Review by Sunetra Chakravati,1/31/2015 8:48:47 AM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Unadulterated Android experience | Material design | Big and bold screen
Too Big | Middling battery life | Expensive
By Sunetra Chakravarti
About 10 years back, phone manufacturers were in a fierce race. A race to see who would get the crown for making the tiniest phone… then the iPhone happened and everything changed.
The race was now on to make a media guzzler like no other.
Pah! You cannot use them on your commute! You needed a phone that was actually a beast - a super-sized brain in a handle-able size. Massive battery, memory, processing power and graphics. Basically a super computer but one that fit into your palm.
Phones have ballooned so drastically and to such an extent that we, at Mobile Choice magazine had to create a new category at last year’s Mobile Choice Consumer Awards.
Phablet of the Year.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 won that one, but the competition will be fiercer this year- based on what we have already seen, what is to come and also from our impressions of the Google Nexus 6.
Ginormous. Absolutely freaking massive. A hunk of a phone. All brawn at first and then as I discovered, also brains.
I had a feeling I would need a pick-up truck to carry it around. I am short and my hands are not quite hulk-sized and I had massive trouble holding the Nexus 6 one-handed. But then I passed dir to my colleague who is 6’4”, and he too had issues using it one-handed. I didn't feel bad about being ‘petite’ anymore.
If you don't carry a handbag, a cup of coffee or never battle with the wind to get your hair out of your face then it is perfect for you because what that means is that you will always be able to use the Nexus 6 with both hands. Sadly, I couldn't and that meant my nearly fracturing my metatarsals trying to reply to messages.
Think of the Nexus 6 as a Moto X on steroids and you are spot on. It has the familiar dip on its back with the Motorola logo, the same curved back, the thin, thin, thin edges…basically everything.
A solid 5.96-inch 2560 x 1440 and 493ppi AMOLED screen are the numbers worth remembering. But what’s really good is the build quality- the phone feels solid. No messing around with cheap plastic shells, this plastic baby feels like the real deal. A premium look is what Google have gone for and they have gotten it right.
However, we would have loved to see the customisable features that the Moto X offers… choice of leather/wood back cover, spec, colours and finish customisation options. Hopefully next time?
When it comes to performance, I think it is more important to talk about the most important update to Android than the phone’s innards. Because Lollipop debuts on this phone.
The Nexus 6 has the distinction of being the first phone to rock Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Is it that great?
Of course it is.
Material design makes it so and what makes the experience better is that the latest version of Android isn't padded like it is on by manufacturers like Samsung, HTC and Sony.
Google have added a guest mode along with a screen pinning function apart from the usual kid’s mode that most phones come with.
Guest mode allows access as a guest with apps and features you decide they can have access to while the pinning mode only lets users view one screen: either a photo/video or an app. Perfect for those pesky acquaintances who when looking at one photo decide to scroll through all your photos, not they need hiding…
The interface is colourful, not drab like its predecessors and Android 5.0 brings with it, its entire entourage of layout and tools. Accessed by swiping right, you can access the camera, both panorama and HDR modes as well as photo sphere and lens-blur feature. So far so good.
You can be all grown up and turn on grid-lines as well as the manual more in advanced settings too!
A non-removable 3220mAH battery runs the show on the Nexus 6 and it also supports QI charging which basically means you can turbo charge your phone from 0-6+ hours of additional battery life from a 15 minute charge.
While it doesn't come close to the one on Samsung's Note 4... it is satisfactory. Not a word you would expect to be used on a £500+ phone.
Gone are the patchy camera specs of the Nexus 5, Google’s latest offering comes with a 13-MP super snapper. And because this is basically the Moto X on protein shakes, the dual-LED flash encircles the lens like in the Moto X, while a 2-MP camera does the job for selfie-lovers.
Picture quality is spot on even though it did struggle in low-light settings reminding us of its predecessors. The front-facing camera is perfectly satisfactory but not much more and that makes us a little sad. We expected Google to come up with something of a game-changer in their latest offering. Again, next time maybe?
Is big always better? Maybe not. But the Nexus 6 definitely is. With top-notch specs, it makes others in its peer group appear puny… The 13-MP camera and unadulterated Android experience makes it stand out head and shoulders above the rest.
But the lack of the expandable memory baffles us and we have to admit the size is a bit off-putting. The price (£500+ for the 32GB version) puts it in the same playing field as Apple's iPhone 6+ but we are not convinced consumers will be going for the Nexus 6, reaching over Samsung's Note 4 and the brilliant LG G3.
(The handset for this review was provided by O2)