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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 quick look

Samsung's newest release is up against the latest from Google, in this quick look at the Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5.
March 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
Samsung Galaxy S5
5.1-inch Super AMOLED, Full HD (1920 x 1080), 432 ppi
Nexus 5
4.95-inch IPS LCD, Full HD (1920 x 1080), 444 ppi
Samsung Galaxy S5
2.5 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Adreno 330 or 2.1Ghz Octa-core Exynos (depending on market), unspecified GPU in Exynos SoC
Nexus 5
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, quad-core Krait 400 @ 2.3GHz, Adreno 330 GPU
Samsung Galaxy S5
2 GB
Nexus 5
2 GB
Samsung Galaxy S5
16 MP rear LED flash, 2.1 MP front
Nexus 5
8 MP rear, OIS, LED flash, 1.3 MP front
Samsung Galaxy S5
2,800 mAh
Nexus 5
2,300 mAh non-removable
Samsung Galaxy S5
16/32 GB, expandable
Nexus 5
16/32 GB, no expansion
Samsung Galaxy S5
GPS, GLONASS, microUSB 3.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Nexus 5
NFC, A-GPS, GLONASS, microUSB, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Samsung Galaxy S5
3G, LTE Cat. 3 2X2 MIMO
Nexus 5
3G, 4G LTE
Samsung Galaxy S5
Android 4.4 Kitkat
Nexus 5
Android 4.4 KitKat
Samsung Galaxy S5
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm,
145 grams
Nexus 5
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?