On Wednesday, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) officially announced its latest phablet-sized device, the Google Nexus 6. This high-end smartphone is part of a widespread evolution of its Nexus range, with Google announcing two companionate devices simultaneously. The Nexus 9 phablet and the Nexus Player set-top box were also unveiled by Google, but it was the smartphone-cum-phablet the Nexus 6 which received the majority of attention.
It is clear from Google’s launch event, and the specs and size of the device, that Google is gunning directly for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) with this handset. And it is also evident that the Nexus 6 will compete directly with Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. Indeed, the Nexus 6 is slightly larger than the iPhone 6 Plus, and consequently will be seen as very much part of the phablet niche.
So how will this hotly anticipated mobile release compare with the self-styled market leader? Here is a comparison of everything we know about the Nexus 6 against the already released iPhone 6 Plus.
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Google Nexus 6 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus: Comparison
Google is certainly pulling out all the stops in this department. The iPhone 6 Plus has a very decent screen, offering a full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution display. However, the Nexus 6 screen is 0.4 inches larger than Apple’s device, and also boasts a better resolution. The Nexus 6 has a UHD resolution, capable of displaying 2,560 x 1,440 pixels.
The raw stats here would also seem to favour Google, given that the Nexus 6 will have a 13-megapixel primary camera, as opposed to the eight-megapixel snapper in the iPhone 6 Plus. However, the megapixel rating of the camera is merely one indicator of its actual quality, and the iPhone 6 camera has outperformed the Samsung Galaxy range in testing. Furthermore, the iPhone 6 has an exceptional optical image stabilization system, and is also an outstanding video camera. The Nexus 6 has strong specs, put the proof will be in the pudding in terms of actual performance.
Size and weight
The Nexus 6 is a pretty large phablet, and naturally necessitates sizeable dimensions. This can be a divisive issue, as some people believe that phablets are too large to begin with, so one of the largest mass-market phablets yet to be produced will not find favor with everyone. The iPhone 6 Plus is slimmer and lighter, and will certainly suit people with smaller hands better, not to mention those who simply want a more mobile device.
At present, Apple is untouchable in this department. The exceptional design of the iPhone has been one of the most important factors in its success, and though the Nexus 6 is a respectable looking device, it is highly unlikely to achieve the street credibility of the iPhone series. At least not yet.
The Google Nexus 6 device certainly looks impressive in terms of its processor and chipset. The Nexus 6 processor has been clocked at 2.7GHz, which is nearly double the speed of the iPhone 6 Plus. Additionally, this is a quad-core device whereas Apple’s handset is merely dual-core. However, the unique Apple A8 processor has been extremely well reviewed, and is recognised as being a supremely powerful and flexible part of the iPhone 6 system, while Google has picked a fairly generic Snapdragon 805.
Again, the raw stats clearly favor Google, but such figures can sometimes be misleading. For example, the Xbox One video games console has a faster processor than its PlayStation 4 competitor, but other factors ensure that the latter is actually the more powerful machine. The Nexus 6 will clearly be a very powerful phablet, but the iPhone 6 has always held its own in performance terms against any competitor.
It is impossible to make a comparison here, as Google has neglected to inform us of the battery size of the Nexus 6. We do know that Apple intended to improve the performance of the iPhone 6 Plus significantly, and consequently fitted it with a 2,915mAh battery. However, the battery life in the iPhone range is generally pretty poor, and despite some effort from Apple, this generation is not a huge improvement on that general impression. There is a lot of spec in the Nexus 6 which will require a decent battery, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if it ended up significantly outperforming the iPhone 6 Plus in this department.
Storage and memory
As is usually the case, Apple is dwarfed in this department, with the iPhone 6 Plus fitted with merely 1 GB of internal memory, as opposed to 3 GB for the Nexus 6. Apple is evidently confident that its device is slick and low-maintenance enough to perform well without high quantities of internal memory, but Google obviously has an advantage here. However, there is no 128 GB storage version of the Nexus 6.
The Google Nexus 6 has been designed to run with Android Lollipop, and given that Google is the software developer for this operating system, one would be hopeful that the hardware will run the software more efficiently than other Android-based smartphones. Nonetheless, Apple’s big trump card is always that it designs both software and hardware in the iPhone range, and this has enabled them to produce device which outperform their specifications. iOS eight has been very well received both commercially and critically, and there is no doubt that Google will have to produce something outstanding with the Nexus 6 to exceed it.
Google has clearly put a huge amount of effort into ensuring that the spec list of the Nexus 6 is extremely impressive. It certainly exceeds the iPhone in most departments, and even though when the phablet was unveiled the company espoused the virtues of Apple, it seems quite clear that the Nexus 6 is intended to compete directly with the iPhone 6 plus. Relying on spec to do this is one thing, but Apple has always delivered a devastating package of beautiful design, simplicity of use, and the combination of hardware and software manufacturing in perfect synergy. For Google to top this with the Nexus 6 maybe too ambitious a target, but it specifications indicate that it will certainly find many admirers and defenders.