13 Reasons I prefer the Nexus 5 over the iPhone 5S

by Jeff Hilimire on January 30, 2014


I have the white Nexus 5, 32 GB.

The Nexus 5 is the best phone I’ve ever had. Admittedly, I was on a six year run as a tried and true Apple Fanboy, and my initial journey into the world of Android about a year ago wasn’t exactly a smooth one. I started with the first Nexus and enjoyed it, but it was very under-powered compared to the iPhone at the time and the camera was unusable. Then I switched to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and while I initially liked it, over time it became less reliable and I’d routinely have 20 minutes where I couldn’t make a phone call while the Contacts app crashed and crashed.

Then about a month ago I bough the Google Edition Nexus 5. This is the first Android phone I’ve used that feels like an iPhone when I use it. It’s extremely fast and responsive and has yet to crash once. Right now I believe the Nexus 5 and the iPhone 5S are the two best phones on the market, so…

Here are 13 reasons that I believe the Nexus 5 is a better phone than the iPhone 5S:

1. The full integration of the Google ecosystem, because the Nexus 5 is as pure a Google phone as you can buy, is amazing. I’m a super-user of Google services and to have them fully baked into this OS is fantastic. It’s something you have to experience to really get, but if you’re a Google user you’ll love this phone.

2. The always present “back” button. Essentially no matter what app you are using, you have a back button at the bottom of your phone to go back to the previous page. iOS needs to embrace this. As soon as you get used to it, you can’t imagine not having it.

3. Multi-tasking is far easier than on the iPhone and it’s true multi-tasking (like, programs can actually run in the background seamlessly). Android has always been ahead of the iPhone in this category.

4. The screen size blows the iPhone 5S away. I’m sure the next iteration of iPhones will have these larger screens, but until they do I can’t even consider going back to the iPhone.

5. The ability to use any app to perform any service is really the way things should be. For example, if you click on an address on an Android device, you get the option to use ANY mapping app that you’ve put on the phone. With the iPhone 5S, you’re limited to what Apple wants you to use, regardless of what else you have on the phone.

6. Widgets! Having widgets running on the phone’s desktop screens is great. For instance, I have a few Google Analytic widgets that show me how much traffic this blog is getting on a daily and monthly basis. Almost anything you can think of can be a widget.

7. Apps that integrate with the OS directly provide the ability to tweak your phone to your personal preferences. For instance, the Shush! and SkipLock apps allow me to do things that make my phone much more useful on a day to day basis.

8. The price. A 32 GB unlocked and contract free iPhone 5S is $749. A 32 GB unlocked and contract free Nexus 5 is $399. That’s a considerable advantage for the Nexus 5.

9. Wireless charging. I bought a charging pad for $30 that I can just set my Nexus 5 on and it starts charging. Super convenient and something the iPhone doesn’t yet allow.


Wireless charging is great on the Nexus 5.

10. Google Now. The Nexus 5 has Google Now one swipe left of the homescreen. If you aren’t familiar with Google Now, its sort of like a concierge for your phone. It will tell you when you should leave for your next meeting, update you on things you’ve recently searched for, tell you what’s going on around you that you might be interested, let you know when that package you ordered will be delivered, etc. And it learns as you use it. For instance, I’ve never put an event on my calendar for going to church, but now on Sunday mornings it tells me when I need to leave to get to church. It learned when I usually get there (9:00am to get the kids to choir practice) and where the church is located, and alerts me at the appropriate time to leave based on traffic. That’s cool.

11. Google voice translation. It’s just better than Siri at the moment. More accurate and can do more things.

12. Gmail app. If you’re a gmail user, then the Gmail app on the Nexus 5 is going to be a much better experience than any other mail program you’re using on the iPhone. Of course it should be, Google controls both, but to have the full power of Gmail on my phone is awesome.

13. Notifications. I prefer the way that Android handles notifications and KitKat 4.4 (the latest Android OS) just gets it right. I was never much of a notifications user until I got the Nexus 5. Grab an iPhone 5S and pull down from the top, then do the same thing on the Nexus 5 and you’ll see what I mean.

  • John Davidson

    Nice list. I’d love to try out a Nexus 5 but it will never work on Verizon so that’s a deal killer.

    As you noted, the killer app part of Android is realized only if you are a Google power user. I have phones in both ecosystems and you have to really embed your life with Google’s or things like GoogleNow simply limp along without reaching potential. It’s weird how a lot of tech people decry “walled gardens” but go all in with Google’s services because once you do that, you can never really leave Google. And yes, there is a similar trap of going all in on iOS but given the pervasiveness of Google, it’s arguable that Google’s data is more powerful than iOS.

    I don’t find the “back” button essential; it is convenient but it is inconsistent in its implementation with the OS/apps. I go back and forth between OS because of work, and don’t miss the back button when on my iPhone. Same with wireless charging, although I will say that the Lightning connector is far superior to micro-USB. “True” multitasking (which can actually vary by app) has a negligible effect on my workflow except for battery life.

    In my usage, all the other items on your list are definite advantages of KitKat (and really, it’s the only version of Android that competes well against iOS7) and I would hope iOS will continue to improve. But for me, the thing I like best about my Android phone is the screen size. Having a slightly larger screen seems to make the user experience significantly better…whenever I get back on my iPhone5 I feel like the screen seems too small. Apple needs bigger screens.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Thanks for the comment, JD. I’m surprised you don’t miss the back button on iOS. I use an iPad and an iPod (to test our games) and when I go to those and have to find the “back” option in each app, its annoying.

    The charging is a new thing, I just started it, so I’m sure that’s not a game changer.

    And I agree with the google walled garden…though right now I can rent a movie on google play and watch it on my iPad and my Nexus, but I can’t do the same with Apple movies. Or songs. Or any Apple media. I almost want to stop using the iPad simply to unlock myself from that whole process. So you’re locked in a lot more with Apple because they don’t let you use their media on anything other than their devices.

  • John Davidson

    I like the back button but I find implementation inconsistencies, especially when going from system to app and vice versa (likely due to unregulated development process). It’s convenient but I don’t miss it that much.

    Are *all* GooglePlay purchased media transportable? If I buy music on Play can it be played on all Apple products? Honestly I think that the OS ultimately won’t be the limiter for media given increased robustness of streaming technology. Might be a bummer in the short term but long term, media doesn’t seem to be an integration point in system level OS.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Yeah, you can play all Google media on iOS devices…except AppleTV (unless I’m missing something). That’s a bummer, but you can screen share from your laptop or iOS device so effectively you can play Google media on the AppleTV as well.

  • Emil Engelman III

    I love my Nexus 5. Have you seen the rumors that Google may kill the nexus line in 2015?

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    I did, but honestly it doesn’t mean too much to me. I hear Nexus and think, “A phone optimized entirely for google” and I’m sure that concept won’t go away, so I’m expecting the Nexus will be replaced with something even better.


  • Emil Engelman III

    I agree. I have read some articles stating that Google is going to let the hardware manufactures develop and design the phones and that Google will uses the hardware and make Google Play devices.

    I really think that Google is just postponing till they can build their own hardware company. The reason for my option is 1. Google is in the process of selling Motorola mobile, and Google kept some of the patents that Motorola has. 2. The purchase of Nest. I think that Google is going to use Nest to build and design the hardware (phones and tablets) from the ground up. I think Google bought Nest to acquire Tony Fadell who help develop the iPod. I think they are going to utilize Tony in order to build a hardware company from the ground up. Then again I may just be a conspiracy theorist…who knows. I guess only time will tell.

    I really like the idea of a phone optimized entirely for Google and no bloatware . If the Nexus brand goes away then hopefully the Google play devices will stay.

  • robforman

    As a longtime fanboy, I was surprised to say I love my Nexus 5 too (I was mainly doing it as an experiment). Completely agree on the inter-app-back-button. Love. it. Speaking of Google Now, have you noticed that it will all notice an amazon shipment email in your inbox and alert you??

    Two other things I was surprised how much I liked coming to Android:
    1. Install of apps from a computer. If I find a cool app on a site, its great to just click install and it shows up on my phone.

    2. Pluggable keyboards (and home screens and everything). You can use any keyboard and I’m amazed how fast I am on the swipe keyboard. I can’t go back.

    Overall I’m glad to see the strong competition in the space and look forward to new things from Apple.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Yes! Two additional great things about Android are the remote app installs and the swipe keyboard. Love both of those features.

  • http://www.digitalmarketingspeak.com/ Vlad Gorenshteyn

    I’ve had an iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy III, HTC Sensation. Most recently I got an android-based Sony Xperia Z.

    I’d say that aside from bigger screen sizes, I love the fact that there are multiple vendors including LG (who manufactures the Nexus5) who are vying for market-share on the android platform. This creates a competitive environment both from a hardware and software standpoint which results in better products (in theory), faster updates/iterations, more options to choose from — basic market economy at work. Aside from a slightly bigger screen in the iPhone 5, etc.. what has apple done with iPhones that makes you stop dead in your tracks and do a double take? Who can objectively argue with this statement? p.s. New “flat” design (that kinda mimics Android OS) imho doesn’t count.

    ~my two cents

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Boom. Agree on all points.

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