Nexus 6 assessment: Google exhibits it could make an enormous-display telephone

Nexus 6 review: Google shows it can make a big-screen phone

Which is simpler to juggle in your day by day commute: a small smartphone and pill collectively, or a 6-inch telephone that merges options from each? Shoppers as soon as leaned towards the previous, however many have these days modified their minds. The so-referred to as phablet has come a great distance since Samsung got here out with the primary Galaxy Observe in 2011, and now it isn’t unusual to see a number of of them as you stroll down the road. Almost each producer has at the least one or two such units of their lineup, so it is about time Google stepped in with some outsized hardware of its personal.

The corporate simply launched the Nexus 6, a 6-inch telephone made in collaboration Motorola that comes with a profitable function listing and is simply as superb because the Moto X it shares a likeness with. Apart from being a robust handset in its personal proper, it is meant to be a blueprint to encourage Google’s companions as they work on their very own units. It isn’t as reasonably priced as Nexus telephones from the previous two years, however at $649 it is nonetheless lower than most premium-grade flagships of comparable measurement. With that in thoughts, let’s discover out if the Nexus 6 serves as an encouragement… or a disappointment.

Gallery | fifty three Photographs
Nexus 6 evaluation

86
Google

Nexus 6

Execs

  • Lovely hardware
  • Nice efficiency
  • Excessive-res show
  • Android Lollipop brings recent design and options
  • Fairly priced for what it’s

Cons

  • Battery life is common at greatest
  • Not nice for one-handed use 
  • Digital camera stumbles with low-mild photographs

Abstract

The Nexus 6 is Google’s first try at a phablet, and is probably the most premium Nexus we have seen thus far. It is highly effective, excessive-res and comes with the newest and biggest model of Android. However be warned that it is troublesome to make use of with one hand, and its battery life is common at greatest. 

Hardware

The Nexus 6 isn’t solely named for its almost 6-inch display measurement, but in addition its order within the collection. It joins a prestigious lineup of units Google has crafted as examples to its Android companions, every one appearing as a bodily manifestation of the corporate’s cellular imaginative and prescient for the approaching yr. It solely takes a fast take a look at the Nexus 6 to determine what Google’s specializing in this time round: phablets and premium high quality. It is a jarring distinction to final yr’s Nexus 5, which match the mould for an reasonably priced, but excessive-finish telephone; at $349, it was one of the best smartphone you can purchase (it is nonetheless among the many greatest, a full yr later), whereas the Nexus 6, which begins at $649, comes with a good higher spec sheet and appears a lot fancier and… properly, costlier. Each are good choices, however you are not going to be shopping for the brand new Nexus on a whim.

Google’s new telephone does not look something like its predecessors, nevertheless it has a moderately uncanny resemblance to the Moto X. The truth is, it seems to be virtually precisely like a blown-up model of Motorola’s flagship, with just a few exceptions. That is an excellent transfer on Google’s half, as a result of the X is superbly designed and properly-constructed. It did not turn out to be a doppelgänger accidentally — the N6 was inbuilt collaboration with Motorola, and was introduced simply six weeks after the X debuted. It is usual with the identical metallic body and curved (fingerprint-pleasant) polycarbonate again, albeit with out the huge array of customizable shade choices; no bamboo or wooden, simply darkish blue and white for now.

Nexus 6 review: Google shows it can make a big-screen phone

One other key distinction between the X and the N6 is the dimple on the again. The previous includes a metallic ring that distractingly screams in your consideration, whereas the latter makes use of a gentle melancholy that is indented within the plastic again itself (like the unique Moto X) in a means that does not interrupt the design. It might be argued that this level is rendered moot by the mammoth Nexus emblem beneath, in addition to Motorola’s signature “M,” however at the least the dimple seems higher.

The entrance of the telephone comes with stereo audio system, one other enchancment over the X; they remind me of HTC’s BoomSound, and are simply as loud because the audio on the One M8. Sensible transfer, since giant telephones ought to include stellar media experiences; in case you have an enormous, Quad HD show, you do not need to spoil an excellent film by having horrible audio.

At 10.1mm thick, the Nexus 6 is thicker than the typical telephone, however it does not look or really feel prefer it. That is as a result of it is a curvaceous telephone that begins out thick within the center and tapers right down to extremely skinny edges.Whereas the iPhone 6 Plus and Nokia Lumia 1520 have skinny, rounded (and thus sharp) edges, the Nexus 6 comes with flat sides, offering a cushty match and really feel as a result of they are not digging into my fingers each time I seize onto the system. An enormous telephone just like the Nexus can also be going to be heavier than most: The N6 is 6.forty nine ounces (184g), greater than the 6.07-ounce iPhone 6 Plus or Samsung’s 6.21-ounce Galaxy Word four. But for some purpose — maybe the best way that weight is distributed — I’ve by no means given this stat a second thought. It is no light-weight, however the additional grams will not be a discouraging issue for many.

Nexus 6 review: Google shows it can make a big-screen phone

I am not going to knock Google for creating a big-screened telephone, as a result of there’s an enormous marketplace for it. For each individual that provides me a bizarre search for utilizing one, there’s one other who pines for a bigger display to view extra textual content, watch movies on Netflix and to take a look at footage. Personally, I like massive telephones so long as I can use them effectively in a single-handed situations (I discover myself in these conditions rather a lot). And sadly, that is an space the place the Nexus 6 suffers. Every time I used it with one hand it became an train in sustaining stability. The plastic is slick and I merely cannot attain my thumb in all places it must go with out contorting my arms. Should you purchase the telephone, go in with the expectation that you’re going to deal with it with each paws more often than not.

The display is not simply massive — it is as excessive-definition as you will get lately, because of the Quad HD AMOLED panel. That is 2,560 x 1,440 pixels unfold over the 5.ninety six-inch show, which comes out to a pixel density of 493 ppi. It is technically not as dense because the Galaxy Observe four, which makes use of the identical variety of pixels on a smaller display, however you will be onerous-pressed to note a distinction in high quality between the 2. As with the Notice four, it is an exquisite sight, however the enchancment over 1080p is not as vital as it might be on, say, a TV. So long as the upper decision does not impair the battery life, I’ve no drawback with that spec; if it includes a commerce-off of energy effectivity, nevertheless, it isn’t value it. The show itself is just a little on the saturated aspect, although not as heavy on the additional colour because the Notice four. Then once more, Samsung may go extra overboard with the saturation, however it a minimum of consists of numerous show modes permitting you to regulate the colour. Shifting on, darks are simply as darkish, although the whites appear to have a hotter temperature and are not as brilliant (although it is at the very least a lot better than the Nexus 5’s LCD panel, which bleeds mild like loopy). Viewing angles are good, and I can see it fairly properly in direct daylight.

Android 5.zero

Nexus 6 review: Google shows it can make a big-screen phone

You will forgive me for leaving this part a tad shorter than regular. Persevering with its historical past of releasing new firmware in tandem with new hardware, Google has launched Android 5.zero Lollipop, constructing it into the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 9 pill. Since we already spent a while with the Nexus 9, I used to be capable of take an in depth take a look at the OS in my preview, so wander over there to get the complete lowdown on what’s new.

In a nutshell, although, Lollipop comes with a recent new look referred to as Materials Design, which makes an attempt to use bodily guidelines to a digital interface. It is clear, minimal and alive, because of a litany of animations that react to your contact. It seeks to remove as many distractions as potential so you’ll be able to think about the duty at hand. Google accomplishes this in a pair methods: by means of actionable notifications that drop down from the highest of the display, and a don’t disturb mode with imposable deadlines and white lists. Lollipop additionally brings efficiency and battery life enhancements, in addition to a Sensible Lock function that allows you to bypass the lock display so long as your Bluetooth system is close by. It is undoubtedly one of many largest updates Android has ever seen. And I prefer it: It is enjoyable to make use of and straightforward on the eyes.

However regardless of Lollipop’s fancy new design and helpful options, its presence on the Nexus 6 highlights one of many replace’s few weaknesses: the one-handed expertise. Until your palms are a lot bigger than mine (I consider I am within the common class), the brand new Nexus is nigh inconceivable to function with out the help of a second set of phalanges; the curved again helps considerably, however the slippery polycarbonate does not. You might argue that this can be a drawback with most giant telephones, and that it is simply one of many compromises you will should make in trade for a pill-like expertise. However a number of producers have discovered methods to reinforce one-handed use; the 5.7-inch Word four, for example, comes with additional menus that make the telephone simpler to function once you solely have one hand free. Inventory Android on the Nexus 6 lacks these sorts of useful options. That is undoubtedly one thing you will have to overlook in the event you’re involved in getting the newest and biggest Nexus.

Nexus 6 review: Google shows it can make a big-screen phone

Lollipop additionally does not do a lot to reap the benefits of the extra area. Having a bigger display makes it so you’ll be able to learn extra textual content at a time from a ebook or Chrome web page, however the brand new replace lacks options like cut up-display mode and floating apps, which may be extremely helpful if you’re making an attempt to multitask. Moreover, none of Android’s native apps include additional panes whenever you flip the telephone onto its aspect and use it in panorama mode. You’ll be able to’t even convert the house display into panorama, which may be barely annoying for those who’re making an attempt to maneuver from one app to a different (at the least Overview works this manner, however that is solely useful for those who’re switching to an app or Chrome tab that you’ve got lately used).

Identical to on the unique Moto X, the Nexus 6 (and any Lollipop-supported gadget with the proper hardware) comes with voice activation, permitting you to make use of “OK Google” because the voice set off. Nevertheless, you aren’t getting the prospect to make up your personal phrase, as you possibly can on the Moto X; it is unlucky that Motorola did not work with Google to include the function this time round. Basically, too, the voice activation nonetheless wants just a little extra work on the N6 — it did not all the time hear my voice.

The strangest a part of the Nexus 6 is that the double-faucet-to-wake function, which was proven off in early arms-on demos, is now nowhere to be seen. I’ve requested Google for remark, and an organization rep merely responded that the function is just not included on the system proper now. It appears odd that it received disregarded of the ultimate product, as it might’ve made it just a little simpler to deal with the telephone with one hand.

Digital camera

Nexus 6 review: Google shows it can make a big-screen phone

The Nexus lineup is designed to precise Google’s hardware imaginative and prescient for Android producers. Traditionally, nevertheless, we might need to take its imaging “imaginative and prescient” with a grain of salt: The previous few Nexus’ cameras have been mediocre at greatest. Mix this custom with the subpar shooters on Motorola’s newest telephones, and you will perceive why I did not have excessive expectations for the Nexus 6’s digital camera going into this evaluation. Its thirteen-megapixel rear module means you will at the least get a better decision than the 8MP Nexus 5, and it additionally comes with optical picture stabilization, a pleasing addition. It also needs to be higher than its predecessor at taking low-mild photographs because of its f/2.zero aperture (a bump up from f/2.four on the N5).

When you’ve used the newest inventory Android digital camera app, you will really feel at residence on the N6. You possibly can pull up a digital camera mode menu by swiping out from the left edge; this allows you to select amongst digital camera, video, panorama, lens blur and Photograph Sphere (yep, it is nonetheless supported). Like Motorola’s different telephones, it is lacking some guide choices; you’ll be able to change decision and publicity, however not white stability, ISO, shutter velocity or anything. You are able to do a ton of tweaks after the very fact, although it is best to not depend on that each time you’re taking a cruddy shot. Additionally, you’ll be able to nonetheless entry the digital camera immediately from the lock display, as you’ve got been capable of do in earlier variations of Android, with one distinction: You need to swipe instantly left from the digital camera icon within the backside-proper nook of the display with a purpose to activate it. (Similar goes for the telephone dialer, which requires swiping instantly proper.)

Gallery | eighty five Pictures
Nexus 6 pattern photographs

I used to be pleasantly stunned at how nicely the Nexus 6 did at taking daylight photographs. Google did a greater job with the imaging expertise general, in comparison with the Nexus 5. Most of my photographs have been properly detailed and crisp. What it lacks in guide controls it makes up for within the default expertise — very similar to the iPhone expertise, you’ll be able to take a shot with out worrying about how it will end up. HDR mode is delicate but efficient, white stability is sweet and colours are a tad saturated in some conditions however are stored inside purpose. I might see blown-out highlights from time to time as properly, however by no means was it so blatant that it utterly ruined the photograph.

A digital camera with such a big aperture ought to bode properly for nighttime photographs, however until you employ the twin-LED flash to brighten up your topics, you are not going to see a lot of something. This comes as a little bit of a shock, particularly since even the Nexus 5 did a greater job of choosing up mild in darkish settings (albeit with lots of noise). If you are going to be taking plenty of footage at night time, this is not going to work out for you. The digital camera additionally sometimes chooses a slower shutter time when mild turns into scarce, so quick-shifting youngsters and different objects can flip into the Blur. Taking footage utilizing HDR mode requires a little bit of endurance; it takes a number of seconds to modify into HDR from common mode, and when you hearth off a shot, it takes an unusually very long time to course of. This may be irritating when in comparison with many different units able to processing HDR in actual-time, so you possibly can even see what the photograph will seem like earlier than you’ve got even taken it. Not so right here.

(Excessive-res samples shall be out there right here shortly.)

Efficiency and battery life

Nexus 6 review: Google shows it can make a big-screen phone

The brand new Nexus comes with one of the best chipset you will get on any Android system proper now: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 805. This is identical SoC discovered on the Samsung Galaxy Notice four, Word Edge and Motorola Droid Turbo (Moto Maxx), and comes with 4 2.65GHz Krait 450 cores and a prime-of-the-line Adreno 420 graphics processor. If you need the facility with out having to futz round with TouchWiz or availability restrictions, the Nexus 6 goes to take excellent care of you.

The N6 is among the many most succesful smartphones available on the market, at the least from an actual-use perspective. (Some benchmarks do not agree, as you will see under, nevertheless it’s a combined bag.) Positive, it does not include sixty four-bit help, however this wasn’t an issue for me; every part from the mundane duties to the graphic-intensive video games like NOVA three, Trendy Fight 5 and Asphalt eight ran as easily as attainable on a smartphone — and for a telephone that has such a big display pushing a Quad HD decision, that is by no means a positive factor. With the Nexus 6, that mixture of energy and show makes the gaming expertise even higher than it usually is on a flagship smartphone.

Nexus 6 Moto X (2014) Samsung Galaxy Observe four Geekbench three three,286 2,986 2,746 Vellamo three.zero Multicore 1,479 2,093 1,808 3DMark IS Limitless 23,233 19,568 20,692 SunSpider 1.zero (ms) 782 787 793 GFXBench three.zero Manhattan (fps) 18.7 off/eleven.9 on eleven.9 off/12.eight on 18.eight off/eleven.1 on CF-Bench 34,968 39,018 forty three,324 SunSpider: decrease scores are higher

In fact, that combo could also be nice for gaming, however it’s usually a demise sentence for the one that you love battery life. The N6’s three,220mAh cell is equivalent in measurement to the Word four, however the Nexus is burdened with far higher expectations; it comes with inventory Android (learn: no TouchWiz) and makes use of Undertaking Volta, Google’s new effort to make Android extra energy environment friendly.

However Undertaking Volta wants some work. The Nexus 6 does not have horrible battery life, however it’s undoubtedly inferior to many equally sized telephones. I used the gadget extensively at Engadget Broaden final weekend, and I used to be fortunate if the telephone obtained greater than thirteen or 14 hours. A battery of that measurement and supposed energy effectivity ought to nonetheless have juice left over after a full day of heavy use, and the 6 simply wasn’t as much as the duty. Most days, I might solely get round 4 hours of display-on time. As you’d anticipate, average to mild utilization will get you thru two days, nevertheless it’s more likely that you’re going to be benefiting from the massive display for each regular smartphone use and pill-like consumption as properly, and it must get by way of a full day at minimal with that sort of use.

The competitors

Nexus 6 review: Google shows it can make a big-screen phone

Whereas the Nexus 5 was in a category all its personal final fall, the identical cannot be stated concerning the 6 — not in worth or measurement. The 32GB mannequin prices $649 unlocked and 64GB is an additional $50 (each of that are a greater deal storage-sensible than the iPhones 6). That places it in direct competitors with most flagship units presently available on the market. To be truthful, most massive-screened units — something bigger than 5.5-inches — promote for much more, which suggests the N6 is likely one of the greatest offers you will discover for a prime-of-the-line smartphone of that measurement and high quality. The Notice four, which is barely smaller, however comes with 32GB inner storage, microSD help, a detachable battery and an S Pen, is unlocked on Amazon for round $820. Moreover, the iPhone 6 Plus begins at $749 for 16GB ($849 for 32GB and $949 for 64GB).

These could also be the preferred choices, however there are inexpensive giant-screened units: The Huawei Ascend Mate 2 is $300 and has a 6.1-inch 720p show, Snapdragon four hundred chipset and far bigger four,050mAh battery. There’s additionally the 5.5-inch LG G3, which has a Quad HD show, Snapdragon 801 and barely smaller battery than the N6; it is now going for round $500 unlocked on-line. It is a robust marketplace for massive telephones proper now, and Google’s new Nexus matches proper in the midst of all of them. For what it is value, should you want one thing bigger than the Word four, the N6 is your greatest premium choice.

Wrap-up

Nexus 6 review: Google shows it can make a big-screen phone

Typically, Google’s first shot at a big-screened system (to not point out its first Nexus collaboration with Motorola) is an effective one. The Nexus 6 comes with options that the Moto X ought to have had within the first place, together with a strong subsequent-gen Snapdragon processor, improved digital camera, new model of Android and a premium design. Watching films on the N6 is a deal with, with loud, entrance-dealing with stereo audio system and a Quad HD show. And whereas the $649 worth could seem excessive, it is truly decrease than the Observe four, iPhone 6 Plus and different giant telephones with prime-notch specs.

What it lacks is a bit more telling. Its mediocre battery life signifies that Google’s Undertaking Volta might use some TLC. Moreover, for those who’re shopping for the telephone as a result of it has an enormous display and also you need to use it as a telephone/pill hybrid, you are not solely buying and selling off a cushty one-handed expertise, however you are additionally doing so with out options that benefit from the additional actual property, like Multi Window or twin-pane mode for when the telephone is in panorama. These could also be small misses that doubtless will not have an effect on your buy determination, however they recommend Google nonetheless has room for enchancment with regards to making a big-screened smartphone.

Images by Will Lipman.

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<a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/motorola/nexus/6/”> Motorola Nexus 6 </a>

  • Key specs
  • <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/motorola/nexus/6/” title=”Motorola Nexus 6 evaluations” goal=”_blank”> Evaluations zero </a>
  • Costs
  • Discussions
  • Sort Smartphone
  • Working system Android (Lollipop [5.0])
  • Display measurement 5.9 inches
  • Inner reminiscence 32 GB
  • Digital camera thirteen&#one hundred sixty;megapixels
  • Dimensions 6.27 x three.27 x zero.four in
  • Weight 6.forty nine oz
  • Introduced 2014-10-15

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