The question of which smartphone to buy is a tricky one. This is because, thanks to fragmentation in the market, pretty much every single vendor has something unique to offer consumers.
This phenomenon remains true in the current market that's dominated by Apple, Samsung and Google, with their respective iPhone 5S, Galaxy S4 and Nexus 5 flagship smartphones having their own unique strengths and weaknesses.
Design and build
The iPhone 5S is the most unique of the three. Unlike the S4 and Nexus 5, which both feature curved polycarbonate chassis, the 5S has the same hard-edged metal design as its predecessor the iPhone 5.
As an added bonus the iPhone 5S is also smaller and lighter than the Nexus 5 and Galaxy S4, with it measuring in at 124x59x7.6mm. This means the iPhone feels much more comfortable in small hands than the 138x69x8.6mm Nexus 5 and 137x70x7.9mm S4.
For those with larger hands, however, the Nexus 5 is by far the most comfortable to hold. Unlike the similarly shaped S4, the Nexus 5's chassis has a slightly rubberised finish that makes it easier to get a good grip on.
Sadly, though, despite being comfortable to hold the Nexus 5 also has the poorest build quality of the three. While its chassis is fairly scratch resistant, the Nexus 5's screen is prone to shattering. A review unit we had didn't survive a two-foot drop onto a carpeted floor without breaking to pieces.
By comparison, despite feeling cheaper, the S4 proved far more sturdy and was capable of surviving the same experience as the Nexus 5 unscathed. As an added bonus the S4 is also the only of the three to have a removable backplate. When detached, this grants access to its battery, SIM and micro SD card slots.
Thanks to its metal chassis, the iPhone 5S is the most robust of the three, proving far more resistant to accidental bumps and scrapes than the other two – though, be warned, this is being judged by smartphone standards and serious drops will still cause it to break.
Winner: iPhone 5S