The Nexus 9 stacks up well against Apple’s new selection of iPads, but can the same be said for Google’s latest smartphone? The Nexus 6 comes with a heftier price tag than many were expecting, so let’s see how it compares with the most expensive smartphone on the shelves – Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus.
|Nexus 6||iPhone 6 Plus|
|Price||$649||$749 - $949|
|Display||5.96" AMOLED||5.5" IPS LCD|
|Resolution||1440 x 2560 (493 ppi)||1080 x 1920 (401 ppi)|
|SoC||Snapdragon 805||Apple A8|
|CPU||4x 2.7GHz Krait 450||2x 1.4GHz (ARMv8 based)|
|GPU||Adreno 420||PowerVR GX6450|
|Memory||32GB / 64 GB||16/64/128 GB|
Starting with the most noticeable feature of these giant handsets, the display, we find that the Nexus 6 has a strong head start. The iPhone 6’s Full HD 1080p display catches up with last year’s Android devices, but the Nexus 6’s 1440p display provides a little extra clarity at this extra-large handset size. The visual threshold for pixels at 10 inches from your eyes is around 430 PPI, which the Nexus 6 easily exceeds. The iPhone 6 Plus falls slightly short, but the visual difference won’t be massive and diminishes if you hold your phone a little further away.
Related: Best Nexus 6 cases
The other half of the display battle comes down to the classic AMOLED vs LCD arguments. Here we should expect the Nexus 6’s AMOLED display to feature better black reproduction and a slightly wider colour gamut. We’ve found that AMOLED displays offer a little more pop to colours than most LCD displays.
Moving on to the hardware powering each device, there’s a bit of a power discrepancy at first glance. However, comparing a quad-core Snapdragon 805 to Apple’s dual-core ARMv8 based A8 isn’t so easy. Apple processors tend to bunch above their weight and the Snapdragon is a proven high-performer. Most importantly though, you shouldn’t notice a performance slowdown with either handset.
RAM might play a bigger part in multi-tasking performance. The Nexus 6 features 3GB, plenty for all situations even given Android’s tendency to use more memory than iOS. Apple seems to do a lot with limited resources, but I can’t help but feel that 1GB of RAM could become an issue for the more intense multi-taskers.
GPU power is easier to compare and is where you might see slowdowns during gaming. Both handsets have bumped up their resolution this time around and have gone in search of more GPU power as a result. The Nexus 6’s Adreno 420 GPU outpaces the iPhone 6 Plus’ GX6450 in most benchmarks. However, the 1440p display is going to place additional strain on the Adreno chip and performance will likely be a tad lower than Apple’s handset in the real world.
Overall, performance will be great on both handsets. Let’s turn our attention to unique features.
|Nexus 6||iPhone 6 Plus|
|Rear Camera||13MP, OIS, f/2.0||8MP, OIS, f/2.2|
|Size (mm)||159.3 x 83 x 10.1||158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1|
|Weight||184 g||172 g|
We don’t have our hands on any direct camera quality comparisons, so I won’t give a definitive answer here. The Nexus 6 will offer up higher resolution pictures on both its front and rear cameras, and should have decent low light performance thanks to its f/2.0 aperture. Apple’s cameras always perform very well, but a bigger jump from the last generation would have been better.
Optical image stabilization makes its way to both phones, as does an HDR mode. In terms of video features, the Nexus 6’s rear camera can record 4K video at 30fps, while the iPhone 6 is limited to 1080p. It can however manage 240fps slow-motion capture at 720p.
Unique features in favor of the Nexus 6 include dual-front facing speakers for superior audio quality, built-in wireless charging, and water resistance, although no IP rating has been given. The iPhone 6 Plus comes with a fingerprint scanner and TouchID integration, which might appeal to the security conscious.
Bulk and weight is a particular concern when it comes to larger handsets. We have already seen that the Nexus 6 is larger than most Android phones, and it is also slightly bigger than Apple’s gargantuan handset in both the width and depth dimensions. The Nexus 6 is also a little heavier, which could be off-putting for some.
Turning to the prices of the two handsets, the Nexus 6 looks like a bargain. When it comes to storage options, 16GB isn’t really enough for anyone with a half-decent media collection. Without microSD card support, most consumers are probably going to want 32GB, at least, pushing the iPhone 6 Plus up to the 64GB option at a cost of $849.
While processing hardware is comparable, the Nexus 6 also come with a range of extra features that customers are likely to find a use for. We haven’t mentioned software here as the final build for Android Lollipop isn’t quite ready, but early impressions suggest that multitaskers are going to find Android the better choice.
The Nexus 6 is a cutting-edge smartphone. While its price tag is higher than many Android smartphones and considerably higher than the Nexus 5, it still offers better value for money than the iPhone 6 Plus.