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Nexus 5 vs. iPhone 5s: Why Buyers Should Wait



While many people sprung to buy the new iPhone 5s earlier this month, I decided to hold off and wait for one phone in particular to make its arrival. That phone is the new Nexus smartphone, Google’s yearly release, that is currently rumored to be called the Nexus 5 and one that will likely be making its arrival in just a couple of weeks.

This year has seen a number of big time smartphone releases from the Samsung Galaxy S4 to the HTC One to the Sony Xperia Z to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Earlier this month, we also saw the iPhone 5s emerge from the shadows, presenting itself as a top-notch competitor to the best of Android and Windows Phone 8.

Read: Nexus 5 Specs All But Confirmed.

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The iPhone 5s is the iPhone 5’s true successor and a device that builds upon the success of the iPhone 5 in just about every way. From its A7 processor, to its upgraded iSight camera, to its color options, to the fingerprint reader that adds extra security for those that take their phone into public, the iPhone 5s is a fantastic device and one that should be on the shopping list of most smartphone shoppers.

It’s certainly at the top of mine. While I use one smartphone as my primary device, the iPhone 5, I also have a Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Verizon which acts as a secondary device for work and for traveling. I occasionally use it in my personal life though those moments are rare due to an assortment of on board issues that Verizon has decided not to fix.

In the buildup to the iPhone 5s launch, I thought about buying the iPhone 5s as either a secondary device that replaces my Galaxy Nexus or as a replacement for my iPhone 5. In the latter scenario, I’d give my iPhone 5 to my girlfriend to replace her iPhone 4S which is struggling on iOS 7.

One of these still might happen but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet because there is another smartphone that I have my eye on.

As someone who invested two years into a Galaxy Nexus that never didn’t have issues, one would think that I would have abandoned the Nexus program completely. Throw in the fact that my Nexus 7 died, randomly, about a year after I bought it, and I wasn’t surprised that some people thought I was crazy for waiting for the Nexus 4.

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Instead, I skipped buying the iPhone 5s, at least for now, and have my eyes on the Nexus 5 launch that is rumored to be taking place in October. And for those that may be on the fence, I advise waiting for the Nexus 5 launch to make a decision between these two phones or something else, and here’s why.

The more I thought about the iPhone 5s launch, the more I remembered the nonsense that I experienced with the iPhone 5 launch and the iPad 3 launch. Site issues, problems with my order, lack of details, all made launch day a headache for me and it’s something that I decided that I wanted to avoid with the iPhone 5s. So I waited. And sure enough, tons of supply issues struck the iPhone 5s.

The gold iPhone 5s is sold out until October in most places but here’s my thinking. I didn’t have to deal with buying the phone on day one. I didn’t have to line up. I don’t have to sit around waiting for details about my order. I don’t have to call into customer service. I don’t have to keep calling stores looking for a gold iPhone 5s.

Instead, I can just sit back, wait for Apple to get these issues under control. However, most important of all, while waiting for these issues to die down, I’ve set myself up for a chance to compare the iPhone 5s with the Nexus 5 before buying.

Rumors suggest the Nexus 5 will have all of the key ingredients on board:

  • High-res display.
  • Good camera.
  • LTE.
  • Vanilla Android 4.4 KitKat.
  • Cheap price tag.

I passed on the Nexus 4 because it didn’t have LTE, something that is a necessity for me and many others. And with LTE on board the new Nexus, and a cheap unlocked price tag likely attached to it, I feel like this is a phone that is worth waiting for. Particularly since it will likely be out in just a few weeks.

Rumors suggest that the Nexus 5 will be arriving in mid-October, which again is perfect timing as the iPhone 5s supply issues will likely be over by then. It allows me to compare the two devices and make an informed decision.

This could show the back of the Nexus 5.

This could show the back of the Nexus 5.

At the moment, I am leaning towards the Nexus 5. I don’t want to sign a new contract and AT&T’s LTE network, where I would take the Nexus 5, has made large enough strides where I don’t consider it at a disadvantage to Verizon’s 4G LTE network. The Nexus 5 isn’t rumored for Verizon.

Shelling out $650 for an unlocked iPhone 5s is a severe price to pay and I’m hoping that Google keeps the bread and butter of the Nexus smartphone intact. Translation: Its price. $299-$399 for a top of the line, unlocked smartphone, is going to be a pretty hard deal to pass up. That isn’t set in stone but rumors suggest a mid-range price.

I realize that everyone’s situation is going to be a little bit different but what I will say is this. For those that haven’t bought the iPhone 5s yet, hold off for a few weeks.

I have a feeling the Nexus 5 is going to appeal to the average consumer more than any other Nexus smartphone has, and I think there are many people who will benefit from weighing the two together. For many, the arrival of the Nexus 5 will only reinforce the iPhone 5s as the top option. For others, the Nexus 5 will serve as a very attractive alternative to Apple’s new flagship.

As for me, I’m still undecided on which one I am going to pick up, but like many of you, I should know in just a couple of weeks.



  1. Selvin

    10/01/2013 at 2:57 am

    Yea u go ahead go da cheap way and get wht u paid for !

    • Beto Aguirre

      10/01/2013 at 7:09 pm

      Ok. Go ahead and pay premium for similar components while we save a few hundred.

  2. chazzmatt

    10/01/2013 at 4:49 am

    It’s not “cheap” quality. Google subsidizes the price, as far as I can see they make no profit on the Nexus smartphones. Snapdragon 800, 5″ 1080p 443 ppi beats the iPhone 5 in ever way.

    • Doug Petrosky

      10/01/2013 at 1:37 pm

      The 1080p phone resolution thing bugs me and I think it is A problem for apple going forward. There were enough discussions around apples claim that the iPhones 300+ ppi resolution was the boundary of our perception That I now take it as fact. If that is true 1080p is just a waste of battery CPU etc.

      But people keep saying that 400ppi phones are better so does apple bow to marketing pressure with their next phone. I’m betting the will but I think I will be disappointed.

      • Kash Gummaraju

        10/17/2013 at 7:38 pm

        Actually there is no limit to the number of pixels our eyes can see. Our eyes are essentially 576 mp cameras. And Apple uses the eyetests that you receive in your physical examinations with your doctor or at school to determine whether or not to increase the ppi, and this has been flawed, considering you stand 20 ft away to read the letters during the eye test.

  3. chazzmatt

    10/01/2013 at 5:39 am


    Yes you should go to AT&T network — but not regular AT&T. AT&T’s prepaid subsidiary GoPhone offers BYOD, uncapped AT&T LTE (speeds up to whatever regular AT&T LTE has), unlimited text, unlimited talk, 2GB data for $60 per month. If you run out of data, you can buy more at $10 per 1GB.

    Kicker is you can often find online discounts (ebay, etc) from dealers willing to sell account credit for less than face value. Mid-September you could get that $60 for less than $40 per month. Don’t count on that, of course, but even the regular price of $60 beats AT&T prices. And GoPhone is OWNED by AT&T and is serviced in AT&T stores. You can’t lose.

  4. Mohammed Rahawi

    10/01/2013 at 5:50 am

    I have Nexus 4 16g. I bought it for $249 after Google dropped the price. This is the worst Phone I’ve ever owned. It always drops calls. I previously had Galaxy Nexus and Nexus One before that and both were great. But Nexus 4 is so cheaply made. I get no signal in many corners of my house where I had full signal with Galaxy Nexus! Everyone in my family has an iPhone and they have no problem. I am so frustrated with Nexus 4 that I ordered the unlocked iPhone. I know $649 is a severe price to pay, but after using Nexus 4, I feel you get what you pay for. I hope Nexus 5 will be better.

    • chris

      10/07/2013 at 6:47 pm

      You must have a lemon. My nexus 4 is the best phone I have ever owned. Multitasking is a breeze. Love the screen size. Snappy response. Excellent call quality. I can’t wait for the nexus 5. My wife doesn’t know it yet, but she will be inheriting a slightly used nexus 4 in the near future.

    • manuel

      10/12/2013 at 9:52 am

      My wife has the iPhone 5s and she keep getting drop calls and her phone freezes and the same happen with the gs3 , some people have problems and some don’t plus its technology some thing is bond to happen along the way and some times it don’t

  5. Bill

    10/01/2013 at 7:12 am

    My wife and I both use Nexus 4 phones. Never a problem, best phone we have ever had.

  6. CJ

    10/01/2013 at 8:35 am

    Good article. Thanks. My main concern is coverage. I’m paying for an LTE/4G device, I want that coverage. I travel extensively in the western half of the US for work. It looks like Verizon has the best coverage out west. If the Nexus 5 isn’t slated for Verizon, it looks like I might be going with the 5S.

  7. Jeffrey Patrick

    10/01/2013 at 8:42 am

    I use an ip5 and wife use an N4
    Compared the picture taken and hands free loudspeaker IP5 won both hands down. She can always hear me clearly, where as her speakerphone quality always sounded muffle

  8. Mike

    10/02/2013 at 2:26 pm

    I have a hacked version of the LG Optimus G running Jelly Bean 4.2.2 and LOVE it. It is the Nexus 4 plus LTE and a SD card. I will be watching for the Nexus 5 though.

  9. manuel

    10/12/2013 at 9:56 am

    But all I know is that the galaxy S phone from Google was the best phone I ever had and when this n5 is revealed I will get it

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