Google Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus: in-depth specs comparison

Introduction


After weeks of teasing and hesitation, Google and Motorola finally unleashed the Nexus 6. The first Nexus phablet is a total race-car of a phone - it's got aggressive looks, gobs of raw power under the hood, and a huge 5.9-inch QHD display. It also runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest version of the world's most popular operating system. All in all, the Nexus 6 is a serious opponent of the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, which is a phablet designed with a similar mentality - to showcase the latest version of iOS 8 - but represents an entirely different philosophy and approach. Obviously, the Nexus 6 is as Google as it can be, while the iPhone 6 is Apple all the way! Let's see how the two compare in terms of design, specs, battery life, and pricing. It will be one of the hottest duels for phablet shoppers this year!

Design

Unapologetically huge!

The Nexus 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have exactly three things in common. They are sixth-generation devices. They are the first Google and Apple phablets. And they are both unapologetically huge. Otherwise, they are as different as they can be, especially in design - the first is a plastic phablet with an astonishing metal frame, and the second is precision-carved from a big ol' aluminium block. And while we're at it, please drop the bend jokes. They were fun for a while, but the iPhone doesn't bend in your jeans unless you do it on purpose. Plain and simple! In addition, the Nexus 6 has its volume and power buttons on the right, with no Home button at all. Meanwhile, the iPhone 6 Plus rocks a power button to the left, volume buttons on the right, and a fingerprint-sensing Home button on the bottom. Both phabs won't let you remove their back panels to swap the battery. Sometimes design has to win over function.


How do the two giants size up against each other? With the presence of a bigger display (5.9-inches vs 5.5 inches) and dual front-facing speakers, it's immediately obvious that the Nexus 6 is larger at 6.27 x 3.27 x 0.40 inches (159.26 x 82.98 x 10.06 mm), and heavier at 6.49 oz (184 g). The iPhone 6 Plus is smaller, but not any more compact at 6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches (158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm), 6.07 oz (172 g). Unless you have hands like big Shaq, both phablets are largely unusable with a single appendage, although Apple's one-handed usage mode alleviates the problem to a degree.

Display

Large screens to keep your eyes wide open.

Although both phones are designed for maximalists, the Nexus 6 has a truly king-sized display. It's a 5.9-inch QHD AMOLED panel whose size, resolution (2560 x 1440) and pixel density (493 ppi) trump the iPhone 6 Plus' LCD screen's 5.5-inch diagonal, 1080p resolution, and 401ppi pixel density. Still, it's one thing to compare displays on paper, and a whole another thing to precisely measure both and see them in live action. So we'll reserve our final judgement for the time when we've had the opportunity to put the Nexus 6 through our display test. But we have to say, our expectations are high!

Interface and functionality

Customization and openness versus conservatism and intuitiveness.

In the fight to claim market share from Apple's iOS 8, Google brought in the absolute latest version of Android in a pure, unmodified form. In version 5.0 Lollipop, Android finally boasts a cohesive, strict design language like that of iOS. It's called Material Design and it's focused on natural movement animations alongside a paper magazine-like design approach. The operating system is focused on customization, multi-platform integration, and whatever you can think about, really. Android does it all! iOS 8 is a sleeker, more conservative and intuitive operating system which makes the best & worst of Apple's "walled garden", white gloves approach to developing it. It's notable for punchy colors, translucency, and the incredible fluidness that only an OS designed for very specific hardware can obtain. However, it's safe to say that at this point, the differences between the two are related to design and customization, with other features being mostly on par. While you're at it, be sure to check out our early comparison of Android Lollipop versus iOS 8 for a comprehensive look at the two dominating mobile operating systems.



Processor and memory

Welcome to the powerhouse!

The Nexus 6 and iPhone 6 Plus benefit from the inclusion of the latest and fastest commercially available technologies. However, Google-Motorola and Apple's approaches are quite different. The former opted for a huge, very high resolution display, stereo speakers, a quad-core Snapdragon 805 32-bit processor clocked at a whopping 2.7GHz, a fast Adreno 420 graphics unit, and 3GB of RAM. Google and Motorola wanted the best to showcase Android 5.0 to its fullest extent. Apple, meanwhile, stuck to its conservative approach of making wonders happen with hardware that's both cutting-edge and abysmal. The iPhone 6 Plus has a dual-core 64-bit processor clocked at 1.4GHz, a pretty powerful PowerVR GX6650 GPU, and an unimpressive 1GB of RAM. Yet, the iPhone 6 Plus is equally capable of running graphics-intensive games and a multitude of apps. In other words, performance is never an issue, until one decides to upgrade to the latest iOS version after two years and the hardware starts to feel long in the tooth.

Storage-wise, the Nexus 6 has up to 64GB of built-in flash memory, and a microSD slot for expansion. The iPhone 6 Plus has up to 128GB of built-in memory with no microSD expansion options.

Camera

Fantastic camera-phablets!

The Nexus 6 sounds like a fantastic camera-phone. It has a 13-megapixel rear autofocus cam with optical image stabilization, dual LED flash, and F2.0 aperture size. It is able to record video at up to 4K (3840x2160) resolution at 30fps, and 1080p video at 60 fps. The front camera is a modest 2MP unit which should provide satisfactory selfies and you will look lively enough in video chats.

Apple's aforementioned conservatism carries over in the iPhone 6 Plus's camera, which is very much the same as last year's. It's an 8MP main camera with dual LED flash, F.2. aperture, and a back-illuminated sensor along with phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilization. It is able to record video at up to 1080p 60 fps. The front camera is a 1.2MP unit which is not exactly impressive, but it does what it has to do.


Battery life

How fast can you charge a battery?

Being a bigger phablet, the Nexus 6 comes with a generous 3220mAh battery. It also feature a very advanced rapid charging technology that is said to charge the battery to a state good for 6 hours of use in just 15 minutes. We'll have to see it with our eyes to believe this! Meanwhile, Apple's iPhone 6 Plus has an adequate 2915mAh battery which lasts for 6 hours in 32 minutes of on-screen usage as measured in our battery test.

Conclusion

The Nexus 6 is a specs enthusiast's dream phone, while the iPhone 6 Plus is for those that want an even bigger iPhone 6.

With hardware considered, let's look at these bad boys' pricing. So far, we've heard that the Nexus 6 will go on sale for $649 unlocked. It will come to the four major US carriers in November, although they haven't disclosed their pricing yet. Pre-orders will begin October 29th, with shipping reportedly scheduled to start on November 12.

As for the iPhone 6 Plus, it is available for $299 (16GB), $399 (32GB), and $499 (128GB) on the four major US carriers, and $749 (16GB), $849 (64GB), and $949 (128GB) unlocked.

Thus, with the Nexus 6, you get unquestionably more bang for your buck. The question is whether you really need it. That's up to you to decide. Both phablets are very compelling and have their own distinct advantages. But they are ultimately designed to satisfy very different customers. The Nexus 6 is a specs enthusiast's dream phone, perhaps to an overkill extent, while the iPhone 6 Plus is for those that want an even bigger iPhone 6. What's for certain is that you won't regret buying any of the two, unless it turns out there's some major unforeseen error with the Nexus 6. So far, Nexus phone have had a pretty solid history, so we doubt that will be the case!

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)
iPhone 6 Plus
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A8, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2915 mAh(24h 3G talk time)

FEATURED VIDEO

49 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Flame war article, this is. Nexus out specs it, both are gorgeous devices, let's keep it respectful.

7. AnTuTu

Posts: 1612; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Nexus beats iPhone 6 and + in every damn department. Way to go Google & Moto :)

10. Busyboy unregistered

The iPhone is superior to the Nexus 6 in every category. Said no one ever

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Phones are inanimate objects, they don't beat each other. As a matter of fact, being inanimate they do nothing without human interaction. Your statement was as stupid as I expect from you. The best phone is the one that suits the needs/wants of it owner the best. By that definition, a flip phone from 03' could be the best phone, if it's owner deems it so. I deem the iPhone 6 plus the best for my needs/wants:)

29. Phonecall01 unregistered

Haha... By saying "beats" is a way to compare specs. You and your literal speech.... Yes a phone can Beat...kill...destroy another...lol

34. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

No it can't, show me one phone that beat another one. Where did they fight? What round did the winner win in? How much was it on pay per view? Please enlighten the Jedii...

42. willard12 unregistered

"I rock my 6 plus, one of the best cams on the mobile market, and the white/silver is one sexy beast." - Darkjedii So, were you rocking it to sleep, in a chair, or using a crib. Beast....it's an inanimate object. How can it be a beast? Enlighten me.

45. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

That was stupid.

47. willard12 unregistered

Good. Then you know just how dumb your comments were.

23. timepilot84

Posts: 113; Member since: Aug 16, 2012

That didn't take long.

8. TBomb

Posts: 1484; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

It'd almost be better to just have a table with the specs in it and maybe a column with a rating. It's the little tidbits to finish the camparing them that get people going. Even if you compliment/diss both, one gets "more" or "better" compliments/"more" or "stronger" disses. But what's a comparison artilcle without the fight?

2. jcdz89

Posts: 78; Member since: Mar 01, 2013

Nexus 6 all the way .. Btw both too big..

3. scarface21173

Posts: 689; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Apple products look and feel class but I just love the android OS

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Nothing wrong with that, go for what you like most. It's your cash bro. Android has some bad ass features, that I wish iOS had, and vice versa. I use both platforms, so I know their pros and cons. Can't go wrong with either OS.

30. Deaconclgi

Posts: 405; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Can't go wrong with Windows Phone either. I use all 3 OSes and know their pros and cons and each is missing something that the other has depending on the needs of the user. That is the beauty of choice. I hope everyone gets the device that desire with the OS that they desire. I am glad that you and your wife were able to get the latest iPhones. Enjoy!

35. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Thanx bro, which 3 do u have on those platforms? Ip6+, and N3 for me.

4. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

My overall impression is that the iPhone 6 Plus is built for the past and the Nexus 6 is built for the future.

6. KonaStang4.6

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

My impression is that the iPhone 6 Plus was made for people who want to enjoy the iOS experience on a larger phone, while the Nexus 6 is geared towards someone who wants all the features that android offers on a really large phone. I didn't read anything that indicated that the iPhone was built for the past....your fanboy is showing.

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Candidate for post of the day.

26. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

iOS is basically stagnant other than copying features from Android. iOS market share shrinks every day. iOS is old and has gotten very buggy. Apple hardware barely evolves. The camera has been 8MP for ages. The screen, while good quality, isn't fully Retina HD (i.e. 2X Retina), so the processor has to rescale the screen. The screen resolution is behind the times. There is only 1GB RAM, so Safari reloads pages like crazy. The audio is mono. One could go and on. It's like the mobile phone version of an old tube amplifier. Apple built a big bendy iPhone for a world that seems to be stuck in time. The iPhone 6 Plus is full of half-broken design decisions and harkens to the heritage of iPhone, the past.

27. bucky

Posts: 3784; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

And yet it absolutely smokes every direct competitor. Maybe it's your vision that is skewed?

33. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I think you are confusing the phone and its owners. The owners smoke. Some pretty good stuff as far as I understand. The phone bends. Even without the smoke.

28. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Now that you said all that, talk about the sales, and customer satisfaction rating.

31. Phonecall01 unregistered

Apple will always do better in sales. More money in marketing for a product that's more user friendly then everything else. App ecosystem... software reliability...accessories and stuff. There's "everything" for the iPhone. But... what 0xFFFF is saying about specs comparisons still hold true. Apple did such a great job years ago in selling the iPhone that whatever they make going forward is sold before it comes out.

36. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

He's just a fanboy. You do know it's all about $$$ with these companies right. We're nameless and faceless to them.

39. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

"You do know it's all about $$$ with these companies right. We're nameless and faceless to them." This is something we can agree on. It is all about the money. Though I would say that customers are not quite nameless and faceless. Rather, customers are like chickens that keep laying golden eggs of data that can be sold for a lot of money. Farmers like keep track of their chickens, especially those who lay golden eggs.

41. blitzkreig

Posts: 103; Member since: Aug 18, 2014

Darkk.. Bro I am not for a minute trying to defend anybody trolling here, but i gotta disagree just a wee bit on the sales part. Firstly i don't for the life of me understand why sales comes into the equation when discussing the merits/demerits of one specific phone/platform versus another. Bang for the buck, timely software updates & resale value should be the only 3 criteria under discussion as only these 3 factors directly affect the average joe who unfortunately constitute over 99% of the smartphone weilding populace. Samsung is the best bcoz it sells the max amount of phones or apple is the best bcoz it generates max preorders are IMHO weak last resort arguments by fanboys. So lets leave the CEOs to worry about sales, shall we? Secondly most people first decide on the platform & then the specific phone before laking the splurge. If said person chooses android for whatever reason, he can literally pick n choose from several brands that offer devices with very similar value. The final decision will boil down to price, size & OEM skin preferences. What I am trying to say is that a Samsung or an LG is not assured of a customer just bcoz soleone decides to go android. Lenovo or Xiaomi or even Sony can easily bag the customer. If i am in the market for a new phone & IOS is my platform for whatever reason, do i have a choice??? How many other OEMs produce compelling phones running IOS?? Zilch!!! Apple is AUTOMATICALLY ASSURED of an iphone sale for every single person who chooses IOS bcoz it has a monopoly over the platform. If i want an IOS phone I HAVE TO GET ONLY THE IPHONE.. So the 10-15-20 million preorders while great, have to be taken with a pinch of salt & seen in the proper perspective. Sorry to capitalize certain phrases bro. Not trying to shout or be rude. Just my 2 cents.. Peace..

46. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I'm merely speaking on how he continues to speak bad about the iphone, but never mentiones anything good.

5. KonaStang4.6

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

I see this as creating some serious iPhone vs Nexus topics. Both phones are cool, I'm kinda jealous and upset that I didn't wait for the Nexus 6 lol

9. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Hardly a thorough comparison when they are testing a Nexus 5 in the video. Since the Nexus 6 will support Ok Google in standby and it will fire up the display (all black with white text) when there is a notification. That is why they went with the more expensive amoled display. It will miss a notification led though (sadly enough, I kinda liked it)

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