Nexus 6 release date, news and features
20th Oct 2014 | 11:26
Nexus 6 smartphone specs make it a big Moto X
Nexus 6 release date, OS and design
Google has officially announced the Nexus 6, an enormous smartphone that could easily be mistaken for a tablet that acts as a phone. It's basically a giant Moto X with some nifty new features and beefed-up specs.
As expected, it's running Android 5.0 (aka Android Lollipop) and this thing is huge. With a 5.9-inch display and at 10mm thick, the new Google Nexus 6 is a beast of a smartphone.
Why? First, the large QHD display is going to be great for watching videos, reading and looking at pictures. Second, the larger, slightly thicker phone means bigger 3220mAh battery. Let's dig into this thing, shall we?
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Google's sixth iteration of its Nexus line
- When is it out? Pre-orders start October 23 with it arriving in November
- What will it cost? Starts at $649 unlocked (likely around £500, AU$700)
Nexus 6 release date and price
When is it coming? Soon! You'll be able to pre-order the Nexus 6 from the Google Play Store from October 23 for $649 in the US (that means you're probably looking around £500, AU$700).
Yes, you read that price correctly. Why the sudden jump from what used to be an affordable line of smartphones from Google? Well, premium specs come with premium price tags.
Let's go back two years when the $350 Nexus 4 came as a shock to everyone. How on earth could a phone be so cheap off contract? The Nexus 5 didn't disappoint, either, with a bigger display, better battery and arguably prettier design. Still affordable.
Now we've got this whopping $649 phone, but along with it comes a massive 2560 x 1440 display. The only other phone to boast that resolution is the 5.5-inch LG G3.
Moreover, there's a f/2.0 13MP camera on the back and a 3,220 mAh battery. Couple this with an Adreno 420, 2.7GHz quad-core processor and 3GB RAM in 32GB and 64GB packages and it's easy to see where the Nexus 6 price comes from.
The battery technology also sounds promising. As well as a greater capacity, the Googe Nexus 6 has a quick charge feature that allows you to get about six hours of life on a 15-minute charge.
Android 5.0 Lollipop
The Nexus 6 is one of the first devices to run what's now known as Android Lollipop (formerly Android L).
There are a host of features we're looking forward to digging into when Android 5.0 Lollipop drops, as we've only been able to preview the developer version.
If you're wondering when other manufacturers, like HTC, Samsung and LG, will update their flagship devices with Android 5.0, you can probably start seeing it roll out anywhere between 1-3 months from now.
While the Nexus range of smartphones may generally carry the search giant's name, the reality is Google doesn't actually build the devices. Instead it leaves it to the professionals, with HTC, Samsung and LG all producing Nexus devices in the past.
Motorola has built the Google Nexus 6, and like we said before, it looks like a very large Moto X. If it weren't for the dramatic size, it could easily be confused for a Moto X, except the back of the device has the massive Nexus logo emblazoned on it.
So far, it looks like the Nexus 6 is going to come in black and white, just like the Nexus 5 and Nexus 4 before it.
If you're hoping for the same Motorola customization options as the Moto X, you'll be out of luck as there's no Moto Maker for the Google Nexus 6.
Nexus 6 design
While we appreciated the simplicity and clean design of the Nexus 5, we're happy to see the Nexus 6 step things up with the Moto X-esque (say that out loud) design.
The display is pretty big at 5.9 inches, but the height of the phone is 159.3mm, which is just a touch taller than the 5.5-inch displayed iPhone 6 Plus (158.1mm). It's impressive what you can do without a big honking home button eating up so much phone real estate.
It is wider though, at 82.98mm and we've already mentioned the chunky 10.06mm depth as well - there's no question about it, the Nexus 6 will dominate your palm. At 184g it's also on the heavier side, so you might want to strengthen your wrists before splashing the cash here.
The front is covered in Corning;s Gorilla Glass 3, making this as strong and scratch-resistant as pretty much any other Android device. Don't confuse that with being shatter-proof, however, as resilience to scratching doesn't mean it won't crack.
The back has the same gentle slope of the Moto X (2014) with a plastic, soft-touch finish. You'll find the 13MP camera on the back there with a ring flash just like the Moto X, power button on the right side along with the volume rocker.
Nexus 6 display, power, camera and more
Nexus 6 display
The display is big. At 5.9 inches, we're tempted to call this thing a tablet more than a phone since chances of this thing fitting in your pockets are slim. However, the Google Nexus 6's big display doesn't skimp on resolution.
Its QHD, 2560 x 1440 AMOLED display with a 493ppi pixel density will not disappoint, and you can start watching all your favorite YouTube videos at those higher resolutions for the videos that support it.
The smartphone that launched this QHD madness is the LG G3, of course, and it is beautiful. We'd imagine the Google Nexus 6 looking just as good despite being slightly larger.
Nexus 6 power
Under the hood of the Nexus 6 you'll find Qualcomm's powerful 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 processor and Adreno 420 GPU - the amount of RAM inside the device still remains a mystery, although rumors suggest it's 3GB.
In short, there's plenty of power here to keep Android Lollipop ticking along nicely, and movies and games should look great and run smoothly on the Nexus 6.
Nexus 6 camera
There's a slight concern with the 13MP camera on the Nexus 6 as both the Nexus line and Motorola devices of yesteryear were mostly disappointing when it came to camera performance and image quality.
Although with an inflated price tag, we're expecting better than average. Don't let us down, Motorola!
The Nexus 6's 13MP shooter with an f/2.0 aperture, which means it should do well in low-light situations and it also sports a dual LED ring flash which hugs the camera lens for a cleaner finish on the rear.
It is capable of shooting 4K video and has optical image stabilization, and while this all sounds great we're going to have to wait and see just how well it works out.
Nexus 6 battery
We've already mentioned the battery inside the Nexus 6 on a number of occasions, and at 3220mAh in size it should be capable of seeing out a day on a single charge.
That's the same size as the power pack inside the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which sports a slightly smaller 5.7-inch QHD display, which was able to easily see out a day.
For those of you who are fans of wireless charging there's good news, as the Nexus 6 conforms with Qi wireless charging.
Nexus 6 connectivity
The Google Nexus 6 comes with all the connectivity options you'd expect from a modern day smartphone, including 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC.
As we've mentioned the Nexus 6 comes with either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, but there's no microSD slot - you'll have to take to the cloud if you fancy more space.
Nexus 6: what we want to see
We're going to leave this last section in here because it's fun to look back and see which of our wishes came true, and which ones were denied.
Here's what our friendly neighbourhood search giant could do to get us excited about the Nexus 6.
A bigger battery
Battery life has bossed the chart of complaints in the smartphone market for years now and last year's Nexus was a major offender, with a constantly high amount of power drainage.
Scraping through a day simply isn't good enough. If you're going to pack more and more irresistible features into a device with a gorgeous display, then please give it enough juice to fulfil our obsessive usage.
A better camera
Google made some swift adjustments to roll out an update that fixed up the Nexus 5 camera, but it's still an obvious candidate for improvement. A new version of Android should handle the software side, but the Nexus 6 is going to need to pack some decent hardware.
Nokia is the current gold standard with the 41MP-toting Lumia 1020, but the Android pack is pushing 13MP and upwards now. Of course there's more to a camera than the megapixel count, but there's a lot more than can be done here.
We want great quality shots, but also fast performance to help us capture those precious, spontaneous moments as they happen.
A slightly bigger screen
With some clever engineering and some ruthless bezel slicing we're getting bigger displays without smartphones growing to ridiculous proportions, although phablets are now a thing. Perhaps the 6 will refer to the screen size.
Realistically 6 inches might be pushing things too far, but we could always use more screen real estate.
We'd like to see the Nexus 6 creep up a touch past 5 inches without becoming unwieldy. A slight increase in screen size without additional bulk would hit the spot nicely. An edge-to-edge display has long been a dream for smartphone fans.
A 64-bit processor
Since Apple made the jump to a 64-bit processor in the iPhone 5S it's inevitable that other manufacturers will want to follow suit. It doesn't matter if there isn't much obvious short term advantage.
App developers and manufacturers will be able to realize the potential of this in years to come, but perception is important and that's reason enough for the Nexus 6 to need a 64-bit processor.
The front-facing dual-speaker setup on the HTC One M8 is undeniably nice and the more we consume media on our smartphones the more important it becomes to get decent sound.
The Nexus 5 had one speaker at the bottom and it was less than stellar. It's another obvious target for a spot of improvement on the Nexus 6 and it would be nice if headphones weren't a requirement for enjoying music on your phone.
A new form
The LG G Flex and the Samsung Galaxy Round have begun the transition to flexible displays which will enable new form factors.
A gentle curve is not much to get excited about, and it's still probably too early for the full potential of flexible displays to be realized, but anything that takes smartphones away from the black rectangle convention could be good.
A Nexus 6 with a really interesting design and some software innovation from Google could point the way for the evolution of the smartphone.
At the very least a kind of secondary display portion on the edge for at-a-glance functionality and controls. Maybe even a dual-screen set-up with a low energy secondary display for notifications.
The big USP for the Moto X was the voice recognition, allowing you to issue commands to Google Now without using your hands. The idea of hands-free operation has always been hampered by the need to press something first.
If the Nexus 6 was always listening for its master's voice, we might be tempted to make better use of Google's fortune-telling digital butler.
A feature we wouldn't be surprised to see make its way onto the Nexus 6 is Wi-Fi calling. Apple introduced the feature with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and its unlikely that Google will be far behind.
A spokesperson for T-Mobile seemed to let slip that this feature would be included when talking to 9to5Google - confirming that the network was currently working on it with Google. The process involves using Wi-Fi coverage to boost mobile signal and in the case of T-Mobile is represented by a blue "Talk Bubble" icon.
A 2K display
Full HD with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution is still the standard for top-end Android smartphones, but QHD 2560 x 1440 displays are just around the corner.
It wouldn't be a shock if the Nexus 6 brought us a new level of pixel density. It's probably too soon for 4K displays, but we're heading in that direction, and this would at least give a Nexus the headline grabbing features we love.
Of course, only if it can be done cheaply. We don't want to lose the low prices we've become accustomed to.
Face Unlock was a gimmicky feature that arrived in Android Ice Cream Sandwich. It didn't always work and it was easy to spoof with a photo but finding new ways to effortlessly, but securely, unlock your smartphone is still on the agenda.
Apple's Touch ID uses your fingerprints and there's a digit scanner in the Galaxy S5 too. If this kind of security is set to become a new standard, then the Nexus 6 needs to jump on board.
We've seen Kevlar coating from Motorola and waterproofing from Sony and Samsung, and there's no doubt the Nexus line could stand to toughen up.
You only need to glance at any Nexus 4 or Nexus 5 forum to find tales of woe from hapless owners with shattered screens.
Flexible display technology could put an end to cracked and broken screens. Waterproofing has left the rugged category behind and broken into the mainstream. A Nexus 6 that can survive a dunk and doesn't need a polycarbonate overcoat is surely on the cards.