Mobile Technology

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Nexus 5

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Nexus 5
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Google/LG Nexus 5
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Google/LG Nexus 5
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The Galaxy S5 gives you the option of recording 4K video
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The Galaxy S5 gives you the option of recording 4K video
The GS5's battery holds a bit more juice
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The GS5's battery holds a bit more juice
Both phones are made of plastic, but with very different styles
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Both phones are made of plastic, but with very different styles
The GS5's camera has much higher resolution, but that isn't always an absolute measure of image quality
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The GS5's camera has much higher resolution, but that isn't always an absolute measure of image quality
Color options for both handsets
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Color options for both handsets
Very similar on the processor front, with the GS5 running a (newer) slight variation on the Nexus 5's Snapdragon 800
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Very similar on the processor front, with the GS5 running a (newer) slight variation on the Nexus 5's Snapdragon 800
Sizes are very similar
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Sizes are very similar
The GS5 gives you a bit more screen real estate, though the Nexus 5 has a slightly higher pixel density
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The GS5 gives you a bit more screen real estate, though the Nexus 5 has a slightly higher pixel density
The Galaxy S5 has a fingerprint scanner in tow
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The Galaxy S5 has a fingerprint scanner in tow
Samsung's phone also has a heart rate monitor on board
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Samsung's phone also has a heart rate monitor on board
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Google/LG Nexus 5
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Gizmag compares the features and specs of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Google/LG Nexus 5
The GS5's Ultra Power Saving Mode can potentially stretch a nearly-dead battery out over another full day
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The GS5's Ultra Power Saving Mode can potentially stretch a nearly-dead battery out over another full day
Pricing for the GS5 is still a mystery
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Pricing for the GS5 is still a mystery
2 GB a pop in the RAM department
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2 GB a pop in the RAM department
The GS5's camera also has a post-shot refocusing feature
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The GS5's camera also has a post-shot refocusing feature
Release dates for both phones
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Release dates for both phones
The Galaxy S5 can record slow-motion video at 120 fps
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The Galaxy S5 can record slow-motion video at 120 fps
Software versions for each handset
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Software versions for each handset
Storage options look alike, apart from the GS5's microSD card support
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Storage options look alike, apart from the GS5's microSD card support
The Nexus 5 is 10 percent lighter
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The Nexus 5 is 10 percent lighter
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Samsung's Galaxy S5 looks like it's going to be a pretty minor update over the Galaxy S4. But is it an upgrade over the latest Nexus? Let's take the features and specs of the GS5 and Nexus 5, put them in our magical comparison machine, and see what happens.

Size

Sizes are very similar
Sizes are very similar

Not a huge difference here. The Galaxy S5 is about three percent longer and six percent wider than the Nexus 5. The GS5 is also six percent thinner.

Weight

The Nexus 5 is 10 percent lighter
The Nexus 5 is 10 percent lighter

The GS5 is actually heavier than its predecessor, the Galaxy S4. So it shouldn't be too big of a surprise that it also has 12 percent more heft than the Nexus 5.

Build

Both phones are made of plastic, but with very different styles
Both phones are made of plastic, but with very different styles

Both phones are made of plastic, but they're coming from very different angles. The Nexus 5 has a simple matte finish, while Samsung opted for a dimpled faux leather exterior. Not what we would have expected, but we'll reserve judgment until we've spent some extended time with the latest Galaxy.

Colors

Color options for both handsets
Color options for both handsets

Samsung gives you four Galaxy S5 colors to choose from, while you can order the Nexus 5 in one of three different hues.

Display

The GS5 gives you a bit more screen real estate, though the Nexus 5 has a slightly higher pixel density
The GS5 gives you a bit more screen real estate, though the Nexus 5 has a slightly higher pixel density

No huge difference here either, as both phones have 1080p screens in the 5-in range. The GS5's display is six percent bigger, though that also means the Nexus 5 has a slightly higher pixel density. Both phones, though, give you a lot of real estate and beautiful, razor-sharp resolutions.

Fingerprint scanner

The Galaxy S5 has a fingerprint scanner in tow
The Galaxy S5 has a fingerprint scanner in tow

You didn't think Samsung would pass up the opportunity to match the latest iPhone's killer feature, did you? Much like Apple's 5s, the GS5 lets you password-protect your phone with your unique fingerprint. You can also sync it up with your PayPal account to authorize transactions. Just know that, unlike Apple's Touch ID, Samsung's Finger Scanner makes you swipe your finger before it can work its magic.

Heart rate monitor

Samsung's phone also has a heart rate monitor on board
Samsung's phone also has a heart rate monitor on board

With smartphone innovation in danger of hitting a brick wall, manufacturers are looking to advanced sensors to take them to the next level. Like the GS5's heart rate sensor, which lives just below the phone's rear-facing camera.

Cameras

The GS5's camera has much higher resolution, but that isn't always an absolute measure of image quality
The GS5's camera has much higher resolution, but that isn't always an absolute measure of image quality

Speaking of cameras, Samsung upped its resolution to 16 MP. If nothing else, the higher resolution should make blown-up or zoomed-in shots look a bit clearer.

4K video recording

The Galaxy S5 gives you the option of recording 4K video
The Galaxy S5 gives you the option of recording 4K video

Unless you own a 4K TV, this one might be a moot point. But if you own your next phone long enough, it's possible this will be a feature you'll want a year or two down the road.

Slow-motion video

The Galaxy S5 can record slow-motion video at 120 fps
The Galaxy S5 can record slow-motion video at 120 fps

The GS5's camera also shoots slow-motion video, at 120 fps.

Post-shot refocusing

The GS5's camera also has a post-shot refocusing feature
The GS5's camera also has a post-shot refocusing feature

Yet another box ticked for Samsung, as it threw in a cool feature that lets you change a shot's point of focus after you've already snapped it.

Processor

Very similar on the processor front, with the GS5 running a (newer) slight variation on the Nexus 5's Snapdragon 800
Very similar on the processor front, with the GS5 running a (newer) slight variation on the Nexus 5's Snapdragon 800

The Nexus 5 is a speed demon, and the Galaxy S5 should be too. Its Snapdragon 801 is a hair faster than the 800 living inside the Nexus, but this difference probably isn't nearly enough to sway you one way or the other.

RAM

2 GB a pop in the RAM department
2 GB a pop in the RAM department

Both phones also have an ample 2 GB of RAM.

Storage

Storage options look alike, apart from the GS5's microSD card support
Storage options look alike, apart from the GS5's microSD card support

The same 16 GB and 32 GB storage options for both handsets, though Samsung's also supports microSD cards.

Battery

The GS5's battery holds a bit more juice
The GS5's battery holds a bit more juice

Way too early to comment on the GS5's battery life, though it does hold a bit more juice than the Nexus 5. The GS5 has a removable battery, while the Nexus' is sealed shut.

Ultra Power Saving Mode

The GS5's Ultra Power Saving Mode can potentially stretch a nearly-dead battery out over another full day
The GS5's Ultra Power Saving Mode can potentially stretch a nearly-dead battery out over another full day

One of the GS5 features we're the most intrigued by is the new Ultra Power Saving Mode. If your battery dips below a certain level, you can set the phone to switch its display to black & white and eliminate a bunch of unnecessary background processes. Samsung claims that this can take a mere 10 percent of juice and stretch it out to 24 hours of uptime. If that holds up, this might be the GS5's killer feature.

Software

Software versions for each handset
Software versions for each handset

Kudos to Samsung for launching the GS5 with the latest version of Android. Just don't expect to see a lot of stock Android, with the customary thick layer of TouchWiz slabbed on top. The Nexus 5, meanwhile, is the current best example of a pure Android phone. No custom UIs or bundled crapware to be found.

But you could argue that some of Samsung's bundled apps transcend crapware. You get a boatload of free services with your purchase, including a free six-month subscription the Wall Street Journal, 1 TB of Bitcasa storage for three months, 50 GB of Box storage for six months, and three months of Evernote Premium. These and other offers combine for a grand total of US$576 worth of goodies.

Release date

Release dates for both phones
Release dates for both phones

The Nexus 5 has been around for just over four months now. We still have to wait for April for the GS5's launch (the 11th is Samsung's big day for many regions).

Pricing

Pricing for the GS5 is still a mystery
Pricing for the GS5 is still a mystery

Pricing is still the big question about Samsung's phone. No matter what price tag Sammy slaps onto it, though, don't expect it to dip anywhere near the Nexus 5's off-contract price. Its $350 starting price is an insane deal for a terrific high-end phone.

Much more to come on the GS5 as we move towards its April launch. In the meantime, you can check out our similar comparisons between it and the iPhone 5s and the GS4.

View gallery - 20 images
4 comments
Anthony Johnson
Well I like the most of the features in Galaxy S5 which are far better than Nexus 5 but the one feature which I like the most in Nexus 5 is it supports wireless charging which overcomes all its drawbacks as compared to Galaxy S5. This feature is not present in Galaxy S5 which according to me must be there to explore more and more apps without wary about battery status as I recently purchased a wireless charger from Amazon for my Nexus 5 Android Smartphone.
Rann Xeroxx
If you are buying off contract (and if you are not, you really should think about doing so), the Nexus 5 is just a much better deal for a phone that for 95% of the function, do want you need it to do.
The biggest difference is the camera and for the lower price you could afford to buy the Nexus 5 and a Sony QX10 to go with it and transfer to all your phones.
I do like the SD Card port and replaceable batteries though in the Samsung.
DrZoo
@Anthony the wireless charging is not specific to the Nexus 5. The charging technology is related to the battery. The wireless charging pad works on am So and possibly the presessors too. I'm too lazy to look but my guess is if you have a NFC battery, the wireless charger will work.
Ranit Sanyal
Both smartphones provide an excellent experience, but, these two devices aren't tailored to the same consumer base. Some individuals care little for Samsung’s software innovations and would rather have Google’s experience. like Completetab says here http://goo.gl/nPz29Z "Last but not least, the water and dust resistance gives the GS5 the win over the Nexus 5."
Though I personally prefer Nexus5 over S5.