Interface and functionality

Stock Lollipop runs like a charm on the two Nexus phonesi, but the lack of one-handed mode plagues the huge Nexus 6 phablet.

Both being Nexus devices, the phones sport the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop build with all the flat and minimalistic Material Design it brings, and all the under-the-hood improvements, like a new kernel and native 64-bit support. The interface runs smooth on both handsets, without noticeable lag and hiccups, and moves in a typical fluid stock Android fashion.

And of course, there are all of the cool new features of Lollipop, which, like any successive update, only diversifies and deepens the experience. We’re not going to rehash all of them, but we’ll share a couple that stand out. In particular, we’re ecstatic to see that we’re now given support for multiple users, which isn’t something necessarily new with Android per se, seeing that Android tablets have offered this feature since the release of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. With Android 5.0 Lollipop, however, this is the first time smartphones are being given access to it.


Another new feature that we normally don’t get with other platforms is the ability to “pin” apps with Lollipop. We wouldn’t say it’s something we’d use frequently, but when the occasion arises when it’s needed, there’s no kidding that it proves its usefulness. The premise with pinning is being able to lock the phone to use one specific app, so if you have a friend who is notorious for posting weird status messages on your Facebook as they’re borrowing your phone, they won’t be able to do that because the phone is locked to a certain app – say like the web browser or something.


Considering that we’re dealing with a phablet-like device here with the Nexus 6, it’s missing certain elements that take full advantage of the larger real-estate it has over other smartphones, though. There are no one-handed modes, split window multitasking, or scooching the keyboard, dialer or calculator left or right to help with typing.

Courtesy of Lollipop, both handsets sport a neat new feature, called Ambient Display. It lights the screen up automatically when you pick up the phone, or when you receive a notification, which is time-saving if it's lying next to you on the table, but can be turned off at will.

Processor and memory

Top-of-the-line Snapdragon 805, more RAM and twice the storage in the Nexus 6 make this quite the unfair fight.

The battle of the chipsets is not a fair one here, as the Nexus 6 comes equipped with a quad-core 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 SoC, coupled with an equally beefy 3GB or RAM and the Adreno 420 GPU. The Nexus 5 steps two CPU generations back, donning a 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 silicon and 2 GB RAM. Frankly, since both are running the light and flat stock Android interface, they both feel fast and fluid in everyday usage.

Nexus 6 models come with either 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage, while Nexus 5 starts you off with 16 GB, and you can pay extra for a 32 GB option. Both are lacking microSD slots for storage expansion, so pick wisely.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 49480
Google Nexus 5 26340
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 2731
Google Nexus 5 1166
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 3644
Google Nexus 5 2607
Sunspider Lower is better
Google Nexus 6 797.6
Google Nexus 5 723.9
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 27.9
Google Nexus 5 23
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 12
Google Nexus 5 9.4
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 1470
Google Nexus 5 891.3
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 1062
Google Nexus 5 939
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 3295
Google Nexus 5 2889

Internet and connectivity


Chrome’s functionality with the two phones hasn’t greatly changed with Lollipop, so the experience is for the most part identical to any other Android smartphone running the browser. Lollipop introduces the option of having individual page tabs appear in the app switcher as separate entities. Overall, there’s nothing too out of the ordinary with the experience here, seeing that we’re presented with fast pages loads, instant page rendering, and that tight feel with navigational controls.


The Nexus 6 and 5 are available in two variants - one for the US market, and another for the rest of the world. The US model of the Nexus 6 offers support for 12 LTE bands, while the Nexus 5 makes do with 9. The international version goes up to 10 bands for the Nexus 6, and six bands for the Nexus 5. The handsets support up to 42 Mbps HSPA+ download speeds, too, if your carrier's 3G network can supply those, of course. Both units are armed with the usual set of connectivity features we’d expect to find – like A-GPS, Bluetooth, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and NFC.

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24 Comments

1. Anshulonweb

Posts: 468; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

I lost my faith in google when they released nexus 6 at premium price and stopped the production of nexus 5 .....they didn't even lowered the price of nexus 5.... i don't know why google wants to make nexus a premium series...

3. Malcolm.Merlyn

Posts: 160; Member since: Sep 28, 2014

Because it is premium this time. The only premium aspects of the nexus 5 were the snapdragon 800 SOC, 2 gigs of ram and maybe the display which by the way, was washed out and had grayish blacks.

16. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

I, along with many others, would argue the nexus 5 was a pretty premium device. You can not tell me that the nexus 6 should be worth more than double the already solid nexus 5. That is my issue with Google. That is why people are upset. They want this phone spread to carriers to increase their margins, which is something most businesses would do. However, it is very disappointing when a powerhouse like google dismisses an already well implemented strategy to follow what the market is doing. Additionally, to try to force the massive screen size on people without a true upgrade to the nexus 5 was a huge let down for me.

24. asrr62

Posts: 56; Member since: Sep 14, 2011

nexus 6 is way more premium than nexus 5. i had the nexus 5 and now i have the nexus 6. people that complain about the screen size ?? i dont know what drugs they are on but it does make them sound pretty stuped.

22. p51d007

Posts: 704; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Because Google "married up" with a lot of carriers. You can't expect the "poor" carriers to sell a phone under contract for only 400 dollars do you? If the "retail" price is 700 bucks, then the carriers can "save" you money by offering it for a reduced price of 299.99 UNDER CONTRACT, and the dopes that buy into that thinking they are saving a ton of money will come into the store with their wallets out ready to spend money, even though if they ran the numbers like I did a couple years ago, they would see that a single contract phone is way more expensive than just buying an N5 and going with a good MVNO.

23. asrr62

Posts: 56; Member since: Sep 14, 2011

i guess you havent heard of galaxy nexus? nexus phones have generally been around 500 - 700 dollars. nexus one $529.99, nexus s $529, galaxy nexus $649, nexus 4 $349, nexus 5 $349. now go buy an iPhone.

2. wando77

Posts: 1168; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Max nits = terrible

4. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

The price an screen nits keep my N5 in my pocket another year.

11. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

Those two points gave me pause as well, but eventually the better battery life and Motorola radios won me over. Re: Low nits - in sunlight it's not as bright as my N5 was, but I find it to be good enough.

12. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Exactly.. Price is also why I opted to order a Nexus 7 2nd Gen yesterday instead of a Nexus 9...

5. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

I have gone from Nexus 5 > LG G3 > Oneplus One. I don't know but the Nexus 5 is still my favorite phone. The only thing that let it down for me was the battery life. Oneplus One has been awesome so far.

6. DroidMystic

Posts: 91; Member since: Oct 31, 2014

No matter what people think Google did a great job why the Nexus 6 although I wish the size could be 5.2" but still love big phones. And for those complaining about the size. What about the Tablet 7 inch and much taller? Even some Samsung fan saying that Google didn't take advantage of the 6 inch size. What about the tablet 7 inch and 10 inch? Does all use S Pen and does Multi Windows or multi touch? I love the browsing and Multi media also can add Gaming. So the 6 inch doesn't disturb me. It's is a complete win for me playing my Clash of Clans in the big screen. Nexus 6 win and deserve the price of $650 and still cheaper than the Note 4 by example.

7. iPhoneboy597

Posts: 13; Member since: Dec 18, 2014

i like the nexus 6, but it would've been a better phone if it stuck with its 1080p display at 5.0" or max 5.2" screen, 6" is just too big for single handed use and not to mention it would've also been cheaper

8. nomancool

Posts: 6; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

not sure whats wrong with your antutu benchmark score on nexus 5 .. because i am constantly getting 44000+ on stock lollipop 5.0.1 . you need to update your database . @phonearena

9. Angst

Posts: 35; Member since: Apr 29, 2014

I totally disagree with the analogy that the Nexus 6 has to be used with both hands most of the time. Having relatively average-sized hands - I don't have to use it double handed. There are times that I am stretching a bit to not use two hands but that's typically if I am doing some serious texting. Having had the Nexus 5 and now owning a Nexus 6, I don't have a problem with the increased price (Yes I wish it was cheaper, but people fail to realize Nexus has not always been a cheap phone.) Yes the Nexus 5 and the Nexus 4 were but I've owned a new Nexus ever year since the Nexus S, this is back to what the pricing was previously. My only real complaint is that Google seriously needs to do something about availability. the last three years straight have been abysmal executions of pre-ordering/ordering from the Play Store and in general. There's just no excuse a company as large as Google can't get the Ordering/Availability right.

10. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

What's the deal with showing the Nexus 5's KitKat interface in the Interface and Functionality page instead of Lollipop?

13. rojiblanko

Posts: 25; Member since: Oct 14, 2011

In my own opinion the only thing is holding me to get the Nexus 6 is the Amoled screen, I've owned the Galaxy S, Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Note 2 and they all suffer from screen burn...I guess I'll stick around for another year with my Nexus 5!

14. Rorschach

Posts: 83; Member since: Apr 26, 2013

The Nexus 6 is only a slight upgrade over the Nexus 5 and definitely isn't worth the premium price.

15. brianbrain

Posts: 11; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

I wonder what version of Android L each phone was tested with. I've noticed an enormous gain in battery life after flashing the 5.0.1 factory image back to my N5. As always, to each their own, but I see no compelling reason to go with an N6. Even if there were, the N6's size would still deter me. I'd love to see LG come out with a phone with the G3's bezels on a 5" 1080p screen. I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

17. threeline

Posts: 313; Member since: Sep 11, 2011

The Nexus 5 doesn't have ambient display does it?

18. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Alas no, it does not.

19. Blazers

Posts: 746; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

And in the N6 doesn't have an IR blaster....something I've become very attached to.

20. ndearborn

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

I thought the nexus 6 is the holy grail of all phones bowing to google and their ingeniity. This phone sucks, it constantly encounters the same issues as all galaxy phones (I have had every version of the galaxy Samsung phones) wait a minute its the same galaxy phone with android but made by motor on. I appreciate that no other carrier/hardware manufacturer software is uploaded. Nonetheless it still sucks. Its not smooth as some claim , it does not work well with "play" or many other applications. It stops ,.glitches ,I need to restart the phone all the time. I am disappointed , deeply in googles attempt to separate its self from the crowd. The size I can get used to but the lack of stability is really a disappointment for a class A google lover.

21. Elusivellama

Posts: 73; Member since: Aug 26, 2014

Nexus 6. Too big, has a crappy AMOLED screen, too expensive.

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