So Google has finally unveiled the Nexus 5, and as we expected it’s a magnificent phone on paper, especially considering the price.
The combo of the epic Snapdragon 800 processor coupled with the Adreno 330 GPU is one we’ve already seen on the Sony Xperia Z1, Note 3 and LG G2 and it is very, very fast. Each of those phones has a clear differentiator to the Nexus 5, whether it’s water-proofing, a digitiser or a new way to use your phone.
Yes there will be some punters who will looks at the hugely attractive pricing of £299 and compare it to the £549 of the iPhone 5S and consider it a no-brainer, but the truth is the iPhone offers something different, not least because it runs iOS. They’re different beasts.
The Nexus 5 isn’t competing directly with the iPhone, it’s aimed squarely at the prospective Galaxy S4 owner.
SEE ALSO: Nexus 5 vs Nexus 4: what's different?
Nexus 5 is better for less?
Let’s dig a little deeper. The screen size is almost equal, but what about the other dimensions? Well the S4’s measures 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, the Nexus 5 137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6 mm. They’re almost identical in size. What does the weigh in say? 130g a piece.
OS? On the one side you have Android 4.2.2 (soon to be 4.3) with a huge dollop of TouchWiz and on the other you have the brand-spanking new Android 4.4 KitKat.
Cameras? Well the S4 trumps the Nexus in terms of pure megapixel count – 13MP compared to 8MP – but the optical image stabilization on the Nexus 5 should not be underestimated. It’s a great feature and I’d happily sacrifice a little thinness and megapixel count for it. Crucially, it also puts to rest (we hope) one of the main complaints of the Nexus 4, the very iffy camera.
If this was a boxing match these two phones would be in the same weight class and you wouldn’t want to call it. Except for one very important difference, Samsung’s phone retails for around £420 SIM-free. That’s 40% more for a phone that (leaving aside the expandable storage and removable battery) is inferior to the Nexus 5. When you’re pretty much comparing like-for-like, then price is the decisive factor.
It’s been apparent for a while that Samsung realised the threat and is trying to find a way to differentiate and distance itself from Google and the plethora of other Android phones of the market. TouchWiz has pebble-dashed Android with a different look and a load of features on the S4, but it’s debatable as to whether it actually adds much end-user value. With more and more murmurs coming from Samsung about Tizen it seems a matter of time before it parts way with Android.
The Nexus 5 may well be the final wedge splits the relationship.
Let’s not forget, though, that the six months since the S4 launched is half a lifetime in the mobile tech world. Samsung will be beavering away diligently creating their next phone, but the Galaxy S5 needs to come soon and it needs to be a winner if the momentum Samsung has achieved with the Galaxy S range is to continue.
Next, read our Nexus 5 vs Galaxy S4 comparison