Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5 comparison: can history repeat itself?

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Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5 4
The original Nexus 5 (left) is an AndroidPIT favorite. The Nexus 5X has a lot to live up to. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5: release date and price

The Nexus 5 first graced the world back in October 2013, launching for an absolute bargain at US$349 (£299) for the 16 GB model and US$399 for the 32 GB. The 5X was launched on September 29, 2015, with its release date set for the end of October. It is priced at US$379 (£339) for the 16 GB model and US$429 (£379) for the 32 GB version.

nexus 5 vs nexus 5x
The Nexus 5 is two years older than the 5X; both offer good value. / © ANDROIDPIT

That’s not an unreasonable increase in price given the Nexus 5X and the Nexus were released two years apart, and the 5X a number of superior components.

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5: design and build quality

The Nexus 5 was released when it was still the norm for flagship phones to be made of plastic. At the time we liked this look. The rubbery plastic finish made the phone nice and grippy, and many people felt it looked more elegant than its heavyweight successor, the Nexus 6.

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5
It’s more a case of evolution than revolution in terms of design. / © ANDROIDPIT

The look and feel of the Nexus 5X owes a lot to its predecessor. It has the same velvety smooth polycarbonate body – although it’s a little grippier – and soft design. It’s taller and wider than the Nexus 5 though, and a little thinner, with slightly more rounded edges.

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One thing that fans of the Nexus 5 might not love about the 5X is the protruding camera ‘pimple’ on the back of the device. It’s not unsightly, but it’s not the neatest design either. Plus it makes the phone unstable when placed on a flat surface and we can’t help but feel that it would have made more sense to fill the phone out with a bigger battery, rather than have the camera sticking out like that.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 2015 side view comparison
What do you think of the Nexus 5X’s protruding camera? / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5: display

The Nexus 5 has a 4.95-inch IPS LCD display with a full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution. When we wrote an updated review of the Nexus 5, we praised its screen for still looking great nearly two years since the phone was first released. It has great sharpness, high contrast, and doesn’t look inferior to many of today’s flagships.

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5 1
Both the Nexus 5 and the 5X offer a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display resolution. / © ANDROIDPIT

Perhaps because of this, the Nexus 5X also offers a Full HD display, this time on a slightly larger 5.2-inch screen, which means the pixel density is slightly lower (423 ppi compared to 445 ppi). The Nexus 5X display bright and capable, with little color-bias and excellent viewing angles.

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5: performance

The Nexus 5 packs a quad-core Snapdragon 800 chipset, which handles most multitasking and gaming scenarios with no problems. Even in today’s octa-core world, the Nexus 5 chipset is still a solid mid-ranger that runs very well on Android Lollipop, and should suffice for most smartphone tasks for a while longer.

LG G4 Benchmark AnTuTu
A benchmark test for the Snapdragon 808 inside the LG G4 – the same chipset that the Nexus 5X has. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Nexus 5X is powered by a Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor clocked at 1.8 Ghz, and 2 GB of RAM, so it should, in theory, offer superior performance to its predecessor. We’ve only had chance to use the 5X for a short time so far, but we’ll report back on its performance relative to the Nexus 5 when we’ve tested it more thoroughly. Benchmarks for the Snapdragon 808 (inside the LG G4) can be seen above, and it’s fast.

Nexus X5 vs Nexus 5: software and features

The Nexus 5 started life as the showcase for Android 4.4 KitKat, and was later available with Lollipop. The device is in line to get Android 6.0 Marshmallow very soon, while the Nexus 5X will come with Android Marshmallow installed.

Nexus 5X 8
The Nexus 5X comes with Android Marshmallow, although the 5 is in line to receive it too. / © ANDROIDPIT

One significant advantage that the 5X has over the 5 that it has a fingerprint scanner, for which Android Marshmallow offers native support. This can be used to unlock the device and should work seamlessly with Android Pay. Being the newer phone, it’s also guaranteed to receive major Android updates for the next couple of years, while Marshmallow is probably the last for the Nexus 5.

Nexus X5 vs Nexus 5: camera

For the longest time, the Nexus 5 camera was nothing to get excited about, but following repeated updates to KitKat and then the upgrade to Lollipop, its performance improved. The 8 MP rear shooter is still a reasonable offering, and the powerful HDR+ mode really squeezes the most out of a camera which isn’t aging well. The 1.3 MP front camera is world’s apart from today’s flagships.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 camera selfie
The Nexus 5 camera performance outshone its hardware – we’ll let you know if the Nexus 5X can do the same. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Nexus 5X has a 12.3 MP rear camera, with laser auto-focus and a dual-LED flash, a 5 MP front camera and an improved camera app. Thanks to its use of ‘large pixels’, it should also offer better performance in low-light condition. Again, we’ll report on this more fully when we’ve spent more time with the newer device. All in all though, it seems the Nexus 5X has delivered a significant improvement in the camera stakes.

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5 cameras
The Nexus 5X (right) rear camera offers 12.3 MP compared to the Nexus 5’s 8 MP. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5: battery

The 2,300 mAh battery was one of our few serious gripes with in the Nexus 5. Things got a bit better when the Lollipop update was released, but you were still lucky to squeeze a full day’s use out of the Nexus 5 under moderate usage.

The Nexus 5 battery wasn’t the best. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Nexus 5X arrives with a 2,700 mAh battery, which is a leap above its predecessor, albeit not a huge one. That said, it will be of the first devices to benefit from the advanced battery-saving features of Android Marshmallow upon release. Google has promised that the Marshmallow OS represents its biggest breakthrough so far in terms of battery efficiency; whether this is true remains to be seen but we have high hopes.

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5: early verdict

As the follow-up to the Nexus 5, the Nexus 5X has some big shoes to fill. As noted in our hands-on review, it doesn’t offer a huge step forward in technology, but it seems to have improved on the two weakest areas of the Nexus 5, the camera and the battery life. 

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5 tops
The Nexus 5X is a worthy sucessor to the original Nexus 5. / © ANDROIDPIT

If you love the Nexus 5, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t love the Nexus 5X, and this phone will make a worthy upgrade when the time comes. The Nexus 5 can still be bought on eBay and the like, for less than its original price, but if you’re tempted to plump for it over the 5X, bear in mind that Android Marshmallow is likely to be the last major update it gets.

The Nexus 5X offers great value, and its improved camera and battery and longer lifespan for Android updates are worth the extra initial outlay.

What do you think of the new Nexus 5X? Does it live up to the original Nexus 5? Tell us in the comments below.

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