From the instant I picked up the new Google Nexus 6, I could tell that this was not your average mobile device. Big, bold, and direct in purpose, this phone is basically Google kicking in the door and announcing that there’s a new big man on campus. I like it.
Not long after the release of the Nexus 5, people began to speculate about the next Nexus device, if there even was going to be one. Rumors begat leaks, and specs of a mystery device, known as “Shamu” spread far and wide. Reactions were mixed and users weren’t too sure that a monster-sized 6″ phone would work. Well, it does…
Let’s get this out of the way first; this is a big phone. Huge even. But the more I used it, the less aware I became of its size. A few days in, its girth is now the new normal and even the 5″ Nexus 5 now seemed unappealingly small. Granted, I’d be able to hold my own against Wreck-It Ralph in a thumb war so my experience may not be a good indication, but to those with more human-scaled appendages, I suspect that you might find that a 6″ phone isn’t so crazy after all.
The star of the show here is the screen. Motorola (whose logo shares top billing with the ‘Nexus’ banner on the 6’s rear panel) bolted a 5.96″ whopper of a display into a compact chassis (6.27 x 3.27 x 0.40 inches). The AMOLED panel packs a punch, pushing 1440×2560 resolution and is by no means subtle. My previous phone was an LG G3 and the difference was striking. Where the LG’s excellent display was neutral and accurate, the Nexus 6’s display is bright and vibrant. Yes, I can see that the Nexus 6’s colors might be a little saturated, but I don’t care. I’m not doing professional photo retouching so I really couldn’t care less about gamma correction or things of the like. The Nexus 6 pumps out rich colors, bright whites and pitch black darks making it candy for the eyes. Sit in a dark room crank the brightness slider to full and dial up a 1440 resolution video on YouTube and you’ll be hooked.
But there’s a lot more to this phone than meets the eye (contractually obligated, horrible pun). This phone is loaded with other features, subtle and not, that should share equal billing with the stunning display.
I have to say that I am pretty impressed that Motorola managed to pack in front-facing stereo speakers without blowing out the bezels. Doing so gives the Nexus 6 an advantage over phones with bottom or rear facing speakers. They are loud enough and sound full enough that I might actually consider using them to listen to music, something that couldn’t be said for the other phones I’ve owned.
The ergonomics of the Nexus 6 are surprisingly good for a phone this size. The Nexus 6 shares the same layout as the wildly popular Moto line and it feels in hand a lot smaller than you would expect. The power and volume buttons have been graciously moved down, making them much easier to get to. The plastic rear panel is covered with a matte finish that is less slick than the G3 or M8 and I find myself using it one-handed without much difficulty.
Initial build quality is impressive. It feels every bit the flagship and no one should pick this phone up and think “cheap.” It has a solid, sturdy feel, helped along I’m sure by the metal frame. There’s no creaks or wobbles or gaps…. the Nexus 6 feels every bit worth the hefty price tag ($650 for this 32GB version).
Now, not all is perfect. In the limited time I’ve had with the camera, I can tell you that it probably won’t be winning awards. Oh, I’m sure that it will serve me well and stuff my Google Photos full of precious memories and all that, but if picture taking is your most coveted feature, go with something like the LG G3… which is more confident focusing and does a better job in low and mixed lighting situations.
The Nexus 6 was a bit of a departure for Google. The two previous Nexus phones were based off of established phones. The 6, on the other hand, is every bit the top of the line device in both price and performance. It is fast, capable and a joy to use and should serve as a great platform for Google to show off the its latest release of Android v5.0 “Lollipop”. Bigger IS better.
Hope you enjoyed reading my Nexus 6 first impressions, check back later for a more in depth review!