Nexus 5 VS Galaxy S4 VS iPhone 5S: Which iOS 7, KitKat Phone Has The Best Specs?

The Nexus 5 vs Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5S grudge match is going down with the Google Nexus 5 release date upon us.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the higher price of the Galaxy Note 3 is worth it versus the Galaxy S4, although the Note 3 is in a separate “phablet” class of its own. Whatever you purchase, make sure to watch out for Android Kit Kat viruses.

In the past, we’ve compared the iPhone 5S to the original iPhone 5 to see what the major differences are. Anything not available with the iPhone 5S specs probably be available with the future Apple iPhone 6 according to rumors. Speaking of which, the Samsung Galaxy S5 rumors say a fingerprint scanner is unlikely.

Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5S vs Galaxy S4: Fight!

Unfortunately, this Nexus 5, iPhone 5S, and Galaxy S4 matchup almost seems unfair to Apple. The Nexus 5 battery is 2300 mAh but the size is an odd middle ground. It’s actually slightly thicker than the Galaxy S4 at 0.34 but at the same time it’s slightly lighter at 4.59 ounces. Because the Samsung Galaxy S4 is such a big boy it features a 2600 mAh battery while the iPhone 5S is stuck with the same battery life as the iPhone 5. It’s like sticking a 3.95 ounce welterweight in the ring with a 4.6 ounce heavyweight even though they’re about the same thinness (0.3 inches vs 0.31).

But that’s because the iPhone 5S screen size is the same 4 inches from the original iPhone 5. Both the Nexus 5 and Galaxy S4 features a 5 inch display. The iPhone 5S screen resolution is 640 x 1136, which gives it a Pixel Per Inch (PPI) of 326 while the Galaxy S4 and Nexus 5 both boast a full 1080 x 1920 HD resolution resulting in a 441 PPI for the Galaxy S4. The Nexus 5 screen is actually not quite a full 5 inches, so it’s pixel density is higher at 445 ppi.

This is not as bad as it sounds, though. The 1080 HD resolution featured in the Nexus 5 and Galaxy S4 is overkill for a screen that relatively “small.” When you look at your smartphone the “apparent” visual clarity is largely determined by the size of the screen, the screen resolution, and the distance between the display and your eyes. Even 20/20 vision cannot resolve sharpness above 229 pixels per inch according to scientists, so even a six inch screen with a 1080 by 1920 resolution has a 367 ppi which is way beyond what is necessary for a smartphone. Although full HD screens sort of makes sense on the Galaxy Note 3, Apple played the smart move by matching the iPhone 5S screen size to a resolution that is actually needed.

Galaxy S4, Nexus 5 CPU Snapdragon vs iPhone 5S A7 CPU: Two Cores Too Little?

Next up in the Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5S vs Galaxy S4 fight is the CPU. The 64 bit iPhone 5S A7 CPU has dual cores and is fighting against the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad core in the Galaxy S4, while the Nexus 5 CPU is the newer Snapdragon 800 quad core clocked at 2.3 GHz.

Apple boasts it’s the first 64 bit smartphone CPU, which is true, but since both competitors feature less than 4GB of memory the point is moot. Never mind, 99.99 percent of iPhone apps are all compiled for 32 bit and this will change slowly since only the iPhone 5S supports 64 bit apps.

Apple skimped on its 1 GB of system memory with the iPhone 5S while both the Galaxy S4 and Nexus 5’s 2GB of system memory. By the way, this type of memory is used by the CPU. Both the iPhone 5S and Galaxy max out at 64GB of internal memory storage, while the best Nexus 5 has 32GB. But some tests have shown iOS 7 can use up to 3 GB of system memory, which forces it to use slower virtual memory.

At the same time, the four cores of the Snapdragon don’t have much teeth when it comes to current smartphone apps. Most iOS and Android apps tend to be optimized for single thread, single core code. Video processing and high end 3D games like Infinity Blade 3 can and will use multiple cores but in general most apps and games tend to be single threaded.

This writer personally uses an Android phone with multiple cores and when I’ve analyzed CPU usage history often times the second through fourth cores are either running at reduced clock speeds or are shut off entirely from lack of usage. In general, the primary core will handle whatever app is running on screen and the other cores will handle background processes. Because of these realities, it’s possible Apple chose to focus on optimizing single threaded CPU performance with the A7.

And it turns out Apple made the right call because iPhone 5S performance is the fastest on the market so far:

  • Apple iPhone 5s: 1410 (single core), 2561 (multi core)
  • LG G2: 882 (single core), 2355 (multi core)
  • Samsung Galaxy S4: 687 (single core), 1939 (multi core)
  • HTC One: 643 (single core), 1805 (multi core)
  • Apple iPhone 5c: 711 (single core), 1281 (multi core)
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini: 649 (single core), 1135 (multi core)
  • HTC One Mini: 477 (single core), 880 (multi core)

Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to benchmark the Nexus 5 to offer an apples to apples CPU comparison. But it’s possible some high end phone games may use more than two cores and even then we’re expecting the Nexus 5 CPU to be very fast.

Adreno 330 VS PowerVR G6430: Get Your Game On

Speaking of games, the iPhone 5S System On a Chip (SoC) design includes a graphics processing unit and the iPhone 5S GPU is pretty fast with the quad-core PowerVR G6430. Epic Games showed off Infinity Blade as an example of the new graphics processing power of the iPhone 5S, with the graphics appearing to be on par with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. But no modern mobile GPU can touch the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 hardware.

But the Nexus 5 GPU called the Adreno 330 may give both the iPhone 5S and Galaxy S4 (which uses the Adreno 320) a run for their money. An early preview of the Adreno 330 gave it a 3DMark score of 21,680 while the iPhone 5S got 17,669 and the Galaxy S4 eking out only 9,984 (although Anandtech did report a disparity in Samsung S4 3DMark scores).

Nexus 5 Camera: Putting On A Pretty Face


In general, smartphone cameras tend to be used for selfies and people in Walmart. The iPhone 5S, Nexus 5, Galaxy S4 camera apps are about on par when it comes to features. The iPhone 5S camera is 8 megapixels but supposedly features a larger image sensor than the Galaxy S4. So it’s possible the Galaxy S4 camera’s 13 megapixels won’t help it much. We’re not yet sure on photo quality, but the Nexus 5 camera is “only” 8 megapixels like the iPhone 5S. All of the phones supports video recording capable of 1080p.

The iPhone 5S FaceTime HD front facing camera is capable of 720p and provides better low light support. The iPhone 5S front facing camera was rumored to have a front facing flash but apparently the final version does not. This is important if you like to video chat or take tons of selfies. The Nexus 5 front-facing camera is limited to 1.3 MP while the Galaxy S4 is 2 MP.

Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5S vs Galaxy S4: The Minor Jabs

Both the Nexus 5 and Galaxy S4 have multiple features the iPhone 5S is flat out missing the punch with. There is no Near Field Communications (NFC), microSD slot, and wireless AC WiFi isn’t in the checklist. Oddly enough, the Nexus 5 is also missing a SD card slot so keep that in mind if your music and video collection is massive.

Apple can be excused for not including NFC since most retailers haven’t implemented it for purchasing yet, but wireless AC is the latest 802.11 standard and has been out for quite a while now. Still, wireless routers that use AC will provide connections at N and G speeds for years to come. Apple claims the iPhone 5S supports more LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world, but we’re not sure if that includes the Nexus 5, as well.

Of course, no other smartphone can boast the extra security of the iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner called the Touch ID. This feature also controls access to iTunes, so it could potentially prevent children from going on a shopping spree with your iPhone 5S. But the iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner is hardly a knockout blow in favor of Apple.

Android KitKat vs iOS 7

For the most part this is a personal preference. Android 4.4 KitKat is said to be more efficient and simplifies parts of the interface in a manner very similar to iOS 7. So, in reality, most people are probably more interested in knowing how the Nexus 5 fairs against the Galaxy S4 if they’re an Android fan.

Who do you think wins the Google Nexus 5 vs iPhone 5S vs Galaxy S4 matchup?