Did you know that the Nexus 6 isn't Google's first smartphone to carry a premium price tag?

Did you know that the Nexus 6 isn't Google's first smartphone to carry a premium price tag?
Although some may call it a phablet, the brand new Nexus 6 is, technically, a smartphone. Manufactured by Motorola, this is Google’s sixth-generation Nexus handset, and, at $649 unlocked, it’s the most expensive Google smartphone ever.

The $649 price tag has taken us all by surprise. But that’s not because the Nexus 6 doesn’t offer enough features to justify the price. It’s because we got used to the idea that unlocked Nexus handsets are considerably cheaper than regular flagships. However, we shouldn’t forget that the Nexus 6 is not the first Google smartphone to be sold at a premium price.

Before the LG-made Nexus 5 and Nexus 4 (which were affordable), we had the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus S, and the Nexus One. Manufactured by HTC and released in early 2010, the Nexus One was prices at $529 off-contract. The next two Nexuses (made by Samsung) were also sold for over $500 unlocked. So, while we’d have wished for the Nexus 6 to carry a more attractive price, we should look at things from this perspective: this is a premium device, so a premium price isn’t unjustified. That, however, can't stop us from analyzing who's to blame for the higher-than-expected price of the new Nexus.

Google will start taking pre-orders for the Nexus 6 towards the end of October, and should properly launch the handset in the first half of November. Besides being sold unlocked, the Nexus 6 will also be available via all major US carriers.

Related phones

Nexus 6
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, Quad-core, 2700 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3220 mAh(24h talk time)



1. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

This is a good thing for us Nexus 5 owners; it means that our resale value hasn't taken a huge hit...

5. techspace

Posts: 1037; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

And it's still the latest nexus phone from google(the 6 is a phablet)...that's the reason why they are selling it along with the 6.

14. mafiaprinc3

Posts: 585; Member since: May 07, 2012

oneplus one here i come

2. vincelongman

Posts: 5693; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

$650 is not bad for a 32GB "phablet" 32GB Note 4 is $700 16GB 6+ is $750 We were spoil by the Nexus 4/5 which were said at very minimal profits (or at cost?) Still kind of disappointed its not ~$500, but IMO its still well worth the $650

6. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

Here is where I disagree. Nexus 5: We get latest specs at the time with the only shortfall possibly being battery life. Let's not forget many said the Nexus 5 was the BEST PHONE PERIOD after being reviewed. 1080p, Snap 800, 2300mah, 8mp Camera...These were pretty much flagship specs. Price? $350...well below competition off-contract prices Nexus 6: Are you guys really trying to tell me the QHD, Metal Frame, extra battery, and improved camera account for a $300 jump in price to $650? Let's be straight up, Google saw how well the Nexus 5 did and is demanding more from the Nexus 6. Now if Google made a flagship phone that was actually ABOVE AND BEYOND what is being offered in the market, I could understand the jump. For God sakes, the Nexus 6 isn't even 64-bit (not a huge deal, but something I'd expect from a nexus device at this price point)

9. techspace

Posts: 1037; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

Exactly, even the nexus 5 could have been sold for $600 last year.

17. vincelongman

Posts: 5693; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

The Nexus 5 is a brilliant phone, I have one myself, which is why I'm not getting a new phone this year since none of them seem like enough of an improvement There is even many videos where its faster than the iPhone 6 and other flagships at app opening/multitasking And it will no doubt continue to improve with Android Lollipop The Nexus 5 did basically the best specs available at the time except for camera and battery It could have easily been priced at ~$600 and many people still would have bought (though obviously not as much) Like I said "We were spoil by the Nexus 4/5 which were said at very minimal profits (or at cost?)" Now the Nexus 6 is somewhat overpriced, just like almost all the other smartphones, e.g. Note 4, iPhone 6/6+, M8, S5, Z3, G3, Moto X, Lumia 1520,...

23. pulkit1

Posts: 354; Member since: Jul 03, 2014

Man my thoughts exactly . My ooo is on they way , earlier i was thinking of selling it but now i will keep it .

26. SemperFiV12

Posts: 949; Member since: Nov 09, 2010

Praise. With you 100%.

7. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Maybe now they used higher quality components. Nexus 4 and 5 had some quality issues, especially with durability.

8. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

I've had my Nexus 5 for almost a year now and can honestly say it has been possibly the most durable phone I've ever used. No matter how people try to justify it, I simply can't see the $300 boost in price when they were able to price possibly the best phone at at the time, the Nexus 5, far lower than the competition. The Nexus 5 told us something. These phone manufacturers are significantly pumping the prices for these things. Yes, QHD and other quality components may bump up price a tad, but not by this much.

16. platformwars

Posts: 86; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

Ive had the nexus 4 for over 2 years now.. and I havent had any complaints about the durability or quality.. ive even dropped it a few times and havent broken the screen or taken any serious damage.. The Nexus 4 design was excellent (Glass Back with Crystal Effect). The Nexus 6 is overpriced compared to the last 2 generations of Nexus devices.. but according to other phones available today its at par. But I dont see this selling very well. People would go for a Note 4 for an extra 50 off contract.. or G3 and save some money.. Both are exceptional devices as well.. 805 and 460 GPU wont matter till you're a serious gamer.. which most people are not. I got the G3 last week and was thinking that i made a wrong decision with the Nexus 6 release this close.. today... im a relieved man.. with that price and the size.. I wouldnt have gone for it..

22. tadaa

Posts: 267; Member since: Apr 18, 2013

i have a nexus 4 too and i can attest the build quality is not the best. power button is giving up in less than a year. though its still a beast at two years old.

3. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Nexus line is MADE TO BE GOOD , BUT AFFORDABLE DEVICE. Not highest end device. Made by OEMs that have their own flagship devices that they wanna sell for real money. That's why Nexus will always will have some missing things, and flaws. ON PIRPOSSE. It this case the price looks "high" just because of the big QHD display. And that's the cheapest phone with such gorgeous display. Right, The OEM that makes Nexus 6 don't get profit of the phone(like all other OEMs making Nexus) , but sell the displays. That's the answer

10. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

While I agree that it should be affordable, I've always found the Nexus line pretty damn high end.

24. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

It's amazing how everybody is judging the pricing for the Nexus 6 and going off of the Nexus 4 &5. Like this article said, all other Nexus phones besides those two were not value based. When the Nexus program started, it had two goals. To show what the newest version of Android offered by running on a device optimized for it. And second, to change how we bought devices, by trying to get people to buy without contracts or subsidies. Affordability was not the goal. When the Nexus 4 and 7 came out, they were priced so low that there was little to no profit in them at all. They were meant to get them in as many people's hands as possible, to get people interested. Google basically went without any profits on these devices to try and get their foot in the door of the average smartphone buyer. This isn't an unheard of concept. How many other times have you heard of companies offering something cheap or free for the first 6 months and then going to their regular pricing after that? This is no different. But everyone seems to think that they're now owed a phone at that price or that it's somehow not worth the money because they got a discount on the last two. If they kept going with that model, it wouldn't have been sustainable and they most likely would've shuttered it altogether. Would that be preferable to you? I take my discounts where I get them and am thankful for them. But I also don't expect them either.

4. hurrycanger

Posts: 1761; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

"this is a premium device, so a premium price isn’t unjustified. " Heck yeah! I do feel them people who have been expecting so much in a new budget Nexus though, but $650 is still quite good for such a well built phone (assume it's well built like the Moto X, lol). The Note 4 32gb and the iPhone 6+ 16gb are both $750. The Lumia 1520, a phablet from last year with last year specs is still $584.99 at AT&T. And the Note 3 from last year is $516 at T-mobile. Yeah sure, the Note 3 is a very good deal now (I love that new price, seriously, it's awesome to me), but then again, the Nexus 6 offers greater specs, also very nice design, probably better speakers, higher screen resolution, blah blah blah. And it doesn't seem like a niche device like the previous two Nexus phones to me. The Nexus 5 cut corners from the $500-$600 LG G2 to become cheap. This Nexus 6 has nothing cut back from the Moto X (correct me if I'm wrong). It even has stereo speakers which the Moto X doesn't. I may not be right about all this because the device is not even out, but so far that's what I see from this Nexus 6. Anyway, you can get a Note 3 if you want a great phablet that is cheaper, and get the Moto X 2014 if you want a smaller and cheaper Nexus 6. Just suggesting.

11. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

It seems that maybe it is good to take a step back and ask what is the purpose of the Nexus line? My belief was that it was primarily for developers, so they would have hardware for the latest versions of Android, i.e. not be forced to wait for months or years while OEMs sat on their hands updating their phones. Now in the Nexus 6, we have some massive overkill device, the last hurrah of 32-bit Qualcomm. This is not Shamu, but the whale from Moby Dick. There is nothing here for developers other than QHD. And that has been available to developers for a long time via the LG G3. Now there is isn't QHD + Android L, so maybe there is some reason to push a QHD Nexus out to market. But a GPE version of the G3 would have been simpler and cheaper. Personally, I think 64-bit is the most important thing to supply developer hardware for. The Nexus 9 does this and gets Nvidia's new 64-bit "Denver" processor out to market. IMO, on the phone/phablet side of things, A Nexus 6 later this year or early in 2015 with the Qualcomm 810 would have delivered a lot more value to many than the bloated and costly Nexus 6 does today.

18. Odiin

Posts: 373; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

+1, very well said; 0xFFFF.

12. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Android is king of smartphone market share. There no longer a viable reason to subsidies their Nexus handsets. Google may fund their Android One project for developing countries. Make business sense to me.

13. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I remember spending $300 on contract for the Galaxy Nexus... Of course there were other Nexus devices with premium prices.

15. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Agreed but this is still expensive. I will keep an eye out on others.

19. djripster

Posts: 141; Member since: Dec 10, 2011

I keep seeing references to the Nexus 6 being a premium device as a justification for its high price... Weren't the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 also premium devices when they were launched ? This just looks like Google undervaluing LG built products

25. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

That justification is coming from the tech blogs and media outlets, not from Google itself. They aren't undervaluing the lower priced Nexus devices. When the Nexus 4 & 7 launched, Google was making almost little to no profit on the devices. They opted to do so to get then into as many hands as possible, just like how companies will offer their products or services at a steep discount for a limited time. But no company is going to offer products with that low a profit margin for long, it's not a sustainable model. They still have to pay for R&D and operating costs.

20. roozbeh101

Posts: 99; Member since: Mar 31, 2012

I am confused! i have a nexus 7 2013 should I upgrade to nexus 9? and I wanted to buy the note 4 but here comes nexus 6 !

21. Lmao2013

Posts: 44; Member since: Dec 05, 2013

I think the reason why the nexus 6 is so expensive unlock is because Google want us to go to the carrier which from what I'm seeing is going to be a muvh cheaper alternative. I saw somewhere tht said T-Mobile would offer for 0 down with a $27 installment for 24 months, and there was a leak from at&t to offer it for $49 with a 2 year contact

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.