Nexus 5 black vs white comparison: what’s your choice?

by: Bogdan PetrovanNovember 9, 2013

The Nexus 5 is here. It has great specs, runs pure Android, and comes in black or white. We already gave you our first impressions of the white version, and showed you how the white model holds up to impact in our Android lawn drop test. Now the all-black version is finally in our hands, just in time for a quick comparison with its immaculate sibling.

Starting with the front, the two versions of the Nexus 5 look almost identical, sharing the same understated, yet modern appearance. The distinctive curves of the top and bottom, along with slim bezels, frame the bright Full HD display, without ever drawing the eye. It’s almost like Google wanted to make the phone as unobtrusive as possible, so what really matters, the software, can shine.

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The only decoration is the white speaker grill on the white version – it’s a nice accent that spices up the design, though for some it may be distracting, at least in the beginning. There’s also a notification LED on the bottom of the phone, that’s white-only out of the box but can be customized using a specialized app.

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Onto the sides, both versions are black, but there’s a difference – the white version features a glossy black, that’s somehow prone to fingerprints and fine scratches, though you probably won’t look at the sides that often; the black version features on the sides the same soft material found on the back. It’s slightly easier to grip, but also susceptible to absorbing oils.

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The back of the white version is pleasing to the eye, especially thanks to the contrast with the black ring around the camera. It’s made of a hard plastic that’s somehow similar to the material on the 2012 HTC One X. It’s smooth, feels solid, and more premium than the glossy plastic on some other phones.

The black model on the other hand is covered in a rubbery plastic that gives it a very nice grip and feel in hand. If you handled the Nexus 7 (2013), you’ll know right away what the black Nexus 5 is all about. The vertical Nexus logo and the LG logo are embossed and have a glossy texture, spicing up the otherwise unassuming design.

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The white Nexus 5 is more elegant, but wear and tear will probably be more visible on it after a few months of use. The hard plastic is also less grippy than the soft touch on the all-black model, butterfingers be warned.

On the other hand, the utilitarian all-black Nexus 5 won’t turn as many heads, but many will appreciate its stealthy allure and firm grip. As with all soft touch surfaces, oily fingers will leave unsightly marks on its back, though they are usually not permanent.

Did you buy a Nexus 5? Do you plan to do so? If so, what’s your favorite version and why? Tell us in the comments and vote in our poll.

[poll id=”416″]

  • Cao Meo

    white is a looker, but black is more practical. I don’t like using cases so black will be better.

  • Haim Green

    You’re the best!

  • Haim Green

    You’re the best !

  • AndroidBrian

    Black is obviously the winner. Black 32gb is a longer wait than the white 32gb.

  • Ahmed Zakir

    I have a galaxy nexus, and black would look similar to my nexus 7. So i went with the white nexus 5. Kind of stands out too :)

  • Hywel Davies

    I bought the black one. Not a fan of the white one, I would have much preferred it if the whole phone was white (like the fake that was posted a couple of weeks ago) or at least if the sides were white as well.

  • Humberto Hernandez

    I’d go for the white without thinking, it it weren’t for the glossy sides =@ It ruined the phone (kinda)

  • Ryan Montgomery

    Bought and received the white one. Looks nice. Put a bumper cover on with a clear back so the white still shows and it has “grippy” edges

  • Brendon Brown

    The black one has better build quality so id go with the black one.

  • Mehmetcan

    I might have opted for the white had the front and the sides been white as well. For this round I’d go with the black.

  • Mvrcel Lgt

    is there a choice? Cant order anywhere right now =/

  • Shark Bait

    I normally dislike white phones because they look odd with the screen turned off. But this with white back and black front is a looker I tnink!

    • michael

      I will never look at my phone the same again. . .

  • wafi

    Black all the way!

  • George Av

    i don’t care. the whole front is black on both of them. apart from that white speaker grill..

  • Fii

    For other devices, I’ve been preferring white versions (my Galaxy S4 is white). For the Nexus 5 the black version is far superior. A friend of mine recently got the white version; it’s not even white! It’s a dingy looking off-white. Not cool at all. Then I saw the black at a Sprint store. Looks much sleeker, and honestly I love the matte texture.

  • john

    All my friends have white iphones so i choose white one

  • rgaoo1

    If the white Nexus 5 was all white, front and back, I would purchase that one. I will wait to see if they update the white option.

    • Sashank Narayan

      Not going to happen.

    • Richard Sequeira

      They didn’t do that with the Nexus 4.

    • USMD

      Def not gonna happen.

  • Joseph M. L.

    Bought the black one for the low profile look and because the white had black bezel. If I am to buy a white phone, it has to be all white, not half white, half black.

  • Harsh Patel

    I have tried White on nexus 4 not that good but black is better

  • Shaifudin Baruchah

    I prefer the white nexus 5… =)

  • ciac

    I got both, because you can tell so little from the picture on play store (this was day one of the sale, before all the reviews came out). The white really looks better in person. The back has an eggshell finish. I like the contrast, which really makes black looks a tad boring by comparison. However, the eggshell finish is REALLY scratch prone. Within minutes I found bright scuff marks on it, and within a day there’s a pretty long scratch–and I was being fairly careful. I just can’t remember what had happened. You can make a slight scuff mark by running your nail repeatedly across the finish, and it’s permenant. It’s actually not very visible due to the white (contrary to this review), but the surface itself is definitely less than durable.

    • Ben

      That’s the most sensible compromise. Get both! Enjoy.

  • Simon Belmont

    I bought a white 32GB. First white phone I’ve owned since my white T-Mobile G1 (I’ve had several black/gray phones in between that and the Nexus 5) and I just wanted something different.

    I like the white one because it just looked a bit less understated than the black one. I like the white earpiece, too, because it makes a nice counterpoint to the notification LED (nice design touch). I haven’t felt like it will wear badly over the coming months. It seems really high quality.

  • Rakesh Ganju

    I would like to go for BLACK…..just after you explained the difference between the black and white. Else I was about to pre-book a white one as the black is already sold out in pre booking.

  • Nikhil subramanian

    Eagerly waiting for it’s launch in india and i’m planning to buy the black one coz i really liked the nexus 7 (2012) rubber material.

  • Fr0ntSight

    I choose white BY FAR. I hate white phones..but the nexus does it extremely well. They keep the whole front of the phone black so the screen looks great but that back has a really nice texture and color. Honestly the black version looks just like any other phone…the white stands out as THE Nexus 5

  • Siemen Gijbels

    Goddamn, all these reviewers have 2 Nexus 5’s and I’m still waiting for mine to be delivered

  • Driperr

    Racism, white or black…

  • Chris Wortman

    Had a choice in the store, white or black and after careful consideration, and about a week or so of wrestling with the choice in my head, I went back to the store. I held both in my hands. The black one was nice, and sure it had a rubbery grip to it, it just lacked a certain professional look that the white one had. The white one had a certain finish to it that the black one lacked. The screen just seemed to meld into the white where the black version, the screen stops and the back of the phone begins. I like seeing where the speaker grill is, I like seeing where the camera is, it just draws the eye of whoever I am taking a picture of, which is what you want to go for. It feels more thought out too. The rubbery back on the black one had a little more “grip” to it, but as I put it into my leather belt pouch this quickly seemed to become more of a problem getting the phone in and out. It just didn’t slide into and out of place. I almost dropped a 400 dollar device onto vct tile I did not own because it “gripped” too hard making me fumble. I could see this as an issue should I get a call and need direct fast access to it. So I got the white one…

  • Dragan Ruzic

    White one, period.

  • Darn

    Want the black one but my phone just died and I need a new phone ASAP and the black 32GB is out of stock for 4-5 weeks so white it is!

  • Natalie

    Would definitely choose the white one if it wasn’t for the white ear piece… It just makes it hard for me to decide, haha.

  • Josh

    I have the white one and my phone looks gr8!

  • viktor

    I have Nexus 5 almoust two years. I choised a black version. Phone still works without problems and I’m very pleased with it.