording video and the photos are not as consistently good as on an iPhone 5s. We are still waiting for the Galaxy S5 camera samples, but based on our time with the device the three new features are impressive.

The Nexus 5 features a 8MP camera compared to a 16MP camera on the Galaxy S5.

The Nexus 5 features a 8MP camera compared to a 16MP camera on the Galaxy S5.

The Galaxy S5 can auto focus in 0.3 seconds according to Samsung. This is thanks to a hybrid focusing system. We didn’t have a stop watch, but focusing was very fast during our hands on with the Galaxy S5. A faster focus means fewer missed shots and with a fast shutter fewer blurry photos.

In addition to the faster focus, users can pick a Selective Focus option that lets them choose to focus on a subject up close or far away to create a blur and draw users to the most important part of the photo. One example would be to focus on a face and blur the background slightly for a more appealing looking photos.

Users can also enjoy a live HDR mode to see what the HDR effect looks like before pressing the shutter. On the Nexus 5 users need to take a photo and wait for it to process before the final image is visible. The Nexus 5 records videos at 1080P while the Galaxy S5 maxes out at a higher 4k resolution.

Software & Features

The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Nexus 5 both run Android 4.4.2, the latest version of Android. This includes faster multitasking and Tap & Pay technology that makes paying for something with either device fairly simple. While both devices offer the basic features of Android 4.4.2, thing split from there.

The Nxxus 5 runs a vanilla version of Android. This is a version of Android without any added features from manufacturers or carriers. Some users prefer the look and feel of this to the add-ons offered by Samsung and others. With a Nexus device on stock Android users will also see Android updates faster than the Galaxy S5. This summer Google is planning a developer convention in June when we could see a new version of Android. The Nexus 5 will likely get it within weeks, while the Galaxy S5 may take months.

The other side of stock Android is that uses don’t get small enhancements and design changes that Samsung adds. The Samsung Galaxy S4 runs a new version of TouchWiz on top that features a flatter new look and a bigger focus on core features than previous versions. With the Galaxy S5 software users get S Health 3.0 that pairs with the Pulse reader on the back of the Galaxy S5 to track a user’s pulse. While Nexus 5 owners can add an app to track this, there is nothing built-in.

The Galaxy S5 software builds on other features with a Kids Mode that locks kids to specific apps and limits the amount of time they can use the device, which Google does not include on the Nexus 5. The Galaxy S5 also lets users lock files in Private Mode with the fingerprint scanner holding the key.

In addition to the camera features enabled by hardware the Galaxy S5 software includes a camera app with more features than the Nexus 5. The Galaxy S5 camera app enables modes like Eraser which can remove an unwanted subject from a photo and many other options that the stock camera app does not include on the Nexus 5.

Specs

When comparing the specs of the Nexus 5 and the Galaxy S5, there are not a lot of huge differences, but some key things stand out. The Galaxy S5 is water -resistant, it features a larger battery and it includes more biometric sensors. Both phones support LTE connectivity and the fastest 802.11ac WiFi but the Galaxy S5 features a mode that can pair LTE and WIFi for even faster downloads.

Galaxy S5 Specs

  • Snapdragon 800 or 801 Processor
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • 5.1-inch display
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB / 32GB storage options
  • 2MP front-facing camera
  • 16MP rear-facing camera
  • 2,800 mAh battery
  • 802.11 ac WiFi
  • Fingerprint reader, pulse tracker

The Nexus 5 and Galaxy S5 specs look similar side-by-side, but the features they enable are different.

The Nexus 5 and Galaxy S5 specs look similar side-by-side, but the features they enable are different.

Nexus 5 Specs

  • Snapdragon 800 or 801 Processor
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • 5-inch display
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB / 32GB storage options
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • 8MP rear-facing camera
  • 2,300 mAh battery
  • 802.11 ac WiFi
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Comparing specs is an easy way to look at bullet points where one phone may be better than the other, but the features of each device, the design and other benefits enabled by the specs are what really separates the Galaxy S5 and the Nexus 5.

Comments

  1. Vince says

    I take an N5 over any other one today. I really prefer over even an iP5s I also have to use daily. N5′ a winner anytime I check and compare specs that really matter.

  2. James says

    Sure the S5 is good for people who love to be told what to use, but for the best android experience without rooting the N5 I’d the way to go

  3. Jim says

    Not sure why anyone would get the Galaxy S5 over the Nexus 5. They both have the same CPU, GPU and 2GB of RAM but the Galaxy S5 still has the outdated hardware buttons and crappy TouchWiz.

  4. miraj says

    If you compare price of phones & value for money, I think nexus 5 is the winner. Samsung please change the look of the phone.

  5. Nishit says

    Some softwares are missing on nexus 5 but 3rd party app can be installed … Isn’t that the whole point of stock android ? Rather than fill the phone with useless crap!

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