iPhone 6 vs Nexus 5: What Buyers Need to Know

Now that the iPhone 6 release has been confirmed, and all the little details revealed, consumers are starting to weigh their options when it comes to buying their next smartphone this fall. The all new iPhone 6 is Apple’s first design overhaul in two years, and it finally has a bigger screen to match the Android competition. Here we take a look at Apple’s latest vs Google’s flagship Nexus 5.

Now that Apple has finally released a bigger iPhone, something many didn’t expect to over happen given their early stance on the idea, we’re now starting to sense consumers may be torn regarding what to get. Many Apple owners jumped to Android for bigger screens and more options, but Apple has finally countered with a 4.7-inch iPhone 6, and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus.

Read: iPhone 6 vs LG G3: What Buyers Should Know

A new Nexus 6 (or Nexus X) is on the horizon, rumored to arrive in October or November, but for those potentially looking to buy a new phone this month the Nexus 5 is an excellent option running stock Android. These two devices are extremely different at their core, but below we’ll rundown a few key things you’ll want to know before making a purchase.

Here's a look at the iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus.

It’s hard to compare two extremely different devices, especially when you try to consider in users needs, wants, preferences, and other factors. Price is one, operating system of choice is a big one too. So instead of trying to compare Android to iOS, or Apples to Oranges, we’ll just outline what each has to offer, and how they differ.

Google’s Nexus 5 was released in November of last year, so it’s getting old in the tooth, but a new one could be coming soon. We can’t confirm that just yet, so for now we’ll be talking about the currently available Android 4.4.4 KitKat powered Nexus 5, and how it compares to Apple’s new iPhone 6.

iPhone 6 Release Date

As of right now, only one of these phones is available to purchase. That being Google’s Nexus 5, but the iPhone 6 is quickly approaching. In fact, the wait won’t be very long at all.  The iPhone 6 will be available to pre-order by the end of the week, and will launch shortly thereafter on all carriers around the US.

Sprint, AT&T and Verizon iPhone 6 pre-order details arrive.

Apple announced the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus pre-orders will officially start on September 12th (Friday) and the smartphone will go on sale around the United States and across the globe on September 19th. This means that if you’re looking to get a new phone today, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Which means go grab the Nexus 5 from the Google Play Store. Otherwise wait a few weeks for the iPhone 6.

It’s also worth noting that new iPhone devices usually sell out quick and are in short supply and high demand, meaning buyers may not be able to get one on day one. You might want to place a pre-order just in case.

Size

While size matters for some when buying a smartphone, manufacturer of preference of operating system is usually more of a deciding factor. That being said, this is the first year many Android owners may want to try the bigger iPhone, or Apple fans may as well jump ship and try Android now that their only iPhone options are large 4.7 and 5.5-inch devices.

For iPhone users the Nexus 5 is considered a big phone. It offers a 5-inch 1920 x 1080p full HD display, and is bigger than the new 4.7-inch iPhone 6. Here’s the dimensions of both devices.

Nexus 5

  • 137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6 mm (5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 in) and 130 grams

iPhone 6

  • 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 in) and 129 grams

As you can see they’re nearly the same size and weight. The iPhone 6 is slightly taller, but also more narrow, thinner, and weights a tiny bit less. Overall they’ll look and feel about the same in the hand. It’s worth nothing that they’re roughly the same size, but you’ll get more from the Nexus 5 screen.

Display

Smartphones with a big screen are the norm, and now that Apple is finally on board that won’t be changing anytime soon. For years they’ve criticized Android (especially Samsung) for the big screens they use, and now they’ve changed their minds and finally jumped ship.

As you saw above the Nexus 5 and iPhone 6 are nearly the same size, but you’ll get a bigger and better display from Google’s option. It’s a 5-inch 1920 x 1080p full HD display that’s bright, vivid, and crisp. Compare that to the iPhone 6 that has a 4.7-inch 1334 x 750 (720p) HD display. Google’s thin bezels and sleek design managed to fit a bigger and better screen in the same amount of space, but again, this is all about preference.

Android-L-Nexus5

Apple has quality displays in all their products, and the Retina screen will likely be gorgeous and have stunning viewing angles. The only complaint some had with the Nexus 5 is the screen was a bit warm, and didn’t have the vivid colors many in the Android world love from Samsung. That said, it’s still an excellent device with a big full HD display, and it’s a tough choice if you have to choose it over the iPhone 6.

Price & Storage

A big factor in any purchase decision is the price, and this is a huge thing you’ll want to consider with the new iPhone 6 compared to the competition. While most Android phones have a micro-SD slot for expandable storage, Google’s Nexus 5 does not. The iPhone 6 doesn’t either, but has way more options for those interested in higher storage configurations. Here’s the storage and pricing details.

  • iPhone 6 16GB – $199
  • iPhone 6 64GB – $299
  • iPhone 6 128GB – $399
  • Nexus 5 16GB – $349 (contract free)
  • Nexus 5 32GB – $399 (contract free)

Those prices look good for the iPhone, but that’s after users sign a 2-year contract with carriers. The Nexus 5 however, is without a contract and will be outright. When you look at contract free pricing for the iPhone, this picture changes.

  • iPhone 6 16GB – $649
  • iPhone 6 64GB – $749
  • iPhone 6 128GB – $849

The iPhone 6 is a big phone and now has an all-new storage option delivering 128GB of internal storage. This is another first for the iPhone, and will allow you to pack tons of HD games and movies into your handset. However, a 16GB iPhone 6 purchased outright is nearly double the price of Google’s Nexus 5. You could get two Nexus 5’s for $50 more than one iPhone 6.

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 12.59.24 PM

Of course carrier payment plans in the US will make this a bit easier, but $299 or $399 on-contract is hard to swallow, no matter how you look at it. Google’s certainly got most manufacturers beat in regards to price, and this is especially true with the iPhone 6.

Camera

Taking photos with our mobile devices is extremely important these days, so we wanted to mention this too. Both the new iPhone 6 and the Nexus 5 employ an 8 megapixel camera. However, the Nexus 5 has optical image stabilization. A feature reserved only for the higher-end iPhone 6 Plus.

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 1.15.09 PM

Apple’s new camera has a new focus sensor for improved auto-focus, can shoot 240 fps for slow-mo video capture, and has improved in all areas, including panorama modes. They’ve always had excellent cameras, and this is one area the Nexus 5 just won’t hold up. Even though it has an 8 megapixel camera with OIS, the camera was one of the weakest links in this device. If you want a good camera experience, the iPhone 6 is arguably the better choice.

Final Thoughts

Debating Android over iOS isn’t something we’re interested in doing these days, as everyone has a different point of view. Instead, the details above share the few differences regarding size, screen size and quality, and price regarding these two phones. If you’re an iPhone owner looking to try something new, the Nexus 5 runs stock Android 4.4.4 KitKat as Google designs it, and is the purest Android experience around.

On the flipside, if you’ve been waiting to try an iPhone but didn’t want a small screen, now is the perfect time to make the switch. I love my Nexus 5, but it certainly could be better in a few areas. Most of which are rumored to be included in the upcoming Nexus 6 we could see in October.

There is a lot of excitement around the new iPhone 6, but don’t get one just because of the bigger screen. Check out everything iOS has to offer, Apple Pay, and everything else before buying a new device.

13 Comments

  1. AGottabeMobileFan

    09/10/2014 at 1:28 pm

    What exactly is bad about the Nexus 5 camera because people keep making nonsensical posts about it being weak. Yet in all the video comparisons between the Nexus 5 Camera and the iphone 5s camera I have seen thus far, the Nexus 5 holds its own and sometimes even beats the iphone 5S camera. I think people need to stop being Apple biased and more truthful. Let’s be honest with ourselves, Apple is not releasing a breathtaking device like they did with the iphone 4 when it originally came out. It is what it is and people need to be more honest in their articles/reviews and stop misleading potential buyers.

    Reply

    • Cory Gunther

      09/10/2014 at 4:03 pm

      while I somewhat agree (and don’t own any Apple products anymore) my Nexus 5 camera is fast, but not very good. Doesn’t capture colors all that great, are often washed out, etc. I prefer my Galaxy S5 or the LG G3 (or even the G2 camera)

      Reply

  2. Alex

    09/10/2014 at 6:52 pm

    The Nexus 5 camera was never ever bad, it was rather the software that was off for the first few months after launch, which has been fixed and then further refined. It does everything you could ask for it, and the OIS is God-sent! People who keep bringing up the Nexus 5 camera problems clearly do not know much about the phone because if they would, they would be aware of its exceptional quality!

    Reply

  3. enrique

    09/10/2014 at 7:00 pm

    So they new iPhone compares well with a 1 year old android device?

    Reply

    • Somebody

      09/11/2014 at 5:49 am

      No actually, this article was actually quite weak in hard technical details. The 1 year old nexus has more than twice as powerful of a CPU (Quad Krait 400 in the Nexus, vs dual armv8a-REFERENCE designs in the apple running at about half the frequency — though the apple has 64 bit cores, they aren’t being used for anything that is actually accelerated BY being 64 bit, so this distinction is actually not relevant), MANY MANY times more powerful of a GPU (Qualcomm Adreno in the Nexus vs PowerVR in the apple… they are in entirely different leagues), *DOUBLE* the random access memory.

      The very odd thing about this new apple phone, is that it really isn’t ANY different from the previous one. Yes, slightly larger screen, but it has the SAME SoC with nothing but marginal miniaturization and a new name, same amount of RAM — basically the same exact everything, but with a couple of new feature that Android phones have been equipped with for a few YEARS now — a barometer, and NFC. They advertise a third new feature, which is a fingerprint scanner, but it is embedded in the main button, which means that you will end up pressing it with the END of your finger where there isn’t much in the way of identifying features. Basically, its cute, but not secure, which makes it rather pointless.

      Reply

  4. Andrew Einsteiner

    09/10/2014 at 7:29 pm

    One can’t really compare the two devices. Just look at the price difference. The iPhone is literally more than double the price. The best advice is: want something that is excellent value for you hard earned dollars, get a Nexus 5. Want to follow the general crowd and feel part of a clique, get an iPhone. For certain the in-crowd is not getting a whole lot for $650. One point the article fails to mention. The glass on the iPhone is much more likely to break on a fall than the gorika 3 glass on the nexus 5.

    Reply

  5. Jewel Eisenhower

    09/10/2014 at 7:35 pm

    One can’t really compare the two devices. Just look at the price difference. The iPhone is literally more than double the price. The best advice is: want something that is excellent value for you hard earned dollars, get a Nexus 5. Want to follow the general crowd and feel part of a clique, get an iPhone. For certain the in-crowd is not getting a whole lot for $650. One point the article fails to mention. The glass on the iPhone is much more likely to break on a fall than the gorika 3 glass on the nexus 5.

    Reply

    • Somebody

      09/11/2014 at 5:57 am

      That is a very good observation; the apple is always about FASHION, whereas the Nexus is always FIRST about actually being a good phone.

      I would also like to point out something else regarding the price — something that the author left out, probably hoping that nobody would notice. The on-contract price for the Nexus. Most cell service providers hand it out for FREE with a multi-year term agreement.

      But frankly, it really isn’t appropriate to compare ANYTHING using a term-agreement-price. Those are not legitimate prices and are made up by the carriers in order to maximize the number of multi-year-contract customers they end up with.

      The other really important thing to consider is that the price is really not even a relevant point of comparison when you start talking about FASHION ACCESSORIES. The Nexus5 is undeniably the better SMARTPHONE. It whips the apple in every way imaginable. But when you select your phone based on its FASHION rather than its UTILITY, then the value of a GOOD PHONE actually goes down.

      Reply

  6. vishal kumar

    09/10/2014 at 11:43 pm

    I’m a nexus5 user. I just wanna say iphone6 can’t even compete with nexus4’s specification and if you really wanna compare then wait for November then compare iphone6 vs. Nexus6.
    Nexus is always better than any other phone.

    Reply

  7. Somebody

    09/11/2014 at 6:24 am

    I have three very important points to make regarding the article (besides replies I’ve made to other comments).

    1) The position the author has outlined about the quality of the display on the Nexus vs Samsung phones. This is actually quite REVERSE from reality. Samsung uses AMOLED displays, which are visually VERY inferior to the SLCD on the Nexus 5. The advantage of the AMOLED display is in power consumption. When a pixel is showing black, it is not consuming any power. The closer it is to bright white, the more power it consumes. With SLCD, the panel is either on or off, regardless of what is showing, it is always consuming the same amount of power — or at least, relative to the overall brightness level that is selected.

    AMOLED displays (and I have one right next to me right now, so I know what I’m talking about) show very flat and weak colors. Everything looks closer to gray/blue, undersaturated. You can change the settings to increase saturation, but then you end up with portions being oversaturated, and still some under. It ends up looking really goofy, and is very VERY bad at reproducing colors accurately. Its pretty much only good for cartoons. Photos or videos of real life reproduce TERRIBLY.

    The second problem with AMOLED is the display matrix. They use an RGBG pattern instead of RGBRGB. Basically, on an AMOLED, TWO visual pixels are given by FOUR cells — RGBG. In an SLCD, the same two visual pixels are given by SIX cells — RGBRGB. The AMOLED gives the full resolution in the GREEN cells ONLY. In red and blue, it gives only HALF the resolution. They claim that it is visually very similar, but this is often masked by an overall higher resolution screen. If you compare lower resolution SLCD to AMOLED, for example 800×480 with the same screen size (this screen resolution is typically 4 inch), then you can VERY clearly see every individual pixel in the AMOLED, but the SLCD still looks nice.

    The push to much higher resolutions was actually initiated BY the low visual quality of AMOLED displays. The two nexus phones made by samsung had absolutely HORRIBLE displays, but the FIRST nexus phone was an HTC with an SLCD that looked very very nice. The problem is that people started to associate 800×480 resolution with the poor quality of samsung AMOLED displays. So to combat that, the next round of phones pushed up to 1280×720. In an AMOLED, a 1280×720 looks WORSE than an SLCD at 800×480.

    The Nexus5 display is absolutely phenomenal. Color reproduction is accurate, and the pixels are so small that your eyes can’t detect their boundaries — i.e., the resolution is higher than your eyes.

    2) Camera quality… well I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t matter what phone it happens to be, the camera on it SUCKS BADLY. The problem that these things face is one of physics. The phone is a quarter of an inch thick with a teensy-tiny little lens, and virtually no depth between the lens and the sensor. There is really nothing you can do to make this work well, whether it be apple or lg or samsung or whoever. If you want to take good pictures, you are WAY better off spending $50 on a CHEAP digital camera, because the picture quality will be far far better. My use of phone cameras is limited to taking EVIDENCE pictures, i.e., when someone does me wrong, like if somebody crashes their car into me, take a picture of them, the scene, the damage, etc. That’s about it. That’s about all they’re good for.

    3) The “short supply” when apple devices are released, is actually a marketing gimmick. There is no shortage. They pretend that there is or will be in order to get people to line up for the news cameras, and in order to build a hype that more people are demanding it than they can supply it with — therefore it must be great. Don’t pay any attention to this — it isn’t for real.

    End of the day, apple is a marketing company that sells fashion accessories, that compared to their competitors, are technologically out of date. Google designs their Nexus phones to be an example of what a good quality working phone should be, and they do a great job of it.

    Reply

    • Cory Gunther

      09/11/2014 at 1:10 pm

      My Nexus 5 screen seemed very washed out to even the SLCD in the HTC One, One M8, and even the G3. Just my opinion though. Everyone’s eyes are a little different. But I agree, the Galaxy S2 screens were awful.

      Reply

    • Meo

      09/12/2014 at 1:45 pm

      The camera on the nexus actually works quite well normally but in LOW-LIGHT situations it’s not very good.

      On my personally daily use I think the one area that the iphone outperforms nexus is with the speakers (but since I usually use headphones, it doesn’t matter much)

      Reply

  8. Nigel

    09/11/2014 at 11:44 am

    I own a nexus 5 and my cameras phenomenal ever since the 4.4.4 update. It slays the rest!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *