Now that the Nexus 6 is finally here and arriving on many buyers doorsteps, not to mention being prepped for shipment from carriers, some buyers may still be on the fence. And while we loved it in our full Nexus 6 review, more than we thought we would, there are a few things we didn’t love and wanted to share with prospective buyers.
Google’s new smartphone is a massive 6-inch phablet running a brand new version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop, and it has a lot to offer. Our first impressions and review in the end are rather favorable, there’s plenty features to love, but we do have a few minor complaints to talk about.
Above are a few things you’ll love about the Nexus 6, like the huge stunningly gorgeous display and excellent front facing speakers, but that big screen and a few other things may sway buyers against the Nexus 6 too. Read on to see five or so things we didn’t really enjoy about the Nexus 6, even if they’re rather small.
Google’s Nexus 6 smartphone was announced on October 15th, went up for pre-order the 29th, and is now finally starting to arrive to buyers. This is good news as the wait through pre-orders, rumors, announcements and more has been rather long.
So far there’s nothing we’ve found that will make us not recommend the Nexus 6, but there are a few things you’ll want to consider, and we’ll start off with the obvious.
Of course the size needs to come with an asterisk. That being because many buyers love a big screen like the Galaxy Note series or the new iPhone 6 Plus, and this 5.96-inch display isn’t that big when compared to other phablets in the market. The Nexus 6 has a 5.96-inch display that’s bigger than both the Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus, yet the device is nearly the exact same size.
So while size is a problem for some, and one thing we’re not a huge fan of, it’s a minor issue and actually something many will learn to love and enjoy. After two weeks with the Nexus 6 I don’t want to go back to a smaller smartphone.
While the screen is big we have minimal bezels and dual front facing speakers all into a device no bigger than some smaller screen smartphones without the front speakers. Meaning that yes it is big, but small considering the competition. We have a love hate relationship with the size, but are getting more comfortable by the day.
Buyers will want to try it in stores, or test the Note 3 or Note 4 in their hands and make sure a device of this physical size is right for them. Don’t let it scare you, you’ll get used to it just as I have.
Lack of Features
Android 5.0 Lollipop introduces tons of new features and designs to the Android operating system, and Google’s Nexus 6 is a premium smartphone will all the bells and whistles most would want. Big display, front facing speakers, aluminum design, powerful processor, and a quality 13 megapixel camera. That being said, Google’s not doing anything with some of the features on the phone.
There’s plenty to love, don’t get us wrong, but with a huge 5.96-inch display we’d love some dual-window modes like Samsung and LG have adopted for its phablets. Android 5.0 Lollipop doesn’t do this, and there’s no S-Pen or stylus like the Note. So you’re simply getting a huge screen to get it, without a few new features or software tweaks to take advantage of it. At the same time, I have four friends with a Galaxy Note, and none use the S-Pen.
This isn’t really a problem and more features could be coming soon, but we expected something to accompany the massive display. It’s still amazing for movies, music, YouTube and playing games from the Play Store, but we just wish a few more things had been included. The same can be said about the camera. It has a 13 megapixel lens with optical image stabilization. Google’s camera does great with HDR+ photos, and they even added 4k video recording. However, there’s no slow-mo option or time lapses. The manual exposure options are even hidden in settings. Let us fully use these features, rather than relying on developers to release apps to do everything.
Google was smart enough to put the power button right above the middle of the device on the right size. It’s a perfect location to easily access while holding the phone, rather than stretching to the top or having to use two hands. That’s great, but it’s the volume rocker we want moved.
Google put the volume rocker below the power button. We often hit this by mistake, hit it while trying to turn the screen on or off, and it’s just in the way. We’d much rather it be to the left side instead, opposite of the power button like the Nexus 5, but this is just nitpicking. It is right where you’d grab the phone, and I’m constantly accidentally turning my notification sound to full blast, or silent and missing calls. The volume up/down rocker could have been placed in a more convenient spot.
This one was expected, as no Nexus device has ever had a micro-SD slot, but the storage may be a concern for some. And our five complaints don’t even take into consideration the huge $649 price tag of the Nexus 6.
Users only have two options. 32GB of storage for $649 or 64GB for $699, and there’s no micro-SD slot for adding pictures, video, or music like many do on the Galaxy series. Google’s never offered them, but we wish they would. 32GB only gives you mid 20’s of usable storage after Android 5.0 and all the apps are pre-loaded, and some buyers may want more.
The 32GB model had around 25GB left out of the box for me, and I’m already down to 14GB left after two weeks. Add some pictures and video throughout the holidays and some new apps or games, and I’ll be reaching my limit.
This may be a problem for some buyers, but its a problem users have had with Nexus (or other smartphones) for years, so take it as you will. This is just a friendly reminder, and something we don’t like about the Nexus 6.
To be honest we’re not really upset about the Nexus 6 battery life, but it’s still something worth mentioning here. When you’re getting a massive 5.96-inch 2k resolution display, front speakers, new Android software and everything the Nexus 6 offers, you can’t expect 2-3 day battery life. There simply isn’t the technology in place.
That said, battery life has been somewhat inconsistent and it was something we wanted to mention. I’m a heavy heavy user, so no matter what my Nexus 6 only lasts around 12-15 hours. But that’s more than enough to last me all day of heavy usage without ever worrying about finding a charger. And if I need one, the Turbo Charger boosts me to nearly 50% in 35 minutes or so. However, occasionally it’ll drain much quicker than other days, and by 11pm I’ll be needing some juice.
At the same time, Google could have done better. A device this size we’d expect something slightly bigger than a 3,220 mAh battery inside. They probably could have managed 3,500 or even a 3,900 mAh battery like the Verizon DROID Turbo, but for whatever reason chose not to. Likely this comes down to price.
Overall the Nexus 6 is an impressive smartphone, as is the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop update. There’s plenty to love, new features and looks to explore, and enjoying football through WatchESPN on the 6-inch screen all weekend was wonderful. Google could add more features in future updates to improve battery, add dual-window modes and more, so these are more nitpicking than actual problems or issues.
We could talk about price, but the Nexus 6 offers more yet is cheaper than the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus. The size is rather large but that’s subjective and varies from each individual user, and apps will deliver new camera features thanks to new developer API’s. Nothing is really worth calling out or saying we “hate” about the Nexus 6, but it certainly could be better in a few areas. Yes it’s a fingerprint magnet, it’s big, the front speakers lack grills and get dusty, but oh well. We’re still thoroughly enjoying this new phone.
The Nexus 6 should be available from most major carriers in the United States over the next few weeks, then around the globe, so give it a try and you may end up loving everything it has to offer.
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