Google’s Nexus 6 handset breaks with tradition. Gone is the usual mix of reasonable components in a moderate form factor at a modest price. Instead, the Nexus 6 is big, flashy and costly.
With a starting price point of £499 the Nexus 6 is putting itself up against some serious competition in the shape of the iPhone 6, Galaxy Note 4 and LG G3. As such, it needs to seriously impress if it’s to woo the paying public, whether consumer or business buyer.
V3 got its mitts on the device this week and spent a little time playing with it to see how we think it will fare in the market.
Design and build
The Nexus 6 weighs 184g, which is heavier than the iPhone 6 Plus (172g) and the Note 4 (176g). However, such differences are mostly negligible and we found the Nexus 6 comfortable to hold.
Furthermore, the 159x83x10mm body of the Nexus 6 has an ever-so-slightly rounded edge, which gives it a nice, sleek feel. It’s not quite going to match the iPhone in terms of design chic, but it didn’t look out of place when placed against them, or other Android rivals.
Also, because Motorola has used contoured aluminium as opposed to polycarbonate - like previous Nexus devices - it has a reasonably premium feel, although whether this is worth £499 is debatable.
One thing there is no getting away from with the Nexus 6 is its overall size, which has been expanded to house a giant 5.96in screen. This is bigger than the iPhone 6 Plus (5.5in) and the Note 4 (5.7in). For those who are still not convinced by the trend for larger screen phones the Nexus 6 won’t do anything to change your mind.
However, for those who think bigger is better, the 1,440x2,560 Amoled screen with a 493 pixel per inch density should meet your needs. The screen displayed web pages, apps and photos with a pleasant level of clarity and crispness.
That said, the screen didn’t blow us away, and the Note 4, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus probably have the edge in this department, although we’d need to get all three together to really test this out.
Motorola has kitted out the Nexus 6 with a 13MP rear-facing camera, with a 4X digital zoom and Opticial Image Stabilisation (OIS) technology, the same feature found on the iPhone 6 Plus, although not the iPhone 6.
OIS is a nifty piece of tech that improves photo quality by compensating in real time for shaking and vibrating while shooting, so there are no alterations or light degradations in the image. The inclusion of OIS means the Nexus 6 should have the best camera ever seen on a Nexus handset.
We snapped a few shots with the camera and were impressed with the initial results, especially as we were shooting under some fairly harsh artificial lighting. We look forward to testing this more fully in our complete review.
Furthermore, with such a large screen, you get a great viewfinder, as shown below. The camera also comes with the usual features you'd expect to control lighting, exposures and so forth.
One of the most notable features of the Nexus 6 is that it runs Android Lollipop 5.0 from the off. We didn’t get much chance during our hands on to really test some of the new features in Android 5.0, but the Nexus 6 seemed more than able to handle the requirements of the new OS.
This is no doubt helped by the 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor that should mean you can run several apps without noticing any slowdown. We will benchmark the device in our full review.
Battery and storage
We didn’t get a chance to test the battery on the Nexus 6, although Motorola has been touting the Turbo Boost feature that allows the device to receive six hours of battery life from just a 15-minute charge.
Motorola also claims that the 3,220mAh battery should provide up to 24 hours use per charge. Again, we will test this in our full review.
Storage options are 32GB or 64GB. Disappointingly, Google does not include the option for a microSD card slot, meaning your options are fairly limited.
The Nexus 6 is a nice phone, that much is true. However, in our admittedly brief time with the device we weren’t exactly blown away.
Furthermore, with the price starting at a hefty £499 the Nexus 6 is moving the Nexus brand from the mid-tier to the top-tier, where it could struggle to compete.
But, with Android Lollipop, OIS camera technology and a quad-core processor, there are some compelling features that could sway buyers.
Stay tuned for our full review in the future, when we'll put the Nexus 6 through its paces to deliver our considered opinion.
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