Final Words

When I started reviewing the Nexus 6 I was very apprehensive. Not because I worried that it would be a bad device, but because I had never used such a large phone before. We have come a long way from the days where a 3.5" was considered huge for a phone. However, I had previously owned an iPad Mini and while the Nexus 6 was not that large, it helped me to think of ways I could use it that expanded beyond how I would typically use a smaller smartphone. At 5.96", the Nexus 6 provides an enormous window into all of your content, and allows you to freely do things like view desktop web pages and edit documents without the cramped feeling that arises when doing the same tasks on a smaller device like the Nexus 5 or the HTC One (M7). This also comes with downsides like the loss of single handed usability. The choice between a larger or smaller smartphone will obviously involve tradeoffs, but these do not necessarily make a certain size better than others. What I can say is that the Nexus 6 offered a very different experience from the devices in the 4.7" to 5" range that I was used to.

I think users that are interested in watching many videos on their device will be happy with the Nexus 6. Although stock Android unfortunately does not have a dedicated video application, Google Play is home to some of the best video players for mobile devices. After overcoming some compatibility issues with Android Lollipop, I was able to enjoy some of the best movie watching experiences I have had on a mobile device. Although the poor display calibration does negatively impact some media, films with a heavy use of black and dark colors like The Dark Knight look amazing on the 5.96" AMOLED display. I might even go so far as to say that for certain content the Nexus 6 provides an even better video experience than a tablet with a less extreme aspect ratio and an LCD display like the Nexus 9 or the iPad Mini.

Although the Nexus 6 is an additional device in Google's lineup, and fulfills a new role as a device, it's still going to be compared to the Nexus 5 purely due to its name and the timing of its release. I don't think that buyers will really need to decide between the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6, as they play in completely different markets and fulfill different roles. A user who wants a phablet won't be content with the Nexus 5, and conversely someone who wants a one-handed device won't like the Nexus 6. The Nexus 6 is better compared to other phablets like Samsung's recently released Galaxy Note 4 which shares many of the same specifications and is roughly the same price. I think that Samsung currently offers a better phablet experience with regards to software, with multi-window views, specialized landscape layouts, and S Pen integration. The display and battery life are also better on the Galaxy Note 4. The Nexus 6 has its own advantages as well, namely its build quality and guaranteed software updates. I don't think I can definitively say that one is better than the other, as they both have strengths and weaknesses which will make one more appealing to a user than the other based on what that user wants in a phablet. The Nexus 6 definitely leans strongly towards the phone side of the phablet equation though, which could be a bit disappointing for those that are looking for more.

Price is also a consideration with the Nexus 6. At $649 it represents a new style of premium pricing for Google's flagship device, and it means that the Nexus phone now competes with other flagship phones in every regard. After taking in everything that the Nexus 6 is, and everything it isn't, it's hard to come to a conclusion about if it meets the expectations set by its price tag. On the software side there are currently some issues with animation performance, but as a Nexus device you'll always get the latest updates and any future performance fixes will arrive as soon as possible. On the hardware side it sports great build quality, a camera which is greatly improved from the Nexus 5, a sharp display, and performance which is essentially the best that you'll find in an Android phone. But it's not without its issues, namely the poor display calibration and lower battery life than its competition. My need for a well calibrated display means that I personally think that Google may have aimed just a bit too high with their price point. However, anyone who isn't as bothered by the wider gamut and relative color inaccuracy should definitely feel comfortable paying the premium price that Google is asking.

Overall, I think that Google and Motorola have built a solid device. It isn't without its issues, but there's a lot to like, even if you're someone who has never used a phablet before. I had always been somewhat of a skeptic regarding massive phones; I didn't understand the appeal. But after using one, I can see how having a massive display to view all your content can be really beneficial by enabling forms of productivity that simply can't be done comfortably on smaller devices, and by making activities like viewing photos and watching videos significantly more engrossing. Not only did it change my mind about the appeal of phablets, it also changed my mind about Google's ability to compete in the premium device segment of the market. 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.

WiFi, GNSS, Misc
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  • Muyoso - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Go ahead and tell me again why the $649 pricetag is justified because this is the "no compromises" Nexus we have been waiting for. . . . . . .
  • Affectionate-Bed-980 - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    In come the Nexus apologists that say this is a developer's phone!

    I say this as someone who's owned 4 Nexus phones and have been disappointed in battery and camera each time.
  • Muyoso - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    The thing is, with prior Nexus phones, the battery and camera shortcomings could be justified because of the price. At $649, Google has to be high. Aluminum trim ain't that special.
  • dishayu - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    It's a fair price for the device. It's not cheap for US Americans because your retarded mobile carriers. For the rest of the world, where BYOD plans are without contract and dirt cheap, the phone is priced very competitively. It's cheaper than a Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and LG G3 where I live.
  • Frenetic Pony - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    Ouch, really? Just googled a G3, unlocked its $450 here. Ahh international markets, exchange rates and etc. Will you ever make things sensible?
  • dishayu - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    The prices of the G3 have indeed dropped considerably but the nexus 6 is still priced at par with competition. Just checked and here are the prices :

    HTC One M8 : 499 GBP
    Note 4 : 575 GBP
    Xperia Z3 : 515 GBP
    Nexus 6 32GB : 499 GBP (play store)
  • ws3 - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    That's all beside the point. Previous Nexus phones were priced considerably below the off-contract price of other phones with similar specs. This one isn't. That is the only claim being made.
  • Acreo Aeneas - Sunday, November 23, 2014 - link

    Maybe you should reread the article. Other than a few previous Nexus phones, the rest were about on pay pricing wise with the mainstream competition.
  • Delfang - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    The fact that Z3 is available for 450 GBP on Amazon make your point invalid.
  • garretelder - Thursday, December 4, 2014 - link

    I'm personally not very impressed with the Nexus 6 (and neither is rankings like for example).

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