Google Nexus 5 vs. Apple iPhone 5s

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Nexus 5 is the smartphone every Android fanboy and fangirl is drooling over right now. It is budget friendly, feature loaded, and comes with the latest and greatest version of Android. But, it's not the only phone in the market. In fact, it is competing with a longstanding mobile titan known as the iPhone. Apple's latest incarnation of one of world's most popular smartphone brings a slew of new features to the gradually waning iOS fanbase.

Moving away from skeuomorphic design and embracing the latest trend of flat icons, iPhone 5s is a powerful device that is at par with the latest specs of an ideal modern phone. The Nexus 5 on the other hand looks like a modest device but performs like a beast. And, of course, there is the faithfully devoted Android army that touts the Nexus as their dream smartphone.

The Nexus line, which evolved from a developer's device to a premium phone, is now a serious threat to iPhone. But, the consumers don't care about the smartphone wars as much as we do. For them, it's a lingering question as to which phone to invest their hard-earned money into given that both devices offer spectacular features. So, if you're confused as to which smartphone to buy, here's a quick comparison between the two giants.

Phone Design

Nexus 5 is a fabulously designed device that looks no different from any other phone in the market. It comes in two colors: white and black and has a ring-shaped camera that gives the smartphone its unique look. In other words, from a crowd of smartphones, it's probably difficult to single out this device. The iPhone 5s, however, leaves no stones unturned when it comes to design. While the Nexus 5 looks solid and sturdy with a matte finish, the iPhone 5s looks stunningly premium with the new gold and the improved silver look. Its carefully crafted curved edges and the fingerprint-sensing home button give many users their money's worth. That said, we don't mean that the Nexus 5 is poorly designed. It's just that it pales in comparison with the quality of built Apple has been coming up with for so many years. This department is Apple's forte and it will stay like that for a few years to come.

Winner: iPhone 5s


On the specs front, the Nexus 5 is a solid device. It has a True HD IPS+ capacitive touchscreen with 16M colors. The 5-inch screen makes sure that you get to capture every bit of detail on your screen. This makes it a great device for reading e-books and watching movies as well. With a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, watching videos in HD is a treat on this phone. When compared to iPhone 5s, this smartphone still scores higher despite the Apple's heavily publicized Retina display. The iPhone comes with a LED-backlit IPS display that isn't that bad, but when you look at the recent trends, the 4-incher looks like a box of Tic-tacs when compared to Android-based devices in the market. The small display on iPhone is somewhat of a disappointment, especially when the industry has already moved on to 5-inch and even 6-inch displays. Time to go big, Apple.

Winner: Nexus 5


Both Nexus and Apple have done some major rework on their performance. With Android 4.4, you get an OS that is optimized to run on devices like the Galaxy Nexus. The same OS, when running on a Snapdragon 800 processor runs like butter. With optimizations to make KitKat run on devices with 512 MB RAM, you'll find absolutely no lags in performance, even with heavy gaming. The same story goes with iPhone 5s. It's a device that comes with the best of specs with an OS that is designed to run on previous-generation devices too. So, as far as performance is concerned, both are equal in this department.

Verdict: Tie


Despite being touted as a camera phone, the Nexus 5 majorly lacks in this department. The camera was hugely disappointing; at least as far as iPhone 5s is concerned. The shots were not even close to what the iPhone 5s produced. We're hoping that future versions of Nexus device will fix this issue. But for now, we have a clear winner here.

Winner: iPhone 5s

Value for Money

Yes, this is a big area wherein Apple has always fallen behind. When it comes to providing value for money, Nexus 5 is a killer. At a very low price, it provides the features of a very high-end smartphone. It will take a major shift in strategy for Apple to ever beat Google in this department.

Winner: Nexus 5

Extra Features

While Samsung overwhelms the user with a boatload of gimmicky features, Nexus makes sure that users get what they want: a properly working smartphone. Thus, you won't see any special features being added to the Nexus 5. On the other hand, the iPhone announced a big feature this time, and that was the fingerprint sensor. This feature enabled users to unlock their phones using their fingerprints. While the privacy concerns are a topic that we can discuss some other day, it is still a feature that makes things easy for many users.

Winner: iPhone 5s

OS and Features

While Apple introduced iOS7, Android revolutionized its open-source operating system with the introduction of KitKat. iOS7 focuses more on an aesthetic redesign more than anything else. KitKat on the other hand makes Google the backbone of your smartphone experience. Search is everywhere, and so is Google Now. Also, there have been many changes with the caller ID and the SMS app. In other words, Android 4.4 is the perfect example of what a sweet blend of hardware and software can do. While iOS users have been boasting about their hardware-software blend for years, Android users who were once green with envy will now be filled with pride and joy once they use KitKat. Android 4.4, thus, can proudly claim that it has become a premium operating system not just for project developers to tinker with. On the features front, you have print and QuickOffice on your smartphone. This feature is often overlooked, but can appeal to a large number of office-goers who prefer working on their smartphone or tablet computer.

Winner: Nexus 5


Nexus devices don't have the same craze as iPhones do. You won't find people lining up to buy the latest Nexus smartphone. These phones are announced pretty modestly, but as soon as they get into the public eye, a slew of Android fans scamper to get their hands on the device. The craze of Nexus phone is probably at its peak right now. Time and again, despite facing heavy competition, not just from Apple, but from Samsung as well, Google has proved that it can come up with a solid device at a very low price.

Apple, on the other hand, probably doesn't even consider Nexus devices a threat. At least, not as big a threat as Samsung. That's why, the iPhone 5c was released to tackle the small-scale markets that Samsung is hoarding. The iPhone 5s, on the other hand, continues the iPhone legacy of the best blend of hardware and software. When compared to the bloated Samsung phones, the iPhone 5s might stand a chance, but when competing against the mighty Nexus 5, Apple has to work a lot harder.

Overall Winner: Nexus 5

Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.