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OnePlus One vs. Nexus 5

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April 25, 2014

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the new OnePlus One and Google/LG Nexus 5

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the new OnePlus One and Google/LG Nexus 5

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For the last six months, the Nexus 5 has stood as the best combination yet of high-end smartphone hardware and affordable off-contract pricing. But there's a new kid in town that might give the Nexus a run for its money. Join Gizmag, as we compare the features and specs of the new OnePlus One with the LG/Google Nexus 5.

Size

Dimensions

The Nexus 5 isn't a small phone by any means, but it almost looks that way next to the OnePlus One. The One is a full-fledged phablet, and is about 11 percent longer, 10 percent wider, and 3 percent thicker than the Nexus.

Weight

Weights for each phone

If you'd expect all that extra surface area to translate into extra weight, then, well, you'd be right. The OnePlus One is about 25 percent heavier than the Nexus 5.

Build

Chassis build materials

Most smartphones you see these days have plastic chassis, including the Nexus 5. But OnePlus went with a material that we haven't seen very much of in smartphones, magnesium.

OnePlus is also going to sell replacement back covers that let you change the One's finish. That list will include some unconventional materials like kevlar, bamboo and denim.

Colors

Color options (not including the One's separate covers)

Out of the box, the One will come in both "silk white" and "sandstone black" colors. Right now it looks like the white model is tied to the cheaper 16 GB version, while the black is married to the US$50 more expensive 64 GB One.

Display (size)

The Nexus 5 gives you 81 percent as much screen real estate

Yep, the OnePlus One is a big-ass phone with a big-ass display. Its screen is not only 23 percent bigger than the Nexus 5's, but it's 93 percent as big as the Galaxy Note 3's huge display.

Navigation keys

The OnePlus gives you the option of using capacitive (below screen) or onscreen (virtual) ...

That screen size difference can potentially be even bigger. The OnePlus One lets you choose between using onscreen or capacitive (below screen) navigation keys. If you go with capacitive keys, then you'll always be able to use 100 percent of the screen for your apps and content. If you go with onscreen navigation, then you end up sacrificing a little real estate (as the Nexus 5 requires you to do), but you get more customization in return.

Display (resolution and pixel density)

Screen resolution and pixel density

Both handsets have 1080p displays. That makes the Nexus 5's smaller screen a little sharper, but both should look plenty crisp.

Tap-on display

The OnePlus One has a tap-on display

Like LG's Knock-On, the One lets you wake its sleeping display by just tapping twice on it. You can also create custom patterns that, when you draw them on the sleeping display, will jump straight into specific apps.

Wake with voice

Like the Moto X, you can wake the OnePlus One with your voice, jumping straight into a Goo...

It looks like OnePlus also took a little inspiration from the Moto X, by letting the One respond to Google Now voice commands, even when it's asleep. Like Motorola's phone, it also learns your unique voice.

The Nexus 5's Google Now launcher also has an auto-respond voice search feature, but you need to have your screen on for it to work.

Processor

Processors

Like most recent high-end phones, the One is launching with Qualcomm's blazing-fast Snapdragon 801. It's a relatively minor upgrade over the Snapdragon 800 found in the Nexus 5.

RAM

The One has an extra GB of RAM

OnePlus didn't mess around with the One's internal hardware. It's also one of the few phones with 3 GB of RAM inside.

Storage

Storage options

We're seeing an interesting storage tier strategy here with the One. OnePlus is skipping the 32 GB option, jumping straight to 64 GB for just $50 more than the 16 GB model. Considering Apple charges an extra $100 to jump from a 16 GB iPhone to a 32 GB one, $50 for an extra 48 GB is looking like a pretty sweet deal.

Battery

Battery capacities

We'll have to wait to put the OnePlus' battery through the paces, but its 3,100 mAh capacity definitely looks good on paper. For what it's worth, OnePlus is advertising "over a day's worth of battery life."

Cameras

Camera resolutions

OnePlus is also aiming high with the resolutions in both of the One's cameras.

Dual-LED flash

The One has a dual-LED flash for its rear camera

Like the iPhone 5s, HTC One (M8), and several of Nokia's Lumia flagships, the OnePlus One has a second flash. This should help its flash shots to look more colorful and balanced.

Slow-motion video

The One supports slow-motion video

Along with lots of other high-end phones from the last year, the One lets you record video in slow-motion. There are third-party apps that can help you to do that on the Nexus 5, but there isn't any native software devoted to slow-mo.

NFC

Both phones have NFC chips

Both phones have NFC chips inside.

Software platform

The One runs a special build of Cyanogenmod, based on Android 4.4 KitKat

Both phones run Android 4.4 KitKat, but the One ships with the mod community's favorite custom version, Cyanogenmod. CM builds that you download for rooted phones typically feature the stock Android UI (or something very close to it), but the special version of CM (11s) that runs on the One has its own unique appearance. Like all versions of Cyanogenmod, though, the beauty is in how customizable it all is.

Release

The One will be arriving sometime within the next three months

The One isn't available just yet, but is set to launch sometime within the next three months. The Nexus 5 has been available since late 2013.

Starting price (off-contract)

The One starts at $50 cheaper than the Nexus 5

Based on the categories we've covered here, you could easily argue that the One is the more advanced phone. But it starts at $50 cheaper than the (already aggressively-priced) Nexus 5. And if you decide to pay $350 for the OnePlus, then you get 64 GB of storage – 4x what the same-priced Nexus 5 gives you.

With new high-end phones often starting at $650 off-contract (see iPhone 5s, Galaxy S5, and HTC One M8), it's refreshing to see OnePlus duking it out with Google and LG at a much cheaper price point. The startup OnePlus won't be able to compete with Apple's or Samsung's marketing or brand recognition, but – like the Nexus 5 – its combination of price and high-end hardware should be enough to turn a few heads. We can't wait to get our hands on this one.

For more, you can read our full Nexus 5 review. And if you want to cast your net a bit wider, you can check out our updated 2014 Smartphone Comparison Guide. The next time we update it, I'd say the OnePlus One has a great chance of sneaking in there.

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About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
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5 Comments

I always appreciate these kind of reviews. Thank you!

Kris Lee
26th April, 2014 @ 12:44 am PDT

Anything that helps bring down the ridiculous price of high end phones down is a good thing for those of us who don't want to be tied to a 2 year contract that is more expensive in the long run than paying an MVNO a per month charge & buying outright.

I hope this takes off, but without being tied to a carrier, the impact in the USA will be small, but overseas it might be a lot better.

Rusty Harris
26th April, 2014 @ 09:06 am PDT

Running a Nexus 4 at the moment. Seriously thinking about either this phone or a WP8 as my next phone. My guess is price will win me over to this phone. Looks awesome.

Rann Xeroxx
28th April, 2014 @ 11:53 am PDT

Just to clarify. It should be "magnesium alloy" and not "magnesium".

Anyhow I really feel sorry that the company has not include India in the list where they will release it. Believe me at the offer price they can really kick a** of ALL the established brand. I have a whole lot of garbage like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, printer drivers and what not on my Galaxy Grand which I am never going to use so why not an absolutely clean from the original source ?

pmshah
29th April, 2014 @ 12:39 am PDT

A big feature of the OnePlusOne has been missed out in the feature list [perhaps because none else has it??] - OTG support in the USB port. To me this is a killer feature and frees the phone from having to have a uSD card! If it works correctly I can attach any USb storage device to the phone [perhaps separately powered]

pdmenon
29th April, 2014 @ 05:33 am PDT
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