Nexus 5 vs. Nexus 4: How does Google’s latest unlocked phone stack up?

nexus 5 vs 4 nexusbanner

If there’s one company who should know how to make an Android phone, it’s Google. By most accounts, Google’s own devices have been well received. The Nexus 4 scored highly on just about every review it received despite lacking a couple key features that could have pushed it into the “can’t miss” category. With another year under its belt, Google is back with the Nexus 5. Is this the phone that finally gives Google a flagship handset that will compete against the Samsungs and HTCs of the world? Is it even that big of a step up from the Nexus 4? We take a look at what’s running inside these two devices to see if much has changed aside from the number in the name.


Nexus 4


Nexus 5  

Size 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 (mm) 69.1 x 137.8 x 8.6 (mm)
Weight 139g 130g
Screen 4.7-inch True HD IPS Plus (LCD) 4.95-inch Full HD IPS Plus (LCD)
Resolution 1280×738 pixels 1080 x 1920 pixels
OS Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Android 4.4 KitKat
Storage 8/16GB 16/32GB
SD Card Slot No No
Processor Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac


3G 4G LTE, 3G
NFC Yes Yes
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.0 Yes, version 4.0
Battery 2,100mAh 2,300mAh
Charger Micro USB Micro USB
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Price $300+ (without contract) $350+ (without contract)
Availability T-Mobile, Google AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Google
DT Review 4 out of 5 Coming Soon

What changed

With the Nexus 5, you can finally feel comfortable dropping off the Wi-Fi connection because Google has finally included 4G LTE. An upgrade to the processor also gives the Nexus 5 a jump in power. The Snapdragon 800 runs at 2.26GHz compared to the Nexus 4’s Snapdragon S4 Pro’s 1.5GHz – though the S4 Pro was no slouch. Users can enjoy the new power a little longer with extra battery capacity too – a small upgrade from 2,100mAh to 2,300mAh.

The other big change is in the display. Getting a slight bump in size and a huge upgrade in resolution, the Nexus 5 goes Full HD at 1080 x 1920 pixels, making for an extremely dense 445 pixels per inch. Google has a knack for making devices with crystal clear displays and it seems the Nexus 5 is set to take that tradition to the next level. You’ll use that screen to look at a new version of Android as well, with the introduction of Android 4.4 KitKat. One of the new features of the OS, the burst camera feature HDR+, takesI  advantage of the added optical image stabilization to the phone’s 8-megapixel rear camera.

What stayed the same

Despite adding optical image stabilization to the rear lens, the cameras on the Nexus 5 have basically gone untouched since the days of the Nexus 4. With more and more mobile devices pushing forward with a 13-megapixel lens, you might expect Google to play a little catch up and update the cameras on the Nexus 5, but the company passed on it for the time being. It also opted not to add an SD card slot for memory expansion, though it’s admittedly less necessary now with elimination of the 8GB version of the device and addition of a 32GB option. And even with an upgrade to the processor, the RAM has remained at 2GB on the Nexus 5.

If you’re looking to get your hands on the Nexus 5, you can order it now. It’s available from Google at an off-contract price of $350 and up. It will be working its way to carriers, and more than just T-Mobile this time, according to Google. It appears it will start at $150 with a contract. It will not be coming to Verizon, though, likely because it would compete with the Motorola devices the carrier has been pushing. We always suggest to try out a phone to see how you like it, but it appears you can’t go wrong with the Nexus 5. It makes all of the upgrades necessary to areas that were holding back the Nexus 4 and it doesn’t try to do so much that would bump the price tag way up. The Nexus 5 looks like it will be Google’s true flagship phone.


Qualcomm's 3D Sonic fingerprint sensor could make your next phone more secure

Almost exactly a year after the launch of the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm took the wraps off of its next-generation mobile platform, the new Snapdragon 855. The new chip puts an emphasis on A.I. performance.

Galaxy Watch vs. Apple Watch Series 4: Which one is the smartest?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch Series 4 are two of the best smartwatches available today. But which is better? We put the two watches head-to-head to find out which you should buy.

Atomic-colored BlackBerry Key2 LE arrives just in time to bring holiday cheer

TCL teased that it would release two new BlackBerry phones with keyboards this year, and it has stayed true to its promise. The company announced its latest handset, the BlackBerry Key2 LE, at IFA 2018 in Berlin.

Google is adding Pixel 3 eSIM support for carriers around the world

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

New Galaxy S10 leaks showcase display sizes, confirm headphone jack return

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 — will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.

LG G7 owners experiencing dreaded bootloop will have to wait a few days for fix

If you’ve picked up LG’s flagship and it’s not behaving itself, then you might find a solution here. We’ve rounded up the most common LG G7 ThinQ problems and tracked down workarounds and possible fixes.

A render video gives us a 360-degree look at the midrange Pixels

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.

Honor to out-megapixel the competition with 48MP camera on upcoming View 20

After its phenomenal success with the View 10 in 2018, it looks like Honor is getting ready up the ante with its forthcoming Honor View 20. Here's everything we know about it so far.

Xiaomi is preparing to set records with 48-megapixel phone camera

Bigger doesn't always mean better, but it certainly makes headlines. Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi is set to release a phone camera with a staggeringly large 48 megapixels on a single sensor.

Patent highlights Apple's sky-high ambitions for AirPower wireless charger

At its September event last year, Apple unveiled the AirPower -- its new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.

Google Fit app finally gets a widget, among other new features

Google Fit hasn't received any new features since its redesign. This week, the company is rolling some new tools; users will be able to add a widget to their Android home screen, adjust the intensity of their workouts, and more.