Android phone Buyer’s guide: Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8 vs Nexus 5

Is the heavily advertised Galaxy S5 from Samsung the best Android phone on the market, or is the underdog HTC One M8 the better product? How about last year’s holdover, the Nexus 5? Each Android smartphone has its pros and cons, best and worst features and traits. In our Buyer’s Guide we take a look at all three popular Android phones, side by side and together, in the name of figuring out which one is the most recommendable to which users.

Galaxy S5: it’s the best marketed Android phone on the market, and accordingly, the best seller. It’s a medium-to-large sized device with the latest available tech specs, packed with a number of Samsung-specific apps that aren’t found on competing Android phones. Here’s the catch, however: the Galaxy S5 is still made of the same cheap feeling fragile plastic that it’s predecessors were made of. From a build quality standpoint it’s not a highly recommendable device, meaning its built in apps and compatibility with devices like Samsung televisions are its best quality over the HTC One M8 and the Nexus 5.

HTC One M8: now here’s a well built piece of hardware. It’s got a sturdy body that is likely to last longer and hold up better than that of the Galaxy S5. Here’s the catch: HTC has historically been among the worst at keeping its devices compatible with new versions of the Android system software, meaning those who buy the One M8 may have to worry about whether they’ll have access to new Android features and security updates going forward (in fairness Samsung has suffered from this same issue to a somewhat lesser degree). HTC has gotten better at this over the past year. But while the HTC One M8 is a more recommendable hardware device than the Galaxy S5 or Nexus 5 right now, it does carry that potential compatibility stigma.

Nexus 5: here’s where Android system software is a complete non issue, as this is Google’s official Android phone. It’s a well built nice piece of hardware, and was easily the top Android option in 2013. The catch: this is 2014, and the Nexus still hasn’t been updated yet. Is it worth buying last year’s phone simply for the cohesion with the software platform? You’d be saddling yourself with year-old technology specs, and while that may not matter now, it’ll come back to haunt you in a year or two when you realize your phone can’t keep up with the latest powerful new apps and features that are released, even though your device will technically be compatible with them.

Android phone Buyer’s Guide verdict: if you value compatibility with your Samsung TV set, the Galaxy S5 may be the way go go. Otherwise we recommend the HTC One M8 by virtue of being the best Android phone on the market right now. Much as we like the Nexus 5, it’s difficult to recommend a phone this old. If the prospect of Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8 doesn’t appeal to you, then your best bet may be to wait for the Nexus 6 in the fall.