Nexus 4 vs Nexus 5 — what’s new?

by: Andrew GrushOctober 31, 2013

Nexus 5 press image

As expected, Google officially unveiled the Nexus 5 today, bringing us an extremely powerful new Android flagship at a reasonably budget-friendly starting price of just $349.

Now that the Nexus 5 is here, you might be wondering what’s all new when compared to last year’s Nexus. The Nexus 4 was an excellent handset when first debuted, but the Nexus 5 is bigger and better in just about every way imaginable.

Let’s jump in and take a look at what’s new with the Nexus 5, shall we?

Design and build quality

When the Nexus 4 touched down last year it brought with it a unique design with a glass back. This led to a design that was quite stunning, though arguably not the most durable. In contrast, the Nexus 5 favors a plastic back and a design that is very similar to the Nexus 7, albeit in smaller form.

When it comes down to size, the Nexus 5 is a bit larger but actually weighs a little less and is even thinner! The Nexus 5 comes in at 137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm with a weight of 130 grams. In contrast, the Nexus 4 is 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm and is 9 grams heavier.

Overall, the Nexus 5 is a stunning device though it’s visual design is considerably different from the Nexus 4. As a plus, it’s plastic body should make for a much more durable device.


Probably one of the most noticeable changes for the Nexus 5 is it’s 4.96-inch Full HD display. At 445ppi, the Nexus 5’s viewing experience will likely be nothing short of amazing.

The Nexus 4’s 4.7-inch  768 x 1280 resolution display wasn’t bad at the time, but we are now in an age where 1080p is the norm.

Camera and Battery

One of the biggest weaknesses for the Nexus 4 was it’s less-than-great camera and weak battery. Are things any better this time around with the Nexus 5? Yes and no.

While the camera is still just an 8MP shooter, it’s important to remember that there is more to a good picture taking experience than just the megapixels. With the inclusion of optical image stabilization, the Nexus 5’s camera will likely prove to be an improvement over the original, though it’s hard to say by how much.

As for the battery, the Nexus 5’s battery is bigger at 2300 mAh versus 2100 mAh, but the handset also has a faster processor and more demanding display. That means battery life is still likely a weakness for the Nexus line.

On the brightside, Google’s independent testing claims battery life isn’t that bad. Supposedly you should be able to get around 17 hours of talk time, 300 hours standby, and Internet use on Wifi at 8.5 hours, or 7 hours on LTE.

nexus 5 official

What else is new?

Although the camera and battery might be a little weaker than some would hope, the rest of the Nexus 5’s specs are actually very impressive.

The handset is powered by a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU with 2GB of RAM. The storage options have also increased, with a 16 and 32GB version now available.

 Nexus 4Nexus 5
Display4.7-inch IPS LCD, 768 x 1280 resolution with 318ppi4.96-inch IPS LCD, Full HD with 445ppi
Processor1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064, Adreno 320 GPU2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Adreno 330 GPU
Battery2,100 mAh non-removable battery, wireless charging2,300 mAh non-removable battery, wireless charging
Cameras8MP camera with auto focus and LED flash, 1.3MP front cam8MP rear with OIS, autofocus and LED flash; 1.3MP front
Networks3G, GSMLTE, 3G, GSM, CDMA
ConnectivityNFC, A-GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0NFC, A-GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
OSAndroid 4.3 Jelly Bean, upgrade to 4.4 coming soonAndroid 4.4 KitKat
Dimensions133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm, 139 grams137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm, 130g
Priceoriginally $299, $349
Price cut to: $199, $249
(no longer in stock)
$349, $399

The Nexus 5 also manages a few firsts for a Nexus device. Not only does it officially support LTE, it also is the only Nexus device to support OIS technology. Unlike the Nexus 4, the Nexus 5 also brings back support for Sprint’s network here in the United States.

Beyond hardware and design changes, the only other difference between the Nexus 5 and Nexus 4 is the OS version. Right now the Nexus 4 is still on Android 4.3, while the Nexus 5 will ship with Android 4.4 KitKat.

The good news is KitKat is expected to arrive on the Nexus 4 within the next few weeks.


The Nexus 5 is a major step forward for the Nexus line, and like the Nexus 7 2013, but that also means prices are going up a bit compared to the last-gen Nexus handset.

Pricing for the Nexus 5 will now begin at $349 for the 16GB model, or $399 for the 32GB version.

For more details on pricing and availability of the Nexus 5, you’ll want to head here.

  • fatspirit

    Nice phone.

  • Matthew Brown

    Technically the Nexus 5 is the same price as a Nexus 4. The Nexus 4 price was $349 for 16GB (whatever that is in GBP) and so is the Nexus 5. There is just no cheaper option.

  • companyemails

    Now please compare the Nexus 5 to the Moto-X. I suspect a bunch pf people might be interested in comparing the two.

    • Fussolia

      And the Note 3.

  • microSD on the N4? That’s news to me

  • Alain Lafond

    Nice phone, but I’ll stay with my 4. The upgrade does not worth throwing that money. When I switched from my Galaxy Nexus, there were plenty of good reasons.
    But now:
    -little faster
    -a little brigther
    -less fragile
    -less weight
    -LTE, you can get it with a hack…
    No sir, I’ll keep it… And I’ll wait for the 6, if there’s a good reason to switch…
    $400.00 more in my pockets.

    • Nexii

      I think the next one’s going to be a Nexus 5 (2014). Six is waaaay to big for a phone, and its invading the Nexus 7’s space.

      • rdeleonp


      • Nick V

        I think with the next iteration, it will just be called Nexus Phone 2014. This way they can justify it from the tablet space.

        If we are lucky and petulant enough, maybe it will be called, The New Nexus! :)

    • Cecil

      I agree, I should have gotten the 16gb when it was 250.

      • Alexandana Theng

        I may not be lucky to have this device at all because Nexus 4 is now priced USD 440 per unit. I think at least nearly USD 600 for this device when it first arrive in my country :(

        • Jayfeather787

          I agree. I think that the Nexus 5 is extremely fast, but the old Nexus 4, is definitely no slouch either. Once you get the kit kat update, the Nexus 4 will continue to fly as always. I know that Jellybean 4.3 on my Samsung Galaxy Exhibit (1GHz single core with 512 MB of RAM) runs smoothly. On kit kat, I would only expect that the performance increases even more.

  • Dear AA, have you already tested the Nexus 5? How exactly can you claim “..battery life is still clearly a weakness for the Nexus line.”?
    And the Nexus 4 has pretty decent battery life. I’ve had no complaints as it easily lasts a day with moderate use.

    • Jimbo

      Let us know when it lasts a day with heavy use.
      As a correction – “…still *likely* a weakness…”
      2300mAh is a bit dissapointing, but clearly not enough as I just bought one!

  • Kenny Woodard

    This phone will work on AT&T right?

    And now I’m kinda confused on what to do. I can get an HTC One (used) for about the same price and also, Moto X price will probably be dropping even more pretty soon. I have to buy one out of contract on a budget. Any words of advice?

    • Eric Santos

      Off-Contract, you say… Well, the Moto X is great all around, all the features Motorola included are VERY useful(if you can be patient with OS updates). The Nexus 5 is 100% Google, and it’s just light speed fast(if you are into that).
      Or the DROID Mini, if you like smaller phones(but Motorola’s focus is the Moto X, the DROIDs are like their bastard children).

      I’m also thinking about getting the N5, but its design is disappointing compared to the N4’s and it’s way too big for me. I think I’ll stick with my N4 a little longer, along with my Moto X.

      • Kenny Woodard

        Thanks for the reply! And yeah I’ve been kinda torn on getting a Moto X or not. It seems like a nice phone. It’s just hard to pass up on a brand new device with top-of-the-line specs for the same price that a used Moto X would be. But the X seems to have all of the features you really want on a phone, when the N5 is barely anything more than just a phone. It doesn’t have features like the S4 or One or Moto X.

        • Jayfeather787

          In what way? If you are unhappy with some of the features, there are always ways to modify it. For example, Carbon ROM has the active notifications from the Moto X built in, and it works very well. There is also an app to open Google now by saying “OK Google” when the display is off, just like the Moto X. What features from the s4 and HTC One are you missing? Nexus 5 is the best for the price, and I know that the chipset in the Moto X, while fine, is lackluster when compared to the beast that the Snapdragon 800 is. The Nexus 5 is the choice for everyone, and it will not disappoint you. Also, it should receive android updates quickly, unlike the S4, One, or Moto X.

          • Kenny Woodard

            Well I wouldn’t mind an IR blaster. That would just be a convenient feature. I’ve never messed with ROMs or anything on android cuz I’ve always jailbroken with iPhone. And customization on the moto X would also be pretty cool.

          • Jayfeather787

            Well I agree that the Moto X has far superior battery life, and customization on the Moto X is cool, but I guess it depends on what you like. I enjoy messing around with the phone and flashing ROMs and the sort. I flashed a ROM on my Samsung a couple minutes ago, because that is just what I like to do. The IR blaster is also very useful if you have a TV and you can change the channels using your phone, but I prefer to use the remote.

          • Kenny Woodard

            I’m kn an iPhone 4 right now so anything is really an upgrade. I would like to step into android with something that kinda has a custom UI on it, so I can get the feel for android. But then again, I’ve always been pretty decent at learning about tech, so I could probably make the N5 work for me. I’m sure rooting and installing custom ROMs can’t be that hard. I think for me, right now, it’s Moto X and N5 in my top 2. I’ll have to see how the battery performs on the Nexus. Then make my call. Cuz both should be similarly priced before too long. I definitely want the Moto X features like active alert and voice control. So if the Moto X has a much better battery, I think I would give up a little bit of performance to have a much better battery plus already having the features without rooting.

          • Jayfeather787

            Yeah rooting and installing custom ROMs is not hard. The biggest thing for me was having the balls to actually do it. Once I did it though, nothing went wrong, and it functioned well

          • Kenny Woodard

            Also, the Moto X has had very good battery perfomance in every review I’ve seen

      • Tyrion

        All Droid Minis are bastards too, in their parent company’s eyes.

    • MadCowOnAStick

      When you go on the page where you buy the Nexus 5, it says only T-Mobile and Sprint work.

  • Magnetic1

    I’m afraid if you must get LTE, then you must go all out and get the snapdragon 800 in the phone.

  • Jaun Lombard

    Good, but not top specs!…might wait for the S5…I cant live without AMOLED!

    • Cole Raney

      How is that not top specs?

  • Alexandana Theng

    I do not find any guilty of this device at all and of course battery is only one thing that is the still weakness of nexus 5 but that is really cool with a support of wireless charging… i would say that this device comes all in one – The best phone for 2013

  • Haden Bush

    I know the nexus 5 is the main focus right now but is there anymore news or rumors on the new Nexus 10, and will we see it before Christmas?

  • Michael Souhoka

    Please make LG G2 vs LG G Flex review. :)

  • jack

    thicker and heavier than an apple’s phone released over a year ago

    • Jayfeather787

      Good, makes the Nexus 5 feel sturdier and stronger.

      • jack

        then get a goddamn motorola dynatac

        • Jayfeather787

          Get a goddamn nokia flip.

    • Kevin Ewell

      iphone still has a smaller screen than the the android phones from over 3 years ago.

  • Luis

    It’s curious that everybody is complaining about HTC phones regarding the sd memory and there is nobody with the Nexus

  • Jayfeather787

    Both are great phones. The Nexus 5 is a beast and the best for the money, but if you can find a Nexus 4 for 20 bucks, that’s also a great deal.