Review: Updated: Google Nexus 6

Introduction and design

  • Our Google Nexus 6 review has been updated to include the new Google Project Fi information.

Google Nexus 6 is a supersized version of the Moto X that has been given a two-handed booster shot and appropriately received a post-surgery Lollipop. The results? It’s among the best phones in 2015.

This phablet-sized smartphone was the first to run Android 5.0 Lollipop, and now Android 5.1 and the Android M beta, and, really, there’s no better way to experience all of the changes Google has made to its operating system.

It parades the colorful new Material Design interface on a massive 6-inch display, moves seamlessly between apps thanks to one of the latest Snapdragon processors and 3GB of RAM, and lasts all day in most cases with a Qi-chargeable 3220 mAh battery.

These Nexus 6 specs are enough to edge-to-edge out Apple’s mighty iPhone 6 Plus. It feels better to hold in my hand, and typing is easier thanks to Androids always-superior keyboards options.

Nexus 6 review

Google Now, still one swipe to the left, is more personal than ever, which shows this phone is willing to go the extra .5 inches to please without BendGating over backwards.

Nexus 6 isn’t for everyone, especially one-handed texters who think the 5.2-inch Moto X pushes the limit, or anyone who can’t live without the presence-sensing Moto Active Display. It’s also not as flashy as the newly launched Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge or premium feeling as the all-metal HTC One M9.

That said, Motorola has built one of the best Android phablets with very few feature misgivings, if you can’t wait for the rumored Nexus 5 2015 and Nexus 6 2015 sequels later this year.

Availability and price

Google Nexus 6 is available worldwide on every major carrier following its initial early November 2014 release date in the US, and the upgrade to Android 5.1 is underway.

At first, the phone was limited to AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, but Verizon began selling the Android phone with VoLTE enabled on March 12, four months later. In the UK, Vodafone and O2 were first to launch it.

At $649, £499 unlocked (AU$869), it’s pricier than past Nexus phones. And that’s just for the 32GB model. Google is selling the 64GB version for $699 in the US, £549 in the UK and AU$929 in Australia.

However, Google has now discounted both versions of the Nexus 6, with the 32GB version going for $499 (£399, around AU$670) and the 64GB version being reduced to $549 (£479, around AU$738). That’s quite a cut from its original price, and makes the Nexus 6 a much more desirable device.

On-contract, it’s $249 down in the US and in the UK plans start at as low as £32.50 a month with a free phone upfront.

  • Nexus 5 vs Nexus 6

Google Project Fi

Nexus 6 is the first – and so only – phone to support the search engine giant’s experimental Google Project Fi cellular network, currently in beta with few invites sent out.

The invite-only program bounces between the signals of third- and fourth-place US carriers T-Mobile and Sprint with more forgiving and far cheaper plans for data usage.

It could shake-up the overpriced service of traditional US carriers and, hey, Android updates wouldn’t be as much of a problem since it’s a network operated by Google. Stay tuned for more on Project Fi.


It takes two hands to properly operate the Nexus 6, but this Android phone feels better in my increasingly ambidextrous grasp for its size.

Motorola’s design, borrowed from the Moto X, gives it a sturdy BendGate-free aluminum metal frame and palm-pleasing gently curved back.

Nexus 6 review

It’s sloped, so while the contoured sides run as thin as 0.15 in. (3.8mm), the thicker hump is 0.39 in. (10.1mm). The height and width are a normal 6.27 in. (159.3mm) x 3.15 in. (83.0mm).

Nexus 6 pushes an edge-to-edge display with no physical buttons, so the – by comparison – “small” 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus isn’t too far off: 6.22 in. (158.1mm) x 3.06 in. (77.8mm).

At 6.49 oz. (184g), it weighs more than the new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy Note 4. But there’s a good chance that if you can fit Apple’s biggest smartphone in your skinny jeans, you’re also going to be able to squeeze this oversized Android into a pocket too. You might not always be able to get it out as easily, especially when driving or sitting down.

The curve feels natural against my hands, and the back, while made of hard plastic, is at least smooth. It doesn’t try to mask the material with fake leather stitching or bumpy plastic.

Google Nexus 6 review

Nexus 6’s shell is different from the rubberized Nexus 5, but I found it a lot easier to grip than its “premium,” but far-too-slippery competitors that feature an all-metal design from top to bottom. With the iPhone 6, I felt like I needed a sleek-design-defeating case not to drop it.

This is a familiar Motorola device almost all of the way through, down to the dimpled logo on the back where my finger automatically rested when on a call. But it skips out on the Moto Maker customizations like wood finishes and far-too-supple leather backs.

Nexus 6 colors are limited to two: either Cloud White or Midnight Blue with the advantage of both being compatible with Qi wireless chargers, a feature all of those tricked-out Moto X phones don’t support.

Nexus 6 review

It’s also missing the Moto Active Display functionality. Waving my hand above the three IR sensors of the Moto X triggered a mostly unlit screen with just the current time and notification icons. Pressing down on these icons revealed more information like email teasers.

Active Display is nowhere to be found here, even though it was a great a battery-saving idea that made notifications very glanceable. Instead, there’s the less reliable Ambient Display mode that provides a greyed-out lockscreen whenever you lift the phone up suddenly. This doesn’t always work.

Nexus 6 misses the boat when it comes to a fingerprint scanner to rival Apple’s Touch ID. Apparently, the iPhone-maker is inadvertently responsible for killing Motorola’s biometric design plans because it bought supplier AuthenTec.

You won’t find a working LED light indicator here either. Recently, a developer discovered that the phone does emit one of these notifications pulses, but it’s disabled. Turning it on requires a rooted phone.

Also missing, or at least inconsistent, is the Nexus 9 tablet’s knock-to-wake feature. It actually works sometimes and turns on that greyed-out screen, but other times I get no response at all. “Hello, is anyone home?,” I keep asking. Maybe a firmware update can resolve this in the future but that hasn’t arrived in the months since the original launch.

Nexus 6 review

Nexus 6 does, thankfully, inherit the new Moto X’s ridge-filled power button. This helped me differentiate between the right-side located power and volume buttons in the dark. More phone manufacturers need to steal this design idea. I won’t tell.

  • 10 tips and tricks for your Nexus 6

Phablet manufacturers also need to take note of these front-facing speakers. The stereo sound is almost as good as BoomSound technology found in the HTC One M9 because it points the sound in the right direction. I’m tired of backward-facing speaker grills.

Nexus 6 review

At the top of the Nexus 6, at its frame’s thickest point, is a 3.5mm headphone jack along with the nanoSIM card slot. Sadly, there’s no MicroSD slot to speak of. You’re locked into 32GB or 64GB configurations.

It’s also not waterproof like other IP67-certified Androids. It’s merely “water resistant” and has Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protecting the 6-inch AMOLED display that I’ll peer at next.

Key features

Nexus 6 pushes my fingertips to the limit with a 5.96″ AMOLED display that is as big as it is gorgeous. You won’t find a globally-available Android that matches its size.

Sure, it’s only an inch bigger than 2013’s Nexus 5 and half an inch larger than 2014’s biggest iPhone 6 Plus, but its meant for two hands and therefore makes it seem extra large.

Nexus 6 review

Google fills all of that space with a bright picture and a 1440×2560 resolution, which equates to 493 pixels per inch on the nearly 6-inch screen.

Its quad HD and doubles down on Apple’s “full HD” screen, though the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 have higher pixel densities care of their smaller display sizes. But not by much.

Watching videos on the Nexus 6 made me skip pulling out the Nexus 9 more than once. The phone is just three inches shy of Google’s new tablet and has a more video-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio.

This is Google and Motorola’s first quad HD smartphone and it’s a head-turning sight to see.

Beefier specs

At the heart of the Nexus 6 is a 2.7Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor that has an Adreno 420 GPU. It’s a top-of-the-line chip for Google’s largest Android phone yet.

Backing that up is 3GB of RAM and a reasonable 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. Notice, there’s no silly 16GB model to cheapen the value.

Nexus 6 review

All of these Nexus 6 specs aren’t overkill. It’s important for the lightweight, but feature-filled Android Lollipop update that’s pre-installed on the phone.

Android does more things than ever in the background: it runs multiple apps, receives notifications that hit the new lockscreen non-stop and makes the instantly accessible Google Now available with one swipe to the left. Voice searches are also on demand whenever I say the “Okay Google” prompt.

13-megapixel camera

Around back, there’s a 13-megapixel camera that seems to be on par with that 13-megapixel Moto X 2014 snapper. It’s not.

Nexus 6 review

Nexus 6’s camera has a better Sony IMX214 CMOS sensor with a wider f/2.0 aperture and optical image stabilization.

This trumps the Moto X camera specs that comprise of an older sensor and lacked OIS. It’s not perfect, but it’s far superior to what we got with the 8-megapixel Nexus 5 camera in 2013.

Android 5.0 Lollipop

The LG G3 has beaten the Nexus 6 to the punchy colors with a sooner-than-expected update to Android 5.0 Lollipop, but Google’s new phone was still the first with it pre-installed.

First, last, whatever – the “Material Design” theme is far more inviting than what I experienced on the Nexus 5. Flat layers of bright colors bring out the best on this 6-inch display.

Nexus 6 review

Android Lollipop is also more functional with lockscreen notifications and a new pulldown quick settings menu. It does go overboard though, adding an unnecessary new Messaging app.

More new features will be arriving any time now too, with Android 5.1 set to add support for multiple SIM cards, Device Protection and high definition voice calls.

You can find more of what TechRadar thinks of it in our Android 5.0 Lollipop review.

Qi and Turbo Charging

Google and Motorola spared me the embarrassment of toting around the ugly USB 3.0 Micro-B cable employed by past Samsung smartphones, but the pair still allow for a faster charging method.

Nexus 6’s secret sauce is that it uses a Turbo Charger, a larger-than-normal plug that juices the phone with six additional hours of battery life in just 15 minutes. It uses a normal micro USB cable to transfer the juice.

Nexus 6 review

This is made possible by the same Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0 technology that the Moto X 2nd generation and a handful of other Snapdragon CPU-powered Android phones have.

The difference here is that the Nexus 6 comes with the square-shaped plug, while most other QuickCharge smartphones sell it as an accessory.

Nexus 6 can also be juiced up with the Nexus Wireless Charger or any Qi inductive charger, though the wire-free base station is sold separately in this case. More on how this holds up in the battery life tests page.

Interface and performance

Nexus 6 sets new standards for both interface and performance among Androids with few exceptions. It’s once again Google’s standard bearer for other manufacturers to follow.

It’s colorful and bright on the outside thanks to the debut of Android Lollipop, and it’s a beast on the inside due to top-of-the-line internal specs.

Of course, even Google’s new champion for the better part of 2015 has its challengers. The once fragmented competition is coming together to raise the stakes.


Stock Android remains one of the best reasons to own a Nexus device. Its software is void of the often unnecessary third-party overlays and pre-installed apps that simply get in my way.

Nexus 6 review

Sure, skins like Samsung TouchWiz, LG Optimus and HTC Sense look and run better today than they did two years ago, but pure Android is the way to go.

There’s no getting around the fact that Nexus devices, like all Google Play Edition devices, receive future Android updates almost immediately without carrier intervention. That matters as much this year as it does next year.

We’re gearing up for Google to unveil its successor to Android Lollipop, which currently goes by the name Android M, and will be released later this year.

While it probably won’t be as big a leap as Android Lollipop was compared to Android KitKat, it’s still set to come with some exciting new features, and it’s a good bet that the Nexus 6 will be one of the first handsets to get the update.

Right now though it’s all about Android 5.0 Lollipop, last fall’s pre-installed version of the operating system. It sports a flat, yet layered theme among its menus and apps.

Google calls this “Material Design,” and it sort of lifts 2D layers to the third dimension with a combination of shadows cast by key and ambient lights.

The new look also dials back the visual non-essentials, but punches up the color. Menus aren’t as dark as they were on Android 4.4 KitKat, and apps share in this same geometry-focused design and splash of color.

So far this applies to Google’s slate of apps like Gmail, Google Play Movies & TV and Google Maps. The company is driving a simplified, unified layout throughout its ecosystem.

There’s also a big difference to how Android 5.0 Lollipop functions. I didn’t even have to unlock my Nexus 6 to see the very first change – it was right there on the lockscreen.

Nexus 6 review

Lockscreen notifications bring the hidden notification panel to the forefront with email alerts, text messages exchanges, app updates and so forth. It’s all easily glanceable like on iOS 8.

Such a move would normally introduce a privacy problem. Google, however, nipped that issue in the bud within the “Sound & Notifications” settings menu.

With nothing to hide, I can “Show all notification content,” keep certain items confidential via “Hide sensitive notification content,” or turn everything off with “Don’t show notifications at all.” Better yet, I can block notifications on an app-by-app basis through this same handy menu.

Priority Mode is Google’s more advanced take on Apple’s Do Not Disturb feature. It silences the Nexus 6 indefinitely or in intervals ranging from 15 minutes to 8 hours.

Like the lockscreen notifications, certain apps and callers can be allowed or disallowed via whitelisting. I’ve since ditched my third-party Silence app for this new, system-wide feature.

Priority Mode isn’t part of Quick Settings like I had expected. It’s activated by pressing the volume key in either direction and following the on-screen toggles.

Quick Settings does have some new additions, however. The pulldown menu doesn’t require two fingers simultaneously. That still works, but now you can do one swipe for notifications, then another swipe to reveal this hidden quick settings menu. It’s a lot less awkward.

It’s still impossible to add to or rearrange the quick settings. What you see is what you get. Thankfully, new buttons alongside Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Airplane Mode include Flashlight and the Chromecast “Cast Screen” button.

A brightness slider, while not necessarily new, is no longer hidden behind its own submenu. One less step is what quick settings is all about.

New features are already on the way too, with Android 5.1 set to roll out any moment at time of writing. That brings support for multiple SIM cards and high definition voice calls to the Nexus 6, as well as a new Device Protection mode, which keeps a lost or stolen handset locked until you sign in with your Google account.


Nexus 6 running Android 5.0 Lollipop clears all but one rival smartphone when it comes to benchmarks: the recently released Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

It’s awful close, and that’s no surprise. Google’s specs mirror it chip-for-chip with a 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor, Adreno 420 GPU and 3GB of RAM.

Nexus 6 aces Geekbench 3 benchmarking tests with an average multi-core score of 3294. It’s significantly faster than the smaller iPhone 6 Plus (2911) and Samsung Galaxy S5 (2905).

Alas, the Galaxy Note 4 eeks out a win with a benchmarking score of 3,352. A real overachieving nerd with a pocket-protected S-Pen in its frame, if that’s what you want. The recently released Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 also upstage the Nexus 6, with scores of 4,846 and 3,803, respectively.

Despite the newer handsets scoring higher, these numbers translate into stellar performance from the Nexus 6. Google’s phablet is venturing into tablet territory. The new Nexus 9 slate averaged 3,492 in the same tests.

It’s pushing the boundaries of more than just physical size. The one and only slowdown I saw was during the boot-up process. It took 1 minute 33 seconds to start this thing up.

Slow start times seem more like a glitch that can be addressed in a post-launch firmware update. Right now, streaming movies and playing CPU-intensive games hasn’t slowed this phone down one bit.

That’s a good sign if you’re going to hold onto this smartphone for two whole years.


Nexus 6’s camera certainly bests the flawed photos of 2013’s Nexus 5 snapper and it’s way more accurate than the rest of Motorola’s oversaturated lineup.

The improvements are care of the Sony IMX214 CMOS sensor, a wider f/2.0 aperture and optical image stabilization, all attributes that aren’t a part of the new Moto X.

Nexus 6 review

It’s a 13-megapixels – the same as the OnePlus One camera – and holds its own next to the 21-megapixel Droid Turbo for two reasons: it has better shot-for-shot color accuracy and OIS.

Both the Moto X and Droid Turbo have tried to impress with vibrant, Instagram-like colors for each shot. It works in some cases like photos of the sky or buildings, but when it occasionally turns your skin different hues, it’s unfortunate.

That’s why I appreciate the fact that the Nexus 6 is closer to reality. It’s still a bit warm in natural light and grainier than it should be in low-light situations, but a marked improvement.

Nexus 6 review

The problems are only abundantly clear when comparisons are drawn between its camera and the Galaxy Note 4 camera. Samsung’s color accuracy and post-processing skills can’t be beat.

All of this is true of the front-facing camera too. It’s a bit redder and grainier in low light when using that 2 megapixels. The Note 4 and the front-flash-equipped HTC Desire Eye do a better job if you’re looking for selfies in your local pub.

I found the Nexus 6 autofocus to be comparable and even snappier in some instances, but the Note 4’s camera is just chock-full of options not in Google’s very straightforward default.

Nexus 6 review

Sure, Photosphere is a neat camera trick that works on Google+, but its an overall bare bones camera app that’s easily overpowered by third-party alternatives in the Play Store. And sadly, Motorola hasn’t brought over the camera twist shortcut that launches the Moto X app.

Video is a little more straightforward. It shoots 4K video at 30 frames per second, but if you’re not playing it back on a 4K TV, it’s hard to justify the space on a quad HD smartphone. That’s where the 1080p video recording option is much more relevant.

You can find camera samples on the next page and I’ll be adding more of my photo-snapping results throughout the week with additional analysis.

Camera samples

Nexus 6 review

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Nexus 6 is obviously a multimedia powerhouse given its phablet-sized display, but there’s speakers that backs up those good looks.

That has a significant impact on the 6-inch movie-watching, game-playing and music-listening experience, one area in which the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 doesn’t quite compare.


I actually prefer watching movies on my Nexus 6 review unit over the Nexus 9 tablet due to the fact that Google’s new flagship smartphone boasts a more video-friendly screen.

It’s in the proper 16:9 aspect ratio, so all of the widescreen movies I watch are formatted sans letterboxing or at least kept at a minimum. The black void is strong with the Nexus 9, sadly.

Streaming Dumb and Dumber via Netflix in anticipation of the sequel, I found that the Nexus 9 has slightly darker tones, whereas the Note 4 was slightly brighter for the full 107 minutes.

The same was true with Gravity, which is currently free to download in the redesigned Google Play Movies & TV section, at least in the US. It demod Nexus 6’s excellent contrast ratio.

There’s hardly a winner in this side-by-side quad HD movie comparison. Samsung’s amped up screen made is easy to see darker objects, while Google’s didn’t blow out sunlight scenes.

It’s the front-facing dual speakers that hand the Nexus 6 a victory among phablets.


Songs, of course, play well through these stereo speakers that rest at the top and bottom of the Nexus 6. It’s a big step up from Motorola’s mono-speaker Moto X from two months ago.

Running through my Google Music playlist, I could not only hear all of the music, I could see what was playing on the screen without having to face my phone in an awkward direction.

That’s just not the case with some phablets like the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus in which the speaker grill is facing the back or the bottom.

It didn’t quite matching the larger sound produced by the HTC One M8 and its patented BoomSound speaker tech, but the Nexus 6 the most sense and noise among phablets.


Nexus 6 didn’t flinch when it came to game apps, typically the most intensive media form for a jack-of-all-trade phone like this. It handled everything with flying, fluidly animated colors.

The free-to-play Asphalt 8: Airborne proved that Google’s latest Nexus is no slouch in 3D gaming performance. Simpler apps like the isometric Game of War did the same for 2D.

In fact, the Game of War overworld was easier to navigate thanks to 6-inch display and 2560 x 1440 resolution. It didn’t feel stretched from my days playing it on the Galaxy Note 3.

This is important for mobile gamers to take into consideration when thinking about purchasing a phabet. Touchscreen size matters just as much as internal specs sometimes.


Nexus 6 takes the phablet crown when it comes to multimedia, but with one caveat. It doesn’t have expandable storage. No microSD card support, something the Note 4 doesn’t have.

This Android Lollipop trailblazer comes in 32GB or 64GB flavors. That’s the internal storage size you’re stuck with for about two years if you don’t upgrade soon.

Also keep in mind that my review unit had a smaller-than-advertised 25.98GB of user-storage onboard when it’s really the 32GB model. Nearly 7GB is taken up by the OS.

Battery life

Nexus 6 battery life is excellent, judging from our tests. Behind its 6-inch AMOLED is a mighty 3220mAh capacity, the same as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The difference maker is that Google’s new flagship is running Android 5.0 Lollipop with the battery-saving optimizations of “Project Volta” to eeks out two extra percentage points.

This is the size of the included turbo charger. It's worth carrying on tripsThis is the size of the included turbo charger. It's worth carrying on tripsNexus 6 review

That translates into a 17% drop in battery life when running TechRadar’s 90-minute HD video test. The Note 4 dropped 19%, LG G3 lost 25% and iPhone 6 Plus went down 27%.

The difference maker appears to be the Android System and Android OS have been hogging a smaller percentage of battery life, according to the always-useful battery settings menu.

Outside of this looped battery test, my Nexus 6 lasted about a day and a half on travel, again pretty much tied with the Note 4 and more than enough time to seek a power outlet.

I wasn’t able to swap out the battery, however. It’s sealed inside the Nexus 6, unlike Samsung devices that offer access to batteries so that they are user-replaceable.

The good news with the current Nexus is that it takes advantage of Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 2.0 technology that boosts battery life in a jiffy and it comes with the special power adapter.

Motorola calls it a Turbo Charger, Samsung dubs it fast charger and HTC refers to it as rapid charger. Whatever, it’s a wonderful addition to devices with the latest Snapdragon CPUs.

Officially Nexus 6 is supposed to be able to add six hours of battery in just 15 minutes. That came out to 20% in 15 minutes when my phone started charging in at a critical state.

Those numbers continued to stay true as I left the phone attached to the oversized plug in the outlet. My total charge time for the Nexus 6 from zero to full was about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Added to this fresh convenience is the return of an old one. Google once again supports the Qi charging standard for inductive charging.

That makes owning the Nexus Wireless Charger or any Qi charger that much more useful. Motorola has Qi experience with the Moto 360 and its phone works the same wire-free way.

You don’t need an accessory for Qi wireless charging, which makes the Nexus 6 battery that much better than the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 sans the non-user-replaceable aspect.

The essentials

Just because Google’s Nexus 6 looks all-grown-up doesn’t mean it can skip out on its basic chores as a cell phone. Call quality, keyboard functionality and messaging are still important.

Two out of three isn’t bad, especially when the last category has been a system-wide Android problem since the very beginning.

People I spoke with said that I was coming in clearly using the handset normally and switching over to the speakerphone. It’s loud through that top speaker and easy to hear everything.

Nexus 6 review

I didn’t have to repeat anything, but I did discover a weird two- or three-second delay following my pressing the speakerphone button. It seems like an unresolved glitch more than anything.

My Nexus 6 didn’t become too hot after a very long 40-minute conversation with my mom, and trust me that’s not always the case. I found I could easily surf the web and text at the same time. For testing purposes. Not because I was bored in that time.

The new Android 5.0 Lollipop keyboard takes away the borders between the keys and adds two new themes – lighter and darker in color.

Google’s keyboard personalization makes Android’s default keyboard leagues ahead of the just-learning Apple iOS 8 QuickType keyboard and it comes with gesture typing out of the gate.


Messages is the one area where Android 5.0 Lollipop isn’t making incremental improvements. In fact, I think it’s actually taking steps backward with additional confusion.

Hangouts is still here, with the ability to route SMS and internet messages through the app. But Google went ahead and introduced a new default “Messaging” app, too.

Nexus 6 review

It sports the lovely Material Design theme, but is solely for text messages, which, as always can’t be beamed to a computer or tablet without a bunch of third-party app trickery.

As much as I like MightyText and similar apps that mirror my messages on the device that’s occupying my attention, Google needs to be the one to match iMessages’ seamless idea.

Hangouts on the computer almost did that last month. Google introduces an SMS tab on the computer-based internet messaging service, but it requires a Google Voice number.

Being able to route calls, texts and Hangouts (both messages and video chats) and ensuring users get is what the essential Google doesn’t have a handle on just yet.


Nexus 6 is bigger and newer than its competition, but it’s not a clear cut victory. If new and big always won the tech race, Samsung would have the best smartwatch every 3 months.

Here’s how Google’s new trend-setting Android stacks up to existing iOS 8 and Android KitKat devices in the phablet category.

iPhone 6 Plus

Nexus 6 review

Apple went bigger with the iPhone 6 Plus and while its 5.5-inch display is king among iOS 8 devices, its specs don’t match what benchmarks set by Google and Samsung.

It still looks incredible with a 1920×1080 resolution display 401 pixels per inch that meets full HD standards. It defines ultra-thin and redefines what an 8-megapixel camera can do.

The big iPhone’s best feature is iOS itself. If you’re locked into Apple’s ecosystem with iMessages and iCloud, and don’t want to ditch Touch ID, this is a satisfying phablet. Plus, most of Google’s software is available in Apple’s App Store.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Nexus 6 review

A lot of people are deciding between the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Nexus 6. Was it worth holding out until Google released its new phone?

There answer comes down to which features you want. The Note 4 comes with a advantages like the S Pen stylus that some people want phone that’s a large 5.7 inches.

It also boasts multitasking, a fantastic camera and runs circles around most Androids when it comes to benchmarks. A microSD card slot and replaceable battery are must-haves for a lot of people too.

If you can deal with TouchWiz, the backward-facing speaker and the phablet-sized price, then it’s something to consider over the cheaper, pure Android Google Nexus 6.


Nexus 6 review

LG G3 is a little more manageable as a two-handed Android thanks to its 5.5-inch display. I can wrap my hand arounds its chassis without even stretching my fingers.

It’s still in the same quad HD resolution category as the Nexus 6 and sports a similar curved backside. But the smaller screen and brush-metal plastic back aren’t as striking as Google’s 6-inch behemoth.

That’s okay. The LG G3’s laser autofocus and price more than make up for this. The camera and price out-do the even smaller Galaxy S5.

Nexus 5

Nexus 6 review

Since Google has discontinued sales of the Nexus 5 in the lead up to the NExus 6 launch, this is more of a “Do I upgrade early or hold tight for the Nexus 7” – oh wait, that already exists.

You get the point. Again, it depends on what you care about. The Nexus 5 is getting Android 5.0 Lollipop, so the interface is going to match what you see here.

The differences comes down to the size, obviously, the stylish design and the camera. Nexus 5 was rightfully criticized for its less than stellar performance last in 2013.

Nexus 6 passes the camera quality test and every other benchmark we threw at it. If those things are important to you, think about an early upgrade.

Hands on gallery

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Google and Motorola launch Android 5.0 Lollipop with the Nexus 6 and it’s a treat that doesn’t leave a bitter aftertaste thanks to its favorable design and specs.

It’s not as cheap as Google’s past flagship phones used, but you get more display for your money and the ability to upgrade to the next version Android without hesitation.

We liked

There’s a lot to like about Nexus 6. I’m a sucker for Android Lollipop and it looks great on this bright, 6-inch AMOLED display. It’s not filled with all of the pre-installed apps I never use.

Nexus 6 review

Going along with the video-friendly 16:9 screen are front-facing speakers that project movie, game and music sound to me instead of away from me. What a concept!

The specs top almost all previous smartphone benchmarks thanks to the Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon chip and 3GB of RAM. An extra-large battery has kept me running for more than a day.

The 13-megapixel camera is more true-to-life than 2013’s Nexus 5 and Motorola’s other smartphones combined, even if it doesn’t quite measure up what Samsung’s doing.

We disliked

It’s hard to call the Nexus 6 Android’s best phablet. It’s big but the 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 4 just barely inches out ahead of Google’s phone in the benchmarks.

Nexus 6 review

But the perk of having the first smartphone to run Android 5.0 Lollipop is still there, right? No, actually the update it already available for the LG G3. Others are promising to follow soon.

It’s also a bummer to see that the Nexus 9 knock-to-wake function and Moto Active Display didn’t make the cut. Active Display is one of Motorola’s best features, and it’s not here despite the fact that the Nexus 6 costs more than the Moto X.

Final Verdict

The death of the Google Nexus program has been greatly exaggerated, and 2014’s stock Android phone ironically resulted in an exaggerated Moto X. Its tremendous display, premium specs and debut of Android 5.0 Lollipop make one of the best phablets to date.

That’s not to say it’s the perfect phablet. Without Moto Active Display, customizable voice command features and Moto Maker options, $649, £499 (around AU$700) would normally be a big ask.

Luckily, this just happens to be the best Nexus Google has ever crafted. And, when you think about it, you’re not going to need to hold onto your money, as you’ll require both hands to grab onto this two-handed monster.

First reviewed: November 2014