Do we have a good one for you today – the affordable Nexus 5X goes up against the new Samsung Galaxy S7. The Nexus devices are very different from the year before, but the Samsung Galaxy S7 is simply a refinement from the newly designed Galaxy S6 – did Samsung and LG do enough to warrant our love? In our last comparison, the flagship Nexus 6P took on the Galaxy S7 – of course, the newer Galaxy S7 won in the specification department, however, when it came to public opinion, the Nexus 6P took the lead and never relinquished it! Will the same thing happen to the Nexus 5X? Could a plastic Nexus device really win out over the beautifully sculptured metal and glass Samsung Galaxy S7? Let's take a quick look at what these two devices have in common before we take a more detailed look at each one.
The Nexus 5X and Galaxy S7 have very little in common, although they are fairly close in physical size with the Nexus 5X slightly larger all around, but 16 grams lighter. The displays are very close in size – 5.2-inches on the 5X and 5.1-inches on the S7 – but are different resolution and technology. Although they are both running Marshmallow (S7 with TouchWiz UI), they use very different processors, memory and GPU. The camera areas are very close in megapixels – 12.3MP/5MP on the 5X and 12MP/5MP on the S7 – but very different specifications. They both have non-removable batteries and both offer rapid charge capabilities. The 5X and S7 both sport a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device and to authorize mobile payments. Both devices have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC and a microUSB port (Type-C on the Nexus 5X) for charging and data transfer.
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
LG Nexus 5X
The 2014 Nexus 6 was made by Motorola, and it upset conservative Nexus users with its huge 6-inch display and high price tag. LG has long been a friend to Nexus ever since they built two successful models, the Nexus 4 in 2012 and the Nexus 5 in 2013. It made perfect sense for Google to go back to LG and ask them to make the mid-range Nexus 5X in 2015. With a 5.2-inch display and priced at only $379 – $429 (each now reduced by $50), it makes the Nexus 5X a true mid-range device. A lower price means that specifications had to be cut and LG started on the outside by using a polycarbonate body – while rugged, it does not have the premium feel of the Galaxy S7's glass and metal body. Inside, the components were carefully selected to offer up great performance while not breaking the bank, but does it have enough to compete with the newest Galaxy S7?
The Nexus 5X sports a 5.2-inch FHD LCD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 423 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) This goes up against the 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED "always-on" display on the Galaxy S7 with 577 PPI. The Nexus 5X uses the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.44 GHz and two cores clocked at 1.82 GHz. The Galaxy S7 has either the newest 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor or has its own Exynos 8890 octa-core processor depending on where you make your purchase. The Nexus 5X packs only 2GB of DDR3 RAM with either 16GB or 32GB of internal memory with no expansion available. The Galaxy S7 doubles the amount to 4GB of faster DDR4 RAM and a choice of 32GB or 64GB of internal memory with expansion via a microSD card.
The Nexus 5X uses an excellent 12.3MP Sony IMX377 sensor for its main camera -with large a 1.55µm pixel size, laser autofocus and a dual-tone LED flash, but no OIS. It has a 5MP FFC for selfies and video chatting. This goes up against a new Dual Pixel 12MP main sensor and a 5MP wide-angle sensor on the Galaxy S7. The Nexus 5X has a smaller 2700mAh non-removable battery while the Galaxy S7 has a 3000mAh non-removable battery. Both devices should make it through a full day and both devices have rapid charge capabilities – the Galaxy S7 adds quick wireless charging as well.
The LG Nexus 5X does not have much that the Galaxy S7 does not already possess, although it does sport a single, front-facing speaker. The biggest difference is the immediate updates on the latest Android OS. The available colors are Carbon, Quartz and Ice and the Nexus 5X will cost $379 for the 16GB model (currently available for $349) and $429 for the 32GB variant (currently available for $399). It measures 147 x 72.6 x 7.9mm and weighs in at 136 grams.
Samsung Galaxy S7
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is a refinement of the initial redesign of the Galaxy S6 from last year and the outside metal and glass construction of the Galaxy S7 is rather hard to distinguish from the Galaxy S6. The top on the Galaxy S7 does have a slight downward curve added to make it more comfortable to hold up to your ear. It is still the same beautiful smartphone, but most of the improvements or changes occurred on the inside of the device. How well does it match up to the mid-range Nexus 5X?
The Galaxy S7 sports a 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 577 PPI. The Nexus 5X uses a slightly larger 5.2-inch FHD IPS LCD display with 423 PPI. Samsung also included an "Always-On" display on the Galaxy S7. The Galaxy S7 model uses one of two processors – either their new Exynos 8890 octa-core processor or the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor depending where you are located. The Nexus 5X uses the Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor. The Galaxy S7 uses 4GB of DDR4 RAM versus the 2GB of slower DDR3 RAM in the Nexus 5X. The Galaxy S7 offers 32GB or 64GB of faster internal UFS 2.0 memory, but added back the ability to expand an additional 200GB with a microSD card. The Nexus 5X offers 32GB or 64GB of internal memory with no expansion option.
Samsung made a radical change in the camera area this year on the Galaxy S7 and is using a new Dual Pixel 12MP with a larger sensor, allowing it to take in more light and information than the older 16MP sensor. They also added a very large aperture of f/1.7, increased the speed of autofocus, offer live HDR and retained OIS, while the Nexus 5X uses the highly praised 12.3MP. The Galaxy S7 uses a 5MP FFC with Live HDR, a large f/1.7 aperture and 22mm wide-angle lens for selfies and video chatting while the Nexus 5X uses a 5MP FFC as well. The Galaxy S7 battery, though still non-removable, jumped in size from 2550mAh to 3000mAh, comes with rapid charge and quick wireless charging. This goes up against the smaller 2700mAh non-removable battery in the Nexus 5X, which also offers a rapid charge feature.
The Galaxy S7 does offer some features not found on the Nexus 5X, such as IP68 water/dust proofing, expandable memory, quick wireless charging and "always-on" display. It also offers the option of Samsung Pay, besides the usual Android Pay. It retains the heart rate and oxygen saturation sensors, and a slightly larger 3000mAh battery this year, but it is still non-removable. The Samsung battery will charge for up to four hours of usage in only 10 minutes and includes quick wireless charging. The Galaxy S7 measures 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm, weighs in at 152 grams and will be offered in Black Onyx and Gold Platinum and cost about $670 off-contract.
…And The Winner Is…
Okay, before the Samsung Galaxy S7 supporters start calling me names and question my sanity – I am sane and I realize that the Galaxy S7 is heads above the Nexus 5X when it comes to specifications, but you have to ask yourself if there is really a $270 difference? You have to ask yourself if your life would be diminished by owning a Nexus 5X rather than a Galaxy S7 – how exactly would you suffer? Looking at the pros and cons, I think I could live quite happily with the Nexus 5X and still have $270 in my pocket to celebrate.
Keep in mind that the Galaxy S7 does have a better QHD Super AMOLED display, better processor, more RAM, expandable memory, IP68 dust and water resistance, larger battery with quick wireless charging, better camera and things like Samsung Pay, heart rate and oxygen saturation sensors. Those features are great to have, but the Nexus 5X has a great display, more than enough processing power and RAM to run pure Android, but it does lack expandable internal memory. It has a fingerprint sensor to make mobile payments and it has a great camera. It will certainly get the Android updates far faster than the Galaxy S7.
I just do not see any downside by purchasing the Nexus 5X and saving your money. I picked the Galaxy S7 over the Nexus 6P because the price difference really did not make that much difference, so I went for the clear specifications winner. However, this time around, the Nexus 5X seems like such a bargain, it is hard to say "no"…kind of like a day old donut – you know it is not as fresh, but how can you say "no" to $0.25 when can always dunk it in your coffee.