back to article LARGE, ROUND and FEELS SO GOOD in your hand: Yes! It's a Nexus 6

We've been running the new Google-mungous big Nexus 6 smartphone and Android 5.0 through our hands-on real-world testing – and here are the results. Nexus 6 The Nexus range is Google's attempt to show the world exactly what an Android phone should be. As we've seen with past models, that usually means a stripped-down handset …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Very meh ....

    The vanilla Android experience is to be commended, however the Note 4 is a better device and will drop in price pretty quickly once it is freely available. Better replaceable battery and SD card slot seals the deal for me.

    If you are willing to root and install a custom ROM then you will get a similar crapware free experience on the Note 4.

    Simply put, too expensive for a Nexus.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very meh ....

      With you.

      The second gen moto g, has an SD card slot. I can manage with the non-replaceable battery and I with Vanilla 'droid and a Lollipop upgrade imminent I really don't feel the need for anything else. However, the only thing I would want to change is a superb camera on one. Moto G with a lumia style decent camera, I would pay the extra.

    2. stuartnz

      Re: Very meh ....

      Have another "me too" Replaceable batteries and expandable storage are why I've stuck with Samsung. I'm looking forward to Cyanogen or Omega Lollipop soon, and then my S5 will definitely continue to be more attractive than this Nexus. Hopefully by the time I'm ready to upgrade, Xioami or Huawei will be offering those same must-have features in their top-end phones and phablets.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Very meh ....

        Another meh from me. Where's the value in the nexus line gone?

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Re: Very meh ....

          Where's the value in the nexus line gone?

          That's my disappointment, too.

          I bought a Nexus 4 as soon as I was able. It was the first brand new phone I had bought in years, and the reason was that it was just about a top end phone for mid-range price. The step up in price from the 4 to the 5 was reasonable, although it still pushed the handset past my price point.

          In the end, part of me is glad. I bought a Oneplus One, and I'm really happy with it. It's exactly what the Nexus 4 was when it was released. At £500, the 6 is far too rich for me. If it had come out at a similar price point to the 5, I would have regretted my choice. As it stands, I made the right decision.

          1. garden-snail
            Go

            Re: Very meh ....

            +1 for OnePlus One

            I was lucky enough to get my One pretty early (during the OnePlus Race) and was worried that the Nexus 6 would come along and cause me regret. When the specs for the Nexus 6 were announced I nearly had a heart attack, assuming they were going to be selling it at the classic Nexus price point.

            As it stands, the OPO was the right choice, and I'd make the same call even if I was buying it now. I can't help thinking Google should have released a more affordable Nexus 6, and saved this high-spec beast for the launch of their "Android Silver" range...

          2. DrXym Silver badge

            Re: Very meh ....

            I got a OnePlus as well just recently. £279 for a 64Gb 5.5" phone is just insane. It's a very nice phone - well designed with Cyanogen based version of Android on it, responsive, a bright high dpi screen and cheap. Cyanogenmod offers the sort of customization people actually want in a phone - privacy features and a light dusting of improvements throughout the UI without ruining it. My phone suffered some random reboots but an update fixed that.

            Biggest gripe is the back of the phone which I thought was kind of granite effect but turns out to be more like velvet. It's not going to slide on a table but I bet it picks up stains from coffee, butter etc. over time.

            Their website and the whole 1-hour sale was a total shambles though. It was so flakey I wasn't even sure if I'd managed to order a phone for a day or two until after the sale ended.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Launched way too early

    What a disappointment. I waited since 1982 for this, it's three years early, looks nothing like Zhora,and is not more human than human.

    1. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: Launched way too early

      Look on the bright side: At least it's not trying to kill you.

    2. ammabamma
      Trollface

      Re: Launched way too early

      I hope the waterproofing is better than previous models.

      5 minutes outside in a thunderstorm, and all your moments (and data) will be lost like tears in the rain...

      1. string

        Re: Launched way too early

        protip: put your phone in your pocket before this happens

        1. John Bailey

          Re: Launched way too early

          "protip: put your phone in your pocket before this happens"

          You mean.. not look at it for more than a second..

          Nah.. never work.

  4. InfiniteApathy

    Not a *significant* upgrade to Nexus 5

    Looks pretty, decent specs, better battery (about time!)

    I'll keep my Nexus 5 and continue to look enviously at the 6.

  5. jamesb2147

    Pricing

    Am I missing something here? There's a lot of talk about price, but it's nothing like the price of the last Nexuses (ignoring Nexus One). I also don't think comparing the $700 64GB's Nexus 6 price to Apple's $750 64GB iPhone 6 price or even $850 64GB iPhone 6+ is a fair comparison when talking about how "cheap" it is compared to the competition.

    Perhaps I'm a bit lost but comparison of "flagship" Google/Apple phones would look more like this:

    Nexus 5 (last year's model): $350 (if you can find it)

    Nexus 6: $650

    iPhone 6: $650

    iPhone 6+: $750

    And just to be clear a "really good phone" can be had for $400-ish in the OnePlus One. A "good enough" phone can be had for $200-ish in the Moto G. Want a different vendor's "flagship"?

    Samsung Galaxy S5: $500(-ish)

    If you're going to compare pricing, please be clear about what you're comparing.

    Further, the Nexus line changed my expectation for my investment in a phone. I do NOT want to double the price of my phone (pushing it into laptop pricing territory) for a marginal performance increase. Further, even if I'd drunk the Apple Kool-Aid (disclosure: I too hate phablets, and until the iPhone 6, I at least thought Apple had good design sense), I'd only be looking at the entry level models. To me, all my data lives online, so I only need enough space for my apps and what I might want on a given plane ride.

    Note for the author: I hope our shared preference for non-phablets manifests itself in a course correction on the smartphone trajectory. I need something discreet, not a laptop replacement.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Pricing

      Spot on on all counts. I too thought Apple had more sense than to produce a stupidly wide phone just goes to show you can never tell.

    2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Pricing

      I don't get it either. The "features" that were compelling in the 2012 Nexus 7 and beyond are flat missing in action here. Between this and a Note 4, I'll take the Samsung. Sorry, Motorola.

    3. Mark .

      Re: Pricing

      The Galaxy Nexus (and presumably Nexus S) was high cost too - the low cost strategy was only introduced with the Nexus 4.

      It's a fair point that although cheaper than say the Note 4, the Nexus 6 is still more than the flagship S5.

      It's a shame that Google seem to have abandoned the low cost strategy (though the Nexus 5 isn't being discontinued, unlike annoyingly the excellent Nexus 7), but I can see why they want to put out a high end device - Nexus devices were originally meant to be the showcase for Android, after all, not budget choices. Indeed, part of the fear in the early Android days was manufacturers racing to the bottom, so Google wanted their own premium flagship. I don't mind paying extra if it means that the Nexus finally has a reasonable camera.

      Also there are devices from Motorola that are low cost, and come with virtually stock Android and fast updates (Android 5 reportedly rolling out on Motorola before the Nexus!)

      I get the impression that Google put out a low cost Nexus 4 to change the way that people bought phones - buying it outright unlocked rather than from the carrier. But whilst the Nexus 4 was far more successful than previous Nexuses, it seems that most people are still buying non-Nexuses on contracts. Sadly marketing, distribution and "ooh it's free if I pay monthly" won out over a great device at a good price that's not advertised or distributed very well.

    4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Pricing

      I think that Google's strategy has changed a little - when you look at the cost of having a cell phone, the cost of the device itself is not that significant, so the higher price of the Nexus 6 doesn't put me off much. I have bought Nexus phones because I want a device that I control with apps that I want, not something stuffed with the service providers apps - that's my bottom line.

      However, at this point I'll be sticking with my Nexus 5, mostly because it's the right size and a nice balance of features. I'll get the lollypop update soon enough and I've been running ART on the phone for a while - it definitely works as advertised! At this point it does almost everything that I want in a phone.

      IMHO, Google hasn't really pushed the envelope with the Nexus 6, it's just another damn fat phone.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To Big

    I refuse to stick anything my pocket bigger then my ....

    Never mind. {}:>))

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To Big

      > I refuse to stick anything my pocket bigger then my ....

      ... copy of 'Spelling For Dummies'? ;)

    2. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: To Big

      Then my phone rang and I couldn't finish typing my sentence?

    3. e^iπ+1=0

      Re: To Big

      ... or not to big.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    #fail

    the 31 seconds after a factory reset is doing the one time native ART compilation...

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  9. Sampler

    Replaceable batteries

    Even back in nokia days I never had a replaceable battery for my phone and have hardly been left wanting.

    BUT on the occasions I'm expecting to smash my phones battery (say GPS tracking on a 14 hour cycle) I pack one of those USB battery chargers, top up my phone, helmet cam, csc-cam rather than being a spare battery purely for my phone.

    In an age of such technology what's the benefit of paying as much for a spare phone battery and having to suffer the bulk and weight giving access to the battery adds?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Replaceable batteries

      The only advantage of a removable battery is extending the handsets life.

      The disadvantages of a removable battery:

      Risk short circuiting it in your pocket with coins (a bit daft but someone might do it).

      You have to turn your phone off to swap battery.

      When your phone gets stolen the thief can take the phone offline before you get change to deactivate it or trace its location.

      1. foo_bar_baz
        WTF?

        Re: Replaceable batteries

        "The disadvantages of a removable battery:

        [...]

        You have to turn your phone off to swap battery."

        Whereas for a non-removable battery you don't?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no way

    Too big, too heavy, too expensive, too plain boring. And seriously? Google expect YOU to pay THEM $700 for a device that allows them to harvest your most personal data and sell it to advertisers? No thanks......

    1. Richard 81

      Re: no way

      YEAH! Why would you, when you can spend even more money buying a phone that'll just leak your selfies all over the internet?

  11. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Trollface

    Because someone had to say it...

    Can I wipe it and put Windows Phone on it?

    Sorry. Couldn't resist.

    1. M Gale

      Re: Because someone had to say it...

      I'm sure you could if Microsoft would let you. They won't, though.

      Sorry, couldn't resist.

  12. AceRimmer

    Does it b(l)end?

    Well?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I really wanted a Nexus 6 right up to the point where I saw the price, £549 for the 64GB version! I instead decided to risk it and go for a OnePlus One and I have admit I'm seriously impressed. Similar spec for almost half the price and it should have Lollipop soon. I'm tempted to say the days of £500+ phones are numbered.

  14. Unep Eurobats
    Thumb Down

    Not the Nexus 6 you're looking for

    I've been thinking of switching from Apple to Android. I'd have loved an update of the Nexus 5 without a change in form factor. I suppose they've decided there are still sales to be had of the older model to smallpaws like me.

    If I want Lollipop soon I think that's going to be the only option even though the hardware is more than a year old. Otherwise it's stay with the herd and get an iPhone 6 ... iPhone 6 ... mmm shiny...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stealing their design cues from HTC's M8?

  16. Bassey

    I don't understand the thinking

    I thought the point of the Nexus devices was A) to showcase the latest version of Android in vanilla format and B) to do so with good enough hardware and so keep the costs low?

    By switching tack and using the very latest processor, screen tech, GPU etc they have pushed the price up to (as someone above mentions) laptop levels but, even more bizarrely, they are now competing with other Android manufacturers flagship phones.

    Now, this might sound a bit "conspiracy theory" but is this deliberate? We all know that, Apple aside, nobody seems to be making money at the top end any more. Also, there is very little money to be made at the bottom end of the market where the Chinese landfill devices dominate. This leaves the bigger names battling it out in the mid-range - EXACTLY where the Nexus devices have sat. Reviewer after reviewer has said for years now that if you want a mid-range device you can't go wrong with a Nexus.

    So, has Google moved the Nexus into the upper echelons at the request of the bigger manufacturers to clear space for them to fight it out in the middle.

    1. Mark .

      Re: I don't understand the thinking

      Only for the Nexus 4 and 5. I got my Galaxy Nexus because it was a high spec phone; it was also one of the first big-screen (by 2011 standards) phones.

      I think Google's ultimate care is having as many people as possible running Android (preferably with Google services).

      The problem of "competing with other Android manufacturers flagship" surely applied more to the decent spec but low cost Nexus devices? Now you've got people saying that the Nexus no longer has much of a price advantage, so they'll consider a Note 4, S5, etc; or stick with their Nexus 5.

  17. Nya

    Too big

    It sounds nice and shiny, but I want another Nexus the size of the 4. This thing won't fit into any of my pockets! And I ain't going around with a man bag just to house some porky phone. All I really need on my old Nexus 4 is a bigger battery, a clearer screen in bright light, better camera, USB OTG, and a SD card slot...oh and make it waterproof.

    But nope, fantasy time over, no one makes what I want to buy! And those the get close end up filling it with bloatware and never update it. Grrr phones are a pain in the behind! What happened to Moto's idea of a modular build what you want phone! *mutter rant*.

  18. Alistair Silver badge
    Coat

    Google just shouldn't have gone there.

    I mean, at least SOMEONE at google has likely read PKD. And I for one would have skipped the 6 out of pure respect.

    Kudo's to those that *have* read it.

  19. PaulR79

    Replaceable batteries for all!

    Genuinely curious to know. How many people actually replace the battery or carry a spare? By the time the unremovable battery starts to suffer I would hazard a guess that most people will be replacing it. If you really need extra juice while you're out and about then you can get plenty of battery bars. It isn't ideal but when I can get one that gives me 2 full charges of a 3000mAh battery and is the size of an bulky (2000 era) Nokia I'll opt for the latter.

    Removable storage is a personal preference. I don't use enough space to care about it and 16GB is usually enough for me with 32GB phones being a luxury. The biggest disappointment to me here is the price. The Nexus 5 in the UK launched at £299 for the 16GB version but the Nexus 6 32GB version is launching at £499. The vanilla Android and fast updates to new versions is appealing but it isn't worth an extra £200. I feel as if the Nexus 5 was almost perfect but needed at least a 3000mAh battery and a good camera. It's a shame as I really like the look of the Nexus 6 but if I'm going to spend that much on a phone I'd go for the HTC One M8.

    1. M Gale

      Re: Replaceable batteries for all!

      Genuinely curious to know. How many people actually replace the battery or carry a spare?

      My "spare" takes the form of four different external USB packs. However, I've also replaced totally dead batteries that refuse to charge. It's nice to not require a screwdriver, paperclip, guitar plectrum, soldering iron or blood sacrifice to the god of sharp pointy bits in order to do so. That and it's absurdly satisfying to yank a battery out and make off mean fucking off.

      Also nice to be able to make a 16GB device become a 32 or 64GB device without paying the £stupid-per-gigabyte premium. And without buying a whole new device, of course.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Replaceable batteries for all!

      I usually replace the battery after 1 year, and the phone the following year.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disappointing

    So a phone called a Nexus 6 is released and is reviewed on a tech website....and no one ..I mean NO ONE makes a Blade Runner reference?...for shame!...for shame!

    Edit: Ok just noticed ONE under "Launched way too early", is that the best we can do? cmon we are better than this, or are only phone junkies reading this review?

  21. JaitcH
    FAIL

    No SD Card and a fixed battery ...

    is a pass for me.

    You need SD these days to avoid hassles from airport security.

    1. Indolent Wretch

      Re: No SD Card and a fixed battery ...

      explain?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No SD Card and a fixed battery ...

        JaitcH stores his dastardly plans on SD card, then hides it upon his person?

    2. ben kendim

      Re: No SD Card and a fixed battery ...

      Yes! Thank you...

      For weeks I have been trying to pre-order a Nexus 6, since my Galaxy Nexus died mid-October. I would have paid upfront for a pre-order if I could.

      But with Google playing games like 'Come back next Wednesday and we will see if we will want to take your money...' I have had it. I even wrote a program to continuously check availability and last Wednesday the pre-order availability showed up for exactly one minute, around 4:28 pm.

      So by now I am pretty soured off by the Nexus 6, and Google in general. (I had the original Moto Droid before the Galaxy Nexus. I am writing this on one of my two Nexus 7's. We also own an S4 and a Nexus 5.)

      Your comment about the lack of removable battery and micro SD has just sent me over the edge. I will go take a look at iPhone and Windows phones tomorrow. First time for everything, I guess.

      Enough of this abuse from Google marketeers...

      m c ertem

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same here. I want an sd card slot. I also want a replaceable battery for the longevity that brings - I don't want a brick in the future just because the battery refuses to hold a charge anymore.

    My Note 2 is still great, Note 4 is tempting though but not really justifiable... then again, nice things rarely are :)

  23. tiesx150

    another Meh...

    Would have preferred a device half way between the Moto x and the Nexus 6 size-wise with a 1080p screen and a pricepoint half way between too.

    QHD on a 6" screen is just a battery hog, 1080p would have been much more sensible for a Nexus, just my 2c. Will look at it and consider the purchase but most likely will hold off.

    P.S all you phablet haters, take a look at the Z3 compact, bought one for the wife and they really have carved out a nice niche market for 'sensible' sized phones

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $699

    that's as far as I got.

  25. dajames Silver badge

    External battery packs?

    I wonder how well most of the battery-powered external USB charger thingies currently available would actually work with the N6, given its high charge rate which must correspond to a high current draw.

    I have a Sony Experia Z1 Compact, which charges remarkably quickly but at the expense of needing a high-current charger. I plugged it into the USB wall-wart by my bed -- one that came with some older piece of kit (the charger, not the bed) -- and it steadfastly refused to charge at all; 700mA was apparently not enough. Most of the USB chargers I've seen only boast of providing 500mA, or don't provide that information at all.

    Can anyone provide any practical experience of charging a modern fast-charging phone from a USB battery pack?

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: External battery packs?

      It works, but it takes longer to charge.

  26. Bbbbit

    Longevity issues

    Apparently, if you can't get thing to last longer than 4 years it puts your eyes out.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nexus primarily developer phones rather than consumer phones?

    I've always taken Nexuses to be primarily developer testing phones and manufacturer reference designs (in this case Google blessing 6" and 1440p as a supported standard), not consumer quality. Low volume expectations hence high price. If it's a nice phone that's just a bonus.

    Saying that, I'm surprised that the battery's non-removable, it's bulky enough to have a removable, and developer phones are more likely to need proper cold-reboot features.

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