Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 quick look

by: Joshua VergaraMarch 3, 2014

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 was introduced last week, and it’s always interesting to see how the “latest and greatest” compares to the other current flagships. Today, we’ll be taking a quick look at the Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5!

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Both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the black version of the Nexus 5 feature a soft touch plastic back that is very similar in feel, with the addition of the ridged pattern at the back of the Galaxy S5. There is a slight difference with the white version of the Nexus 5, with it coming with a harder polycarbonate back.

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The Galaxy S5 favors a more angular design ala the Galaxy Note 3, with the Nexus 5 featuring corners, and the top and bottom, that are more curved. With its larger display, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a bigger device overall, but the Nexus 5 is slightly thicker, yet lighter.

The move away from the glossy plastic that Samsung used to use all the time has been good, with both the Nexus 5 and the Galaxy S5 having the look and feel of the premium devices that they truly are.

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Both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Nexus 5 come with 1080p displays, with the Nexus 5 holding a slight, albeit practically unnoticeable edge, in pixel density because of its slightly smaller display. It’s the old battle of LCD vs AMOLED, but it’s very difficult to find a fault with either of these screens. Colors pop, possibly a little more with the Galaxy S5, but the viewing angles are great and you’ll have a good time with either device.

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With the Samsung Galaxy S5 featuring an updated quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5 GHz, we have to give a slight edge over the 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 of the Nexus 5. 2 GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU round out the best processing packages currently available, guaranteeing that you’ll have great speed no matter which of these devices you choose.

16 GB and 32 GB versions are available for both phones, with the Galaxy S5 featuring the additional benefit of microSD expansion. The Galaxy S5 also takes the lead when it comes to battery, with a capacity of 2,800 mAh, compared to the 2,300 mAh battery of the Nexus 5. The battery of the Galaxy S5 is also removable, so if you have some spares at hand, you won’t be without power for long.

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If the storage options and removable battery are where Samsung started widening the gap, the camera is where the Galaxy S5 simply blows the Nexus 5 out of the water. Issues with the Nexus 5 camera are well-documented, especially during the initial months following the device launch, and the amazing 16 MP ISOCELL shooter of the Galaxy S5, complemented by a feature-packed camera software, brings the issues with the adequate camera of the Nexus 5 to the forefront.

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When it comes to software, the debate of stock versus everything else comes up again. Many Android fans love their Nexus devices because of the fact that it runs stock Android, and its understated look inside and out do provide a nice motif, in that when you start using the Nexus 5, you realize that it can get a lot of stuff done. The Nexus 5 did change things up a bit with the Google Now launcher, which remains very minimalistic, but has a major spotlight on Search.

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Enter the new version of TouchWiz based on Android 4.4 Kitkat, which is possibly the polar opposite of what you get with the Nexus 5. It is packed with even more features and enhancements compared to the Galaxy S4 before it. You get the Magazine UX which is like a second screen, much like Google Now, a revamped multi-tasking menu, and a ton of new camera features. Along with the fingerprint scanner and the heart rate monitor, there are a lot of additions to the Galaxy S5.

The Galaxy S5 does offer a lot, but there’s always the risk of Galaxy Syndrome setting in, so how important all of these new features and enhancements are is entirely up to you, not only at the beginning, but further down the line.

 Samsung Galaxy S5Nexus 5
Display5.1-inch Super AMOLED, Full HD (1920 x 1080), 432 ppi4.95-inch IPS LCD, Full HD (1920 x 1080), 444 ppi
Processor2.5 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Adreno 330 or 2.1Ghz Octa-core Exynos (depending on market), unspecified GPU in Exynos SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, quad-core Krait 400 @ 2.3GHz, Adreno 330 GPU
Cameras16 MP rear LED flash, 2.1 MP front8 MP rear, OIS, LED flash, 1.3 MP front
Battery2,800 mAh2,300 mAh non-removable
Storage16/32 GB, expandable16/32 GB, no expansion
ConnectivityGPS, GLONASS, microUSB 3.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LENFC, A-GPS, GLONASS, microUSB, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Networks3G, LTE Cat. 3 2X2 MIMO3G, 4G LTE
SoftwareAndroid 4.4 KitkatAndroid 4.4 KitKat
Dimensions142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm,
145 grams
137.84 x69.17 x 8.59mm, 130 grams

So there you have it, the Samsung Galaxy S5 against the Nexus 5. Both take on very different philosophies when it comes to providing a good user experience, but one thing is for certain, both do provide a good user experience. Both include great specifications, and offer some of the most compelling packages available on the market today.

What do you think? Do Samsung’s new features make it a winner over the Nexus 5?

  • Oli72

    Nexus all day. Best bang for ur bucks.

  • mickey4mice

    (Black) Nexus 5 has utilitarian elegance to it, simple yet professional looking. The shiny bling of S5 looks tacky and cheap. N5 any day of the week.

  • Arcybiskup
    • Jesus

      That’s disgusting.

      • Xavier_NYC

        The Holy Father has spoken.

    • lol!

    • Nelson Guttman

      Yuck! But true lol :D

  • cycad007

    F*** Samsung. Nexus 5 FTW!

  • John Hamernick-Ramseier

    If s5 had on screen buttons, I’d be craving a S5 play edition. Because I really like S5 body and that is has SD card and removable battery.

  • dandroid13

    Wish I could get both, but can only have one… What now?

    • AndroidBrian

      Simple! Buy the phone that’s almost half the price cheaper off contract.

      • dandroid13

        If only that was the truth everywhere in the world… Here the G2 is cheaper than the Nexus 5. :(
        Considering the GS4 launch price last year, it’ll probably be a $725 vs $1065 battle.

        • AndroidBrian

          Damn! Nexus 5 is a international phone. Can’t you just buy it on eBay from the US? Then Gget it shipped to you? I’m curious, where do you live?

          • dandroid13

            No, because the US version is incompatible with the 4G network here, so I must get one here or from the European Play Store. I’m from Brazil, and with $349 the best you can get here is a Moto G. :(

          • shinogami

            I’m using the US version Nexus 5 in Europe with consistent +20MB down (HSPA+ 3.75G). I don’t really see why anyone would need a faster internet for a phone right now. Also, it consumes less battery than 4G..

        • Tuấn Ankh

          Wherever the G2 is about the same price or cheaper than the Nexus 5, I would say it’s kinda dumb to get the Nexus 5. The N5 is a great phone, but it’s not worth it against the G2 in many aspects.
          In my home country, the G2 32gb is priced only about $50 more than the 16gb Nexus 5. I would pick the G2 between the two if I were there. Cheaper than Nexus 5? Then it’s a no brainer.
          And is that the price comparison between the N5 ($725) and the S5 ($1065) where you live? Since you mentioned the G2 were even cheaper than the N5, I would suggest getting the G2 even though that wasn’t what you asked. :D

          • dandroid13

            Sure but isn’t it a bit too late to get a G2 now? In less than half a year the G3 will be out and also the G2 is still running 4.2.2 and no news of KK coming to it here in Brazil. Yes that’s the price of the N5 vs the possible GS5 price, but it can be even more expensive… With both N5 and GS5 at least the updates are guaranteed.

          • Tuấn Ankh

            Since the difference in price between a GS5 and G2 is that huge, I would say the GS5 is not worth it. I’m a Samsung fan because I find Samsung flagships are usually ahead. If all those phones are about the same price, I would surely recommend the GS5 if you are unsure what to get between the three phones (N5, G2, GS5). If you really like Samsung’s features, get it. It’s a great phone. I just personally think it’s not worth all that extra money.
            About the G3: Half a year away is not that close. If you can wait, then I yeah, wait until tthe G3 comes out. If you think waiting is irritating, go for the G2. :D
            As the the N5, I know it will get updates, but usually the updates won’t blow you away. The N5 has several corners cut anyways, and it’s not supposed to be on par with the G2 except for the stock Android thing some people love. I own neither phones, but I’ve read that the G2 has way better battery life, much better cameras, and not as many bugs as the N5 has. I’m not one of those who care about software update anyways, cuz I’ve been screwed many times in one way or another after a software update. This happened to my old Asus tablet, old Galaxy phone, old LG phones, and my Nexus 7 2012. Sometimes updates are more of irritation than satisfaction. :P

          • dandroid13

            Man, I don’t know :P

            I mean, the N5 is great, latest Android and everything, but I guess the Samsung being more expensive also means I get a sdcard slot, AMOLED screen and better aftermarket support. Here it’s really hard to find genuine accessories for any brand except Samsung and Apple… I just hope that Sammy keep it real with the GS5, last year when they launched the Note 3, that $1300 price was just crazy, even after half a year the price just dropped around $100 :O
            And if you guys from the northern hemisphere thought the Gear was overpriced, what about paying $475 for one here in Brazil? lol

          • Tuấn Ankh

            Yep… that makes me feel a lot better for being in the US, lol.

  • Xavier_NYC

    LAG LAG LAG. Am I the only one that noticed how much smoother the Nexus 5 was vs the GS5 in this video? Packs a faster chip but isn’t as fluid. hmmmm

  • DimitriTech

    I love my Nexus 5. (*cues music*) ‘NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP, NEVER GONNA LET YOU DOWN!!!’

  • Galaxy S5!

  • TimM

    okay, I’m gonna go out on a limb and call BULLSHIT. Every spec I’ve been able to see concerning the S5 says it has NFC. Considering the S3 and S4 also have it, I’d say someone didn’t fact check well. Lookin’ at you Joshua Vergara !!!

  • Kevin Richards

    S5 cheap and tacky – like an Xmas tree decoration from the 70s. Yuck.

  • Nelson Guttman

    Nexus 5 anyday, over that phone which is released year after year by “Samesung”. The Nexus 5 looks, feels and also performs much better than “Samesung”. Every other article on AA is about S5! Whats up AA?

  • NWSD

    I’ll stick with my N5. Switched from iPhone and don’t regret it one bit. Only thing I ding the N5 for is battery life….. at least for me.

  • Jayfeather787

    I’ll take the Nexus 5.

  • 1966CAH

    I think a glaring hole in the comparison is the lack of price comparisons. We may not know the exact price of an S5 yet, but it’s no doubt going to be way more than Nexus. Value for your dollar is going to be a big plus in the Nexus column.

  • Tuấn Ankh

    Nexus 5 for exceptional price and pure performance.
    GS5 for almost everything else.

    I don’t understand the “majority spotlight in search” though. Google Now is on the GS5, too, isn’t it? (Did Samsung strip it off?). The Nexus 5’s “OK Google” thing is also integrated into the new Touchwiz Launcher of the GS5 now.

  • abhilashthakur

    can you tell me about the release date of Nexus 6

  • Stephan Hall

    I like the Samsung! It’s a nice phone. However, I am a die-hard Nexus fanatic …. I admit it!! I issue a warning: Don’t buy a Nexus ….. it’s highly addictive!!! Love my N5 and already waiting for the next one!