Google Nexus 6 Long-Term Re-Review (2015): A full twelve months after the Nexus 6 launched, we take a look back at this massive Google-Motorola collaboration to see how it stands up to rivals like the Nexus 6P.
After the fantastic Nexus 5 (produced in partnership with LG), which offered premium smartphone specs from just £299, hopes were high for Google’s follow-up phone, the Nexus 6. Sadly it was a difficult start, with pre-order and stock issues clouding the grand launch – and we couldn’t help but feel a little let down when we finally got a play, especially given the inflated price.
One year on, you can bag the Nexus 6 for roughly half the original asking price (from £249) here in the UK. So does this cheaper price point make for a more desirable purchase, and how does the Nexus 6 stand up to rivals like the Moto X Style, Sony Xperia Z5 Premium and 2015’s Nexus 6P?
At 6-inches, the Google Nexus 6 is still unjustifiably enormous, even considering the slew of phablets in recent time. The Xperia Z5 Premium (5.5-inches), Nexus 6P (5.7) and Moto X Style (also 5.7) are all smaller than it, with significantly reduced dimensions. And while the Nexus 6 is reasonably comfortable to wield, it’s also a nightmare to use one-handed and quite hefty at 184g.
Read next: Nexus 6 vs Galaxy Note
The Nexus 6’s looks, which weren’t that great to start with, definitely haven’t improved with age either. We prefer the unique stylings and metallic finish of the Nexus 6P, while Motorola’s latest phones such as the Moto X Style can be customised with custom looks and finishes. Other little issues, such as the lack of a notifications light and the tiny scrunched-up power and volume buttons, still annoy us too.
That said, the Nexus 6 is definitely hardy. Our sample has survived plenty of rough handling, including a fair few bumps and lots of water exposure.
Screen and media
The Nexus 6 was one of the first Quad HD phones after the LG G3, so it’s clear what that 6-inch screen was made for. The dense 2560×1440 resolution makes for supremely sharp video playback, although it’s just as good for gaming, web browsing and everything else.
But it’s not just sharp visuals that the Nexus 6 has going for it. On top brightness the panel is easy to view, even if you’re stuck in the sun – unlikely here in Blighty for quite some time. Viewing angles are strong and colour reproduction edges towards realistic hues, which many might prefer to the vibrant pop-out colours of AMOLED panels on recent Androids. A year on, the Nexus 6’s screen definitely stands up well – and the built-in speaker is decent too, pumping out a surprising amount of power.
Of course, there’s little to no reason for the screen’s immense scale, beyond movie marathons on the move. So if you’re not going to be binge-watching YouTube or gaming non-stop on your new phone, we’d recommend looking elsewhere.
Annoyingly there’s no microSD memory card slot for expanding the 32 or 64GB of storage, however, just like the new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P phones. That’s no problem if you plan on streaming your media, but offline users will prefer an expandable handset.
OS and features
The Nexus 6 was the first phone to officially rock Android Lollipop, and Marshmallow has already started rolling out to Nexus 6 handsets so you can enjoy the benefits of improved efficiency and privacy control.
Besides that, there are basically no bonus features worth mentioning on the Nexus 6; it’s a seriously streamlined device, one of the reasons that it struggled against the competition and failed to justify its high asking price.
Performance and battery life
Even a year on, the Nexus 6 is a nimble performer thanks to the Snapdragon 805 processor (backed by 3GB of RAM). It’s been surpassed in benchmark tests by the latest Android phones rocking Snapdragon 808 and 810 chipsets, but you won’t notice much difference in performance right now (although the Nexus 6 will likely show signs of ageing before similarly priced rivals like the Moto X Play).
The Nexus 6 still boasts excellent battery life too, giving a full day and a half of everyday use between charges. For the record, that matches the best blowers of 2015 such as the Xperia Z5 and LG G4. And if you punish the Nexus 6 with non-stop video streaming, you’ll still get over seven hours of video streaming before the battery dies – a decent result for a phone with such a big panel. There’s also support for Qi wireless charging.
We still rate the Nexus 6’s 13-megapixel camera, which takes sharp, attractive photos in a variety of conditions. In fact, it’s the same snapper that Motorola used for this year’s Moto G, one of the main reasons we loved that £150 handset. Low-light shots in particularly come out well with very little grain, beaten only by the likes of the LG G4, while you can shoot up to 4K resolution video.
If you’re tempted by the Nexus 6 solely because of the camera’s reputation, go for the Moto G instead. Not only is it a hundred quid cheaper, it’s also much easier to operate with one hand and just as strong in almost every area.
The Nexus 6’s asking price may be a lot more reasonable these days, but we still struggle to rate it compared with rivals such as the Moto X Play and Moto X Style, or the new Nexus phones. Media fans will enjoy the spacious Quad HD display but there are other big-screen Androids out there for the same price that offer a better all-round user experience.