Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5S Specs Head to Head

Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5S

A month ago, Google unveiled the highly anticipated Nexus 5 and its 2013 flagship will have to withstand a lot of powerful competitors like the iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, or LG G2.

We though we should put the Google’s flagship head-to-head in a Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5S specs battle.

The Nexus 5 is one of the few, if not the only, smartphone on the market that brings pure Android experience and just like its predecessor, it brings a high-end hardware platform at an affordable price.

On the other hand, the iPhone 5S is Apple’s latest flagship smartphone bringing a premium look and an impressive 64-bit processor, along with the latest iOS iteration.

You’ve probably noticed in our previous Versus articles that the battles are split in ten rounds, each round being worth one point.

At the end of the Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5S battle we will count how many points each smartphone managed to grab and the winner will be the one that scored most points.

Display

The full HD displays have pretty much became the standard for the Android high-end smartphones, while Apple still trails behind with sub HD displays.

The Nexus 5 packs an accurate 5-inch full HD True HD IPS+ display with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution and a pixel density of 445 ppi. Nexus 5′s screen is protected by a Coring Gorilla Glass 3 layer.

The iPhone 5S comes with a tiny 4-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD screen with 640 x 1136 pixel resolution and a pixel density of 326ppi, plus Gorilla Glass protection.

The display unit of the Nexus 5 is better than iPhone 5S’ when it comes to web browsing, watching videos, or gaming both because it is significantly larger and because it packs higher resolution. Apple still considers that the 4-inch screens are best for one-hand usage, but how about the other things you are using your smartphone for?

I guess it’s pretty obvious that the Nexus 5 wins the Display round.

Dimensions

The Android smartphones are getting bigger as the manufactures are increasing the size of the screens. Well, since Apple is still sticking to a 4-inch screen their iPhones are significantly smaller than the Android competitors.

The Nexus 5 measures 137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6 mm and weighs 130 grams, but we shouldn’t forget that the smartphone co-developed by Google and LG has to accommodate significantly larger screen and battery.

In terms of size, the iPhone 5S is identical to its predecessor, measuring 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm and weighing 112 grams. Compared to the Nexus 5, the iPhone 5 is 14.1 mm shorter, 10.6 mm narrower, and 1 mm thinner. Moreover, the Apple smartphone is 18 grams lighter than the Nexus 5.

The Dimensions round goes to the iPhone 5S, because it’s more compact and lighter than the Nexus 5.

Connectivity

With 4G LTE networks continuing to spread, you can barely find a high-end smartphone without 4G connectivity.

In terms of connectivity the Nexus 5 comes with DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and microUSB 2.0.

On the other hand, the iPhone 5S DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, LTE, 100 Mbps; EV-DO Rev. A, up to 3.1 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, and Apple’s proprietary Lightning port.

As you probably noticed, the iPhone 5S lacks both WiFi ac and NFC, thus the Nexus 5 wins the Connectivity round.

Processor

Apple has created a lot of hype around the 64-bit processor fitted inside the iPhone 5S. But is the 64-bit A7 chipset the most powerful currently on the market?

Before talking about iPhone 5S’ processor, let’s have a look under Nexus 5′s hood. The Google flagship comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 chipset based on fur Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.26 GHz and an Adreno 330 GPU.

The Apple A7 chipset underpinning the iPhone 5S consists of a dual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone (ARM v8-based) CPU and a quad-core PowerVR G6430. Even though we are looking at a dual-core processor, the benchmark tests have proven that the A7 is the most powerful processor currently on the smartphone market. Anyway, A7′s performance is not related to the 64-bit architecture, as explained in this article.

The iPhone 5S wins another point.

Memory

There are over 1 million apps in both Google Play Store and Apple App Store, therefore you will need a lot of internal storage for downloading applications, not to mention movies, music, or books.

The iPhone 5S comes in three storage variants: 16/32/64 GB, while the Nexus 5 has 16 or 32 GB storage. It’s also worth mentioning that neither of the two smartphones come with microSD cards compatibility.

In terms of RAM amount, the iPhone 5S has 1 GB, while the Nexus 5 comes with 2 GB. Because the iOS doesn’t come with true multitasking the iPhone 5S’ lower amount of RAM won’t affect its performance, therefore the Nexus 5 doesn’t have an advantage by bringing 2 GB of RAM.

The iPhone 5S’ internal storage can climb up to 64 GB, therefore the Apple flagship wins another round against the Nexus 5.

Battery Life

With the screen resolution and processor performance increasing every year, the handsets’ autonomy has became a real problem for the manufacturers as you can barely find a device that brings you more than a day and a half of battery life.

We were fortunate enough to get our hands on the two smartphones long enough to be able to test their battery life.

The iPhone 5S has a non-removable Li-Po 1,560 mAh battery which, according to Apple, is enough to keep the smartphone awake through 250 hours of stand-by time or 10 hours of talk time (3G). In our real-life tests the iPhone 5S had an autonomy of about 16 hours, which is just enough to allow you to unplug the smartphone in the morning and recharge it again late at night, while used moderately.

According to the specs sheet, the Nexus 5 has 300 hours of stand-by time (3G) or 17 hours of 3G talk time courtesy of the non-removable Li-Po 2300 mAh battery. Our Nexus 5 managed to go tough 24 hours of normal usage, which is pretty decent for a smartphone.

As you’ve probably guessed the Nexus 5 wins the Battery Life round, scoring another point in the battle against Nexus 5.

Price

The Nexus 4 was the perfect example that an affordable smartphone with high-end specifications will surely become a popular product. On the other hand the iPhones are known as being one of the most expensive smartphones on the market.

We’ll try to keep it simple here. May the cheapest smartphone win.

The iPhone 5S is available with 16, 32, and 64 GB of storage, priced $649.99, $749.99, and $849.99, respectively. On the other hand, the Nexus 5 sells through Google Play Store at $349 for the 16 GB model and $399 for the 32 GB model.

It’s not very difficult to notice that the cheapest iPhone 5S is almost twice as expensive as the Nexus 5 16 GB, thus the Price round has to go to the Google device.

Camera

All of us use our smartphones to take photos and if you want high-quality photos you will need a high-quality camera.

The Nexus smartphones are known for packing poor camera modules, but the Nexus 5 is definitely an improvement from its predecessors. The handset comes with an 8 MP camera with autofocus, optical image stabilization, LED flash, Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, photo sphere, HDR+, dual recording, and 1080p@30fps video recording. The front-facing camera is a 1.3 MP unit, also capable of recording full HD videos.

The iPhone 5S also comes with an 8 MP shutter, but unlike Nexus 5′s it lacks OIS. 5S’ camera brings 1/3” sensor size, 1.5 µm pixel size, simultaneous HD video and image recording, touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection, HDR panorama, HDR photo, 1080p@30fps and slow-motion 720p@120fps video recording.

The real-life tests have shown that the iPhone 5S still has one of the best cameras on the market, even though it’s just an 8 MP unit, definitely outmatching the one mounted on the back of the Nexus 5. Another point for the iPhone 5S.

Design

We always hear that the iPhones are the some of best-looking smartphones on the market and, to be honest, you can’t argue with that.

The even though its predecessor used glass for the back lid, the new Nexus flagship has a plastic chassis. The material used for the Nexus 5 is pretty similar with the one of the Nexus 7, being a soft-touch plastic which brings great grip. The design lines of the N5 are very fluid and the construction as a whole is great, making the smartphone look like a true premium product.

As I was mentioning above, the iPhones are some of the best-looking smartphones on the market, and the iPhone 5S is no exception. But that’s one thing about the design of the iPhone: it hasn’t changed too much in the last years, so it’s becoming rather boring.

The iPhone 5S is a wonderfully crafted device, with an aluminium body that screams “premium.” Its biggest problem is that it looks like the iPhone 5. And the iPhone 5′s biggest problem was that it looked like taller iPhone 4S, iPhone 4S which was identical to it’s predecessor, the iPhone 4 which was launched in 2010. Therefore the iPhone 5S looks like Apple’s 2010 flagship which has grown taller in the meantime. But it’s still a beautiful smartphone.

Because the iPhone 5S’ design is boring and because Nexus 5′s doesn’t stand out too much, this round of the Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5S battle ends as tie.

Design

The iOS vs Android is one of the fiercest rivalries in the IT business and each operating system has millions of backers all over the world.

The Nexus 5 is the first smartphone in the world to come pre-loaded with Android 4.4 KitKat and, because it’s a Nexus, it will always be among the first terminals to receive new software updates, which solves one of the said biggest problems of the Android environment.

There are a lot of iOS fanboys out there who would say that Android is laggy, but they probably didn’t touch a post-Ice Cream Sandwich high-end Android smartphone.

Anyway, Android allows you to customize your smartphone to suit your needs, and is probably the most complex operating system developed for a mobile device.

The iPhone 5S runs iOS 7, which is the most major update Apple brought to its mobile operating system since its debut in 2007. The iOS 7 definitely comes with loads of improvements, but most of them have been borrowed from Windows Phone and Android. Just look at the messaging app, the control centre, the incoming call screen, lock screen, multitasking or weather app.

Until now, the iOS had two major advantages over Android. The first one was simplicity. The iOS wasn’t about looks, it was about functionality which came as a result of its simplicity, and everything its users loved about it it’s now gone in iOS 7. The second one was the stability. iOS 7 lost that as well.

The Operating System round goes to the Nexus 5 and it’s not because we are “Android Geeks,” but because the iOS 7 has lost everything that made it functional and unique.

Conclusions

If it reads “conclusions” above it means that we’re at the end of the Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5S battle and that it’s time to count the points.

The only round that ended as tie was the Design round, because each smartphone has its pros and cons, and because neither of two is perfect.

The iPhone 5S has won the Dimensions, Processor, Memory, and Camera rounds, because it’s thinner and lighter than the Nexus 5, because it has a more powerful CPU, higher amount of storage, and better camera. That’s four points.

The Nexus 5 scored five points after it won the Display, Connectivity, Price, Operating System, and Battery Life rounds, as it packs a larger and higher resolution screen, WiFi ac and NFC, is a lot cheaper, runs Android 4.4 KitKat, and has greater battery life.

From our point of view the Google flagship is the winner of the Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5S battle, but some of you may think the iPhone 5S was entitled to win. Please express your opinions in the comments section below.

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  • Biraj

    My vote for Nexus 5!!! i prefer quality with price in my mind!! when Apple 5c released, i thought the price would be around 30K… buts its all same… cheap apple phone costs a price same as samsung s4!!

  • daddy

    Not sure how you managed to twist the facts into a near I-clone win, the Nexus takes all 7 real tests. The memory is better because RAM is more important than ultimate storage capacity. The processor is proven by bench testing to be 50% faster. Also the camera is better at actual image capturing, not phony post processing where the I-phone shines. The three subjective cats Design, Design, and Size could go either way based solely on opinion,