Nexus 6 Vs. iPhone 6 Plus: Phablet Deathmatch - InformationWeek

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11/25/2014
01:12 PM
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Nexus 6 Vs. iPhone 6 Plus: Phablet Deathmatch

There's never been a better time to buy a big-screened phone. Here's how the Google Nexus 6 and the Apple iPhone 6 Plus stack up.

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Apple and Google put forth their best efforts this fall with the iPhone 6 Plus and Nexus 6. These oversized handsets are chock full of features that consumers and mobile professionals alike will enjoy. After spending a month using each phone, I found clear differences in both hardware and software that are worth pointing out. Let's take a deep dive into what sets these two behemoths apart.

The iPhone 6 Plus and Nexus 6 are both large smartphones. The Nexus 6 is slightly wider, but the two are otherwise comparable in terms of height and thickness. Due to their size, they often require both hands to operate comfortably. Apple and Motorola (which made the Nexus 6 for Google) did a great job with materials and the quality of manufacturing. Winner: Tie

The Nexus 6 has a bigger, more pixel-rich screen. While the 6 Plus's screen looks fantastic, the Nexus 6's display is sharper and more colorful. Apple's screen is somewhat brighter. Winner: Nexus 6, by an eyelash.

[Meanwhile, the pressure's on at Samsung. Read Samsung Galaxy S5 Sales Tank, CEO In Glare.]

The 6 Plus has an 8-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, while the Nexus 6 has a 13-megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash. Despite its higher pixel count, the camera on the Nexus 6 doesn't compete well with that of other flagship devices. The iPhone 6 Plus's camera, on the other hand, is one of the best available, boasting incredible clarity and exposure capabilities. Winner: iPhone 6 Plus by a wide margin.

Storage is an interesting story. The iPhone 6 Plus comes in 16-GB, 64-GB, and 128-GB models, while the Nexus 6 comes with either 32 or 64 GB. Google charges $649 for the 32-GB Nexus 6, which is the same price Apple charges for the 16-GB iPhone 6 Plus. Google wants $699 for the 64-GB model, and Apple wants $749 for the 64-GB model. Neither device supports expandable storage, though cloud storage is available to both. Winner: Tie.

Battery life has come a long way. Despite their monstrous screens, both the iPhone 6 Plus and Nexus 6 manage to deliver a full day of usable battery life. That means I was able to consistently use each phone from 8:00 a.m. to midnight with no trouble. That said, the 6 Plus tends to last several hours longer than the Nexus 6, which could make all the difference in the world when you're nowhere near a charger. Winner: iPhone 6 Plus.

Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8 are similar, yet vastly different. Each includes a core set of apps, such as messaging, email, media, productivity, video, and more. Users can manage notifications, reach controls quickly, and manage their apps with various tools. In my experience over the past two months, iOS 8 is much more stable than Android 5.0 Lollipop, though Apple has pushed out several updates to its mobile platform since it was released in late September. Google hasn't yet delivered an initial stability/bug fix update to the Nexus 6.

Android is much more flexible than iOS 8, though, and it offers a much greater degree of customization. Lollipop has a punchy new design that's attractive and modern -- more so than iOS 8. Further, Android integrates with Google's online services seamlessly in a way Apple has yet to be able to replicate with iOS and iCloud. Winner: Nexus 6.

Productivity is essential for mobile professionals. Android and iOS both offer productivity suites that work on their devices as well as online. Creating and editing documents on smartphones is a clunky process no matter which of these platforms you pick, but I think Google and the Nexus 6 have at least a small advantage.

Google Drive, its tool for managing cloud-based documents, works really well both online and on the device. Users must download separate apps to actually interact with those documents, but these apps are light on their feet and don't take up too much room on the Nexus 6. For example, Docs (for editing Google Drive documents) is about 90 MB. In contrast, Pages (for editing documents on iPhones/iPads) weighs in at 346 MB -- that's nearly four times larger, just for the app itself, not to mention the files. It's only fair to point out that Google Drive is available to the iPhone 6 Plus too, but it works more seamlessly on the Nexus 6. Winner: Nexus 6.

If you have to pick one big phone this year, you can't go wrong with either the Apple iPhone 6 Plus or the Google Nexus 6. Each does at least a few things better than its rival, but the choice should ultimately come down to your preference of platform: Are you an Apple person or a Google person?

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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio

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Justin Buser
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Justin Buser,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/4/2015 | 3:47:10 AM
Re: deathmatch or who cares?
Yeah, but this is a comparison of two large screen phones. Don't comment if you don't like them, I could say that I don't like rectangles but that wouldn't really be relevant either.
AndrewT323
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AndrewT323,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/22/2014 | 8:33:40 AM
Re: deathmatch or who cares?
Well there are still plenty of smaller ios and android phones out there to choose from.
AndrewT323
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50%
AndrewT323,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/22/2014 | 8:29:23 AM
Re: Have you ever even considered video when you compared the cameras...?!?!
Plus the Nexus 6 produces RAW photo images while ios devices do not. This was completely ignored in the cameras review section and yet a HUGE advantage for the Nexus device.
AndrewT323
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AndrewT323,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/22/2014 | 8:25:57 AM
Re: deathmatch or who cares?
Bentgate is an iphone 6 plus issue because of its build and not a Nexus 6 issue. Try not to be too general with such comments.
AndrewT323
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AndrewT323,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/22/2014 | 8:23:22 AM
Re: Finger Print Sensor
And the Nexus allows unlocking via close proximity to specified bloothtooth devices such as fitness bands and smart watches which ios 8 has not. I've done the finger print sensor thing and found it a minor convenience. Certainly far from a major device. Have it on my samsung tablet as well but no biggie.
H@mmy
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[email protected],
User Rank: Ninja
11/30/2014 | 3:39:45 PM
Re: deathmatch or who cares?
For me an essential part of cell phone's definition is its portability. I think larger phones are not easy to carry. Fitting these large screen phones in jeans pocket and pulling them out when needed is a task itself. Why not buy something with which you are comfortable with ? No to large phone screens in my case .
H@mmy
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[email protected],
User Rank: Ninja
11/30/2014 | 3:33:22 PM
Finger Print Sensor
Apple's Touch ID sensor is the best in the business. And with iOS 8, it doesn't just let you easily secure your phone – it also plays nicely with third-party apps. Password managers are an especially great fit for the sensor. No finger sensor in Nexus 6, conventiona locking, unlocking and password protection.
H@mmy
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50%
[email protected],
User Rank: Ninja
11/30/2014 | 3:29:31 PM
RAM
iPhone 6 plus has 1 GB RAM while nexus 6 has 3 GB RAM. I count this as a major difference too. Which one is the winner in this case ?

 
Brian.Dean
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50%
Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
11/28/2014 | 1:49:15 PM
Re: deathmatch or who cares?
That is a good point, not only is it uncomfortable to fit one of these large phones into a pocket but I have heard of stories in which a large phone has bent while in a jean pocket, resulting in a costly replacement for the user. The backpack idea is good, but it is difficult to carry a backpack everywhere.
strawn_04
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50%
strawn_04,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/26/2014 | 6:19:32 PM
Have you ever even considered video when you compared the cameras...?!?!
The quality of stills is only half of the camera story. The other half is video, and it's here where the Nexus 6 camera truly shines. Try Chromecasting (or AirPlaying) an iPhone video to a 4K UHDTV and you'll see why: 8MP cameras don't pack enough pixels to shoot 4K video (the equivalent of an 8.3MP still). 13MP cameras, like the one in the Nexus 6, however, do indeed pack in enough pixels to record such videos. Also, it's only in low-light conditions that any difference in camera quality is noticed at all. AndroidHeadlines, if I'm not mistaken, actually did a side-by-side comparison of Nexus 6 photos and iPhone 6 Plus photos... with minimal, if any, difference in camera quality, the most minimal being in the case of those pics taken in bright sunlight (which we have plenty of here in SoCal IMHO).
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