comscore Nexus 6 review roundup: Is it the best Nexus smartphone ever?
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Nexus 6 review roundup: Is it the best Nexus smartphone ever?

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Google launched the Nexus 6 last month, and unlike the past two years where LG made the Nexus smartphone, Google has picked Motorola to be its partner for Nexus 6. This seems like a logical partnership considering Motorola s own smartphones too offer an almost-stock Android experience. Nexus smartphones have always been ambitious, and is Google s way of telling its hardware partners that a phone with high-end specifications doesn t need to cost a bomb. However, this time, Google s own device isn t cheap, with the Motorola-built smartphone set to cost Rs 44,000 for the 32GB variant and Rs 49,000 for the 64GB variant. So the question is has Motorola managed to build a smartphone that buyers will not mind spending nearly Rs 50,000 on? The first reviews for the Nexus 6 smartphones have surfaced online, and here s what they have to say about the phone. Also Read - Flipkart Big Saving Days sale begins for Plus members: Check out top deals on smartphones

Also Read - Google's Tensor chipset on Pixel 6 series will be manufactured by Samsung: Nikkei

Before we get down to what people are saying about the Nexus 6, let s take a look at the specifications it boasts. It flaunts a 5.96-inch screen with QHD (2560 1440) resolution, and is powered by a 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor paired with 3GB of RAM. The device comes in two storage options 32GB and 64GB and no microSD card slot. On the camera front, it has a 13-megapixel shooter at the back and a 2-megapixel snapper upfront. It packs in a 3,220mAh battery and a turbo-charger which is capable of charging the device quickly. And of course, it runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box. Also Read - Google Pixel 6 wallpapers now available for download: Here’s how to get them

Design

Let’s make something clear, the Nexus 6 is big. Some of us with smaller hands will need both our hands to use the smartphone. As for the design, where the Nexus 5 was a plain rectangular slab, the new Nexus 6 has borrowed a lot of design elements from the new Moto X, the same flash ring surrounding the camera, and the same logo.

Our colleague at BGR.com Jonathan S. Geller writes,

It s codenamed Shamu for a good reason it s monstrously huge and just feels like it s going to slap you with its dorsal fin. There s a good chance the Nexus 6 is going to be too big for you to handle. It s not only incredibly wide and tall, but it s shape is similar to the second-generation Moto X, with heavily tapered edges that lead to a significant bulge at the center of the device s back. The construction of the Nexus 6 is fantastic, however. It s aluminum and put together with a great fit and finish. It seems durable, but it also isn t too heavy, and the Nexus 6 feels like a premium device.

Dieter Bohn of The Verge writes,

The Nexus 6 is taller, wider, and thicker than either the iPhone 6 Plus or the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. That’s in large part because the Nexus 6 has a larger screen, at about 6-inches diagonal. It’s also pretty thick, sloping from a thinner edge around the bottom and sides to 10mm near the top. The Nexus 6 is essentially a blown-up version of the Moto X, and so it shares almost all of its design language.

Display

Nexus 6 sports a 5.96-inch display which puts the phone in the phablet category. Compared to last year s Nexus 5 smartphone, that s almost 1-inch larger or 16 percent bigger. The screen resolution also sees an upgrade here. While the Nexus 5 had 1080p display, the Nexus 6 comes with QHD display. So how do those affect the phone?

Ron Amadeo of Ars Technica writes,

One of the more interesting features of the 6-inch, 2560 1440 AMOLED screen is that, on the lowest brightness, it turns pink. We’re going to call this a feature, and not a bug, since the screen can do normal-color low brightness at about the same level as the Note 4 (2 cd/m2). This pink mode allows the Nexus 6 to hit (0.9 cd/m2) one of the darkest displays we’ve ever seen. The pinkness doesn’t really bother us when we’re just trying to get stuff done in the dark. Our primary concern is not being blinded. When you’re not in the dark, the colors on the screen are fine. It’s still an AMOLED display, though, so you’re still dealing with oversaturated colors.

For those who are still wondering if a 6-inch phone is too big, the publication advices,

As the days passed, (though) we got more and more used to it. After about a week, going back to the Nexus 5 felt like using a tiny toy replica of a smartphone. The point is, you can’t just walk into a store and try it for a few minutes you’ve got to live with something this large for a week to get used to it.

Performance

The phone is powered by 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor paired with Adreno 420GPU, and 3GB of RAM. That makes the device one of the most powerful devices on paper. But how does it live up to it in real life?

Anand Tech s Brandon Chester says,

The Nexus 6 performs how you would expect a Snapdragon 805 device to perform. All of its scores are similar to the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S5 LTE-A, with the exception of the extremely high BaseMark OS II Graphics score which I believe is some sort of error relating to the compatibility of the benchmark with Android Lollipop.

Bohn too ran into a few glitches, though he believes that it is the software that should be blamed instead of the hardware.

Everything is fast until it’s not I’m getting intermittent and infuriating pauses in certain tasks. The new multitasking “Overview” screen and the camera in particular can inexplicably lag for a second or more. Google’s Android team assures me that this is not normal, and I’m dearly hoping they’re right: excepting those pauses, the Nexus 6 is super fast.

Amadeo, however found the phone to be slower than last year s Nexus 5.

In our experience, the Nexus 6 was slower than the Nexus 5. Apps took longer to launch, tasks took longer to switch, and sometimes particularly during heavy multitasking our Nexus 6 liked to get stuck and pause for a few minutes while it thought about things. It would often “chug” during our normal usage and in general felt like a slow device.

Camera

Now let s address the elephant in the room has Google managed to offer a good camera on the Nexus smartphone?

Eric Limer of Gizmodo writes,

The Nexus line is infamous for terrible cameras, and fortunately the Nexus 6 breaks the mold. Unfortunately, it’s still nothing to write home about. In daylight, the image quality is nice, if nothing special. Adequate in the grand scheme of phone cameras today, but a big step up from the shitty Nexus cameras of yore. Color and contrast can get washed out a little bit, and some pretty heavy-handed noise reduction can smudge up your detail. Low light shots make it all worse, you get a whole bunch of smudgy noise. This isn’t a photographer’s phone camera by any means, but it’s a step up by the pretty poor standards of the Nexus line and not at all unusable.

Battery life

Now to the other major issue with Nexus devices battery. Nexus smartphones have never been known for their good battery. But Nexus 6 seems to change that notion, but not by too much.

Brad Molen from Engadget writes,

The N6’s 3,220mAh cell is identical in size to the Note 4, but the Nexus is burdened with far greater expectations; it comes with stock Android (read: no TouchWiz) and makes use of Project Volta, Google’s new effort to make Android more power efficient.

But Project Volta needs some work. The Nexus 6 doesn’t have terrible battery life, but it’s definitely not as good as many similarly sized phones. I used the device extensively at Engadget Expand last weekend, and I was lucky if the phone got more than 13 or 14 hours. A battery of that size and supposed power efficiency should still have juice left over after a full day of heavy use, and the 6 just wasn’t up to the task. Most days, I could only get around four hours of screen-on time.

Software

The phone runs on the recently launched Android 5.0 Lollipop. The latest iteration of Google s mobile operating system brings in several enticing features and more security sophistication and stability to the platform.

Molen writes,

Lollipop also doesn’t do much to take advantage of the additional space. Having a larger screen makes it so you can read more text at a time from a book or Chrome page, but the new update lacks features like split-screen mode and floating apps, which can be incredibly useful when you’re trying to multitask. Additionally, none of Android’s native apps come with extra panes when you turn the phone onto its side and use it in landscape mode. You can’t even convert the home screen into landscape, which can be slightly annoying if you’re trying to move from one app to another (at least Overview works this way, but that’s only helpful if you’re switching to an app or Chrome tab that you’ve recently used).

Additionally, the phone also inherits several features from Moto X, such as double tap to wake the screen and Ambient Display that shows the notifications and time without really powering on the device, and a voice chip that enables the always-on features.

Verdict

While the Nexus 6 seems to be an obvious improvement over last year s Nexus 5, is it worth spending Rs 44,000 on? Reviewers have mixed opinions.

Molen concludes,

It’s a tough market for big phones right now, and Google’s new Nexus fits right in the middle of them all. For what it’s worth, if you need something larger than the Note 4, the N6 is your best premium option.

Chester believes,

The Nexus 6 holds its own against all the other high end devices that we’ve seen released this year, although the Galaxy Note 4 with its more phablet oriented software features and hardware advantages might be a better device overall. But those who want a large device and value having software support directly from Google won’t be disappointed by the Nexus 6.

Limer talks in tangent,

Compared to other big phones, the Nexus 6 is great, but not the undisputed champ. Its clever one-handable design makes it leaps and bounds more usable than the iPhone 6 Plus, but the gigantic Samsung Galaxy Note 4 still has some perks worth considering. With its multitasking and stylus, plus removable battery and SD expansion slot, the Note 4 is more phone-plus-computer. The Nexus 6 with its simple, beautiful stock Android, slightly bigger screen, and fantastic speakers is more phone-plus-tablet. And the iPhone 6 Plus is still the best game in town if you want to take pictures with a phablet.

For the latest tech news across the world, latest PC and Mobile games, tips & tricks, top-notch gadget reviews of most exciting releases follow BGR India’s Facebook, Twitter, subscribe our YouTube Channel. Also follow us on  Facebook Messenger for latest updates.
  • Published Date: November 13, 2014 11:36 AM IST
  • Updated Date: November 13, 2014 11:41 AM IST


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