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

We're comparing the black and the white versions of the Nexus 5. Which one do your prefer?
November 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.

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