The Nexus 5 finally launched yesterday. For maybe the first time ever, Google's order system didn't crash. Units are already shipping, and some people have already received their Nexus 5. We brought you all of the coverage and news about it yesterday, but we wanted to dive a little more in depth today.
The Nexus 5 is roughly based on the LG G2, in the same way that the Nexus 4 and LG Optimus G are cousins. But what are the real differences between the two phones? These two smartphones, both made by LG, will probably provide a vastly different user experience. Beyond just the pricing difference and the way the devices are distributed, what are the actual differences between these two great smartphones? And why might you choose one over the other? Let's take a look.
One of the obvious differences between the Nexus 5 and the LG G2 is the cost of the phone. The Nexus 5 is available on the Google Play Store starting at $349. That price will get you the 16 GB variant. For $50 more, you can pick up the 32 GB model. Compare that to the LG G2, which is currently selling for $574.99 on AT&T's website. Their website does not make it clear whether you are getting the 16 GB or 32 GB model. You can sign a two-year contract and get the G2 for $149.99, but for the sake of this comparison we are going to stick to off-contract price. The Nexus 5 is the clear winner, here. You'll save $174.99 buying the Nexus 5 over the G2. This one is a no-brainer, unless you're on Verizon where the Nexus 5 won't be available.
Style and Build
The G2 and Nexus 5 are very different when it comes to style, build, and use. The big difference here is the odd button placement on the G2. The volume rocker and power button are on the back of the G2. On the Nexus 5, they are on the left and right sides, the way we expect on a smartphone. The G2 seems to be trying to make more of a statement with its styling and edge-to-edge display. The G2 is thin and curvy, the Nexus 5 more utilitarian. The Nexus 5 design seems much more minimal. The focus is on the software with the Nexus 5, not necessarily on the hardware.
The G2s plastic is slick and glossy, like something you would expect to see from Samsung. The thin bezels set off the gorgeous 5.2-inch display, but the back of the phone feels almost slimy. The Nexus 5 plastic has a matte finish on the back and sharper corners. It's also 13g lighter than the G2, coming in at only 130g total. The bezels are still tiny, but the Nexus 5 screen is 4.95-inches compared to the G2's 5.2-inch display. The camera is a little bit of a step down as well. The Nexus 5 has an 8-megapixel rear shooter, where as the G2 has a 13-megapixel camera. Both have Optical Image Stabilization.
Both of these smartphones run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974) quad-core SoC clocked at 2.3 GHz. They also have matching Adreno 330 GPUs and 2 GB of RAM. Performance-wise they should be almost identical, although the Nexus 5 may have a slight advantage because it doesn't have to deal with LGs UI overlay.
The specs differ when it comes to battery life. The G2 has a monster 3,000 mAh battery. The Nexus 5 steps things down to a 2,300 mAh battery. The Nexus 5 should still get you through a full day of use, and Google claims it will get 17 hours of talk time and 60 hours of music playback. That remains to be seen. The Nexus 5 won't get anywhere close to the long battery life that the LG G2 enjoys. You can take a look at how the Nexus 5 compares against other phones here.
Just about all of the complaints we've heard about the G2 revolve around LGs UI skin. It doesn't seem to slow the device down too much, but some users feel that it's cluttered and downright ugly in places. It does offer plenty of apps and software enhancements like the QSlide apps that can be actually useful. LG just needs to work on the visuals.
The Nexus 5 offers a pure Android experience. It's running Android 4.4. KitKat and is sleek and minimal looking. Google has built some new software in to Android with 4.4. The updated dialer has Yellow Pages-like search functions and built in caller ID, Google Now and Search have been improved, and the Nexus 5 has something similar to the Moto X's Touchless Control built-in.
In my opinion, the Nexus 5 is the clear winner. The battery is smaller, but the price is much lower. The camera may be a slight downgrade, but we won't know that for sure until we can compare photos from the two devices. Unless you just have to the have the extra display size or are in love with LGs software, the Nexus 5 is the way to go.