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Review: Google Nexus 6

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Nov 12, 2014, 1:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google's latest Nexus handset comes from Motorola and runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. The new operating system shines on Motorola's excellent hardware, which should appeal to more than nerds.

Is It Your Type?

Google's Nexus-branded devices have typically been for a specific set of people: Those who want early access to the latest version of the Android operating system from Google. This year marks a bit of a change. The Nexus 6 is a true flagship and will probably appeal to people beyond the hardcore operating system nerds who usually chase Nexus phones. It is the anti-Nexus Nexus phone. The Nexus 6 is for anyone who likes big phones.


I'm going to come right out and say it: The Nexus 6 is Motorola's best-ever piece of hardware. It's the piece de resistance for a company that helped usher Android into the mainstream. It's also among the last handsets launched by Motorola under Google's ownership. Lenovo owns Motorola now, and I think it is fair to say the Nexus 6 is Motorola's farewell effort as a US-owned company.

The Nexus 6 is a larger version of the Moto X, but with the Droid Turbo's guts. It's a powerful and appealing combination. The N6 has a glass front, aluminum frame around the sides, and polycarbonate on the back. It doesn't have the Moto X's customizable rear panels, but it does have the same shape, contours, and structure. The phone comes in either white or indigo blue. I think both are rather attractive.

The materials are excellent. The glass covering the front is sleek and curves just a bit along the outer edges to help it feel smoother. I like that the phone has a strong, aluminum frame. It's not overly shiny. The back panel feels strong, as well, and all three materials are fit together snugly. The phone feels solid through and through.

Thanks to its 6-inch screen, the N6 is a massive device. It's taller, wider, and thicker than the iPhone 6 Plus, but let me tell you, it fits in your pocket much more comfortably. The N6 may measure 0.4 inches at its thickest point, but the device is tapered aggressively. It's much thinner along the edges than the iPhone 6 Plus, which maintains the same thickness across the entire footprint of the phone. I was much more apt to notice the IPhone 6 Plus in my pocket than the Nexus 6, despite latter's larger size and weight. The N6's shape also makes it more comfortable to hold and use. Well, at least as comfortable as a phone that measures 6.27 inches tall and 3.27 inches wide can be.


When the screen is off, the front face is pitch black. There are no logos, no chrome, nothing but darkness. The slits for the stereo speakers are hardly visible. There are no buttons, as the N6 uses the on-screen controls for manipulating Android. Motorola did the best it could to minimize the bezels around the outer edge and succeeded admirably in that respect. The screen consumes a huge proportion of the front, with minimal framing.

There are only two physical buttons adorning the N6's outer edge. The screen lock button and volume toggle are on the right edge. The buttons each have an excellent profile and solid travel and feedback. I'd rate the buttons as practically perfect. There are no controls along the left edge of the N6, leaving it clean.

You'll find the USB port on the bottom and the stereo headphone jack on the top. There's a tray for the SIM card positioned next to the headphone jack. You'll need a SIM tool or paperclip to eject it. The N6 does not support memory cards, nor does it support swappable batteries. The phone's battery is sealed in tight, which some people dislike.

The Nexus logo is carved deeply into the back cover and embossed with a chrome accent. It will catch the light from time to time. The stylized Motorola "M" logo is there too, nestled in the now-standard circular indentation.

I'm sure some people will say the Nexus 6 is too big, or not premium enough. Surely it isn't for everyone, but I dig it.

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.


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Nov 13, 2014, 12:38 AM

N6 screen sharper then Note 4?

I call B.S. The N6 has 493 ppi and the Note 4 has 518. I'll compare the two in the store when I can
JJinNYC said:
I call B.S. The N6 has 493 ppi and the Note 4 has 518. I'll compare the two in the store when I can

You're kidding right? That is a 5% difference in PPI you're referring to, to make some sort of defi...
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