Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5 – quick look

by: Joshua VergaraSeptember 29, 2015

Months of rumors preceded today’s unveiling of the Nexus 5X. The phone is all that we expected it to be and more, with a price point and specs that will make it one of the sweetest deals around. So was the Nexus 5 during its times of glory, though. How does the current Nexus 5X compare to its direct predecessor? We put them next to each other in a quick comparison while at Google’s event, so let’s jump into the details and see what’s better in the new Nexus 5-incher!

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Design & build quality

Looking around the Nexus 5X we can see that it has some similarities to the previous LG Nexus 5, but these phones are definitely not to be confused. LG has evolved, Google has evolved and the industry has evolved. This evolution is something you can really see reflected when comparing these handsets.

Both devices feature that affordable, utilitarian design with a plastic body, but they definitely don’t feel cheap. They are also about the same weight, with the Nexus 5X weighing 136 grams and the Nexus 5 being 130 grams heavy. The newer Nexus is slightly thinner at 7.9 mm, too.

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Now let’s jump into the differences, which there’s plenty of. The most obvious aesthetic changes will be the protruding camera and fingerprint scanner, which adorn the back of the Nexus 5X. Look at the bottom of the phone and you’ll see the new Nexus 5X will also sport a brand new USB Type C port, which is the next step in connectivity and supports more than just data transfers and charging but also is fully reversible. The addition of dual front-facing speakers will also offer a significant difference in the front’s look.

Think of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 5 as devices made with the same audience and purpose in mind, but coming from different ages.

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Though the Nexus 5X screen is larger, it doesn’t beat the smaller one by much. The newer Nexus handset sports a 5.2-inch 1080p LCD display. On the other hand, the previous Nexus 5 featured a 4.95-inch 1080p panel. Both have Gorilla Glass 3 protecting them. While the original Nexus 5 will actually offer slightly higher PPI due to the smaller display, the real world difference between the two should be pretty minor.

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Now, this is where you will find the true changes between the handsets being compared today. The Nexus 5X has a powerful Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor clocked at 2.0 GHz, 2 GB of RAM and 16-32 GB of internal storage and a 2700 mAh battery with no wireless charging.

Meanwhile, the Nexus 5 has a more outdated Snapdragon 800 chipset running 4 cores at 2.3 GHz, 2 GB of RAM, 16-32 GB of internal storage and a 2300 mAh battery with wireless charging. Of course, the obvious caveat about the newer Nexus phone is the lack of wireless charging, which is a shame to see in a Nexus phone this day and age.

Also important is the Nexus 5X addition of USB-C (already mentioned above) and Nexus Imprint, which allows all security processes to be performed with the aid of that fingerprint reader.

While the Nexus 5 is still capable of providing a decent Android experience, the Nexus 5X is obviously a major step forward, even if the decision to keep just 2GB of RAM may prove to be a turn off for some.


I still remember the Nexus 5 announcement. Google was going on and on about how darn fast the camera was, but that was probably about the only good thing the Nexus 5’s shooter had going for it. It turns out the 8 MP camera wasn’t very good at taking clear shots, and the 1.3 MP front-facing camera was only average.

Google aims to fix this issue with the Nexus 5X, or at least make the situation better. The new 12.3 MP camera comes with 1.55 micron pixels, which should allow for more light to enter the sensor. In addition, the f/2.0 aperture can help push shutter speeds higher and the laser-assisted auto-focus will definitely improve your focusing times.

The Nexus 5X does lack OIS, but the other technology should justify that. What it isn’t missing is 4K video shooting and a dual-flash set-up for those dark party shots. The front camera has also been upgraded to a 5 MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture. It’s too early to say how much better the camera experience is, or how it compares to other 2015 devices, but at the very least we can expect a push forward compared to the aging camera of the original Nexus 5.

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For Android enthusiasts, Nexus devices are the kings of software. These phones get updates directly from Google, and usually before other smartphones out there. The thing here is that older Nexus devices start getting pushed aside as successors come into the game. Chances are high that the Nexus 5 will lose support soon, as it is pretty old and now has a direct replacement.

And even if the older Nexus 5 sticks around for longer, the Nexus 5X will always get preference. For now we can say both phones will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which means they can take advantage of new features like Android Pay, Google Now on Tap, the new permissions system, improved battery management, revamped sharing functionality, simplified volume controls and more.

That means the software experience with both will be quite similar, but it won’t be long before the Nexus 5 is left in the dark in terms of new OS updates, while the Nexus 5X is just getting started.

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Price and conclusion

The Nexus 5X is priced at $379 for the 16 GB, compared to $349 for the Nexus 5 16 GB when it launched. Though the Nexus 5X is slightly pricier than the Nexus 5 was in its time, this can be justified by multiple things. The newer phone adopts new technology that wasn’t even around back when the Nexus 5 was launched. This obviously means manufacturing prices will rise. Not to mention, the Nexus 5X is definitely a better phone!

For those that enjoyed the Nexus 5 and were turned off by the larger display on the Nexus 6, the Nexus 5X is certainly a great option. Of course, those who want the absolute best experience might find that the Nexus 6P is more to their liking.

  • thyrhere

    Does the white nexus 5x have the matte back feel of the nexus 5 (2013)?

  • Spruce Cycle


  • Ryan

    Not enough of an update to be worth it, pretty sad since the Nexus 5 is 2 years old

  • fatspirit

    Missing wireless charging is sad.

  • Sorrynotsorry

    For now,
    What I like about the 5X: Better processor, better camera, fingerprint sensor.
    What I like about the N5: Everything else.
    You can usually tell if someone is using a N5 because of its shape and curves. The front of the 5X looks like a moto X or shrinked down N6, or really any recent motorola phone.I don’t like how all these devices look practically the same from the front.
    The portruding camera with soft plastic won’t end up well without proper care. There’ll probably be a “shiny ring” around the camera after some time.
    If I’m ever upgrading to the 5X, it’ll be for the camera and fingerprint sensor (but I wonder how good these will turn out to be?). The processor package on the N5 seems good enough to handle most of the tasks for me and even some of the more demanding games. For everything else I use my nVidia Shield tablet anyway.
    This’ll be an upgrade I’m skipping.

    • Neil Pereira

      Totally agree with you. The Nexus 5X ain’t nothing to write home about. If it had 3GB of RAM I would have may be considered it, USB Type C is fine but no wireless charging killed it for me. Also nice to see a fellow Nexus 5 – Nvidia Shield Tablet user on here! Cheers!

  • altrocks

    Seems like unless I want a better camera or a fingerprint scanner I should just stick with my original Nexus 5 since it will get Marshmallow next week anyway. Same RAM, barely upgraded processor, same display (only slightly bigger). Great for people who wanted a 5 after they were discontinued, but not really giving me a reason to upgrade from one that I already have.

    • Filly Jnr

      Battery? Better screen, Better speakers

    • X VII.I

      Or if I wanted a Nexus 5 like device on Verizon.

  • Alex Ossel

    Do they never learn? After the nexus 6 expierence they should. It’s not all about spec’s anymore. It’s about value for money. That’s what made the n5 populair. I love my n5 and was waiting for the 5x to arrive, wanting to buy it asap. Now it’s here, and what a disappointment.
    Highley overpriced (€469 in Europe) and near no improvements. Screen is the same (the old one even slightly better), processor isn’t really interesting because the old doesn’t cause lag either, a usseles (but nice to play around with for a while) fingerscanner (but in a strange place and fingerscanners are annoying after a while), en no whireless charching!!! And it’s bigger, i don’t want bigger. The old camera was good enough, this one a bit better.
    Where is the improvement to justify an €469 investment?!

    • dsp4

      I agree with some of your points. There’s definitely a big issue with the value proposition, especially in international markets. I’m having a hard time even justifying an upgrade from a Nexus 4 considering it runs Lollipop and all apps flawlessly.

      The fingerprint scanner is definitely a gimmick. I’d appreciate it if I used the lockscreen, but I don’t, so there’s no significant benefit to me. USB-C is nice too, but yeah, it’s a connector. Nothing to write home about.

      In the end, it all comes down to the camera, and the one on the 5X is apparently stellar. To say that the Nexus 5 camera was “good enough” is largely overhyping it. It was mediocre at best. And the one in the Nexus 4 is even worse. But that alone is not enough to justify a $500 upgrade.

      I actually preordered the 5X, but then canceled the order after realizing I could get a ton more use out of my N4. To me that thing is worth a lot more than its current ~$100 market value.

  • s2weden2000

    that’s right!

  • Javed Aslam

    Nexus 5X seems likes a neat package however in times ahead we will know the reality…with the camera popping out I am sure LG could have bumped up the batter to 3000maH at least to cover the whole body

  • Badvok

    The 5X is obviously just a re-marketing of the 5 and not intended to entice existing owners of a Nexus 5 to buy. It is priced exactly for the market these days, the days of Google offering value-for-money phones seem to be long gone. E.g. For the same money you could get a Xperia Z3 with a far, far better camera and SD card support, likewise the Galaxy S5 is also an option at this price point.

    I want a new phone, my Nexus 5 is getting a little tatty, but I don’t want to go over 5″ screen size and I really want something worth the expense, like a good camera or QHD screen. I really liked the Nexus bare-metal Android concept but I guess I’ll have to look elsewhere now. Or maybe I’ll just get a new screen and battery fitted to my existing Nexus 5.

    Oh and all the same can be said of the 6P, at the same price point there is nothing that makes it stand out other than the Nexus bare-metal Android concept. In fact it probably loses out to similar priced phones on tech specs alone.

  • shivansh

    Plz prefer youtube for uploading videos -_-

  • Jprime

    its amazing how much cooler the older phone still looks

  • etshArk87

    Dam only an adreno 416, thats a disapointment, i thought n5x wud come with the adreno 530 or at least 430 since N5 had the best hardware chip around. I dont use fingerprint só it would br a waste of money.
    Ill stick with my N5 a little longer untill a new appealing LG product comes out or even a new nexus 5.

  • Pareesh Balram Phulkar
  • Thilan

    NEXUS 5 looks sexier look at the sim tray yayiks at 5X

  • M42

    It looks pretty big compared to the 5.

  • Necdet Ali Özdür

    Does the nexus 5x has a higher DPI setting than the original nexus 5, just because it had a slightly larger screen? Or will the marshmallow update increase the DPI setting?

    • TDN

      No, the 5 has a higher DPI because it has a smaller screen at the same resolution. The software on the device cannot change the hardware.

      • Necdet Ali Özdür

        I am not talking about PPI (pixels per inch). Both phones have the same resolution but the 5x fits 5 icons horizontally in the home screen, while the 5 only fits 4. Also the navigation bar seems shorter and the buttons look smaller on the 5x, which indicates the it has a higher DPI (dots per inch).

        • TDN

          For screen resolution DPI and PPI are used interchangeably, they are the same thing. The reason why the difference in the visuals is the launcher, on certain launchers you can adjust the size of the icons, it has nothing to do with the display resolution. I’m guessing either there is a third party launcher running on the 5X or Google is going to make changes to their default launcher.

        • dsp4

          I understand what you mean. The N5X falls “between the xhdpi and xxhdpi buckets” just like the N5, so both should use the same configuration. Maybe that’s a Marshmallow thing. The Nexus 5 may very well have 5 icons once it’s upgraded.

        • Bardo

          As TDN said, how many icons you can fit is just a launcher setting.
          Replace the Google launcher with something like Nova and you could fit in 12 if you wanted.
          Elements are readily re-sizable in Android (as opposed to iOS where elements are a fized size and UI’s have to be written for specific resolutions).

    • David Vargas

      “…Nexus 5X has a quantized density of 420 dpi, which falls in between the xhdpi and xxhdpi primary density buckets. Nexus 6P has a density of 560 dpi, which falls in between the xxhdpi and xxxhdpi buckets. The platform will scale down any assets from a higher resolution bucket, but if those aren’t available, then it will scale up the assets from a lower-density bucket…”


  • Lucas Tobin

    Such a pitchman for el goog bro. I can tell you’re definitely excited about the new phone, geez. But seriously, the new one is a better option? There’s several reasons the old is better! I think they made a huge mistake with this phone. The lack of wireless charging, lack of OIS, only 400mah(2300 vs 2700) larger battery to run twice the cores and a larger screen? Apparently Google wants people to be tied down with that new cord nobody has because I bet this new phone needs a charge by 3 to 4 hours ‘screen on time’ when there arw phones from 2014 with twice that out of the box. Minimum should have been 3000mah. The physical size of the phone is significantly larger than the previous N5, which was already getting on the large side for an all day carry( coming from a guy who likes to wear proper fitting jeans) …. Keep us in mind too before you produce un-friendly pocket slabs El goog! So Joshua… I ask you bro, really? This is a tough choice, not an easy one. I will pass on buying this phone most likely. It just doesn’t seem worth it. For this caliber of phone, the price should be south of the previous models price point.

  • 3223

    I really hope the body of the 5x is built to be more robust than the 5. I had a 5, and the side frame started cracking at the cutouts for the buttons and the microsim. That was a fly in the ointment that kinda ruined my Nexus 5 experience. I may want to give the 5x a shot though… so tempting…… the white body & black side frame does look like a stormtrooper :D

  • patrick

    I have a S4 with VZW. Wondering if i should upgrade with either of these phones.

    • peevee

      No. It seems phones reached their plateau 2 years ago just like desktop PCs essentially reached their plateau 5 years ago. Any improvements now are insignificant.
      The need to update on T-Mobile is higher because you need more or less new phone to support LTE bands 2 and especially 12, without which connection in many places will not be so good (or will not exist at all).

  • Alex Ossel

    Just gave it another thought; the. 5x is actually worse then the n5 because it has no wireless charching en no real benefits. Why pay that much for something that makes lives worse. I stick to my n5.

    The 6p is to big and has an ugly bar on top

  • Dentonthebear

    I would have liked to have seen a phone the same size as its predecessor, my trouser and shirt pockets struggle with the 5 as it is. And what the hell Google no wireless charging what were you thinking!?

    • peevee

      They let their fanbase down SO HARD this time…

  • Scr-U-gle

    I like how the blogger who wrote this twaddle presents hopes as facts, like last years model where Scr-U-gle claimed the camera was better than a professional SLR.

    They dropped that crock of shit when I pointed out my iPhone 4 pissed all over that POS.

  • peevee

    “Think of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 5 as devices made with the same audience and purpose in mind, but coming from different ages.”

    In fact they seem very much from the same age, with my 5X better in a few respects than my Nexus 5 (USB-C, bigger battery, better low-light stills, fingerprint unlock), but worse in many others (no Qi charging – WTF Google!!!!!!, only 2 fast cores vs 4 in Nexus 5 – and not as fast it seems – up to 1.8GHz vs 2.3GHz, no OIS in camera – hello shaky videos again, bigger body – too big in any case, of which there are few without any upscale choices).

    If not for 700MHz support on T-Mobile, it would not make sense – but 700 MHz is still disabled?!?! WTF Google/LG? When are you going to enable it already? How hard it is to do when even $90 LG Leon has it?

    If somebody had reissued Nexus 5 with 700MHz LTE now – I would buy it over 5X any day. And I have both.