We compare the mighty six-inch Nexus 6 with two behemoth Galaxy Note smartphones from the original phablet inventor, Samsung, to see which pocket filler is the best phone for you…
Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Edge: At a glance
If you’re after a premium phablet with a gorgeous screen for enjoying your movies as well as browsing the web and playing with apps and games, these devices are a great place to start.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 is a sequel to the very first ‘phablet’ which kicked off the craze, boasting the very latest specs and some neat creative features to make the most of that enormous screen. The Note Edge has more or less the same specs as the Note 4, but also offers the innovative and eyebrow-raising curved-edge screen. And then there’s Google’s Nexus 6, its biggest branded handset to date which is here to steal Samsung’s thunder.
All three phablets are premium handsets, packing some seriously good specs. Here’s those specs compared in handy table form:
|Phone||Google Nexus 6||Samsung Galaxy Note 4||Samsung Galaxy Note Edge|
|Screen resolution||1440×2560 (490ppi)||1440×2560 (515ppi)||1600×2560 (524ppi)|
|Storage||16/32GB||32GB + microSD||32/64GB + microSD|
|Processor||Snapdragon 805||Snapdragon 805||Snapdragon 805|
Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Edge: Design, look and feel
All three phablets here are obviously big enough to choke most land-based mammals, and should be handled with two mitts to prevent awkward fumbling and inevitable pavement drops. So, if you want something to slip in your tiny handbag or trousers, chances are you’re barking up the wrong tree.
Personally, we prefer the look and feel of the Note 4. It’s not quite as wide as the Nexus 6 so it sits a little more snugly in the palm and it looks nicer than the Nexus, with its faux leather rear that doesn’t pick up smudges.
The Note Edge is similarly comfortable to hold, although you need to clutch it in your left hand to avoid obscuring the curved edge, which is a little bit annoying.
None of these phones are officially water resistant, although we did find that the Nexus 6 happily shrugged off a soaking in rainstorms and the like. We didn’t dare get the Notes too wet as Galaxys tend not to react too well to excessive moisture.
Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Edge: Media
The Nexus 6 has the most spacious screen here at 6-inches, although the Note 4 and Note Edge aren’t far behind at 5.7 and 5.6-inches respectively. All three displays are bright, with wide viewing angles if you want to watch a movie with mates. However, the Note phones boast sharper visuals, packing over 500 pixels-per-inch, while the Nexus 6 makes do with just under.
In reality, there’s not much difference when it comes to sharpness. You’ll get full enjoyment from your HD movies (or even 4k if high-def isn’t crisp enough for your eyeballs these days), with nary an ugly pixel in sight.
The only real difference when it comes to visuals is colour vibrancy, with the Galaxy Notes really emphasising colours and the Nexus opting for more natural tones. Which you’ll prefer is down to a personal choice, but rest assured, all three phones are great portable devices for watching movies.
However, while the Notes offer storage expansion via the memory card slot, the Nexus 6 has no support for microSD cards. That means you’re stuck with the 32 or 64GB of built-in storage, bad news if you want to carry around a sizeable collection.
Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Edge: Creative and big-screen features
Of course, it’s all very well having an enormous screen, but a phone needs to justify its existence considering the negative impact on usability and portability.
Both Galaxy Note phones manage that effortlessly. The bundled S Pen stylus is a great little tool for creative types, allowing you to doodle on almost everything, even the phone’s desktops. It’s also handy for businessy applications, including interacting with documents and taking notes.
The Note 4 and Note Edge also allow simple multi-tasking, so you can run apps side-by-side – an obvious use of that large screen and really handy if you’re bashing out an email while referring to your notes or something online, for instance. Unfortunately the Nexus 6 doesn’t do this yet, another wasted opportunity.
The Edge also has a few special bonus features to make the most of that curved screen, including scrolling news feeds, app shortcuts and even random games. They’re a mixed bag, with some genuinely useful features to be found, although none of them are essential compared to the Note 4’s base tools.
Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Edge: Cameras
All three phones here pack capable cameras with optical image stabilisation, but the Note 4 and Note Edge boast the best optics here (and indeed some of the best camera tech of 2014). We found our shots using the 16-megapixel snappers were bright and crisp in almost any conditions going, with a flash to help out with low-light shots.
The Nexus 6 isn’t far behind, with a 13-megapixel camera that’s dependable in daylight and only starts to struggle when you get up-close with your subject. The powerful dual-LED flash is impressive however, lighting up even a pitch black room.
Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Edge: Verdict
If you want a phablet to enjoy movies, apps and games on a spacious display, any of these phones will do the job nicely. However, the Note 4 and Note Edge boast the nicer design and also make the most of their massive screens, with creative and multi-tasking features that are sadly absent on the Nexus 7.