The Google Nexus 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S4, along with being two of the most popular phones on the market, are also two of the most important mobile phones of the year – by virtue of being manufactured by the creators of the Android OS and arguably the most successful mobile manufacturer in recent times respectively. While both of these are top of the line phones, there are certain subtle differences that could make you want to pick one over the other. Here’s a closer look at both these phones to help make it easier for you to choose between the two.
While both the Galaxy S4 and the Nexus 5 weigh exactly the same – 130g, the Nexus 5 is 1.2 mm taller and 0.6 mm narrower than the S4. However, the S4 remains slimmer at 7.9 mm compared to the 8.6 mm thick Nexus 5. The differences are miniscule. However, the Nexus 5 has done away with the plastic finish of its predecessor, the Nexus 4, and adopted a rubberized finish; while the S4 still continues to use the plastic finish of Samsung’s Galaxy series. This adds a subtly premium look and feel to the Nexus 5. This, combined with the sleeker dimensions of the Nexus 5, make it more comfortable to grip than the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The Nexus 5’s display at 4.95 inches is a tiny bit smaller than the S4’s 5 inch display, but that’s a difference you won’t notice. Both phones have full 1080p displays protected by a sheath of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The Nexus 5 uses the same IPS panel as the LG G2, which received plenty of positive feedback, and has been touted to be one of the best displays around. The images on the Nexus 5 are slightly sharper than on the S4, but it’s not a difference that you’re likely to notice.
Simply owing to being a newer phone, the Nexus 5 has a more advanced processor and thereby more processing clout. The Nexus 5 is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 vs. the S4’s 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 chip (although there is a newer version with the more advanced chip). The Snapdragon 800 also has a faster GPU, giving the phone more graphical clout, and making it a slightly better phone for gaming. Both devices have a 2 GB RAM.
The Nexus 5 comes in 16 GB and 32 GB internal storage variants, whereas the S4 allows you to choose from 16, 32, and 64 GB variants (However, the higher internal memory variants are harder to come by in case of the S4). For those of you who plan to use your phone as a portable video camera, the microSD slot on the S4, that allows you to extend the phone’s memory up to an additional 64GB, might come in handy. The Nexus 5 does not have a microSD slot.
In terms of sensor resolution, the S4 at 13-megapixel has the superior camera of the two; the Nexus 5 has an 8-megapixel primary shooter. However, the latter comes with optical image stabilization, which helps reduce blur in your pictures. However, the S4 does a better job of maintaining colour integrity and takes slightly better pictures in bright light. Having said that, for casual use, you’ll find that the Nexus 5’s camera should suffice.
This one definitely swings in favour of the Nexus 5 – you get the unmodified version of the latest Android OS, and not the S4’s TouchWiz interface. This tends to be cleaner and faster than skinned versions of the OS. You’ll also be first in line for OS updates. However, you miss out on some of the additional features Samsung has built into the TouchWiz interface.
In a Nutshell
The Nexus 5 is a more powerful phone with similar features as the S4. Both phones are at par on most fronts, save minor nuanced differences, that will tilt the balance in favour of one phone or the other depending on each user’s specific needs. What works most in the Nexus 5’s favour is that it is a lower priced phone with quality that is similar to the S4’s.
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