Google has been releasing a Nexus handheld every year, and sometimes twice a year, since 2010. They have used a number of manufacturers for the Nexus, starting with HTC, then Samsung, followed by LG, and most recently Motorola. While these devices have always been good, they weren’t always the flagship Android device of choice for purists. That’s because the hardware was usually pretty lacklustre. This year has been a little different though, because for the first time ever, Google has benefitted from their inside view of the device manufacturer, with their previous acquisition of Motorola.
Google bought Motorola for almost £8bn out of a need for patents (), but that acquisition shook up the mobile market a bit, leaving device manufacturers concerned that they would be competing with Android handsets while still using the Android OS themselves. However, true to their word, Google did not enter the mobile sphere. Instead, they sold Motorola to Lenovo for £1.86bn. Of course, Google also smacked down Samsung and their Tizen OS, while also shaking up Amazon a bit, but that’s stuff for another article.
The Nexus, though, that’s the beast we’re on about today, and what a lovely beast it is. Google’s taken the best of Motorola’s latest flagship device, the Moto X, and wrapped it into a stunning package. Where previous versions of the Nexus were a bit short in terms of their hardware, often having slower processors, lower quality cameras, and in some cases sub-par screens, the new Nexus 6 has it all and then some. Coming in at just a little more screen real estate than the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, it’s a big but lovely handset.
While some have argued that the Nexus 6 is a little too large, they’ve just not had the opportunity to hold one yet, or see just what it can do in terms of power and performance. Here’s a quick overview of the tech specs, so you can get an idea of just how delicious this little beastie is:
- CPU: Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
- GPU: Adreno 420
- Display: 5.96 Inch AMOLED (1440×2560)
- Screen Glass: Corning Gorilla
- Rear Camera: 13 MP IMX, f.2.0
- Front Camera: 2 MP
- Video Capture: 1080 HD and 2160 UHD
- RAM: 3GB
- ROM: 32 or 64 GB
- SD Memory: 128 GB
- Battery: 3220 mAh (up to 24 hours of mixed use)
- Bluetooth: Version 4.1 LE
- Wi-Fi: 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO
- Sound: Dual Speakers (Front Facing)
- NFC: Yes, of course
- GPS: A-GPS Built In
In other words, this little power pack features top of the line hardware, and sports the latest and greatest in a wide range of categories. There are no phones that specifically outshine it, and quite a few out there it puts to shame. With 4k UHD video captures, dual LED ring flash for photos, and built in optical image stabilization, it’s a joy to use. The Nano-SIM means it will easily accommodate most existing handsets users might be switching from, but it’s also got a few other neat tricks that few other handsets have.
One of the coolest features it has, besides being generally spill proof (it can get a little wet, but don’t go swimming with it), is the Qi wireless charging support) For those of you who don’t know, Qi is the latest and greatest in a universal charging standard. While not all manufacturers have adopted this technology, more and more are moving towards it. What it does is let you place your device on a charging surface, which then wirelessly charges it. The long term plans are that you’ll be able to come into a coffee shop or café and just set your phone down to charge between uses (kind of like Wi-Fi for your battery). Google had this tech in older devices too, but the new Nexus 6 supports the latest Qi 1.2 standard, which means it can charge faster and more efficiently.
The other beauty though, is that the Google Nexus 6 marks the first time Mountain View has released a flagship phone that was really a flagship, and not something the rest of us thought had been cobbled together at the last minute. It integrates beautifully with Android, as it was designed to do, and makes use of the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop OS like no other device on the market. Though, it could be argued that the Moto X and other supported devices do almost as well with it on their systems.
As with all new OS launches, there were a few very minor glitches and hang ups with Lollipop, but Google rolled it out to the North American markets first, which means they were able to quickly and easily squash those bugs (minor connection issues, user profiles, and some software hangs with Lollipop lock screens). Along the way, some users discovered a hidden Easter egg in the software, which is Google’s version of the insanely popular Flappy Bird game.
If you’re in the market for a new phone, you can’t really go wrong with either the Moto X or the Google Nexus 6. Users who want a smaller device will be pleased with the Moto X, while those who want all of the Lollipop goodness in one place, with the larger handset, will love all the Nexus 6 has to offer.