Nexus 6 – Screen
This Nexus phablet’s 6-inch screen – 5.96-inch, to be precise – is stunning. It uses AMOLED technology like the Samsung’s Galaxy phones, as opposed to LCD used on the iPhone 6 Plus.
The resolution matches the Galaxy Note 4 and LG G3 with a retina-popping 2560 x 1440 pixels. That means that it’s sharp – pin-sharp in fact. Text on websites and ebooks looks crisp, and pixel-peepers trying to catch the Nexus 6 out will need a magnifying glass.
Contrast ratios are also magnificent. AMOLED offers some of the deepest blacks – the Nexus 6’s screen tilts its nose in disdain at the LCD-packing Nexus 5 and iPhone 6 Plus when it comes to detail in dark scenes.
Great as the screen size and contrast ratios are, the colours let it down. Like many AMOLED screens the colours are oversaturated. Reds are too warm and greens can look as if they’ve spent a little too much time holidaying in Chernobyl. The Galaxy Note 4 portrays colours more accurately.
Things get better if you switch the Adaptive Display – which automatically changes settings such as saturation on the fly – to Cinema mode. Unfortunately the Nexus 6 doesn’t offer you the option of tweaking indivual settings or even just switching Adaptive Display off.
Whether this is a big turn-off or not depends on your preferences and the phone you’re currently using. You might find the colours too garish if you’re thinking of switching from a high-end LCD phone, but not an issue if you’re on an AMOLED Galaxy S3, S4 or Note 2.
Nexus 6 – Speakers and Sound
We’re a big fan of front-facing speakers at the TrustedReviews offices and the Nexus 6 doesn’t disappoint. The distance between the speakers, thanks to that huge screen, means you get a decent stereo effect and their loudness impresses, too.
It’s not just about having a good set of lungs. The speakers on the Nexus 6 offer solid clarity and warmth with little distortion, even at full volume. The BoomSound audio on the HTC One M8 still has the edge in terms of quality, but the Nexus 6 isn’t far off – it’s much better than the phablet competition.
Related: Best Headphones
Still, if you want to listen to music, it’s well worth using a decent pair of earphones. Check out our best headphones round-up for that.
Voice calls sound clear on both ends, thanks to four noise-cancelling microphones and CrystalTalk software to help conversations sound as clear as a bell.
Nexus 6 – Performance and Features
Nexus phones and tablets have never had microSD slots for expansion, and the Nexus 6 doesn’t buck that trend. Instead you need to pay for your storage up front. The standard version has 32GB built in, but you can also get the Nexus 6 in a 64GB model. Currently the latter version proves elusive.
When it comes to connectivity the Nexus 6 includes dual-band Wi-Fi (including 802.11 ac), 4G, SlimPort-compatible microUSB and Bluetooth 4.1. It also comes with Qi-enabled charging.
Unlike previous Nexus phones the Nexus 6 packs a cutting edge quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor running at a whopping 2.7GHz and supports that with 3GB RAM. That’s the same configuration as the Note 4 – one of the fastest phones of 2014.
The benchmarks results are even faster than its Samsung competitor’s. The Nexus 6 scores a huge 23,735 on 3DMark’s Ice Storm Unlimited and an impressive 3249 on Geekbench 3. That’s 18% and 5% faster respectively when compared to the Galaxy Note 4 and means that the Nexus 6 is a powerhouse. It’s also a fair bit faster than the iPhone 6 Plus in terms of benchmarks.
In day-to-day use it’s snappy. Apps open quickly and there’s no lag between the vanilla Android 5.0 Lollipop homepages.
We experienced aggressive slowdown during some games, though, with GT Racing 2 in particular proving unplayable. This is a game that runs like butter (albeit at a lower resolution) on the iPhone 6 Plus and only occasionally stutters on the Note 4, so we’re not sure if the issue is with the Nexus 6’s hardware or is Android 5.0 related. If the issues do come down to the software then they should be resolved as more app makers optimise their games for the latest version of Android.
How we test phones
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.