Motorola Nexus 6 review: Setting the tone

Nexus 6 by Motorola marks a shift in market positioning for Google’s smartphone lineup. Whereas the duo of LG-made devices that precede it cut back on certain features to stay attractively priced, the Nexus 6 is ready to rub shoulders with the best in the Android realm. It is no longer simply an Android reference phone, but a true Google flagship, both on paper and in person.

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Motorola Nexus 6 official images

Motorola Nexus 6 has a special place in the history of Google’s smartphone family. The 6″ phablet development took place during Google’s ownership of Motorola (the storied manufacturer became a Lenovo company several days ago), so it is as pure in philosophy as it is in terms of OS.

Rumors about a Nexus smartphone by Motorola began to circulate as soon as Google finalized its acquisition of the manufacturer back in 2012. It has been over two years since the deal took place, but, we must admit, it looks like the wait for the handset was well worth it. Motorola Nexus 6 is brimming with the best hardware available for Android today, coupled with a brand new Android version that packs a host of new features.

Key features

  • 5.96″ QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) AMOLED display with 493ppi; Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 2.7GHz quad-core Krait 450 CPU; Adreno 420GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset; 3GB of RAM
  • 13MP f/2.0 camera with dual-LED flash; optical image stabilization; HDR+; 4K video capture; 2MP front-facing unit with 1.4 um pixels
  • 3,220mAh battery; bundled Motorola Turbo Charger; Qi wireless charging support
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with material design; brand new ART runtime for improved performance and responsiveness
  • 32/64GB of built-in memory
  • Cat. 6 LTE (300Mbps); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.1; GPS/GLONASS; microUSB
  • Front-facing stereo speakers
  • Splash-resistant curved body with aluminum chassis

Main disadvantages

  • Lack of memory expansion slot
  • Video sound is recorded in mono
  • Battery is not user-replaceable
  • The back cover of the blue version is prone to smudges
  • Some might find the device a tad too thick

Motorola Nexus 6 offers some of the best hardware available for mobile devices at the moment. The combination of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 SoC, 3GB or RAM, and a 6″ QHD display should please even the pickiest Android user, as will the front-facing stereo speakers.

The device’s 13MP camera with optical image stabilization and UHD video capture is a big deal too. It is a welcome sight in an area that has traditionally been overlooked in the Nexus family of devices for a long time.

Android 5.0 Lollipop is undeniably the cherry on top of the hardware cake the device has to offer. The latest OS release, in addition to the brand new material design, packs groundbreaking runtime called ART. The latter makes everything about Android feel smoother and more responsive.

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Nexus 6 live photos

Top-end hardware, a brand new software revision, and flagship-worthy price tag carry heavy expectations. Read on to find out if Nexus 6 meets them. As always, we will kick the review off with unboxing, followed by design and build quality inspection.

Editorial: You may notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn’t include some of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written away from our test labs. Still, we think we’ve captured the essence of the device in the same precise, informative and detailed way that’s become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!

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