Google Nexus 6 review
|Review: December 2014|
In a nutshell: The Google Nexus 6 is a phablet-style handset with a stunning 6-inch screen. Running the latest Android Lollipop, it offers very impressive performance at a fair price, but its main disadvantage is its huge bulk and weight.
Today's best buy: Google Nexus 6P 32GB from Laptops Direct (£159.97)
The Google Nexus 6 has been released just in time for Christmas 2014 and is the first device to launch in the UK with the latest Google Lollipop flavour.
Design & looks
At about this time last year, Google and LG launched the Nexus 5, a top-value high-end smartphone with mass market appeal. If you thought they were about to repeat that trick, think again. This year, everything is different. LG has been dumped in favour of Motorola as the manufacturer. The mainstream design has been jettisoned, and replaced by a phablet-style device with an enormous 6 inch screen. And the price has shot up. The Nexus 6 isn't a replacement for the Nexus 5. We get that. Let's consider it on its own terms.
The Nexus 6 is a device for those who think data before calls. It's a device for web surfing, emailing, texting and multimedia. It's more like a portable tablet than a phone. So how well does it do that?
Central to the design is the 6 inch, Quad HD screen with 2560 x 1440 pixels, giving a pixel density of 493 ppi. It's a pin-sharp display. It's an AMOLED display too, making it bright and with plenty of contrast. For multimedia, it's a level above most other smartphones. We'd say it's not quite as stunning as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, nor as bright as the iPhone 6 Plus, but is still an amazing display.
The device is nicely-crafted, with a contoured plastic shell that fits well in the hand and feels solid. There are nice touches, such as the aluminium trim and the twin speaker grilles at the front. The looks is midway between the premium styling of the iPhone 6 Plus and the slightly tacky Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and we rather like it. However, it's a very bulky device. It's larger than its competitors in every dimension, and heavier too. A device as big as this really needs to be superslim, and the Nexus isn't. It suffers the same problem as the HTC One Max, which never took off because of its bulk and weight. To carry this device, you'll need big hands and big pockets, or better still a bag.
Already, we're sensing that this isn't going to be a 5 star review.
The Nexus 6 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop in its pure form. Lollipop is a giant leap forward in operating systems. It brings Google's new Material Design concept to life, so there are changes to the look, feel and functionality in every part of Android. Lollipop is more interactive, with animations and responses from everything you touch. There's more information too, with notifications in the lockscreen, more settings, and more cards. In short, there's a lot more going on.
Despite this, in terms of productivity, we'd say that the Galaxy Note 4 has a clear advantage for serious users. Its S-Pen interface and associated functionality lets you work faster.
Top drawer performance
We can't fault the hardware that sits inside the Nexus 6. It runs an extraordinarily fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor, clocked at 2.7GHz. That's as fast as anything you'll find in a smartphone. Combined with the fast graphics performance from the Adreno 420 GPU and 3GB of RAM, the device flies and can handle any mobile app you care to throw at it.
There are two memory options available - 32GB and 64GB. Sadly there's no microSD card slot, so if you run out of storage, that's it. You can access Cloud storage, but only when you have a Wi-Fi or LTE connection. You'll need to consider carefully whether 32GB is enough for your needs, and the more expensive 64GB version might be a wiser purchase.
4K video camera
The camera is an upgrade from the version found in the Nexus 5, and is very competent. It uses a 13 megapixel sensor, an unusually wide f2.0 aperture lens, a dual LED flash and HDR capability. It also includes optical image stabilisation to help prevent camera shake. All these features work together to produce sharp, detailed images even in low lighting. Although this can't beat the very best from Nokia and Sony, it's up there with the best of the rest and is hard to fault.
The camera can also record video at UHD 4K resolution. Results are just as impressive as stills shots.
The secondary front-facing camera uses a 2 megapixel sensor and can record Full HD 1080p video. It also takes very respectable photos and is ideal for selfies and video conferencing.
The Nexus 6 is a 4G phone supporting a very wide range of LTE bands. It's also compatible with 3G and 2G networks. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, microUSB connectors are all provided, in addition to a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Nexus 6 comes with a hefty 3220mAh battery. This isn't the largest battery we've ever encountered, but it's significantly bigger than most. But of course, the Nexus 6 demands battery power more than most. On balance, supply and demand are matched, and the device can operate for up to 10 hours in full use.
Conclusion - solid 4 star performance
The Nexus 6 has a lot going for it. Its key selling feature is the big 6 inch screen, and this is one of the best displays you'll find on a smartphone. The phone is well-specified all round, with a very fast processor, excellent camera, and of course the all-new Android Lollipop. For what it offers, it's not too expensive either.
But it's a chunky device, and that's its main disadvantage when compared to other phablets. Its closest competitor is probably the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and although the Note 4 costs more, it does more too, thanks to its S-Pen and the associated functionality that the Samsung offers. We'd rate the Note 4 as the best of its kind, and worth the extra pennies.
Google Nexus 6 features include:
- Android™ 5.0 Lollipop
- 13 megapixel rear-facing camera with optical image stabilisation, dual LED ring flash, f/2.0 aperture
4K video capture at 30 fps
- 2 megapixel front-facing camera with HD video conferencing
- Display: AMOLED, 16 million colours, 2560 x 1440 pixels (5.96 inches)
- Dual front facing speakers
- Processor: Quad core Krait 450 CPU 2.7 GHz (Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 SOC) with Adreno 420 GPU
- Memory: 32/64GB plus 3GB RAM
- Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack, NFC, DLNA
- LTE bands 1/3/5/7/8/9/19/20/28/41, multi band 3G, quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900),
- Size: 82.98 mm x 159.26 mm x 10.06 mm
- Weight: 184g
- Battery: 3220mAh battery with Qi wireless charging
- Internet use time (Wi-Fi): up to 9.5 hours
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Google Nexus 6 user reviews
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Average rating from 3 reviews:
Reviewed by KC
on 16th Feb 2016
This is simply a great phone, but only if you want a big screen and minimal preloaded software. It was half the price of other popular brands but offers everything they do and more. Its fast, great battery life, easy to use and read even with my useless eyesight. If you want a great phone at a great price do not miss this as I am not sure how much longer it will be available.
Reviewed by all williams
on 3rd Feb 2015
This is only my second review on this site, so I'll make it as brief as possible. In the past I've owned an iPhone 4, Sony T, Samsung galaxy S3,S4 and my last phone was an S5.. All great phones with some excellent features.. Best battery life iPhone 4, best screen S5, best operating system Android 4.4. As my last 3 phones were Samsung galaxys I have really gotten used to using android and wanted to stay with Google's operating system, so the choice for me was clear, go for a note 4 (bit expensive) or the new google Nexus..I was a bit worried as some people had said it was Hugh.. And I've only got average size hands.
First thing out of the box is bloody Hugh.. Seemed alot bigger then my last phone even though that had a 5.2 inch screen.. But after using it for a day it felt about right.. And my S5 felt dinky almost too small. Also the resolution of the S5 felt pixely in comparison, that's to say the screen is absolutly gorgeous, didn't think I'd notice the difference but boy is it good. Speed wise its a monster, everything just fly's. Games look amazing, films look super HD, web pages are so much easier to read.. All in all its an amazing phone, feels high quality in the hand thanks to the aluminium around the edge and the screen tapers right to the edge and feels really good to hold thanks to the round back.
The one thing I wasn't sure I'd like was Google's lollypop operating system but even to a long term Samsung user like me it feels great, yes I do miss some of the short cuts that Samsung give you.. But this really is the best operating system I've used. So are there any negative points? Camera not quite as good as the S5, it's close though. Don't like not having a home button, but not deal breaker for me.
To wrap up if say the nexus 6 is The best phone I've used.. Can't compare it to a note 3 or 4 as I haven't used either but I have used the new Iphone 5 & 6 and I didn't really like either.. They both felt like a downgrade from what I'm used to.
Reviewed by paul
on 9th Dec 2014
Got my nexus 6 other day wasn't sure what to expect because I had the note 4 for two weeks before I had note 2 brilliant phone missed note 3 got note 4 was disappointed with it the sound quality was poor and the vibrate was useless lovely screen returned it got nexus the sound is amazing just all round better phone its just a fraction bigger than the note 4 take a chance on the nexus you be surprised. .