Published on January 14th, 2015 | by Dan Barbera0
Google’s Nexus 6 Review
In 2014, we saw the release of many different flagship devices from companies such as Motorola, LG, Samsung, HTC, and Apple. With Android fans, there is one company that seems to bring a little more excitement and mystery when it comes to their flagship smartphone. Of course, we are talking about Google and their Nexus line. For those who don’t know, Google creates a series of smartphones and tablets each year under the Nexus name. This year, we saw two devices, the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 9. Since Google does not manufacture their devices, they pick a new OEM for almost every device. This year, they went with Motorola for their Nexus 6 device. Now that the hype has settled from the initial release let’s take a closer look at Google’s and Motorola’s latest love child in my review of the Google Nexus 6.
The back of the phone, or at least in my case with the white version, is smooth and fights off fingerprints pretty well. Although it does make for a slippery phone. The Nexus 6, appropriately given the code name “Shamu”, is a bit of a whale. With a screen size of almost 6 inches (5.96 inches t0 be exact) this phone is, well, whale-like. Within that display, packs a 1440 x 2560 AMOLED display, with a PPI of 493 covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It is a beautiful and vibrant display. I am a fan of the AMOLED display over the Nexus 5’s IPS display.
Working your way around the rest of the phone, you will find your usual buttons laid on top of the metal frame. The bottom contains your USB port and some FCC info. The right side houses the volume rocker and the power button, while the left side was left blank. Finally, if you take a look at the top, you will find your Sim tray and your 3.5mm headphone jack. Personally, I do not like the headphone jack on the top but prefer it to be on the bottom. On the front of the phone, you will find your 2 MP front-facing camera, as well as front-facing stereo speakers.
Comparing the Nexus 6 to the iPhone 6 Plus, they are nearly identical in size, but the Nexus packs almost an extra half-inch of screen size. One could even argue that the iPhone 6 Plus’ body is a little bigger than the Nexus 6’s. Both phones have slippery backsides that make it even harder to use with one hand but if I had to choose, I would say the Nexus 6 has the advantage in one-handed use. I would credit that to the signature Motorola dimple.
It’s no secret that the hardware for the Nexus 6 is almost identical to the Moto X. This theme carries over into the software too. The Moto X has a few differences but if you’re rocking the Pure Edition, you have the luxury of getting software updates quickly. In fact, the Moto X Pure Edition received Android 5.0 Lollipop before some Nexus devices and just about every other phone on the market.
The Nexus 6 is vanilla Android. It’s as pure as Google intended it to be. No skins. Just pure Android. For the hardcore fans, this is what makes the Nexus 6 attractive. I am a fan of stock Android but, with a device of this size, the software does not take advantage of the extra screen real estate. Even the Moto X is stock Android but adds just a couple of additional features that makes the phone unique compared to the others running stock Android. However, I can’t count this against Google because those, who buy a Nexus device, know that the software will be plain as can be.
With 3 GB of RAM, it’s no surprise that the phone has no problem with performance. The combination of stock Android and a powerful processor leaves nothing to be desired in the performance category. I have yet to experience any actual lag and switching between applications is a breeze (even when there are tons of apps open). The software has only been out for a few months, but I have noticed it’s fair share of bugs. It’s clear that the bugs seem to be device exclusive too. I have experienced more app crashes and weird issues on my Nexus 6 than on the Moto X. Hopefully, this gets fixed soon.
The Nexus 6 has a non-removable 3220 mAh battery, which is larger than the iPhone 6 Plus by about 300 mAh. This is a big battery, the largest we have seen on a Nexus phone. Add that with ART (Android Run Time) and stock Android with all of Lollipop’s new battery saving features and this phone should last for days, right? Wrong. I have had quite a few phones with a battery of 3000+ mAh, and this one is tied for the worst battery life out of all of them (tied with the LG G3). This might have something to do with the QHD display but I keep the brightness at about 30%, and so I can’t say that’s the sole reason behind poor battery life. Since I spend most of my days in an office environment with just about every device that I own, I consider myself, on most days to be a casual user of my phone. I become a power user when not at my desk. I find that when I am on the couch, I use my phone more than any other device to browse the web. So for 8 hours of the day, my phone is idle. All notifications get answered on my computer or iPad. With that said, I lose about 30% of battery from casual use. That’s not good. As you can see from the images below, I was only able to get about 3 hours of screen on time:
The iPhone 6 Plus, albeit an entirely different OS (and usually not known for great battery life), gets me more screen on time and has tremendous standby time. It even has a smaller battery at 2990 mAh. I will admit, I watch my battery percentage like a hawk, and I may be a little hard on it. It will still get most users through the day without having to charge it. If you do find yourself needing to charge, at least the Nexus 6 comes with the Motorola Turbo Charger, which says to give you 6 hours of battery life in 15 minutes. Now I am not sure if that’s true since my battery seems to have issues BUT the quick charging capabilities is a lifesaver. I took some photos of the phone quick charging when I first received the phone. I tried to document every 25% increase, but it was so quick, that I may have missed my mark a few times. Either way, you will get the idea with the images below:
It took 1hr and 36min to go from 25-99% (75% increase). This is incredible given how large the battery is.
The Nexus 6 comes with an improved camera from its predecessor, the Nexus 5. The 13MP shooter has Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and dual LED flash. I don’t take a lot of photos on my phone, but I did take some to show you the quality of the camera. I would say it’s a lot better than the N5 but still just an average shooter at best. The camera DOES take 4K video that is a nice feature.
SHOULD YOU BUY THIS PHONE?
This is a tough one. I was so excited to get my hands on a Nexus 6 because I was such a big fan of the Nexus 5. After having the 2014 Moto X, the Nexus 6 lost its excitement. I do love the more prominent display and bigger battery (even though it’s not good, it’s far better than the Moto X) but I am very disappointed in the increase in price. The Nexus 6 starts at $650, which is $300 MORE than last year’s model. If you have a Nexus 5 and like it but are thinking of upgrading, I would say don’t upgrade yet. The Nexus 5 is still a great phone that is capable of running Lollipop just fine.
I do still think this phone is worth the money if you’re coming from an older phone (about two years or older) because it falls in line with other flagship devices. It runs stock Android that is always a plus and has a gorgeous display. Not to mention the beefy processor and RAM, this phone can easily compete with every other on the market.