Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Nexus 5: 7 Reasons to Buy the Galaxy S5

As we inch closer to the Samsung Galaxy S5 release in April, consumers are starting to weigh the Galaxy S5 against the opposition which includes the Nexus 5, Google’s current Nexus smartphone. With those consumers in mind, we take a look at some reasons why one might want to consider buying the Galaxy S5 over the Nexus 5.

At the tail end of last year, Google canned the Nexus 4 and announced a brand new Nexus smartphone in the form of the Nexus 5. The LG-made Nexus 5 made its debut on Halloween alongside Android 4.4 KitKat and it was released into the world just a short time later. The Nexus 5 is widely considered to be one of the best Android smartphones on the market and in our opinion, it’s one of the best smartphones period.

The Nexus 5 is relatively new and given Google’s penchant for releasing one Nexus smartphone per year, we expect it to be on shelves deep into the new year. This means that consumers are going to be weighing against this year’s crop of smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S.

In fact, we’ve started to hear a similar question from friends, family and readers: “Should I buy the Nexus 5 or should I buy the Samsung Galaxy S5?” Obviously, this is going to be a very personal decision. We always tell consumers to go hands on themselves before they buy to ensure that the new phone is going to be a good fit. That said, what we can do is help to point people in the right direction.

We’ve already offered some reasons why consumers might want to opt for the Nexus 5 over the new Samsung Galaxy S5 and today, we’re going to switch gears and take a look at some reasons why the Galaxy S5 might be the better fit.

Resistant Design

The Nexus 5′s design is a durable piece of black, white or red matte plastic. It’s a high quality design but it does not offer the same perks that the Samsung Galaxy S5 design affords its users.

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Samsung’s Galaxy S5 design is an improvement over the glossy polycarbonate design found on the Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S5′s perforated plastic back is much more stylish and it feels more like a premium smartphone build. It doesn’t feel cheap. Like the Nexus 5, the Galaxy S5 is also thin and relatively lightweight. However, the Galaxy S5′s trump card is the kind of durability that it offers.

This small seal on the back, is part of the water-resistant feature.

This small seal on the back, is part of the water-resistant feature.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is IP67 certified which means that it offers resistance to water and dust, something that the Nexus 5 design simply does not offer. This inclusion of IP67 is a big deal because it means that consumers can bring their device into rugged environments and feel comfortable. It also means that there is less risk for disaster.

We’ve heard from plenty of people that incurred water damage in the middle of a contract and had to shell out extra money to replace their damaged smartphone.

Camera

We’ve been using the Nexus 5 since November and we can say, with confidence, that its camera is one of its weakest links. Yes, it has Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and some nifty software features but what’s the point of those if the camera isn’t that great? The 8MP camera is good, it’s not great and the stock camera application leaves something to be desired. The Galaxy S5 camera experience as a whole will trump the Nexus 5′s experience and here’s why.

The Galaxy S5 may not come with OIS but it does come with a 16MP camera sensor with Samsung’s ISOCELL technology that is focused on delivering high quality photos and video in low light environments. The higher resolution is notable but it’s certainly not the reason why the Galaxy S5 camera experience is better.

The Galaxy S5 features an upgraded camera with new modes and a faster focus.

The Galaxy S5 features an upgraded camera with new modes and a faster focus.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 comes with an extremely fast auto-focus, advanced HDR that allows users to actually see the final image on screen before the shutter is hit, and a fully loaded camera application that puts the stock camera application to shame. The Galaxy S5′s camera can also shoot 4K video while the Nexus 5′s camera cannot.

It’s the camera experience, as a whole, that we like better than the Nexus 5′s. And this is a big reason why consumers should consider Samsung’s device over Google’s.

More Storage

Google does not like to put microSD card slots on its Nexus devices and thus, the Nexus 5 comes without expandable storage. This leaves users with either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage space to go along with the cloud. Those who need more storage than that are going to want to heavily consider the Galaxy S5.

The Galaxy S5 features a Micro SD card slot.

The Galaxy S5 features a Micro SD card slot.

Not only will it come in 16GB and 32GB form, but it also possesses a microSD card slot for expanded storage, up to 128GB. That means that a Galaxy S5 user with the 32GB model can utilize up to 160GB of storage space. That’s huge for gamers and those who love to shoot a ton of photos and video with their smartphone.

Longevity

The Nexus 5 has been out since November which means that it’s already going on five months old. That may not sound like much but when it comes to software updates, it’s a big deal.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Note 3 - 8-L

Google’s software update policy dictates that devices get support for 18 months. That means that the Nexus 5 will be supported until early-to-mid 2015. Given Google’s software update pattern, it means that this year’s batch of Android updates could be the device’s last. An update next summer certainly isn’t guaranteed.

Samsung’s devices typically get two years of support which means that the Samsung Galaxy S5 will almost certainly be updated with new Android software until 2016. The Nexus 5 will almost certainly be cut off in 2015, forcing users to go the unofficial route and deal with ROMs.

Health

Samsung introduced a ton of health related features with the Samsung Galaxy S5 included a new S Health application and a new heart rate sensor that is tucked in next to the camera. The sensor, along with the software, will work together to keep Samsung Galaxy S5 users informed about their health.

The Gear Fit is a great reason to think about buying the Galaxy S5.

The Gear Fit is a great reason to think about buying the Galaxy S5.

Samsung also introduced a powerful new accessory in the Gear Fit that, for the moment, is not compatible with the Nexus 5. Not only is the Gear Fit a fitness tracker, it also doubles as a way to keep track of text messages, emails and notifications from third party applications. It’s a device that should pair up nicely with the Galaxy S5.

Nexus 5 users can use the camera to take a pulse and other fitness bands will work, but the experience will not compare to a full health ecosystem that’s offered by the Galaxy S5.

Display

The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with a 5.1-inch display that offers 1080p resolution. The Nexus 5 comes with a 5-inch display that offers 1080p resolution. However, there are some things that Samsung has done to the Galaxy S5 display and the software that help to separate it from the Nexus 5′s.

The Galaxy S5 display is a 5.1-inch 1080P display compared to a Galaxy S4 with a 5-inch 1080P display.

The Galaxy S5 display is a 5.1-inch 1080P display compared to a Galaxy S4 with a 5-inch 1080P display.

The Galaxy S5′s display uses an algorithm and sensors to change the display in response to bright light. Samsung calls this local contrast enhancement, which essentially means that the phone can automatically deliver a display that is much easier to read when outdoors.

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It also includes a Super Dimming mode that drops the brightness down to 2cd/m2, which as one might guess, is extremely dim. This mode is designed to make it easier on the user’s eyes in the dark and to avoid bothering others. It should also help to conserve battery life as displays typically eat up a ton of juice.

Security

The Nexus 5 doesn’t use a physical home button and instead, relies on on-screen buttons for navigation. The Galaxy S5 does feature a home button though it’s more than just your typical button.

Use the fingerprint reader to secure the Galaxy S5.

Use the fingerprint reader to secure the Galaxy S5.

Samsung has embedded a fingerprint reader inside of the Galaxy S5′s home button that adds an extra layer of security and provides more convenience to those that are constantly in and out of their device. Users can store up to three different fingerprints for easy access to content.

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What’s more is that the Galaxy S5′s fingerprint sensor will be opened up to developers which means that we should see applications take advantage of it in the future.

Comments

  1. Fulaman says

    I really wish you guys would stop spreading false information about the camera on the Nexus 5. It is one of the best smartphone cameras at the moment. It takes some of the clearest pictures that even surpass the iPhone 5S

    • Robert says

      Could you cite any sources that show/verify that? Not trying to be a smartass, but I’ve been seriously considering a new smartphone to replace my Galaxy Nexus and the camera is one of the most important features for me. From what I’ve seen, not a single site out there would put the N5′s camera over the iPhone 5S, GS5, Z1 or Z2, M8, or LG G2. So if you can cite a credible source that supports your statement, I would appreciate it.

        • Robert says

          The Nexus 5 isn’t bad, but it appears that for flash photography and anything requiring fast auto focus (which seems to be most of my pictures since little Sophia moves like lightening) the iPhone 5S. Though the Nexus 5 camera isn’t bad. However, it still seems like the Galaxy S5 would trump both of them.

          • Fulaman says

            Auto-focus speed has been improved since 4.4.2 for flash photography yes iphone 5s is better, but without flash for low light photos, the Nexus 5 is better due to the OIS. The Nexus 5 Camera is great, but you are right. The Galaxy S5 blows both out of the water…why? The Galaxy S4 Camera (predecessor to the Galaxy S5) was already better than both the iphone 5S and Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 and iphone 5S camera are about on par. But Samsung GS5 has a better Camera. Though does that warrant it’s $300 price difference over the Nexus 5?

        • Robert says

          It wouldn’t let me comment to your comment, but I think it does warrant $300 more (well…$260 more than the 32gb version which I would have to get since the Nexus lacks SD support). I mean the Galaxy S5 is superior to the Nexus 5 in nearly every way and I wouldn’t really need to buy a dedicated digital camera. The only downside is the lack of updates, but heck, I disabled my Galaxy Nexus from getting updates past 4.1.2 because originally the one they pushed out after that completely boned the phone for a while. So being cutting edge Android isn’t always a good thing anyway. Still haven’t pulled the trigger, but getting very close.

  2. xpersuasianx says

    The camera on the Nexus 5 is not garbage, it is one of the best on the market. It doesn’t matter how many pixels the camera will have on the Samsung galaxy because as long as they keep using the amoled display the pictures colors will be washed out…

  3. Hildy J says

    I can think of 261 reasons to buy the Nexus 5. The features of the S5 just don’t justify the exorbitant price ($660 at TMO vs. $399).

    • Robert says

      So for $250-260 more (I see the GS5 for $649) you get a removable/changeable battery which will be nice when the phone no longer holds a charge and you don’t like spending $700 on a phone every year. Also has SD card support so if you do a lot of photo/video stuff with your phone (I have a toddler…so…yeah) those two things alone could make it worth it.

  4. jorge says

    I have the nexus 5 and it pretty much sucks. Its too dam slow. and lets not talk about the battery please. Im thinking of changing to the s5.

  5. Dustin Travis says

    I like how this article is trying to dog a phone that will have been out for 6 months when the S5 finally launches. Let me guess, the next Nexus phone will be garbage because it was released after the S5, right?

  6. xpersuasianx says

    Talk about battery, ok.. I take my Nexus 5 off the charger at 6:30 in the morning and the charge lasts me all day until I charge it at night when I go to bed usually around 10-11pm with 20-30% still left on the battery.. Thats 15-16 hours on one charge, hell of alot better than my old HTC Rezound, I’d have to charge that sucker 2 times a day plus overnight..

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