This flagship Android 5.0 Lollipop phone is filled with new features and designs. With a 6 inch waterproof high resolution display and 2.7 GHz quad-core snapdragon 805 core processor, the Nexus 6 is perfect for anywhere you might go. This phone also offers a 13 megapixel camera, complete with optical image stabilization, a 2 megapixel front facing camera, 32 GB of storage, lots of RAM, NFC capabilities, and more.
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In October 2014, Google announced the Motorola Nexus 6 as the successor to the Nexus 5. The device started shipping to consumers the following month. Motorola's device brought the coveted Android devices into new territory. Unlike previous models, this one starts at a rather high price point of $649. It keeps the high-end performance and stock Android OS of past devices while making drastic changes. Fans may have been shocked by the price, but the device itself takes the Nexus series to a new level.
Here's an in-depth review of the Google Nexus 6 from Motorola:
In building the Nexus 6, Motorola took design cues from its own Moto X smartphone. The device looks like a larger version of the Moto X after all. An aluminum trim surrounds the frame of the device and connects to a sturdy plastic backing. On the backplate, a dimple with the Motorola logo is present. A curved backing helps users hold the device, and the dimple provides a natural resting place for the index finger. Two color schemes are available: Cloud White and Midnight Blue.
For the most part, Motorola has designed a premium Nexus device, but it's not the best looking phablet in town.
Every Nexus 6 packs a powerful 2.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor. Few processors can outdo the 805 in overall performance or power efficiency. Plus, a hefty 3GB of RAM ensures that everything runs smoothly. Buyers can choose between 32 and 64GB of internal storage, but expandable memory isn't an option here. A 13MP rear-facing camera and 2MP front-facing camera are available for quality images and video. For audio, the device features powerful front-facing stereo speakers.
Nothing is more surprising about the Nexus 6 than its 5.96-inch, 2560x1440 pixel display. Obviously, its screen is noticeably larger than the Apple iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Such a large screen makes the device larger than most phablets, and not everyone will be able to hold it comfortably. This phablet weighs 6.5 ounces and measures 6.27 inches by 3.267 inches by 0.15 inches. Even users with larger hands have to admit that this device is rather hefty.
Otherwise, the Nexus 6 packs a 3,220 mAh rechargeable battery with Qi wireless charging technology. Qualcomm's chip gives the device Turbo Charging capabilities, which ensures incredibly fast charging whenever necessary. Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, and a 3.5mm headphone jack are all included, too. Therefore, this phablet packs the essentials and then some when it comes to hardware.
No Nexus device would be complete without the newest version of Android OS. Each Nexus 6 ships with stock Android 5.0 Lollipop. With this update, everything about Android has been updated and modified. Material Design, a new UI design philosophy, takes center stage and brings more animations to the mobile OS. The entire interface is more colorful and animated than ever before. In fact, even Google apps have been updated to match Material Design principles.
Notifications, Recent Apps, and quick settings have all been redesigned. When users receive a notification, these alerts are now displayed on the lock screen. A notification will appear within apps in an unobtrusive manner. They can be swiped away with a quick gesture, and users can control what appears on their lock screen. With quick settings, users can access their device's settings with a quick swipe. This pull-down menu now features a flashlight button, too.
Recent Apps now come in the form of tiles for better multitasking. Users can swipe away tiles to close or navigate to open programs. Likewise, Chrome tabs now display as individual tiles in the Recent Apps Tray. It's a noticeable change from KitKat's app manager.
Lollipop includes Google's new battery management initiative named Project Volta. The operating system now includes a power saving mode to increase battery life. On top of that, developers can control how much battery life apps consume. Users will see how long their device will take to charge while plugged in. Battery Historian allows users to see which apps and processes are using the battery of the Nexus 6. In fact, the Battery Historian shows how long a device will last on its current charge.
With Lollipop, a user can unlock their device with a paired Bluetooth accessory. The Nexus 6 can be unlocked with facial recognition. A guest mode is included to let other users access the device with their own environment and apps. Unfortunately, stock Android means the phablet doesn't come with Motorola's unique software tweaks.
Camera and Video Performance
Other Nexus devices weren't known for their amazing cameras. However, Google and Motorola tried to change this with their Nexus 6. The 13MP rear-facing camera captures quality images without a problem. It truly shines in outdoor pictures where colors are true, and details are crisp. With this camera, users can capture every detail of their scenes, and images are comparable to the best smartphone cameras. Close-up shots are sometimes out of focus, though. Low-light shots aren't too impressive either.
The 2MP front-facing camera performs as expected, and there's not much to say there. When it comes to video quality, the rear-facing camera really excels. Videos can be captured in 4K, 1080p, or 720p. Undoubtedly, few smartphones can capture better images here. 480p, 720p, and 1080p videos are possible on the front-facing camera, which performs admirably, too. Compared to previous Nexus smartphones, the Nexus 6 boasts improved cameras that beat previous devices hands down.
Call Quality, Data and Processing Speeds
Motorola's Nexus 6 features great call quality compared to other premium phablets. Users won't have trouble hearing and being heard during phone conversations. In most cases, speakers won't hear distortions of either person's voice. The audio speaker can sometimes make a person sound somewhat quiet, though. It's a small gripe that shouldn't bother the average person. For strong reception areas, calls aren't going to drop that often either.
Data speeds will depend upon the carrier supplying the network. Provided with a fast LTE network, the Nexus 6 can blaze through Web browsing and app downloads. For a given person, it's important to choose the network that best serves their local area. A blanket recommendation for carriers is unwise here, but this device deserves a powerful and fast LTE network.
Thanks to the Snapdragon 805, the Nexus 6 crushes most benchmarking tests. It will outscore most devices on every benchmark users can throw its way. Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 edges out this phablet in plenty of tests, though. Then again, close performances on the benchmarks means these devices will perform similarly. Users aren't going to notice if one device is faster than the other by milliseconds. Simply put, Motorola's Nexus 6 is a performance device that can beat the average device.
Throw graphics-intensive games at the Nexus 6 or run tons of applications. Either way, this device can handle everything without stuttering or bogging down.
A 3,220 mAh battery is nothing to scoff at these days. Its qHD screen and powerful processor means that large battery is necessary, though. At this point, Motorola estimates seven hours of LTE usage from the phablet. Most tests point to a battery life with mixed usage of 10 to 12 hours on average. Users should find themselves making it through an entire day without needing a recharge. For non-power users, a Nexus 6 might last two days before needing a charge.
Google has broken the Nexus mold by releasing the Motorola Nexus 6. The phablet is a premium flagship device with a high price tag. In the end, not all Android and Nexus fans are going to be happy with these changes, especially the six-inch screen. Phablets continue to grow in popularity, and the Nexus 6 will remain a relevant and high-performance device for at least two years. There's a lot of features and hardware to like here. As for cons, no removable storage or user-replaceable battery might be letdowns. The plastic back won't impress everyone either.
Regardless, the Nexus 6 is premium phablet that's unparalleled by most devices on the market.
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