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Nexus 6: A Big Canvas for Lollipop

If you know me then you should know that I like pure Android experience and I have moved toward devices that offer pure stock Android like Moto X or Nexus line of devices from google. There are other people like me who prefer stock android and now these days there are variety of devices available but the Nexus release (roughly once a year) is the one we wait the most.

The newest one is here and it’s called Nexus 6 manufactured by Motorola. It is basically a big Moto X running stock android. From the word “big” I mean really big Moto X.  It is kind of hard to show how big it is in pictures but this phone can cover up a Galaxy Note 4 and has same height as iPhone 6 Plus but slightly wider than it. I think that Galaxy Mega is the only phone that have been this massive in size.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 159.3 x 83 x 10.1 mm
  • Super AMOLED 5.96 display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • 32 or 64 GB storage with a 3GB RAM
  • WiFi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and Wireless charging
  • 13MP Sensor with 4K video recording & Optical Image Stabilization
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 SOC with Quad-core 2.7 GHz Krait 450 CPU and Adreno 420 GPU.
  • Non-removable Li-Po 3220 mAh battery
  • Motorola’s Turbo Charging

Design

Nexus-6-Design

Hardware is basically the larger version of Moto X with a couple of minor (and positive) changes. I think that Moto X was one of the better designed phones of the year and all changes made are an improvement over already great phone. Nexus 6 offers the same rugged design as Moto X and that same dimple on the back.

The word Nexus is engraved and filled with metal (or some shiny material that looks like metal) on the back. The power and volume button is placed at middle of the phone which are easier to reach because it is a big phone. The display melts over to the sides so it is not a sharp corner which is a good welcome so you can drag your fingers on and off the display (to do different gestures) without a problem. You still have the sold metal band around to grip on to phone.

Back of the phone is round too which means it is not going to sit still on a flat surface so no texting while your phone is flat on desk. Although the back is not that slippery and the curved design feels more natural in hands while gripping on to this phone. Nexus 6 also gets dual front facing speakers (that protrudes a little) so you get that crisp and clear stereo sound. The sound is not as good as HTC One but it is far better than any rear or down facing speakers on any other phone.

Along those front facing speakers and asymmetrical chin design, there is a massive qHD 5.96 inches Super AMOLED display. This display is crazy good, super bright and very sharp at 493 ppi. It is probably one of the best displays on any smart phone. It has those pitch-black blacks and awesome saturation and contrast in colors. It is not the most accurate display but it looks pleasing to the eyes. The only downfall of this display is that it gets pink when brightness is turned low. Some people might argue it is a feature to save your eyes but it is not. Motorola has given quiet a nice package of hardware and it is technically water-resistant too. Overall, this is probably the best hardware for this new software.

Software

Nexus-6-Lollipop

Motorola has given a huge canvas to google to play on it. This guy is running Android 5.0 a.k.a Lollipop. Android on this phone has so much new to it. I feel like I am exploring this phone every time and finding new features hidden in it. Like you can visit a site and the status bar will change its color to compliment the theme of the site. This is now actually a thing and developers can do that to work with Google Chrome.

The biggest hype about the new version of Android is that Material design. The more I use the phone, the more I find those animations that happens when you interact with the software like I discovered that quick settings disappear when you change the brightness of display (like iOS 8) to give you a preview to the change you are about to make with display, which is a very nice touch. You can get to any settings in one or two taps which makes it a lot faster to use the phone.

Android Lollipop is also taking advantage of the AMOLED display by introducing an Ambient Display mode. It shows a black and white version of the clock and your recent notifications when you pick up your phone. It is a very sleek way of displaying notifications and does not use much battery at all. You can touch the screen to turn on the display and interact with notification. I like this feature and it can be improved by software updates and keep getting better.

What I like most about Android Lollipop is all that animations going around. Every thing you touch or interact on the phone appears or disappears with animations to give a sense of what is going on and from where the things on-screen are coming or going to. Those animations on this phone are smooth and they move at a really high frame rate which gives you the feeling that this phone is really fast and snappy. But if you take one step back and look at the overall performance of the phone, it is not that much different from a lot of other flagship devices out there. Even though it benchmarks higher than other phones but it simply does not mean that it will do better than other smart phones out there mostly because it has all those pixels to power on that qHD display.

This phone is one of the few phones that has qHD displays and their performance will improve by the time passes. You will sometimes notice that it lags a bit behind of some top of the line 1080p smart phones. Google will probably release some software updates to make things smooth a bit and since it is a Nexus device it will be the first to receive those updates.

In terms of performance it is very smooth as you would expect from an expensive device like this just don’t expect it to blow your mind when you first use this phone.

Camera

Nexus-6-Camera-Review

Cameras on a Nexus phones have never been a huge deal and Google simply didn’t care much about image processing. Speaking of Nexus 6, as it is a blown up version of Moto X so you would the same 13MP sensor with a ring diffuser around dual led flash. Also there is enough room inside to put Optical Image Stabilization. On software side, it is very snappy to take pictures but the camera struggles to focus in low light situations and might take a couple of seconds before taking a picture.

The camera over all takes great sharp photos with decent color accuracy and the pictures look great on the 5.96 inch display but as soon as you move the pictures to your computer and look closer than you can see that Motorola image processing and softness in photos. HDR feature is very good and take some great high dynamic range photos. It shoots 4K video too with that optical image stabilization but no HDR video. Overall it takes decent photos and it is not a terrible camera anymore.

Battery

Nexus-6-Battery-Life-Review

Being a huge phone gives you an advantage of all the space inside for a huge battery. Nexus 6 has a big 3220mah battery to power things up and with Android Lollipop and Project Volta you will expect this device to set new standards for battery life. Now keep in mind that this phone has a large 5.96nch display with resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. The processors inside need to power all those 3.6 million pixels which results in more power consumption. Nexus 6 performed average in battery life and gave me about 3.5 hours of screen on time after a full charge while on the other hand a 1080p stock android phone will probably give me about 4.5-5 hour of screen on time on the same usage.

Note that it is a qHD phone so it suffers from all those extra pixels it has to push to the display. You can take advantage of the AMOLED display to save some battery and it has a pretty good standby time so if you are a light user you will probably have no issue there. This phone also has a turbo charging feature and while turbo charging it got pretty warm but I do not think that it will cost any damage to the battery inside. Note 4 performed better in battery as being a qHD phone.

Nexus 6 also supports wireless charging but you have to buy a new wireless charging station for it to work because I tried using Nexus 5 wireless charging station and it only charged on a specific place and got pretty hot while charging.

Conclusion

Yes this a Nexus 6 but we should keep in mind that it is a huge Moto X running stock android. If you like that concept and don’t mind moving to a large phone than it is a great device for you. Right now it is not the best qHD phone. Galaxy Note 4 can beat it easily but the main reason people will buy this for is that stock Android experience that you can not simply get on Galaxy Note 4. If you want Nexus experience but do not want such a big phone and do not care much about the camera performance than you should go for Nexus 5 which is still a great phone in my opinion.

Nexus 6 Picture Gallery:

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