Nexus 6 vs. Nexus 5 – What Has Google Upgraded?

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With the release of the Nexus 6, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) is gunning for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and particularly its recent iPhone 6 Plus phablet release. But if Google is to make serious inroads into Apple’s market dominance, then it will be necessary for the corporation to convince existing Nexus 5 consumers to upgrade to the new handset. Whether the Nexus 6 represents a significant enough improvement over the previous device to entice consumers will be a serious factor in its success or otherwise.

There is no doubt that the Nexus 6 is a bigger, more powerful and more expensive device than the Nexus 5, but is it better? Here is an assessment of where Nexus 6 builds and improves upon its predecessor, and the general strengths and weaknesses of this forthcoming phablet.

Google Nexus 6 Versus Nexus 5


Google has attempted to create a more stylish version of the Nexus tablet with the Nexus 6 by including a metal frame within the design of the device. This somewhat makes the phablet resemble a Moto X, witch is perhaps logical given that Motorola is the manufacturer. The fact that the Nexus 6 is bigger, bulkier, thicker and heavier than the previous device will not find favour with all users, but it does have a more stylish visage. For the record, the dimensions of the Nexus 6 are 59.3 x 83 x 10.1mm, while its weight is 184g.

It must be said that consumers with smaller hands are particularly likely to find the Nexus 6 difficult to hold, so perhaps good advice would be to try the device before purchasing it.


The Nexus 6 features a particularly impressive display which is significantly larger than the Nexus 5. Whether or not the extra inch of screen size is considered beneficial will be very much a case of personal preference, however what can be said is that the Nexus 6 screen display is technically superior to its predecessor. Not only is it larger, but the resolution has also been bumped up by Google, with the Nexus 6 featuring a 1,440 x 2,560 display with a pixel density of 493 pixels per inch. This means that imagery is more detailed than with the full HD display included in the Nexus 5.

Google has also switched to AMOLED Technology with the Nexus 6, in line with the Samsung Galaxy range, and this is of further benefit to its screen quality.

Processor and CPU

With a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 330 GPU the Nexus 5 is a nifty device. But the Nexus 6 upgrades this processing power significantly with a 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 420 GPU. On this basis, it seems inevitable that the Nexus 6 will significantly outperform its predecessor.

Memory and Storage

Unlike the iPhone 6, Google has chosen not to include a micro-SD option with the Nexus 6, but storage is improved over the Nexus 5, with this latest phablet retailing in 32 and 64 GB models.


Based on megapixel rating alone, the Nexus 6 should have a superior camera to its predecessor. The Nexus 6 features a 13-megapixel camera, while its earlier cousin was limited to an 8-megapixel device. However, this is only one indication of picture taking quality, and it is also worth noting that the photographic capabilities of the Nexus 5 are not particularly critically acclaimed.

Another improvement over the Nexus 5 is that Google has chosen to fit a dual-LED flash in its successor. This is a step forward over the single LED functionality of the Nexus 5. Additionally, one particularly attractive feature of the Nexus 6 given the penchant for Ultra High Definition which is now upon us is the ability of the device to shoot video in 4K. The Nexus 6 retains the optical image stabilization feature of the earlier device as well.


The Nexus 5 was somewhat criticised for having a weak battery life, and it is clear that Google has recognised that this needed upgrading. This was a particular necessity given the fact that the screen size of the Nexus 6 is 20 percent larger than its predecessor. With this in mind, a 3220 mAh battery in the Nexus 6 should provide a good deal more life than the 2300mAh equivalent in the Nexus 5. According to Google, the Nexus 6 is capable of 330 hours of standby time or 24 hours of talk time, which would be more than competitive if it can be achieved in a real world setting.

Audio output

Google has switched the speakers on the Nexus 6 to the front of the device, and this should result in significantly better sound quality.


This is where things could get difficult for the Nexus 6. If the Nexus 5 was seen as an affordable device which still delivered good hardware quality, then Google seems happy to ditch that image with its successor. The Nexus 5 retailed at around $349 in the U.S (£299 / AU$399), but the Nexus 6 Will hit the stores at almost double that price point, retailing at $649 in the United States (£500 / AU$700).


To some degree the Nexus 6 is a gamble, as Google are almost completely rebranding the device as a flagship, high-end handset. There is absolutely no doubt that it has the spec and capabilities to deserve this reputation, and it is a pretty large improvement over the Nexus 5 in almost every department. Whether this will pay off in sales is debatable, though, given the rise in price and Google must also hope that its particularly large size does not dissuade consumers.

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