Did you hear? There's a new Nexus phone in town, and it is the biggest Nexus phone to date. We mean that literally – for one reason or another, Google has chosen to go with a massive, 5.9-inch display for its
handset. This puts the device right into phablet category, where it will run against the
, and other smartphones of extra-large size. Does it stand a chance? You betcha! Inside the Google Nexus 6 you'll find nothing but cutting-edge hardware, while on the software side of things, Android 5.0 is running the parade. Still, it is our duty to compare Google's latest handset against its rivals and give you our expectations of the outcome. Here's how the Nexus 6 stacks up against the LG G3.
If big phones are not your cup of tea, you might want to look away now as the Google Nexus 6 is quite the monolith. With its width of 3.27 inches (8.3 cm) and height of 6.27 inches (15.9 cm), it overshadows even the LG G3 by a considerable margin. The latter is 2.94 inches wide and 5.76 inches tall (7.5 by 14.6 cm) – while smaller than the Nexus 6, it is still a pretty large-sized phone. Unsurprisingly, Google's phone is the heavier among the two, tipping the scales at 6.49 oz (184 g), while the G3 has a relatively bearable weight of 5.26 oz (149 g). So yeah, there's just no other way around it, folks – if you want a giant screen, you'll have to live with a giant phone.
In terms of looks, the Google Nexus 6 draws inspiration from this year's Motorola Moto X smartphone. It has an identical speaker design, he same button and port layout, even the metallic trim around the sides has been borrowed, giving the phone a more sophisticated look. The LG G3 steps things up a notch with a broader spectrum of colors and a great-looking brushed metal finish applied to its otherwise all-plastic housing.
While neither of the two phones is water-tight, the Nexus 6 is durable enough to withstand a few light water splashes without sustaining any damage. Doing the same to the LG G3 might result in irreversible damage. Plus, you get a pair of front-facing speakers with Google's new phone, while the G3 has just one placed on its back. On the other hand, a perk offered by LG's flagship is a built-in infra-red blaster, which is used to control TVs and other electronics remotely.
We must highlight LG's unorthodox button placement – turn it around and you'll find its power and volume keys placed on its back. It is a solution that might not appeal to anyone – sure, it gets the job done, but it takes some getting used to. The Nexus 6 is keeping things simple with its power and volume keys placed on the right side.
If there's one thing that both phones have plenty of, that would be pixels. The screens on the Nexus 6 and LG G3 have a resolution of 1440 by 2560 pixels (the highest on a phone so far) producing pixel
densities of 493 and 538 pixels per inch respectively. Needless to say, your eyes will have a hard time distinguishing individual pixels on either screens. Size-wise, the panel on the Nexus 6 measures 5.9 inches in diagonal, while the G3 sports a 5.5-inch display – both are sufficiently large for playing games and watching movies, but tricky to operate single-handedly.
A key difference between the two phones' displays is that the Google Nexus 6 sports an AMOLED panel, while for the G3, LG sticks to its tradition of using IPS LCD displays. Both technologies have their pros and cons. For example, AMOLEDs are known to be less power hungry, while IPS panels could provide superior viewing angles and color accuracy. Whether that's the case will become known once we get to take a Nexus 6 for a spin.
Another factor setting the Nexus 6 and LG G3 apart is the software running on them. Yes, they're both Android-powered, but on the former, we have Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, while the LG G3 will be stuck on Android 4.4 until an update is pushed out eventually.
What's the big deal with Lollipop, you ask? Well, Android's latest flavor brings an interface redesigned from the ground up in accordance to the Material Design principles. The platform's new look aims to deliver a smooth and intuitive experience across screens of all sizes. Under the hood is the new ART runtime replacing Dalvik, thus improving app performance. And that's just the tip of the sweet iceberg. Android 5.0 brings improved notifications, enhanced multitasking, a built-in Do Not Disturb feature, battery life improvements.
But the LG G3 has a few tricks up its sleeve as well. You see, LG has done its homework and has loaded a feature-rich custom UI on its G3 flagship. It is a mature, well-designed interface with far more goodies than we can go over right now. But if you'd like a few examples, you have the option to customize the entire UI thanks to the built-in support for downloadable themes. Also, you may run certain apps in a window or a couple of apps side by side, whereas stock Android won't let you do any of that. On the other hand, anyone who's into Android's stock, plain look and feel might be put off by the bells and whistles thrown in by the manufacturer.
Processor and memory
When it comes to raw processing power, the Google Nexus 6 has the upper hand. It is powered by the Snapdragon 805 quad-core system-on-chip solution featuring a quad-core Krait 450 CPU setup with a 2.7GHz top clock speed. Graphics are handled by the Krait 420 GPU, which is perfectly capable of pushing the display's millions of pixels, and thanks to its 3GB of RAM, the phone should be experiencing no multitasking issues whatsoever.
Inside the LG G3 we find the slightly weaker Snapdragon 801 chip, with a 2.5GHz quad-core Krait 400-based CPU and an Adreno 330 GPU. If it wasn't for the screen's high resolution, this hardware combination would have been sufficient for the G3 to provide a smooth experience, but having 1440 by 2560 pixels to push around takes a toll on the phone's performance. The G3 is a fast phone overall, but slight lags are noticeable from time to time. Still, the 3GB of RAM should suffice for a heavy multitasker's needs.
With a Nexus 6 you get 32 or 64 GB of storage, depending on which model you choose to buy. Storage expansion isn't an option. however, as Nexus phones have long ceased to ship with microSD card slots. The LG G3, in contrast, has one, and you're free to augment its native 32 gigs with up to 128GB extra.
The Nexus 5 was the first Google phone with a camera that we could actually call "good". Now, the Nexus 6 is stepping its game up a notch with more pixels and what appears to be a better flash. On the phone's back resides a 13MP camera with optical image stabilization, F2.0 aperture, dual LED ring flash, and 4K video support. On paper, the camera on the LG G3 comes close to this configuration, offering 13MP of resolution, F2.4 aperture, a dual-tone LED flash, and 4K video support. The sensor size on both phones' cameras is identical – 1/3.06", with 1.12-micron pixels. So from the looks of it, the cameras should be in the same league when it comes to performance, but then again, we have yet to examine photo samples from the Nexus 6.
Every phone of this caliber deserves a large battery, don't you agree? That's what we find behind the Nexus 6's non-removable back plate – a 3220mAh juicer capable of lasting through 24 hours of mixed usage, according to Google. Talk time is quoted as 24 hours. If you spend your time watching video or browsing the internet over LTE, the cell will be drained within 10 hours of usage. As an added bonus, Google has added rapid charging to the handset, although we're not yet sure how long it takes to go from zero to a full tank. Flip the G3's cover open and you'll find its 3000mAh removable battery. It is not small but any means, but compared against the Nexus 6's cell, it is undeniably smaller. Talk time on 3G is listed as 21 hours. A cool thing you can do is to recharge the G3 wirelessly, as long as you have a compatible charging dock.
Without a doubt, the Google Nexus 6 is shaping up as a worthy rival to the LG G3. We wouldn't go as far as calling it a better phone – it is early for statements as bold as this – but we do consider it a potential winner in certain areas, performance being one of them. Given its hardware configuration, the Google Nexus 6 is better prepared for the future and should prove to be the faster phone overall. Of course, the LG G3 is not a phone to be underestimated. It is the more pocket-friendly phone among the two, with a nice-looking design and an ergonomic shape.
There's also the price factor. From the looks of it, the times of dirt-cheap Nexus phone is gone as the sixth iteration will carry a $650 price tag (unlocked, without a contract). The LG G3, on the other hand, can be found for around $500 off contract at various retailers. This will make it more tempting of an offer for folks seeking the most value for their money. Still, upgrading to the best of Android could be well worth the expense, and we're looking forward to learning if that's the case.