Nexus 5 vs Nexus 6: What Buyers Need to Know

The Nexus 5 has been available for almost a year, but this afternoon Google officially announced its replacement, the Motorola-made Nexus 6 smartphone. Buyers have a lot of choices these days, and for Nexus fans or Android enthusiasts these are two of the best options around.

Now that the Nexus 6 is official and all the reports, rumors and leaks have been confirmed as accurate, buyers are probably pondering if it’s worth buying. With a huge screen and top tier specs, it’s certainly worth checking out.


Read: Nexus 6 Release Date and Price Rumored

Last year Google announced the Nexus 5 on October 31st and released it a few weeks later. This month they’re doing the same thing as they announced the new Nexus 6, Nexus 9 tablet, and the operating system they’ll run on, Android 5.0 Lollipop. Both phones are still excellent choices, but below are a few things buyers need to know.

Here's how the Apple iPhone 6 Plus compares to the Google Nexus 6 as big screens face off in 2014.


The past few months have been filled with reports and rumors of a new Nexus 6 coming, but those were all put to rest today by Google. We now know everything and more about the Nexus 6, and it’s coming to all major US carriers. There’s tons of differences between these two phones, including the price, so read on for all the details.



One key aspect of any smartphone buyers decision (aside from the price) is the size of the screen. Android smartphones have continued to get bigger and bigger, and the new Motorola Nexus 6 is the biggest Nexus device yet. So much in fact that it has turned off many potential Nexus buyers simply because it may be too big.

That being said, each user has different needs and wants, and this is what Google felt was best moving forward. Giving users more space to do what they want with Android 5.0 Lollipop and the 5.96-inch display on the Nexus 6. However, that huge screen is a Quad-HD screen with a 2560 x 1440 2k resolution display. Meaning it has tons of pixels, and pictures and video will look stunning.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 3.15.08 PM

Yes, the Nexus 6 has nearly a 6-inch screen, which is massive compared to Nexus 5, and even something like the Galaxy Note 4 or iPhone 6 Plus. This is a Nexus phablet.


Compare that to the 4.95-inch 1080p display on the Nexus 5 and things are certainly different here. This may not matter to some, but for others it’s a big change from what they were expecting. The Nexus 5 screen was crisp and sharp, being 1080p resolution, but it won’t be a match in size or quality of the new Nexus 6.

Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus vs Note 4 size comparison

Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus vs Note 4 size comparison

This is a big phone. A “phablet” in every sense of the word.


Another big change is the design. All Nexus devices have been built of plastic, rather lightweight, and not the most durable or attractive looking devices. They aren’t flashy, but that’s not a bad thing either. The new Nexus 6 has a few big changes that will make it stand out. For one, it comes in a beautiful blue or white color, and is wrapped in a brushed aluminum ring for added durability, protection, and styling.


Everything about Motorola’s Nexus 6 screams big, although the back features subtle curves that wrap into the aluminum edges to make it feel extremely thin in your hand, even if it is nearly 10mm thick at the biggest point. It doesn’t sound thin on paper, but will still feel excellent in your hands. Another key aspect of the design is front facing speakers, just like the Nexus 9 and the HTC One M8, the Moto Nexus 6 has dual front facing speakers. One integrated into the earpiece up top, and another below the on-screen keys down below. This should make sound much improved.

That aside, it features the same soft touch matte plastic design for the rest of the device, in a new blue or white color option. It should feel similar to the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7, only better with the aluminum banding.


On that same note, there is nothing wrong with the Nexus 5 design. It is still a gorgeous phone but is very plain looking in all black and squared off edges. Yes, it could be thinner and have better speakers, but there’s no reason a buyer should skip it. It still has tons to offer, even if the Nexus 6 is bigger, faster, better, and should last for hours and hours longer.


Release Date

We’ll get into specs and the improved camera and huge battery in a minute, because everyone that’s looking to buy a phone probably wants to know when they can expect the new Nexus 6 to arrive. It was announced this morning, but Google states it won’t arrive until early November.


The Nexus 6 is going to be available on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular and… Verizon. Yes, all five major US carriers will offer the Nexus 6, which is a first for any Nexus device. It will be available on contract, or outright. However, the price is way more than many expected, but is still cheaper than other flagship phablets, but more on that below.

T-Mobile states the Nexus 6 will be available on its shelves come November 12th, and we saw pre-order pages on AT&T accidentally go live last night. While we can’t confirm any other dates, it’s highly plausible most US carriers will offer it come November 12th.

Read: Nexus 6 Release Date Breakdown

It’s also likely the completely unlocked Nexus 6 will be sold from the Google Play Store a few days ahead of carriers, but it’s too early to tell. We’ll know more in the coming weeks as the Nexus 6 release date approaches. A few reports suggest pre-orders will open for the Nexus 6 on October 29th.


The Nexus 6 is the biggest, fastest, and most expensive Nexus smartphone to date. It has all the top-tier specs users come to expect, rather than slightly undercutting the competition and offering a lower price. It’s on par with the Note 4, Galaxy S5, and all other manufactures this year, if not beating many in multiple key areas. While specs aren’t everything, some like the cold hard numbers, so here they are.

Nexus 6 Specs

  • 5.96-inch 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD Display
  • 2.7 GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 805 processor with 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB/64GB internal storage
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop (64-bit support)
  • 13 Megapixel camera with OIS, 2 MP front camera (4k video capture)
  • Dual Ring Flash similar to Moto X
  • Dual Front-facing speakers
  • Aluminum frame around device like the new Moto X 2014
  • 3,220 mAh battery

Nexus 5 Specs

  • 5.0-inch 1920 x 1080p Full HD Display
  • 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 Quad-core with 2GB of RAM
  • 16/32GB internal storage
  • Android 4.4.4 KitKat
  • 8 Megapixel camera with OIS, 1.3 front shooter (single LED flash)
  • Bottom facing speaker
  • Plastic design
  • 2,300 mAh battery

There are a few major differences here between these two phones. For one, the bigger HD display will make a huge difference and we’d recommend buyers try a Note 4 or iPhone 6 Plus in a carrier store to get an idea of the size. Second is battery life. Yes it has a bigger screen, but the huge 3,220 mAh battery in the Nexus 6 means it should offer the best battery life of any Nexus smartphone to date.


This has always been a weak spot for Google, and one area they used to keep the price down, but the Nexus 6 finally delivers. It’s worth noting the Moto Nexus 6 also features Motorola’s new “Turbo Charge” which will give users 6 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes on the charger. Meaning you should never have a dead battery if you have a few minutes to charge up.

And we can’t forget the better camera, faster quad-core processor, and more storage. Rather than 16 and 32, you’ll get 32GB or 64GB of internal storage.


One major flaw of the Nexus 5 was the camera. While some claim it’s excellent, we’ve never achieved results that were very satisfying for an 8 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization. The 8MP shooter in the iPhone blows it away, and most 13 and 16 megapixel Android phones these days do too.

Here's a quick look at standout features.

Google issued many updates to improve the camera too, which helped, but only so much can be done with software. The new Nexus 6 employs a 13 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and a new Dual-LED ring flash system. It should be much improved from last year. If the camera is something you consider heavily while buying a new phone, the Nexus 6 will be a better move over the aging Nexus 5.

That being said, we’ll need to try it before we comment further, as it could be the same camera as the Moto X, which has received mixed reviews thus far.


We can’t really talk too too much about software, and that’s mainly because we’ve yet to try or see the fully finished Android 5.0 Lollipop in action. Google released a small teaser and early sample for the Nexus 5 back in June, but things are vastly different on the new Nexus 6.

Android 5.0 on the Nexus 6 adds important new features.

Android 5.0 on the Nexus 6 adds important new features.

That being said, here’s everything you need to know about Android 5.0 Lollipop. Google’s added tons of changes from improved security, animations and effects for a more natural and visual response to touches, 64-bit computing support, guest mode for smartphones and tablets, redesigned the entire interface and notification system, and much much more.

The Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 will be the first devices to run the new Android 5.0 Lollipop release, but the Nexus 5 may actually get it first, or around the same time the Nexus 6 is released. Today Google announced the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, both Nexus 7’s, Nexus 10 and Google Play edition devices will be updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop “in the next few weeks”. This means the Nexus 5 may actually get the update before the Nexus 6 hits shelves on or around November 12th. We’ll have to wait and see.

Software will be nearly the same on these two phones, so this shouldn’t be much of a concern for potential buyers.


Last but certainly not least is the price. This is a big aspect of the Nexus 6, as it isn’t nearly as cheap as many wanted, or hoped for. Google didn’t hold back at all. We have one of the biggest and best displays around, the fastest quad-core processor on the market, dual front facing speakers, and a massive battery. Previous Nexus devices had paired down parts to keep the price low, but Google didn’t take that route with the Nexus 6.

The Nexus 5 debuted for $349 for the 16GB model, and $399 for the 32GB version.

The Nexus 6 will be $649 for the 32GB model, and $699 for the 64GB option. Yes, this is expensive. However, the Moto X is $499 and is very similar, but doesn’t have nearly the same specs, a smaller screen, and a smaller battery. It’s expensive in terms of “Nexus pricing” but is still aggressively priced compared to the competition.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 3.35.44 PM

As a comparison, the iPhone 6 Plus 64GB is $849 off contract, and even Samsung’s new 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4 is between $750-$829 depending on region or carrier.

This means that while many expected the Nexus 6 to be priced lower, naturally given the specs, it can’t be. It has a bigger and higher resolution display than both the devices we just mentioned, all for at least $100 cheaper.

Final Thoughts

Giving out advice for buying a new phone can be hard, as everyone has different needs, wants, preferences or budgets. That being said, the information above is what separates the all-new Moto Nexus 6 from the LG-made Nexus 5 that was released last year.

These are two vastly different devices, have different features, and one is much bigger than the other. Again, try a big phone in store before snagging the Nexus 6, and weigh all your options before you decide. It is one of the best phones of 2014, and will make any buyer happy as long as the 6-inch size isn’t too big.