Google Nexus 6 review

Google's bigger Nexus compares to Apple's iPhone 6 Plus

Google Nexus 6 review
Moto X's bigger brother

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Nexus 6 pushes my fingertips to the limit with a 5.96" AMOLED display that is as big as it is gorgeous. You won't find a globally-available Android that matches its size.

Sure, it's only an inch bigger than 2013's Nexus 5 and half an inch larger than 2014's biggest iPhone 6 Plus, but its meant for two hands and therefore makes it seem extra large.

Nexus 6 review

Quad HD shows its true colors on a 6-inch phone display

Google fills all of that space with a bright picture and a 1440x2560 resolution, which equates to 493 pixels per inch on the nearly 6-inch screen.

Its quad HD and doubles down on Apple's "full HD" screen, though the LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 have higher pixel densities care of their smaller display sizes. But not by much.

Watching videos on the Nexus 6 made me skip pulling out the Nexus 9 more than once. The phone is just three inches shy of Google's new tablet and has a more video-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio.

This is Google and Motorola's first quad HD smartphone and it's a head-turning sight to see.

Beefier specs

At the heart of the Nexus 6 is a 2.7Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor that has an Adreno 420 GPU. It's a top-of-the-line, though now showing its age, chip for Google's largest Android phone yet.

Backing that up is 3GB of RAM and a reasonable 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. Notice, there's no silly 16GB model to cheapen the value.

Nexus 6 review

It's a top performer on paper. Let's test it out

All of these Nexus 6 specs aren't overkill. It's important for the lightweight, but feature-filled Android Lollipop update that's pre-installed on the phone.

Android does more things than ever in the background: it runs multiple apps, receives notifications that hit the new lockscreen non-stop and makes the instantly accessible Google Now available with one swipe to the left. Voice searches are also on demand whenever I say the "Okay Google" prompt.

13-megapixel camera

Around back, there's a 13-megapixel camera that seems to be on par, on paper at least, with the 13-megapixel Moto X 2014 snapper. It's not, as the Nexus 6's camera has a better Sony IMX214 CMOS sensor with a wider f/2.0 aperture and optical image stabilization.

Nexus 6 review

The camera is 13 megapixels and has a better sensor than the Moto X version

This trumps the Moto X camera specs that comprise of an older sensor and lacked OIS. It's not perfect, but it's far superior to what we got with the 8-megapixel Nexus 5 camera in 2013.

Android 5.0 Lollipop

The LG G3 has beaten the Nexus 6 to the punchy colors with a sooner-than-expected update to Android 5.0 Lollipop, but Google's phablet was still the first with it pre-installed.

First, last, whatever - the "Material Design" theme is far more inviting than what I experienced on the Nexus 5. Flat layers of bright colors bring out the best on this 6-inch display.

Nexus 6 review

Android 5.0 Lollipop brings lockscreen notifications

Android Lollipop is also more functional with lockscreen notifications and a new pulldown quick settings menu. It does go overboard though, adding an unnecessary new Messaging app.

More new features will be arriving any time now, with Android 5.1 set to add support for multiple SIM cards, Device Protection and high definition voice calls.

You can find more of what TechRadar thinks of it in our Android 5.0 Lollipop review.

Qi and Turbo Charging

Google and Motorola spared me the embarrassment of toting around the ugly USB 3.0 Micro-B cable employed by past smartphones, but the pair still allow for a faster charging method.

Nexus 6's secret sauce is that it uses a Turbo Charger, a larger-than-normal plug that juices the phone with six additional hours of battery life in just 15 minutes, and it uses a normal micro USB cable to transfer the juice.

Nexus 6 review

Nexus 6 comes with everything you see here

This is made possible by the same Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0 technology that the Moto X 2nd generation and a handful of other Snapdragon CPU-powered Android phones have.

The difference here is that the Nexus 6 comes with the square-shaped plug, while most other QuickCharge smartphones sell it as an accessory.

Nexus 6 can also be juiced up with the Nexus Wireless Charger or any Qi inductive charger, though the wire-free base station is sold separately in this case. More on how this holds up in the battery life tests page.

Matt Swider