Google Nexus 6: Hands-on with the most expensive Nexus

The Nexus 6 is Google's most powerful, largest and costly Nexus smartphone yet.

Lovers of multimedia have a Nexus they can finally call their own with the recent release of the Nexus 6. Google partnered with Motorola on the 6-inch phablet, and whereas the Nexus’ of yesteryear find a compromise between performance and affordability, the Nexus 6 is what Google can do when there are no limits.

Styling cues have been taken from the praised Motorola Moto X. There’s the curving metal chassis, Motorola’s hallmark speaker grilles up front and a ring-flash on the back. In many ways this is a larger Moto X, although somewhere along the way the appeal of these design cues has been lost.

If the Nexus 6 was one inch bigger, it would qualify as a tablet. The ‘phablet’ is bigger than Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4, Huawei’s Ascend Mate 7 and Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. The size means this isn’t the right smartphone for everyone.

And that’s a shame because it has an attractive set of specs. The 6-inch screen uses an AMOLED panel, has a 1440x2560 resolution and a 493 pixel-per-inch density. Cursory impressions are good and we believe the screen holds a lot of promise.

Flanking the screen are two front-facing speakers that often deliver more than enough volume. They seem to match the HTC One (M8) on sheer loudness, but it trails in clarity.

Between its quality screen and ample speakers, the Nexus 6 has the makings of a smartphone primed for music, videos and gaming. We watched an episode of Parks and Recreation on it last night with ease as the screen was well backlit and the speakers were good enough to negate the need for a set of headphones.

The Nexus 6 has a comparable camera to the Moto X. It’s a 13 megapixel camera that can record UHD videos and has the same LED ring arrangement. The camera performance won’t necessarily be the same though as the Nexus 6 runs the stock Android camera interface, which adds plenty of fun shooting modes and has a quick autofocus.

Working inside the smartphone is sincerely impressive kit. The Nexus 6 is equipped with a Snapdragon 805 system-on-chip that runs a 2.7GHz quad-core CPU and an Adreno 420 GPU. Also featured is ample RAM at 3GB and internal storage options of 32GB or 64GB.

The Nexus’ connectivity portfolio is just as replete with support for 4G Internet, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC. Powering this entire set-up is a large 3220 milliamp-hour battery that supports wireless charging and a fast charger. Unfortunately the Nexus 6 doesn’t ship with a fast-charger at present, but anyone who buys the smartphone will be able to redeem one when it becomes available.

We have been using the Nexus 6 for a couple of days now — heavily — and the battery has proven less than impressive. We haven’t enabled the power saver mode yet and will reveal a conclusive summary of this Nexus’ performance when we publish a thorough review.

We’re convinced the Nexus 6 is a powerful phablet and perhaps even one of the best. Pricing for the smartphone represents a departure for Google as it retails from $869, and this makes it the most expensive Nexus device yet.

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Tony Ibrahim

Tony Ibrahim

Good Gear Guide

@slicktonyi

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