Nov 04 AT 3:30 PM Nick Gray 33 Comments

Spec showdown: Nexus 5 versus the Android competition


Now that the Nexus 5 dust has settled, we’d like to give you a closer look at the handset’s specs sheet and show you how it stacks up against its main Android competitors. For the most part, the Nexus 5 isn’t really that special. It features a powerful 2.26 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of storage, a 4.95-inch 1080p IPS display, 8-megapixel camera and a 2,300 mAh battery.

The specs certainly aren’t bad, but the larger batteries and improved optics of the LG G2 and Sony’s Xperia Z1 certainly give those devices the upper hand. Fortunately, Google’s Nexus 5 has a few tricks that make it stand out. Like all other Nexus devices, the Nexus 5 runs on the latest version of Android (currently Android 4.4 KitKat) and will receive prompt future software releases. The Nexus 5 also has a huge advantage when it comes to price. If you’re looking to buy a new off-contract Android phone, the Nexus 5 comes in at $200 less than its closest competitor.

Would you rather have the absolute best hardware or sacrifice a little on specs for faster software updates and a better sticker price?


Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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    I’ve owned 2 Nexus devices and felt good about the updates but the hardware always lag behind the competition . Sometimes, especially recently, the updates aren’t that major and an equivalent app can be downloaded from the play store. Google themselves are updating apps in the play store so everyone can have access to them.

    Right now I’m waiting for T-Mobile to release the Z1. I’ve had the quick updates. Now gimme the killer camera, extra long battery life and beautiful design!

    • CJ LaFleur

      I would disagree about this Nexus. It doesn’t really lag in terms of hardware. the only phone that one-ups it in any category is the Galaxy Note 3 because it has more RAM and probably a better screen and camera. However this Nexus is right there with the best of the phones out there now. It is however unfortunate that it is released right at the end of the hardware cycle so new hardware is on the market pretty quick. That’s just something we may have to live with, or Google will eventually change it. Overall though, this Nexus is my new prized possession and I’m so glad mine comes in just under 2 days now. Can’t wait!

      • hp420

        I actually consider Nexus devices to be the first in the cycle for the following year. If you look at the Nexus 4, compared to all phones released in 2013, every 2013 non-Nexus phone used similar specs, and used the 4.2/4.3 firmware which came to the Nexus 4 (and 7) first. I actually consider the Nexus 5 to be a 2014 phone, not a 2013 one. I feel Google uses their reference devices to set the trend, not to follow it.

  • inviolable

    I have no regrets buying my Nexus 5.

    • Mix

      I would like to jump on this boat as well! Can’t wait until Friday!

    • sere83

      just got mine…its glorious

  • Fulaman

    Yes, the Z1 is the best Android phone so far this year, however it is far too pricey and does not run the latest iteration of Android. That’s why I bought two Nexus 5s.

  • Derek

    “Like all other Nexus devices, the Nexus 5 runs on the latest version of Android (currently Android 4.4 KitKat) and will receive prompt future software releases”

    Not necessarily. The Galaxy Nexus is already EOL’ed. It will not be getting this 4.4 update. So, that means the only Nexus getting the 4.4 update is Nexus 4.

    • vforvortex

      That could change since android 4.4 software has a “smaller memory footprint” and should work well with less RAM available. So there could be an official update from google or an easy install from a developer who ports it to work on galaxy nexus.

    • James

      The only reason that phone is not being updated is because of the processor they used. Texas instruments closed their mobile department.

    • Jeff

      I am pretty new to all this so I am wondering, what is the difference between the 4.4 OS it says it comes with and the 4.4 update? Doesn’t it already have the 4.4 in the original specs?

  • Janson

    My nexus 5 arrives tomorrow. On price to goodness ration, it’s hard to beat the Nexus specs. I suppose the extra battery would be nice, but at $2+ per mAh, I can live without them. What I really like is the absence of bloatware.

    The Nexus arrives basically as a pre-rooted phone with a decent rom with two years of tech support. And I disagree that the updates to Android have been minor – the update to 4.3 improved my battery life by hours without a performance loss (other than less frequent syncing), as far as I can tell.

    • adam

      “The Nexus arrives basically as a pre-rooted phone with a decent rom with two years of tech support. And I disagree that the updates to Android have been minor — the update to 4.3 improved my battery”

      Incorrect. 18 months support.

      You are correct that the updates have helped improve the phone over time since it was first released, including battery life. That it why it is a considerable disappointment that Google chose not to update the Gnex with 4.4, when it specifically helps out lesser phones (read newer/lower spec rather than old/higher spec). As a consumer, I don’t care what the TI processor driver excuse is; hire someone to figure it out. It’s not like there’s a shortage of talent or capital over at Google.

      I have enjoyed my Gnex and have evangelized about the buying unlocked directly from Google. However, with their policy now outed in print, I will not be buying another nexus when my Gnex finally gives up. I don’t expect to hold onto hardware forever but for what these devices cost, 18 months of support is ludicrous. That’s $25 per month just for hardware!

      • Silver

        Sometimes it just seems that as Google become more successful, it starts to act more and more just like any other company that are “focused on profits only”. Although I don’t think that Google will be completely like that but some of the decisions that they make gives off that impression.

        On the other hand, as a company becomes more and more successful, it’s also reasonable that they will have to make certain difficult decisions to protect themselves. From what? I don’t know but I’m sure that it’s there.

      • Ezekiel

        So which OEM supports their phones for 2 years? I guess you’re going with an iPhone?

  • Mckillagorilla

    Question for all N5 first day guys. When you ordered what was the “leave the warehouse time did they give you if any? I set to pull the trigger when they said they wouldn’t even be shipped for a better part of the month ( November 22 ship date ) so I cancelled because who wants to give up 400+ bucks for something that no where near coming soon.

    • Nexus 5

      I ordered mine (16GB/ White) on Oct 31 … today (Nov 5) it was shipped. :)

      • Jei

        Lucky you, mine still says pending i was hoping it will be shipped today but it seems no such luck.

    • Mix

      Mine said November 8th but it shipped 2 days after buying it (Nov 1) so i think it was more of a ‘when you will get it’ than when it will ship.

      I could have read everything wrong though and bought a used toaster off of Ebay…..only time will tell!

    • inviolable

      I don’t recall, but I ordered on Thursday the 31st, and it was shipped Friday evening. If you feel that November 22nd is no where near soon, you might want to invest in some patience stock.

    • zee112

      My order said it would ship on Nov 8, but it shipped on Nov 3. Can’t wait!!

    • Ezekiel

      They don’t charge you until it ships. It told me ships by the 8th, I got it yesterday the 5th.

  • PhoneandBeyond

    Mckillagorilla they don’t charge you till it is shipped.

    Mine said a ship date of Nov 5th but is to arrive tomorrow.

  • jay

    Will be receiving my Nexus 5 in The AM. Can’t Wait :)

  • jay

    And @MCkillagorilla They would have actually shipped your device before The 22nd. Its anytime from the day you ordered til the shipping date that was given to you. Trust

  • Raj

    Ordered Nov 1st White 16Gb, said to be delivered Nov 5. Received yesterday Nov4. Sydney Australia.

    Won’t turn on whilst charging, interesting. On turn on software update ~140Mb kicked in. Still trying to figure out how to auto turn on speech recognition feature, I have to touch Mic icon to activate.

    Back cover is a bit slippery and very very light at 130g. Feel too light and looks fragile.

    • Ezekiel

      To turn on the touchless from homescreen language must be set to English (US)

  • ihatefanboys

    Surprised the ONE isnt in the comparison. Im sure it matched or surpassed the specs of all these devices, wonder if thats why it isnt on the list ? Also more than the gayness of the name, did motorolla have to name the chip the gay “moto” name as well ?

    • Gauraang

      The HTC One has worse specs than everything but the Moto X. It has a Snapdragon 600, while the others have Snapdragon 800s. But you’re right. It should have been included.

  • donger

    Would chose a Nexus 5 any day.

  • Tony Brooks

    For those who don’t yet have one, I should warn you that the screen is GLORIOUS! I mean HOLY SMOKES GLORIOUS.

  • Ajay

    I purchased the Nexus 5 as soon as it came out. It’s a good balance between features and price and I prefer getting the latest Android vs. waiting for several months for the new operating system.

    I bought the Nexus 7 last year and love it, so the Nexus 5 was a good addition.

  • Kashif

    You didn’t mention the step counter sensor in Nexus.