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Google Nexus 6 first impressions: a Lollipop-flavoured treat in a premium wrapper

|December 9 2014 |Android Phones, Google, Motorola, First impressions, Nexus

“The Motorola-made Nexus 6 is the most premium Nexus smartphone yet”

Google’s Nexus range of devices have always been the truest evangelists of its mobile platform and each has brought with it not only a refreshed build but also the promise of timely updates. And in most cases, they’ve also been great value-for-money devices offering top-notch hardware for prices lower than rivals. That changes with the Nexus 6. The device isn’t just as loaded as it can get, it also commands a premium positioning putting it at par with most high-end smartphones out there. With the 32GB variant costing Rs 43,999 and the 64 gig model priced at Rs 48,999, you’re looking at spending big bucks if you’ve got your eyes set on this device.


In the past, Google has partnered with brands like HTC, Samsung, LG and ASUS for putting the nuts and bolts in place and manufacturing the hardware, and when the search titan bought Motorola, it was a logical assumption that eventually there’d be a Motorola-made Nexus out. Strangely, that happened only after Google sold Motorola to Lenovo, but the device is finally out, and brings with it the sublime marriage of undiluted Android with Motorola’s proven hardware expertise. Most recently, that expertise was showcased by the Moto X 2nd-gen (review), and crudely put, the Nexus 6  is just a blown-up version of the same device. At an event announcing Google’s Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF) that kicks into action at midnight today, Motorola also announced the device’s official availability. Since the Nexus 6 was already up for pre-order via Flipkart, we think it’s likely that the Play Store, on which the device is listed since the last few weeks, will also start accepting orders once GOSF begins.

The Nexus 6 also marks Google’s first foray into the phablet space. We got up close and personal with the device, and since we find lollipops to be irresistible, decided to give it our customary once-over.

Phablets are large smart smartphones by definition, and we usually categorise phones with screens sized over 5-inches and less than 7-inches under this head. Going by this, even the 5.2-inch Moto X (2nd-gen) is technically a phablet… but Motorola has managed to make the bezels so thin that it hardly feels bigger than a regular 5-inch smartphone. The Nexus 6 however, is definitely a large device, and even though the design (and width of the bezels) is pretty much the same as the 2nd-gen Moto X, there’s no escaping its gargantuan dimensions. The 5.96-inch display sits at the centre of proceedings, and unlike the Moto X 2nd-gen that rocks full HD resolution, goes all out with its 2K screen.


The slim device is curved gently towards the rear and sports a metal frame that looks great, and more importantly, adds lots to the build. Apart from the display, you’ll find dual front-facing speakers below and above, with the latter also hiding the earpiece. A 2MP camera and the usual sensors are present here too. There’s nothing on the left, but the right is where you’ll find a power key and a volume rocker, all encased in metal.

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The bottom is home to the micro-USB port, while on the top, you’ll see the 3.5mm audio socket and an ejectable tray that accepts a nano-SIM.

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The curved rear on our demo unit was done up in Midnight Blue, but the device is also available in Cloud White. It was immediately evident that the rear is a fingerprint and smudge magnet, so unless you opt for a case, you might end up wiping your Nexus 6 quite often. The lens for the 13-megapixel OIS-toting snapper is also present at the rear, quite obviously, and it surrounded by a ring flash similar to the one we saw on the Moto X (2nd-gen). The rear also sports a Motorola logo inside a dimple, along with large Nexus branding that’s hard to miss even from miles away.

Inside purrs a quad-core Snapdragon 805 chip clocked at 2.7GHz, along with 3 gigs of RAM and either 32 or 64GB of non-expandable storage. Our 32GB unit displayed about 22GB available to use, but we’ll confirm this when we get a proper review device. The 3,220mAh sealed battery supports fast charging and can be juiced up with a compatible wireless charger as well.

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Apart from the loaded specs, the raison d'etre of the Nexus 6 is the sweet taste of Lollipop that it brings, and sure enough, our demo unit was rocking the very latest build, complete with its Material Design, and the redesigned notification panel. We got our first taste of Android Lollipop 5.0 on a Nexus 5, but the Nexus 6’s mammoth high-resolution display and more powerful hardware certainly seem to give it wings. The visuals looked great, and the usage was even smoother than we expected, with no lags whatsoever.

We’re hoping we’ll be able to take the Google Nexus 6 out for a proper spin, and evaluate its true capabilities, with respects to both hardware and software, real soon. Don’t go anywhere.

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