Here we are comparing the venerable Nexus 5 – the purest of Google's Android – against the new kid, the OnePlus One with CyanogenMod – the purest of the community built distribution of Android. This is a fair comparison, so stop the whining now – the flagship Nexus 5 only came out in November so comparing it to a April/May device is certainly within reason, especially with this crop of new devices since they are all using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 or 801 and Full HD Displays. Other than those two items, the 16GB models and no microSD expansion slots are about the only common factors between these two devices…other than the reasonable price off contract. The Nexus 5 will run you $349 for a 16GB model versus $299 for the OnePlus One 16GB model – for $399 you can get a 32GB model and for only $349 you can get a 64GB OnePlus One. Both devices are rather minimalistic in design…nothing fancy looking, but a great feel in your hand and comfortable 'fit.' Take a look at the specifications below and compare them, and then will look at both of these devices and see what each has to offer before we pick the winner in this comparison.
The new OnePlus One appears to be a force that must be reckoned with – great build, great specs and a great price. It is a newcomer that looks like it could give the HTC a run in the 'looks' department. The One has a slightly larger 5.5-inch display versus the 5-inch of the Nexus 5, bringing the pixels per inch down to 401, rather than the 445 of the Nexus 5. The One is packing the newest Snapdragon 801 quad-core clocked at 2.5GHz – a slight advantage over the Snapdragon 800 clocked at 2.3GHz. The One also boasts an incredible 3GB of RAM, again more than the 2GB of RAM in the Nexus. When it comes to the camera, the One also outclasses the Nexus 5 – 13MP with six lenses and a dual LED flash versus only a 8MP, single LED flash. The OnePlus One also sports a 5MP front facing camera over the mere 1.3MP on the Nexus, so video chatting should be much better as well as the popular selfies. The dual stereo speakers on the bottom end of the One clearly outshine the small Nexus speaker that many complained so much about that a video was done on how to improve the sound by enlarging the existing holes and adding more. The One is larger and heavier as you can see from the specification sheet above. The One also has a much larger battery – 3100mAh versus only 2300mAh on the Nexus 5. The pricing is also less than the already reasonably priced Nexus 5…for $299 you can get a 16GB white One versus the $349 it will cost you for a 16GB Nexus 5. The 64GB Black One model will cost you $349 versus $399 for a 32GB Nexus 5. While the Nexus 5 does run the purest form of Android, the One runs a version Cyanogenmod, Cyanogenmof 11S, which is pretty close to the same Android build that many users think is actually better than the pure Android experience. Currently, the One will only work on AT&T and T-Mobile networks.
The Nexus series of phones, like most other devices – Galaxy S, Galaxy Note, HTC, even LG the past year and of course the iPhone, have a very loyal following, almost fanatical…if you don't believe me, just get on the websites and blush at the language used in defending the Nexus and dissing the other devices. The 5-inch display on the Nexus is a half-inch smaller than the OnePlus One, but that may be a good thing to some users – both displays are Full HD IPS. The Nexus 5 has the best processor that 2013 had to offer – the Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor – and even the first batch of 2014 flagships, including the One, are using a hopped up version of the same basic processor. The 2GB of RAM in the Nexus is 1GB shy of the One, although the 16GB base model of internal memory is the same. The Nexus offers a 32GB model, and the One jumps to 64GB. Both cameras in the Nexus do not stand up to the One – an 8MP main camera with a single LED flash and mere 1.3MP front facing camera…it takes good pictures, but not great pictures. The battery is only 2300mAh compared to the 3100mAh in the OnePlus One. The small, single speaker is also no match for the One's dual, bottom mounted, stereo setup. The Nexus 5 is smaller and 32 grams lighter, making it easier to carry and use with one hand.
…and the WINNER is…
The Nexus 5 has never been about being the best, but being a solid device for a reasonable amount of money, and finally a device for Google to showcase their pure Android operating system. They are not about top-notch speakers or cameras or special materials for their body or even battery life – just delivering a solid device at a reasonable cost and it does this probably better than any other smartphone. In designing their One, OnePlus was about using the best materials available, charging a reasonable amount, and a way to showcase the Android operating system via CyanogenMod. The processor, although slightly, is still better, there is more RAM, the camera is more sophisticated, the dual stereo speakers are much better, the battery is larger, as is the display. The price is smaller and if there is a downside to the One, it would be its availability only on AT&T and T-Mobile carriers in the U.S. The new OnePlus One is just better spec'd all around than the Nexus 5.
Please let us know on our Google+ Page what you think of these two devices…as always, we love to hear what you have to say.