Google Nexus 6 review: No longer in production following Pixel launch

Price when reviewed

Google Nexus 6 review: No longer in production following Pixel launch

Google Nexus 6 review: Core hardware and performance

Nexus products are usually cutting-edge when it comes to core performance, and the Nexus 6 is no different. Inside is one of the fastest mobile SoCs that Qualcomm produces – a quad-core Snapdragon 805, running at 2.7GHz with 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 420 GPU – which is the same getup as found in the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Nexus 6 review - top edge

As expected, the Nexus 6 swatted aside all the benchmarks I was able to throw at it, matching the Note 4 blow-for-blow. It’s reasonably competitive with the iPhone 6 Plus, as well, until you get to the GFXBench gaming tests – that’s because, with a 1080p screen, the 6 Plus has a far lighter workload than the Nexus 6.

Still, 27fps in the latter test is perfectly respectable, and in real world gaming the Nexus 6 put in a decent showing. It’s amazingly slick and responsive in every other situation, too, whether browsing heavy web pages or Googe Maps, and asking it to multitask doesn’t faze it either.

It does, however, get rather hot when used intensively. The top portion of the screen hit 41 degrees Celcius at times and the rear 39 degrees, which becomes uncomfortable after a while.

iPhone 6

Note 4

Nexus 6

SunSpider (ms)349 (Safari)745 (Chrome) 806 (Chrome)
Geekbench 3 sc1,6281,0951,054
Geekbench 3 mc2,9223,2683,279
GFXBench T-Rex
onscreen (fps)
GFXBench Manhattan
onscreen (fps)

Google Nexus 6 review: battery life

Battery life is a more mixed picture. For light- and moderate-use scenarios, it’s excellent. In a 720p video-playback test, where the phone is put in flight mode and set the screen as close to 120cd/m2 as possible, the capacity of the Nexus 6’s 3,220mAh battery fell at a rate of 6.8% per hour.

It’s in good company here, nearly matching the Note 4’s result of 5.9%, although it falls some way behind the iPhone 6 Plus’ 4.9%.

The audio-streaming test, which gives an indication of a phone’s standby performance, resulted in a depletion rate of 2.3% per hour, slightly better than the Note 4 and on a par with the 6 Plus.

Nexus 6 review - front top

In other good news, the Nexus 6 has wireless charging built in, and comes with a “Turbo” AC charger supplied in the box, which I found was capable of ramping up the charge very quickly indeed: 17% in 15 minutes is enough of an emergency boost to be really useful. And the improvements wrought through Android 5’s “Project Volta” mean that standby stamina is exceptional: I left the Nexus 6 on a bedside table overnight at 3% capacity, forgetting to plug it in, and it still had 1% remaining eight hours later.

Push the CPU, however, and stamina takes a dramatic turn for the worse. In the GFXBench battery test, despite the fact that the frame rate is capped at 22.4fps (lower than the maximum the phone is capable of), a result of 144mins is pretty poor, and well short of the iPhone 6 Plus’ time of 206mins, which is rendering more than twice the number of frames.

In all, though, it’s a thumbs-up for the battery life – just don’t expect it to last long when you’re gaming hard.

 iPhone 6 PlusSamsung Galaxy Note 4Nexus 6
720p video playback -4.9%/hr-6.2%/hr-6.8%/hr
Audio streaming-2.2%/hr-2.9%/hr-2.3%/hr
GFXBench battery test (projected runtime)206mins (52fps)206mins (12.3fps)144mins (22.4fps)

Nexus 6 specifications

ProcessorQuad-core 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
Screen size5.96in
Screen resolution1,440 x 2,560
Screen typeAMOLED
Front camera2MP
Rear camera13MP
FlashDual-LED ring
Memory card slot (supplied)No
Wireless data4G (Cat6 up to 300Mbits/sec download)
Size83 x 10.1 x 159mm (WDH)
Operating systemAndroid 5 (Lollipop)
Battery size3,220mAh
Buying information
Warranty1yr RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)£400, 32GB; £479, 64GB
Price on contract (inc VAT)Free, £30/mth, 24mths
Prepay price (inc VAT)None available at time of writing

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