There’s an excellent selection of Android smartphones available to consumers this holiday season, especially now that most major manufacturers have unveiled their flagship devices for 2014. With the HTC One M8, Galaxy S5 and LG G3 all available from major US carriers, as well as around the globe, consumers have a tough decision to make when picking a new handset.
One device which isn’t available yet, but will arrive for all five major carriers in the United States next month is the new Motorola Google Nexus 6 smartphone. Google announced the new Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Android 5.0 Lollipop earlier this month, and the LG G3 has some strong competition.
Here we take a look at how the flagship LG G3 compares to the bigger Nexus 6 announced by Google, a device Google built to help showcase the Android operating system and give developers a powerful device to work with. We’ll go over what they both have to offer, how they differ, and explain everything buyers will need to know ahead of making a purchase.
Calling any device “better” than another always comes with challenges considering each buyer has different needs, wants, budgets, and preferences. That being said, there are a few key differences between these phones that makes each the better choice. It all comes down to what you need. Again, we don’t have all the answers, nor know what every user needs, but below we’ll talk about the features or differences that separate the two and hopefully help consumers make the right choice.
The LG G3 was announced and released this summer, and arrived in June for buyers in the United States. Offering a big, beautiful stunning display and sleek bezels for one all around great device. The Nexus 6 though, was just announced a few weeks ago, and one-ups the LG G3 in a few key areas, and we’ll go over them below.
One key area that is always important for a buyer is the size of the display. The Nexus 6 has LG beat here, but only by a little bit. LG’s G3 was the first smartphone in the US with a “Quad-HD” or 2k resolution display, which looks great, but can be washed out at times. The LG G3 has a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 Quad HD display, and it simply looks gorgeous. The viewing angles aren’t the best, and colors could still be somewhat better, but it’s one of the better displays available on any smartphone released thus far.
The Nexus 6 though, increases the size to 5.96-inches and offers the same quad-hd resolution. While that means the LG G3 will have better pixel density, most likely the technology is slightly improved in Google’s offering. Not to mention the screen is bigger, without actually making the device physically too large.
Below is a quick comparison between some other large devices recently released. Showing its size compared to the Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus, meaning it’s certainly bigger than the LG G3, but not by much.
Either device and both screen sizes will make users happy, based on their needs, but we’d recommend trying both at a store before buying, as the size can be overwhelming for some.
Another important difference will be the design and build quality. The LG G3, like most other LG devices is made completely of plastic, and it won’t look nearly as premium as the Nexus 6. LG added a brushed aluminum look to the LG G3 plastic design, but don’t be fooled, it’s all plastic. Previous Nexus devices have been built of plastic too, rather lightweight, and not the most durable or attractive looking devices. 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.
Both phones are pretty sleek, but the subtle curves of the Nexus 6 make the 10mm thickness feel extremely thin as it curves to a sleek edge on the sides. It will look thinner, and feel thinner while holding. 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, especially compared to the LG G3 which has a single, small speaker on bottom that isn’t that great.
That aside, the LG G3 has a few designs tweaks of its own. The buttons are on the back, making the sides thinner so there’s almost no bezel around the screen. This makes the display pop and just look gorgeous, and while holding the device the volume rocker is nicely located on back for ease of use. The Nexus 6 buttons are on the right side, near the middle so you aren’t reaching up that huge 6-inch screen to find the power button.
While specs aren’t as important as having a device that’s fast, fluid, and will work for years to come, it’s still something many consider while making a purchase. Below are the hard numbers for those interested, but it all boils down to these devices being nearly the same under the hood with a few small changes. That, and software will play the biggest role in how each device performs.
LG G3 Specs
- 5.5-inch 2560 × 1440 Quad-HD display
- 2.5 GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor with 3GB of RAM
- 32GB internal storage (Micro-SD expansion)
- 13-megapixel camera with OIS+, laser auto-focus, 2.1-megapixel front camera
- Android 4.4.2 KitKat
- WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G LTE, FM Radio Antenna, and Infrared laser for remote
- DLNA and Miracast support
- 3,000 mAh removable battery with wireless charging
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
As you can see these two devices are actually rather neck and neck. The display, camera, and processor are all reportedly slightly improved (or should be) on the Nexus 6, and it also has a bigger battery. Of course either phone is extremely powerful, fast, and will be an excellent choice for years to come.
The biggest difference between these two phones is software, and software updates. Google’s Nexus 6 runs the absolute latest Android 5.0 Lollipop, has all the latest features and security fixes, and will be the first device to receive updates in the future.
Above is the latest Android 5.0 preview on the Nexus 5, and a similar experience is expected on the Nexus 6, only better. The LG G3 however, was released in July, and is still on Android 4.4.2 KitKat. We’re expecting updates to Android 4.4.4 in the near future, which mainly deliver security patches, but others suggest it may skip 4.4 and go right to Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Nexus devices will always get priority, and unless something major changes in the Android ecosystem it will always get software faster than the LG G3. LG isn’t known for being the best, or the fastest with software updates, but hopefully they keep up with the G3.
Updates aside, the Nexus 6 runs stock Android built directly from Google with no changes or tweaks, but some prefer that over the changes made by manufacturers. Just like Samsung and HTC, the LG G3 has a skin over stock Android that changes the entire look and feel of the device. The new LG G3 has a completely overhauled interface from previous devices, arguably their best software stack yet full of customization, but again, this will depend on the users wants and needs.
LG adds in customization options for on-screen keys, background colors, the home launcher, and even allows users to use two apps at the same time with multi-window mode.
There are a lot of added features of both the LG G3 software, and Google’s own like Google Now, so in the end it’s more what the user wants and needs. Both are great, and the LG G3 has arguably the best software design of any LG released to date, and Android 5.0 Lollipop will only make it better.
Last but not least is the price. The LG G3 is available on contract for a good price, and this is something that will also be available for the Nexus 6 for the first time in Nexus history, so the price shouldn’t be a huge concern but is worth addressing.
Google’s Nexus 6 is $649 for the 32GB version and $699 for the 64GB model. There is no micro-SD slot. This is expensive, but it’s cheaper than the smaller Samsung Galaxy Note 4 that was released earlier this month. Meaning it’s expensive for a Nexus, but still undercuts larger devices of this caliber, making it a pretty good deal and worth looking at over the LG G3.
The LG G3 is currently $99 from most carriers on contract, and only $599 outright for the 32GB model. Meaning it is slightly less both on contract and regular over the Nexus 6. It’s only $50, but that may be a big deal to some. The $99 contract price is also expensive, as that makes it half the price compared to what we’re expecting carriers to ask for the Nexus 6.
All said and done, most buyers are used to spending $199 or so on-contract, which is what we’re assuming the Nexus 6 will cost. So if you’re looking for an impressive big new phone, one with all the bells and whistles the Nexus 6 is a great choice. At the same time, the LG G3 is almost as impressive, slightly smaller, and won’t break the bank as much. We see no reason to upgrade from the LG G3 to the Nexus 6, but LG G2 owners might want to.
We’re hearing November 12th is the release date for the Nexus 6, starting with T-Mobile, so you’ll be able to try both out in a store nearest you extremely soon. We’d suggest waiting and giving them both a try before you buy.