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Nexus 5 vs. LG G2 vs. Samsung Galaxy S4: The Best of Android

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Nexus 5 vs. LG G2 vs. Samsung Galaxy S4: The Best of Android

How does Google’s newest handset compare with the top Korean flagships?

The end of the year is closing in fast, and in case you’ve waited for the most powerful flagship phones of 2013 to hit the market before making a purchase, there’s no need to wait any longer. Now that the LG Nexus 5 has been released, the circle is complete.

The holiday season is also going to usher in a few sought-after price drops, so let’s talk about three of the best Android smartphones on the current market. As the title above suggests, I’m referring of course to the Nexus 5, the LG G2 and the Samsung Galaxy S4. We’re aware that we are leaving out the Galaxy Note 3, but that’s simply because the Note 3 is more of a niche handset. So, without further ado, let’s see how the brand new Nexus 5 compares with its close relative – the LG G2 – and the most successful (as far as sales go) smartphone of the year – the SGS4.

Hardware Specifications

The Nexus 5 was developed by LG, with the Korean company using its G2 flagship as a starting point for the Google smartphone. The same strategy was employed last year, when the Nexus 4 had its roots deep into the LG Optimus G.

Both the Nexus 5 and the LG G2 feature a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, an Adreno 330 graphics chip and 2 GB of RAM, as well as a full HD display. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S4 comes in three main variants, all featuring 2 GB of RAM and full HD displays. However, one model packs an Exynos octa-core processor complemented by a PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU, the other delivers a Snapdragon 600 quad-core CPU clocked at 1.9 GHz, and lastly, the newer international LTE-A variant packs the same Snapdragon 800 quad-core chip as the aforementioned LG smartphones.

There are plenty of other differences between these devices. For starters, while resolution is the same on all three smartphones (1080 x 1920), there is a small discrepancy in terms of diagonal, resulting in different amounts of pixels per inch. The Nexus 5 is the smallest of the bunch, measuring 4.95 inches and delivering 445 PPI. Next, the Galaxy S4 features a 5-inch display with a pixel density of 441 PPI, and last but not least, the LG G2 accommodates a 5.2-inch panel with 424 PPI. While these small differences won’t really make an impact on your experience, the type of screen will. As such, it’s important to note that the LG handsets feature IPS+ panels, whereas Samsung continued its Super AMOLED legacy.

Furthermore, while the LG G2 features Corning Gorilla Glass 2, both the Nexus 5 and the Galaxy S4 are protected by Gorilla Glass 3.

Moving on to storage, both LG smartphones lack the possibility of expanding the storage above the 16 / 32 GB available on-board, whereas the Galaxy S4′s storage can be increased by up to an additional 64 GB via microSD.


Right off the bat, we can safely assume that the LG G2 has the more powerful shooter of the bunch. Early comparisons between the 13 MP Galaxy S4 camera and the 13 MP LG G2 shooter have shown that the latter is able to handle low-light conditions and color reproduction with more ease. Also, the lack of OIS on the Galaxy S4 is a big con for the device’s camera.

While the Nexus 5 features roughly the same sensor as the LG G2 (both of them featuring OIS), the Nexus 5′s shooter is only 8 MP. In addition, the N5′s sensor is limited to 1080p at 30fps recording capabilities, whereas the LG G2 can record 1080p at 60fps videos.

Battery and Software

As far as battery life goes, the LG G2 once again appears to be the winner, thanks to its generous Li-Po 3,000 mAh battery. The Galaxy S4 is not too shabby either, offering a Li-Ion 2,600 unit. As for the Nexus 5, early hands-on tests have shown that the Li-Po 2,300 mAh unit is just average. It’s nothing to write home about, but it should keep the wheels turning throughout the day.

Last but not least, we should talk a bit about the software side of things. As expected, the Nexus 5 has the upper hand in this regard, for the sole reason that it features the latest Android 4.4 KitKat operating system, and also because it’s directly supported by Google.

There have been reports of some software-related issues however, specifically regarding sound quality on the Nexus 5. Fortunately, Google has responded, and announced that a hotfix is on its way. A software update that expands the functionality of Google Now is also expected to land on the Nexus 5 in a matter of hours / days.

As for the other two devices, the LG G2 features Android 4.2.2 out of the box, whereas the Galaxy S4 can be updated to Android 4.3. However, both flagship phones are expected to make the jump to Android 4.4 in the future, and whether you prefer the TouchWiz user interface or the Optimus UI is a matter of choice.

Closing Words

A decision between these three smartphones also comes down to pricing, and given the fact that the Nexus 5 is offered by Google at the subsidized price of $350 – off-contract – both the Galaxy S4 and the G2 have a rough time keeping up. However, the Nexus 5 is not as widely distributed, and the hardware Play Store is not available world-wide. As such, in certain regions the Google flagship might be subject to higher retail prices imposed by LG or 3rd party re-sellers.

So which one of these smartphones would you rather pick? Have you decided to buy a new handset by the end of the year? Don’t hesitate to let us know which one, and why.

Vlad Andrici is editor for and writes about technology issues. Follow Vlad on Google Plus.