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iPhone 5S vs Nexus 5 head to head review

We see if value is enough to beat Apple's latest flagship smartphone
Mon Dec 09 2013, 15:17

INTERNET GIANT Google has worked hard to steal customers from Apple by radically undercutting the price of its devices. The Nexus 5 is the latest step in this strategy, with Google intentionally selling it for close to half the price of Apple's iPhone 5S, which starts at £549.

However, with Apple having added a host of new features to its latest flagship iPhone, including a TouchID fingerprint sensor, 64-bit chip, and slow-mo camera, many have claimed that Google will still struggle to prise marketshare away from the Cupertino giant. 

Design and build
Visually the iPhone 5S doesn't stray far from the iPhone 5 design. The iPhone 5S even measures and weighs the same, at 124x59x7.6mm and 112g. This is no bad thing, though, as despite being a year old, the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S design still looks great. The phones both feature a metallic chassis and Gorilla Glass front that looks and feels top end.

The larger 138x69x8.6mm, 130g Nexus 5 seems a little bit cheaper, featuring a slightly rubberised plastic chassis. That said, of the two, the Nexus 5 is more comfortable to hold. This is because, unlike the hard-edged iPhone 5S, the Nexus 5 has rounded sides that make it feel more ergonomic in the hand.

Nexus 5 display

Sadly, despite being comfortable, the Nexus 5 isn't as solidly built as the iPhone 5S. While it is more scratch resistant, the Nexus 5 screen is prone to shattering. A two-foot drop onto a carpeted floor was more than the Nexus 5 could handle and its screen shattered to pieces. With further research we found that our experience is common and many early buyers have reported having similar accidents.

Winner: iPhone 5S

When Apple debuted its Retina display technology it was undeniably the best available. For this reason it was unsurprising that Apple chose to configure the iPhone 5S with the same 4in 1136x640 326ppi Retina display seen on the iPhone 5.iPhone 5S vs Nexus 5 front

This isn't terrible, as despite being a year old the iPhone 5S Retina display still looks great and outperforms most other smartphone screens. But one year on there are a small number of smartphones boasting better displays. Featuring a 4.95in full HD in-plane switching (IPS) 1920x1080, 445ppi display, the Nexus 5 is one of these smartphones.

The Nexus 5 screen is in general slightly better than the iPhone 5S display. Icons appear slightly crisper and colours pop out a little more. The added screen space also makes typing and editing documents on the Nexus 5 easier than it is on the iPhone 5S. As long as you don't drop the phone, the Nexus 5 screen is better than the one on the iPhone 5S.

Winner: Nexus 5

Next: Software and security.


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