Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 Specs Head-to-head

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will arrive on the market in less than a month, therefore we though it’s about time to compare it with the high-end smartphones of 2013 and some of the handsets that are yet to be made available for purchase. Now we’re putting the new South Korean flagship face to face to Google’s latest smartphone in the Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 specs battle.

You may now from our previous versus articles that the Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 battle will consist of 10 rounds in which we’ll compare the smartphones’ performance in terms of Display, Dimensions, Processor, Memory, Camera, Design, Operating System, Price, Battery Life, and Connectivity. Each round is worth 1 point and, at the end of the battle, the smartphone that manages to score most points is declared winner.

Display

Even though it was rumored that the Galaxy S5 will feature a Quad HD (2560 x 1440) screen, the Samsung smartphone arrives with a 5.1-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 432 ppi pixel density. On the other hand, the Nexus 5 packs a 1080p 5.0-inch True HD IPS+ screen with 445 ppi pixel density.

Both panels are known for bringing unrivalled brightness and contrast, the Super AMOLED unit is more battery friendly courtesy of its ability to turn off pixels completely. Unfortunately, the color reproduction of the Super AMOLED screen is not what you would call accurate and the panel performs rather poorly under direct sunlight.

Even though the S5 has a slightly larger display, the gaming, web browsing, or video watching experiences will be similar on both devices, as 0.1-inches doesn’t really make a difference.

With all these being said, the Display round of the battle ends as tie.

Dimensions

The display and the battery capacity are to of the elements that hinder the smartphone makers from making their devices a bit smaller.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 measures 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm and has a weight of 145 grams. The Nexus 5 is 137.9 mm tall, 69.2 mm wide, and 8.6 mm thin, while having a weight of 130 grams. Even though the two handset have similar-sized screens, the Galaxy S5 is obviously taller and wider than the Nexus handset.

While the S5 is thinner, the N5 is lighter and more compact, therefore easier to handle. The smartphone co-developed by Google and LG wins the Dimensions round.

Processor

The Galaxy S5 is underpinned by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset which arrives with four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.5 GHz and quad-core Adreno 330 GPU. The Nexus 5 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC with quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 CPU and quad-core Adreno 330 GPU.

Besides having the processor clocked 200 MHz higher, the Adreno 330 GPU fitted on the S5 also runs at a higher frequency than the one on the Nexus 5, therefore the Samsung flagship wins this round of the battle.

Memory

New content is making its way to Google Play Store on a daily basis, so you may need a lot of storage to install various apps, or download your favorite music albums, or TV Shows.

While the Nexus 5 is limited to 16/32 GB of storage, the Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with 16/32 GB native storage, plus support for microSD cards up to 128 GB. When it comes to RAM, both smartphones arrive with 2 GB, therefore they should provide an above-average multitasking experience.

Because the Galaxy S5 has more storage, it wins this round of the battle against Nexus 5.

Camera

All smartphone makers are making efforts to improve the camera units mounted on the back of their devices and Samsung and LG make no exception.

The Galaxy S5 features a 16 MP rear-facing camera with phase detection autofocus, LED flash, 1/2.6” sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, HDR, and support for 4K video recording. Besides the 16 MP sensor, one of the main advantages of S5’s camera is the super fast focus, that is capable of focusing in just 0.3 seconds.

The Nexus 5 has an 8 MP sensor with autofocus, optical image stabilization, LED flash, Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, photo sphere, HDR+, dual recording, and 1080p@30fps video recording capabilities.

Even though S5’s camera lacks OIS, it’s definitely an improvement from the one of the S4, which was already outperforming the Nexus 5’s. Another point for the Samsung flagship.

Design

There are some customers who choose their smartphones based on the way they look, therefore we though we should also include a Design battle in the Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 battle.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 looks a lot like its predecessor, but it now brings a rubberized back that is supposed to give the smartphone better grip. It’s also dust and water resistant, which should be helpful for the clumsy owners. Samsung also embedded a fingerprint sensor on the Home button and a heart rate monitor on the back, right below the camera.

The N5 has a sleek design, with pretty thin bezels surrounding the display, while being build using materials that offer great grip. The best thing about Nexus 5’s design is that it looks like its whole piece of material, as you can barely see the gaps between the body and other design elements.

Because the Galaxy S5 doesn’t bring anything new on the tablet in terms of looks, the point allocated for the Design battle goes to the Nexus 5, which is the better-looking handset.

Operating System

Even though we are dealing with two smartphones running KitKat, there quite a few differences between the UI of the Galaxy S5 and Nexus 5.

The smartphone co-developed by Google and LG is running stock Android 4.4.2 KitKat and, because is a member of the Nexus tribe, will always be in the first wave of devices to receive the latest firmware upgrades. The Google Now Launcher that comes pre-installed on the responds to “OK, Google” hotword from anywhere on the screen, while Google Now itself is hidden in the far left side of the homescreen.

As usual, Samsung installed their proprietary TouchWiz UI on the Galaxy S5, which brings a ton of software features. Super Power saving mode promises to give you 24 hours of autonomy with only 10% of battery by turning the screen black and white and limiting the phone’s functions to calls and texts, Selective Focus allows you to choose the focus point after a picture was taken, and Private Mode helps you hide certain apps and files. You’ll also be able to make mobile payments via PayPal using the embedded fingerprint sensor.

Even though the S5 brings more features, the Nexus 5 is the handset that brings the pure Android experience and gets Android updates on time. Another point scored by the Google flagship.

Price

The Galaxy S5 didn’t hit the market yet, but many of the US carriers have already revealed the pricing of the Samsung flagship. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon are selling the 16 GB S5 with two-year contract at $199, while the off-contract price is between $650 – 700.

The Nexus 5 sells through Google Play Store at $349 with 16 GB of storage and $399 with 32 GB storage. On the other hand, Sprint is offering the Nexus 5 with two-year contract for only $99.

There’s no question that the Nexus 5 is the cheaper smartphone, therefore it wins the Price round.

Battery Life

The battery life is the main issue of the modern smartphones, as you can barely find a high-end device that makes it through more than one day of usage.

The Nexus 5 has a non-removable Li-Po 2,300 mAh battery that is capable of keeping it awake through almost 24 hours of moderate usage.

The Galaxy S5 sports a 2,800 mAh battery which only 300 mAh bigger than N5’s, but the Ultra Power Saving mode can help you improve its battery life considerably, especially when you really need your smartphone and you have no possibility to charge it. The S5 wins the Battery Life round.

Connectivity

The Samsung handset packs HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat4, 50 Mbps UL, 150 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, IR blaster, and microUSB 3.0.

The Nexus smartphone has DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat4, 50 Mbps UL, 150 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.

Have you spotted the difference yet? If you didn’t hear that Nexus 5 lacks IR blaster and brings microUSB 2.0 instead of microUSB 3.0, but these aren’t enough to bring another point to the Galaxy S5. It’s a tie here.

Conclusions

The Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 battle has come to an end which means that we have to do the math and see which smartphone scored most points.

We’ve had two rounds that ended as tie, the Display and Connectivity ones, because the two devices have similar-sized full HD screens and almost identical connectivity features.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has won in front of the Nexus 5 when it came to Processor, Memory, Camera, and Battery Life, because the Snapdragon 801 unit is more powerful, it can total 160 GB of storage, has a better camera, and the Ultra Power Saving mode can really save your day.

The Nexus 5 outmatched the Galaxy S5 when it came to Dimensions, Design, Operating System, and Price because it’s lighter and more compact, it looks better, runs stock Android and receives new updates faster, and it’s cheaper.

With all these being said both smartphones scored 4 points each, which means that the Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 battle ends as tie. But this is just our opinion. If you believe that the outcome should have been different, feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Articles

  • Ronnie D.

    They are both phenomenal smartphones w/out a doubt…each bringing it’s own d.n.a. but IMHO,that pure vanilla android is priceless!

  • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

    I really want to be won over to the Nexus 5, but Samsung keeps me locked in due to the removable (expandable) battery and microSD card support which are both important to me. I use AOKP Android which works fine (but not perfect) on my Samsung Galaxy S III and I presume will be available on the S5 in short order… However, I expect that will nullify some of the S5’s features. I’m really torn as to which device to upgrade to.

    • Mitchell Shaw

      Upgrade to the N5 and get a battery case. There are several on the market. I have one by ZeroLemon and my battery lasts for two days now with heavy use.

      • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

        I’ve got a ZeroLemon 7,000 mAh battery with soft cover on my S3 and like it a lot. I noticed the other day that ZeroLemon now offers an extended battery & protective case solution for the Nexus 5, so that’s an option, too… However, the sdcard slot is still lacking and I think that’s more important to me than the ability to replace the battery since there are other solutions for that dilemma. Edit: I did pre-order 4 LithiumCard HyperCharger external batteries. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/lithiumcard-the-hypercharger

        I’m intrigued by the new HTC One (M8) which does have a microSD card slot and is available from Google Play unlocked with pure Android. It’s very compelling, but the price is a bit of a shocker.

        • Mitchell Shaw

          The good news is that with so many really great devices out there, you have a lot to choose from without going wrong.
          You mentioned a couple times that SD card expansion is important to you. Have you considered the 32gb model of the N5? I gave the 16gb model and I moved over from an S3 with 16gb on board and a 4gb SD card. I was a little nervous about locking myself in at 16gb, but do far, no problems. If you liked at 32gb, it might meet all your needs. At any rate, happy upgrading and I hope you like your next device.

          • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

            Thanks Mitchell, your insightful responses are appreciated.

            I do, in fact, intend to get a device with 32gb internal storage. However, the reason I strongly desire the external storage is primarily for backups (via TWRP & Titanium Pro) as I upgrade my ROM and media storage such as PocketCasts & Google All Access Music caches. I have been using a 64gb microSD card for these purposes on my S3.

            I also used to play a lot of games on my phone which often have very large downloads and was able to offload that data onto the SD card using FolderMount [ROOT], but since I bought myself a Nexus 7, I’ve uninstalled most of those games from my phone.

  • Zaq Sarazan

    If gs5 had stock android I would give it the win. Give me an unlocked s5 or dev. Edition all day

    • Empyrean Tech

      You could get the Google Play Edition of the S5 and that would solve your problems!

  • Isaac Kennedy

    nowadays if a phone has lower mega pixels its just losing to competition its all about the camera on a smartphone

    • Mitchell Shaw

      And punctuation, too… ;)

    • Empyrean Tech

      The HTC One M8 has a 5.1MP front camera and a 4MP UltraPixel camera on the back yet it still takes great pictures!

  • Eric

    Samsung customer service is largely lacking and fake water damage to not replace phones while Google is amazing! Therefore Nexus should win. Another category that is more important then half this stuff is durability, and I have seen and had many S4 break and crack easily, while my nexus S saw hell and is still running. It would be interesting to see if there was any quality and durability changes in these phones, my new nexus 5 is working great as of now.

  • Nate

    The price round should be 7 points… If it brakes, you can buy another one… ????

  • Empyrean Tech

    The Nexus 5 wins in my opinion for being exceptionally well built, having the latest Android firmware all the time and for sheer usability. Samsung really needs to work on their design and making their software easy and intuitive, not just cramming it full of features. I do however like Samsung’s Gear 2 watch, but now it has some serious competition from the Moto 360.