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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Nexus 5: 5 Key Differences



When the Samsung Galaxy S5 arrives in April, it’s going to face stiff opposition and not just from the iPhone 5s either. The new Galaxy S5 will have to fend off Android competitors as well including Google’s Nexus 5, its flagship Nexus smartphone and a device that many consider to be the best Android smartphone on the market.

Every year, Samsung announces a brand new Galaxy S smartphone. Case in point, the Samsung Galaxy S5 that was announced earlier this week and will be coming to shelves April 11th to replace the Samsung Galaxy S4, last year’s Galaxy S smartphone.

Every year, Samsung outfits its new Galaxy S with upgrades from the previous model and the Galaxy S5 appears to be no different. Samsung’s new Galaxy S comes with a brand new design, a new camera, processor, software, and more. There are even rumors that suggest that it will have a new price tag.

And each and every year, the Galaxy S series faces increasing competition. Last year’s Galaxy S4 had to content with the iPhone 5, HTC One, LG G2, Galaxy Note 3, and Nexus 4 among others and this years Galaxy S5 is in a similar boat.

When it arrives, it will join an extremely competitive market filled with top options. One of those options is going to be the Nexus 5, Google’s brand new Nexus device and a smartphone that replaced the Nexus 4 at the tail end of last year. The Nexus smartphone is Google’s yearly smartphone and like the Galaxy S5, it’s equipped with some serious firepower.

Those in the hunt for a new device will certainly want to have the Nexus 5 near the top of their list. We consider it to be one of the best smartphones on the market. However, from the looks of things, the Galaxy S5 is going to belong on that list too.

While we can’t make a detailed comparison just yet, we can offer some other important details for prospective Galaxy S5 and Nexus 5 buyers: Key differences.

Here, we examine what we believe are the key differences between the Nexus 5 and its upcoming rival, the Samsung Galaxy S5.


Google’s Nexus 5 features a design that is much different than the Galaxy S5’s design. The new Nexus is made of plastic but it uses the same matte material that the company used with its Nexus 7. It’s plastic but it feels much more premium. It’s also extremely durable.

Nexus 5 vs. Galaxy S5.

Nexus 5 vs. Galaxy S5.

The Nexus 5 does not come with a removable back which means users are stuck with its stock 2,300 mAh battery and it does not come with a microSD card slot which means that users are stuck with 16GB or 32GB of internal storage and the cloud.

As far as exact dimensions are concerned, the Nexus 5 is fairly slim and pretty lightweight. Its form factor measures 8.59mm wide and weighs just 130 grams, not bad for a smartphone with a large 5-inch display.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 design is also made of plastic but that’s where the similarities end. Instead of a matte material, the Galaxy S5 design uses a unique perforated pattern on the back cover that Samsung says gives it a modern ‘glam’ look. It certainly draws attention to itself, especially the gold version that looks like a giant band-aid.

The differences don’t stop there. The Galaxy S5 also comes with a design that is both dust and water resistant. This appeals to those that are clumsy or simply want their device to perform in rugged environments. The Nexus 5’s design is not water resistant which means that it’s susceptible to the elements.

The Galaxy S5 is also a little slimmer than the Nexus 5, it has an 8.1mm frame as opposed to 8.59mm, but it’s heavier than the Nexus 5 checking in at 145 grams.


The Nexus 5’s 8MP camera is considered, by many, to be one of its worst features. While things have improved with the arrival of Android 4.4.2 KitKat, there are still those that consider it to be the most underwhelming piece of hardware on board the new Nexus.

Some users have experienced a strange hissing noise in the background when recording video though we haven’t seen that particular issue. What we have seen is inconsistency, particularly in low light environments. We’ve also had issues with the device’s autofocus which can, at times, be extremely slow.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 camera features three new enhancements and a bigger sensor that should deliver better looking photos.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 camera features three new enhancements and a bigger sensor that should deliver better looking photos.

What the Nexus 5 camera does have is Optical Image Stabilization, also called OIS, which helps to stabilize the camera when shooting video and minimizes shakiness. This is one feature that the Galaxy S5’s camera does not have.

What the Samsung Galaxy S5 camera does have are an assortment of other features including a 16MP sensor which means higher resolution and an extremely quick autofocus that can focus in up to 0.3 seconds. The Galaxy S5 also comes with advanced HDR which allows users to actually see the final image on screen before the shutter is hit. This kind of convenience isn’t afforded to Nexus 5 users who have to hit the shutter before seeing the results.


One of the perks of any Nexus device is that they come with vanilla Android. Vanilla Android, also known as a pure Google experience, is Android the way Google intended it to be. That means that the manufacturer UI, in this case LG, is stripped out leaving a much simpler version of Android that people swear by.

Of course, manufacturer UIs bring a different feature set which means that the Samsung Galaxy S5, which uses Samsung’s TouchWiz, comes with some features that the Nexus 5 simply doesn’t have.

For instance, instead of a stock camera application, the Galaxy S5 comes with Samsung’s fully loaded camera application that blows the stock app out of the water. There are other advantages too.

Samsung has added new health-related features and has also introduced a brand new “Ultra Power Saving Mode” to the Galaxy S5 that will not only turn the display to black and white but will also turn off all unnecessary features in an effort to conserve battery life. These are not available on the Nexus 5 because it runs stock Android.

Ultimately, it will be up to the consumer decide which feature set is most appealing.


Carriers still haven’t confirmed the on-contract price of the Samsung Galaxy S5 though there are rumors that point to it coming with a price tag that is cheaper than the usual $199.99. What we have found though is that the Galaxy S5’s off-contract price will likely be upwards of $600.

If that’s true, and we’re pretty confident that it is, it’s going to be much more expensive than the Nexus 5 which boasts an extremely competitive $350 off-contract price for the 16GB model. The 32GB model is only $400 off-contract. Those are a little more expensive than the Nexus 4’s price but they still trump just about every high-end smartphone in existence.

We’re still not sure how much the Galaxy S5 will be on contract, but Sprint sells the Nexus 5 for $99 on-contract. That’s $100 cheaper than the usual $199.99 price point.


The Nexus 5 is only available on three of the five major carriers in the United States. U.S. Cellular and Verizon do not carry it on their 4G LTE networks. It’s also not available on many of the other smaller, regional carriers in the U.S.


Samsung’s Galaxy S5 on the other hand is confirmed for AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon and it will be coming to MetroPCS in April as well. We also expect regional and pre-paid carriers to hop on board the Galaxy S5 train in the future, something that will help to offer the Galaxy S5 a distinct advantage when it comes to carrier options.



  1. Zack Hollon

    02/26/2014 at 9:39 pm

    The Nexus is unlocked straight from Google! Any Sim card carrier (Metro, Straight Talk, Virgin, TracFone) works with the Nexus 5. Considering the price for the smaller carriers it truly is the best option!

  2. Jim

    02/27/2014 at 1:09 am

    The Nexus 5 destroys the Galaxy S5. They have the same CPU, GPU and RAM but the Nexus 5 wins in looks, buttons, software and battery life.

  3. Benjamin Wade

    02/27/2014 at 8:45 am

    I have the Nexus 5, and while I like it, I miss the ability to change batteries and add a microSD. Between those features and the camera, I wish I had waited for the developer version of the Galaxy S5.

  4. robbie

    02/27/2014 at 11:30 am

    The s5 still suffers from the problem which all galaxy’s to date have suffered from which is looking cheap and crass. I’m also not a fan of AMOLED screens due to the huge oversaturation and unrealistic colors and much prefer the more realistic IPS displays on the nexus. I also wonder how the new Samsung skin behaves as the last touchwiz was a disaster. I feel Samsung may be amazing at advertising but other brands have always made better quality phones. I’d recommend getting a HTC one or a nexus 5 over the s5 any day as the slight performance increase due to the more powerful CPU will hardly make a difference in all likelihood.

  5. Muad Dib

    02/27/2014 at 11:46 am

    Yea so the nexus 5 is unlocked, working on any cellphone network..

  6. Alen Milavec

    02/27/2014 at 12:50 pm

    I have the nexus 5.For me is a best smartphone on the market.Galaxy s5 have some new freatures but i like realistic colors on the nexus 5.

  7. harvey

    02/27/2014 at 1:32 pm

    I have the Nexus 5 and have been having problems with EMail when I try to open a EMail the body of the message is missing and my phone shows internal error.waiting for a replacement from Google

  8. Sid

    02/28/2014 at 12:12 am

    The S5 is far from beating the Nexus 5. Apart from being waterproof, the other features are not worthy for day to day life. And for once, if Samsung tries to create a close-to-pure Android phone, it will be wonderful. Instead they dump all the S-Apps and bog the phone down !

  9. Grammar Police

    02/28/2014 at 6:44 am

    I can’t believe this article was published, it has many grammar errors and was poorly written. The Nexus 5 is an excellent phone that can be used with any carrier because it is unlocked. Do your research.

  10. Cory Gunther

    02/28/2014 at 10:01 am

    Jim you’re actually wrong. The CPU and GPU are both the Snapdragon 801. Which is slightly more efficient, and clocked faster than the Nexus 5. We have 2.5 GHz, and nearly 25% faster GPU inside the S5. Oh, and we all know Samsung uses quality RAM in their devices, vs a budget Nexus device.

    Just sayin

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