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Call quality

The peculiar look of the Nexus 5's earpiece grill doesn't seem to be helping it much in delivering a good sound quality during calls. It's by no means bad, but it's just an average-sounding earpiece with average volume. The iPhone 5s presents us with a slightly better calling experience, as voices tend to sound louder and deeper through its earpiece. When it comes to their microphones, both the iPhone 5s and Nexus 5 seem to be well-equipped, as everything sounds pretty well on the other end of the line most of the time.

As we mentioned in the previous part, the loudspeaker of the iPhone 5s is definitely the preferred one, especially when its louder output can make a difference when having a conversation in a noisy place.


Neither phone will hold a record when battery life is concerned, but the iPhone 5s' humble 1570 mAh juice-pack seems to be just enough to qualify Apple's finest ahead of the Nexus 5 and its 2300 mAh unit in the battery life race. Having run our custom battery test, which is specifically designed to replicate a typical usage scenario, we've discovered that the iPhone 5s can last slightly longer than its Android-powered counterpart (5h 2 min for the iPhone 5s versus 4h 50 min for the Nexus 5). Love it or hate it, neither battery can be removed from its position, meaning that you won't be able to swap those should run out of juice while out and about.

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.

hours Higher is better
Google Nexus 5
4h 50 min (Poor)
Apple iPhone 5s
5h 2 min (Poor)


There's no two ways about it, the Nexus 5 is a very well-rounded high-end smartphone that can offer you a satisfying experience across the board. With no major flaws with regards to its performance, there's one issue that seems to hold the Nexus 5 from rising to greatness – it lacks the premium factor. Let's put it this way – the N5 is premium on the inside, but just a generic-looking piece of gadgetry on the outside. Just how much this is going to affect your choice will, naturally, depend on your own preferences.

Looking past the different screen sizes, operating systems and their user environments, the iPhone 5s proves to be the better device in most areas, although not by a large margin. Its screen, performance, camera, call quality and battery life are all a bit better than those of the Nexus 5. Of course, Apple's handset also has the way better exterior, which makes it look like a jewel – a stark contrast to the bland design of Google's finest.

Having said all that, we should now take a look at the all-important price-tags of both smartphones. The Google Nexus 5 can purchased from Google's Play Store (as long as the Play Store for hardware is available in your country) at the extremely alluring price of $349 for the 16 GB version, and $399 for the 32 GB version. For those who don't know – this is off-contract pricing – no service agreement required. While this is a spectacular offer, you may want to take into account the relatively limited supply of this phone, which, at the time of this writing, has translated to shipping delays of about 3-4 weeks. However, Google has just released the Nexus 5, so demand is quite high now. Shipping times will probably get back to normal in a month or so. In the US, Sprint and T-Mobile have currently announced plans to release the Nexus 5, with the Sprint version launching on November 8. However, get ready to shell out $149.99 (for the 16 GB version) after a $50 mail-in rebate and put your signature on a two-year contract. T-Mobile is yet to announce its Nexus 5 price.

On the other hand, an off-contract iPhone 5s can be purchased for $649 (16 GB), $749 (32 GB) or $849 (64 GB), which is, obviously, much more expensive. In the US, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint are all selling the 5s at $199 (16 GB), $299 (32 GB) and $399 (64) with two-year contracts. T-Mobile's pricing starts with an upfront payment of $149, followed by additional 24 monthly payments of about $20 plus the monthly price of your plan.

There's no doubt that the Nexus 5 is the much better deal, considering the performance-price ratio. If you're on a tight budget, but would love to have a powerful smartphone, then your best option will be to order the Nexus 5 from the Google Play Store, in case it's available in your country. If not, the Nexus 5 will still be a bit cheaper than the iPhone 5s, but the difference will no longer be that huge. However, if you value the feeling of having and working with a really sophisticated and gorgeous 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.

Software versions of the reviewed units:
Google Nexus 5: Android 4.4; Build KRT16M
Apple iPhone 5s: iOS 7.0.3

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