Introduction


Even though Samsung is usually seen as Apple's biggest rival on the mobile scene, it's probably Google we should really be looking at if we think about the 'iPhone versus Android' conflict in a deeper aspect. It's true that in terms of hardware, Google's own offerings have had a relatively light impact thus far, but it's getting increasingly clear that things are becoming more serious with each new Nexus device Google pushes out on the market. Last year's Nexus 4, in particular, caused quite a bit of buzz, mostly for being the absolute best value-for-money smartphone available. With this year's Nexus 5, though, Google is pushing things even further. The amazing starting price of $349 has been kept unchanged, but the hardware you're getting in exchange is absolutely top-notch, with no blatant compromises like the Nexus 4's lack of LTE, for example.

However, a great smartphone experience isn't exclusively defined by under-the-hood goodness and a cheap price-tag. The Nexus 5 is a very well-rounded, feature-packed product - that's something we can all agree on, but it definitely lacks a rather important quality – exquisiteness. Having said that, the Apple iPhone 5s is probably the biggest antipode to the Nexus 5 one can come across within the boundaries of the high-end phone market. It's expensive, it ignores some of the features a true geek would demand, and it puts more emphasis on external design than the whole Nexus line combined. (OK, that may have been a bit unfair towards HTC, but you get the point.)

So, how do we go about comparing these two gadgets? Obviously, it's going to take much more than a specs comparison to determine which one is better, especially having in mind that both are running on different platforms. Join us as we witness this epic clash between two of the finest smartphones money can buy!

Design


Stunning appearance has always been one of Apple's hallmark features when it comes to its products, and this observation is fully valid with the iPhone 5s. Indeed, Apple's finest is a piece of great computing power tucked inside an astonishing glass-and-metal body. It's an iconic design, one that can be easily recognized from miles away. It's thin, light and good-looking – premium in every sense of the word.

On the other hand, Google has gone for a decidedly humble design with its Nexus 5. The handset is build from plastic, with a soft-touch finish on the back panel. It's OK if you like this type of material, but we would have liked it much more if there was some effort gone into the appearance of the handset. Instead, it's looking rather ordinary, especially the all-black version, which is as generic as it gets. We do appreciate the fact that it's also quite thin and light for its size, but there is no question here – only one of these two handsets that can add something to the aesthetics of your surroundings, and that's not the Nexus 5.

In terms of comfort, it's evident that LG has tried to shrink those bezels down as much as possible, so that the Nexus 5 can have a decent footprint despite its massive, 5” display. They have definitely done a great job, but in the end, the Nexus 5 is still a rather big phone (5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches) that's next to impossible to operate with one hand only. In contrast, the iPhone 5s is, naturally, much smaller, and easier to handle. It's not as cool when it comes multimedia consumption, due to its smaller display, but general usage of the smartphone does benefit vastly from the smaller form-factor (4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches).

We wouldn't expect a low-quality build from a Google-influenced phone, and the Nexus 5 doesn't disappoint. Even though it isn't anything to write home about aesthetically, it's still well-made, with a sturdy-feeling body and good physical keys. Once again, it can't measure up to the excellence presented by the iPhone 5s in these areas, but it's a decent performer. It's charged using a standard microUSB port, while the iPhone 5s sports Apple's proprietary Lightning connector.

While we haven't moved too far from the topic of physical keys, we absolutely have to mention that the iPhone 5s features a fingerprint scanner, built right into its clicky home button. The so-called Touch ID sensor allows you to unlock your passcode-secured phone with just a touch of the home button, as well as to easily authorize iTunes and App Store purchases, removing the need to enter a lengthy password every once in a while. It's a much-appreciated feature, and one that is unapologetically missing from Google's Nexus 5.


Google Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5

Dimensions

5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches

137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm

Weight

4.59 oz (130 g)

Apple iPhone 5s

Apple iPhone 5s

Dimensions

4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 inches

123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm

Weight

3.95 oz (112 g)

Google Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5

Dimensions

5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches

137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm

Weight

4.59 oz (130 g)

Apple iPhone 5s

Apple iPhone 5s

Dimensions

4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 inches

123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm

Weight

3.95 oz (112 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display


The 5-inch screen of the Nexus 5 is among the better ones around. It not only sports an impressive diagonal, but is also relatively accurate as far as color representation goes. Similarly to the iPhone 5s' 4” display, it uses a mature IPS LCD technology to bestow its eye-candy upon us.

Turning our attention to the delicate matter of resolution and pixel density, let's elaborate a bit on what users are going to gain with each screen. The iPhone 5s has a resolution 640 x 1136 pixels. On paper, these numbers don't appear to be particularly threatening for the Nexus 5's 1080 x 1920 resolution, but we do have to take into account the iPhone's smaller screen size here. At 4 inches, its '640p' res makes for an above average pixel density of 326 ppi (pixels per inch). It's not as perfectly clean as the Nexus 5's breathtaking 445 ppi, but honestly, one would have to look really hard in order to notice any distortion in the iPhone 5s' display as well. Both are exceptionally detailed and good-looking, but the advantage goes to the Nexus 5 in this respect, due to its ultra clean and sharp visuals.

The iPhone 5s manages to be a bit easier to view outside than its opponent, which is enabled by its higher maximum brightness output of about 580 nits, compared to the Nexus 5's 480 nits. It's not a world of difference, but we do appreciate it when a handset makes it easier for us when we're trying to check on something while out and about.

Colors are nicely saturated and vibrant on the Nexus 5, however, one should not be fooled by its near-perfect color temperature of 6418 K (kelvin). What this means is that the primary blue and red colors are in almost perfect balance, but unfortunately, this metric doesn't take into account the third primary – green. The thing is that in this case, there's a bit of an excessive green-yellow color with the Nexus 5's display. It's not a really big problem, but should you compare it side-by-side with the display of the Apple iPhone 5s, it immediately becomes evident that there's something not quite right with LG's LCD panel, where everything seems a tad yellowish.

That's also reflected by the grayscale Delta E (indicates color inaccuracy) measurement of 4.54 for the Nexus 5, and 2.66 (lower is better) for the iPhone 5s. It has to be pointed out that a Delta E of 4.54 isn't too high/problematic, but it does get close to the 'caution' mark. Delta E, measured with a grayscale, concerns the balance between the three primary colors, or in other words, white balance.

If we take a look at both its primary and secondary colors (red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow), though, the Nexus 5 is doing a rather good job with regards to accuracy, indicated by its Delta E rgbcmy value of 3.29. The performance of the iPhone 5s is just as excellent in this respect with a value of 3.36 (Delta E differences lower than 1 are considered imperceptible to the human eye).

Overall gamma is better with the iPhone 5s. It stands at 2.21, which is perfect, while the Nexus 5 shifts things to the brighter side with its gamma of 2.05, resulting in slightly more visible detail in darker areas of images, at the expense of detail in brighter areas.

Viewing angles seem to be just slightly better with the iPhone 5s, as it manages to retain a good brightness at a slightly wider angle, but all in all, the difference is negligible.


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136 Comments

1. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Of course Nexus 5 is better. :)

3. eldyagustius

Posts: 182; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

I don't think no one is better. The review is very great. No one couldn't said better than one another. Both nexus 5 and 5S are very great smartphones. It's just up to your choice, according to your budget and purpose.

10. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"It's just up to your choice, according to your budget and purpose." Let's say you want a car, there is BMW and LADA, your budget is small so you can afford only LADA, does that mean LADA is better car??? (rhetorical question) It is tech so please be realist, don't bring a philosophy in to it. ;)

13. eldyagustius

Posts: 182; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

I don't bring philosophy on this case. You bring it first by the BMW and LADA analogy. For me, it's up to your purpose when it comes to choice about the nexus 5 or 5S. If you want more flexibility and customization, choose nexus 5. If you don't want more flexibility, but the optimization between its hardware and software, choose 5S. I think android only lacks the software optimization, so it needs more processor cores, bigger battery life, bigger RAM.

18. GoGoGalaxyNexus

Posts: 80; Member since: Nov 01, 2013

Its getting there buddy :-)

19. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"I don't bring philosophy on this case. You bring it first by the BMW and LADA analogy." It was just a simple and realistic example, as I have said before It is tech so please be realist, don't look at it from philosophy prism. "If you don't want more flexibility, but the optimization between its hardware and software, choose 5S." Did you knew that If you don't want more flexibility, you don't have to customize your Nexus 5, it still be working fine. But if you suddenly want more flexibility from iPhone, there is no chance that you will get it. "I think android only lacks the software optimization, so it needs more processor cores, bigger battery life, bigger RAM." Did you knew that performance is required not only for OS but for apps and games too. Also performance reserves gives bigger chance to get OS updates in the future.

27. illusionmist

Posts: 157; Member since: Jan 29, 2013

Hate on.

63. eldyagustius

Posts: 182; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

oh really I didn't mean to make a controversy here but this iSh**p haters guy was turning me on. I just mention that every OS has its own plus and minus. I didn't mean to hate one of those os. "Did you knew that performance is required not only for OS but for apps and games too. Also performance reserves gives bigger chance to get OS updates in the future." Only those performance? What about the software optimization? Cmon guys it's not only about the performance. Even the dual core on iphone 5 can run asphalt 8 as fluent as the quad core on android smartphones. I think if you only think the quantity always win, you're wrong. Let's talk about the quality. Even the m**iatek can make the more than 4 cores processor, but that's not the key.

115. BRYLYNT

Posts: 89; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

the difference is the quad cores on the android phones are pushing 1080p while the iphone 5s is pushing 640p so your comparison does not hold water.

28. darkkjedii

Posts: 31030; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Great post bro, accurate and true. Both are great devices, it simply depends on the users preference. +1

47. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Nexus 5s software and android in general is far superior to iOS in virtually every way

67. eldyagustius

Posts: 182; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

nexus 5s? please know the phone first before you said it bro LOL

53. Long1

Posts: 399; Member since: May 18, 2013

Even if iPhone 5s and Nexus 5 are on the same price, Nexus is the better choice. Wake up. And shut up already, with this BS "premium" aluminum tin-can.

57. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yea they are both great phones, but one thing I hate are these "VS" articles....where they essentially kiss both phones' rears. Just grow a pair and declare for a side (not comment guy, the "author"). It doesn't matter if you take the iphones side or the nexus 5's but for the love of your own integrity say which one won. Otherwise do reviews and not VS articles where there is no real battle. I mean it would make for a better comment bait than not taking a side as well if baiting is what you are doing. If you do not want to be confrontational, than do a general comparison, don't call it a X vs Y article.

62. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Agree! But I'm sure that PhoneArena does that because don't want to disappoint certain users and lose visitors since traffic generates money for PhoneArena.

6. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

I say it's a tie but when we consider the off-contract price , then nexus 5 all the way......

20. sum182

Posts: 229; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

It you want a real camera and video compairison, watch this video......i'm tired of seeing everyone on the net baby the 5s. wrong vid lol gimmi a sec here it is:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp6clWG-b5c&list=UUIrrRLyFMVmmL9NDAU2obJA

105. KingaSpades

Posts: 45; Member since: Nov 04, 2013

Did you see the part where they said that the iPhone was better in MOST cases?

108. KonaStang4.6

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

My God...I've been reading your posts on this site for almost two years now and all you do is bash Apple products...Do you ever stop ? Seriously, if you want to be a troll then that's perfectly fine but dang, give it a rest already. We know you hate Apple, we know you can't stand how Apple treats it's customers...I'll give you the money to fly to Cupertino and personally tell Tim Cook how you feel if you just stop trolling.....

2. GoGoGalaxyNexus

Posts: 80; Member since: Nov 01, 2013

"However, if you value the feeling of having and working with a really sophisticated, gorgeous and polished product, then it's worth considering getting the iPhone 5s, as it's one of the very few smartphones out there that can offer you what the Nexus 5 can't"...What is it that the nexus 5 or any android phone can't do that the Iphone 5S can? Use NFC? Have a higher pixel density or higher resolution screen?....Maybe is that aluminum body that will be cover by a phone case? Or maybe is that awesome 64 bit processor that runs that very trimmed IOS? I really wanna see that processor running a real OS with a real high resolution screen and show the same numbers that it shows on the benchmarks

16. eldyagustius

Posts: 182; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

NFC beam? It's slightly reminded me on infrared technology when two devices must sticked if you want to sending files. I was laughed when two of my friends sent files by using beam. The speed isn't better than bluetooth technology. And I think NFC is not the current sophisticated technology. Real OS? Android is just a power&memory hungry monster. It still should learn more before it could be said as REAL OS!

23. GoGoGalaxyNexus

Posts: 80; Member since: Nov 01, 2013

NFC and bluetooth are two different things -.-! NFC uses bluetooth, wi-fi direct or any other type of radio communications to establish a connection between devices. Android is a power and memory monster like you said for one reason only. It does a lot more than IOS, and now that IOS7 is playing catch up, they need more memory to run smoothly (1 GB RAM) and they still have a long way to go before they can equal Android capabilities.

72. eldyagustius

Posts: 182; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

ha? is it using bluetooth? better you go off to wikipedia first before you explain it to me. haha. what android does a lot more? it just run the useless junk background services. iPhone 1GB memory is more useful. 1 gig's doesn't mean anything in android, even the two gig's - memory sucker. the company shouldn't just improve the ram capacity, but it should make the android consume less memory. Android should learn more :)

77. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Have you not seen the core objective with Android 4.4? You fail at trolling sir.

88. GoGoGalaxyNexus

Posts: 80; Member since: Nov 01, 2013

First, If you don't know something then you should not bash it. Second, all those background services are part of what makes Android great. Third, Google is always improving Android so it doesn't need to use so many background process, KitKat is proof of this. Fourth, You are more blind and annoying than a belieber and that says a lot.

102. spoks

Posts: 46; Member since: Jun 01, 2012

Do you really know what your talking about NFC? You use NFC to automatically pair devices without searching the phone settings. In transferring files using NFC it can use bluetooth or wifi direct or both. Well s beam in samsung uses wifi direct so it can transfer large files in a minute. You are comparing NFC to infrared? Phones don't need to be touching each other all the time when using NFC, it only needs a single tap. Have you ever use an android device with NFC?

101. GeekyGene

Posts: 88; Member since: Aug 25, 2013

"a real OS with a real high resolution screen and show the same numbers that it shows on the benchmarks" A real OS? Something UNIX based maybe? Like urrm iOS. In terms of producing those numbers at a high resolution. That's called an iPad Air, it uses the same A7 clocked 100Mhz higher. OR perhaps, just a thought.... you should note the test scores that say OFF SCREEN? Sorry to bring rationality into this and all. Carry on.

103. GoGoGalaxyNexus

Posts: 80; Member since: Nov 01, 2013

I'll give you credit for the screen but IOS is still a very basic OS, far from Android

109. 8logic

Posts: 154; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

android can't offer the marketing and brand that it the fruit

114. KingaSpades

Posts: 45; Member since: Nov 04, 2013

I wouldn't be so quick to say that Android is a "real OS". In fact I'd say that it's a half baked OS. It was never properly written even when it was rewritten. It needs 4 processors just to jerk around and lag.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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