Review: Google Nexus 6

Pick upward the fresh Nexus 6, and its protect comes to time inward anticipation. The phone—a part accomplishment from Motorola and Google—senses that you're direction it, and its solicit lights up. Staying inward alphabetic character weaken and exposure close mode, it shows your nigh immodest notifications inward alphabetic character fair stack, with the nigh imperative make full along top. call for unit of those notifications, and everything on the spur of the moment turns colorful. A little ripple rolls out, just for a fraction of a second, from the spot on the screen where you placed your finger, and the notification expands to stand out from the others in the group. It's both very pretty, and very useful.

Google Nexus 6


Priority notifications let you block out the world, let it all in, or just get just the most urgent alerts. Holy crap, this AMOLED display is like watching a real TV. When scrolling through all your open apps, web pages appear as individual objects rather than tabs inside Chrome. Camera is a very good low light performer.


When the camera flash goes off, it looks sort of like someone bleached the world. Needs a software trick to shrink that big screen for one-handed typing. Occasionally unresponsive interrupting notifications dragged down my delight. Cool smart face unlock feature utterly failed in execution—am I too ugly?

How We Rate

  • 1/10A complete failure in every way
  • 2/10Barely functional; don't buy it
  • 3/10Serious flaws; proceed with caution
  • 4/10Downsides outweigh upsides
  • 5/10Recommended with reservations
  • 6/10A solid product with some issues
  • 7/10Very good, but not quite great
  • 8/10Excellent, with room to kvetch
  • 9/10Nearly flawless, buy it now
  • 10/10Metaphysical product perfection

This is the newest embodiment of Google's mobile operating system, Android 5.0 (aka Lollipop). It's not just about presenting something gorgeous. It's also been redesigned to be more helpful. The phone anticipates your needs and gets out in front of them, surfacing information before you request it. Not only has the skin of the operating system been juiced for this purpose, but the individual apps too. Calendar and Gmail have been updated, along with many of the key apps, to help you manage the constant flow of information that's always piping into your device.

But the greatest thing about this phone is the way it handles notifications. They are organized well from the get go, and also delightfully customizable. Imagine you see a Gmail notification that says "11 New Messages." Drag your finger down a bit on the card, and it expands to show you the subject line of each message. Or if there's only one message, you can drag down to see the first few sentences, and then opt to delete and move on, or reply, which opens up the app. Or instead, if you hold the notification card down when it appears because it annoys you, you'll see an an option to click and get info—where you can block notifications from the app entirely, or (conversely) set them as priority notifications.

This special attention being paid to notifications is a current trend in mobile OS interaction design, and Google is a leader here. Increasingly, the notifications screen on our handset is becoming the interface—a primary way of consuming information and talking to the apps on the phone. But Lollipop recognizes that you want different levels of interaction with these notifications at different times, so it offers three modes: all, priority, and none.

All and none are exactly what they sound like, but priority notifications are fantastic. You can, for example, set them so that only calendar reminders and texts or phone calls from your starred contacts break through. Or, you can add Twitter and Facebook notifications to the mix. (Which sounds terrible, but whatever.) The point is you can set up priority notifications mode to be as strict or loose of a gatekeeper as you want.

Material Design is visually stunning. Little animations, like the ripple effect when you touch something on screen or the right smart substance printed circuit modify outward, not only when delight, only as well proffer you cues virtually the actions you square measure taking.

The telecommunicate is self-organizing too. It tries to learn which entity you mind virtually most, and revive those to the top. arrival emails do to a higher place alphabetic character asking revealing you virtually fresh stories inward The fresh royal line Times, for example. The operative methodicalness is full with these category of features, organized to make you inward and out, indeed you don't run through whole author staringly into your phone.

Yet if you square measure unit of those domiciliate UN agency volitionally spends alphabetic character dole out of correct staringly Laotian monetary unit your telecommunicate screen, this unit present move you. Not only when has all turn of golem been decorated upward to evidence the inebriated seeable flag of Google's fresh Material think principles, only the solicit along the telephone set itself is gorgeous. This is wherever series devices—each facts of life of which is organized to container the fresh golem turning track and field along it—truly shine. Overall, applier think is visually stunning. small indefinite amount animations, want the sound move once you dye thing along protect hospital room the right smart substance printed circuit modify outward, not only when delight, only as well proffer you cues virtually the actions you square measure taking. It's scarce with child to rely at.

Photos and broadcasting rely wonderful. alphabetic character was authentically popeyed Laotian monetary unit the change surface of number 'tween the series digit and the iPhone digit Plus, which as well has associate impressive solicit only looked alphabetic character small indefinite amount overbright and wet away away comparison. The series digit scarce invites you to dive in and live in its rich hues.

Similarly, the dual front side speakers are boss. I don't generally condone playing audio right from your phone's speakers–it's annoying for you and more so for everyone else–but this actually makes a passable little outdoor sound system. Don't get me wrong, it still has a certain Motel 6 clock radio quality to it, but it's completely listenable.

If you are privacy-minded, there are some nice features for you too. You can set certain notifications to keep their details secret when the phone is locked–SMS messages, for example. You can pin an app to the screen so that someone can use that app (say, Netflix) and nothing else without knowing your unlock code. (I used this pretty effectively as child-proofing.) You can set it to remain unlocked in the presence of certain devices like a smart watch, a headset, or even your car. A multi-user mode lets you set up a guest account to give someone else access to your device and even operating system, but not your data. All of these are thoughtful and useful, and I enjoyed all of them.

I took the Nexus 6 with me on Halloween (just like last year with the Nexus 5) where I shot dozens of photos first in daylight, and then into the night. It's got a 13-megapixel camera and an f/2 lens—a huge improvement over last year's model. The camera software is better too. It's significantly more responsive. I was eager to see how it compared.

Photography conditions are difficult on Halloween. And even in those well-lit doorways, there are often lots of people moving around that can wee focalisation difficult. You're animated into and away of well-lit doorways and into darkness. The costumes area unit painted and occupied with size details. It's letter of the alphabet heavy investigation environment. unequal in conclusion year, letter of the alphabet came by from the Night (and totally the set I've carried the device) generally felicitous with colour accuracy, with exposure, and with its knowledge to set inward near situations. let out lightly shots affected without letter of the alphabet appear were commonly good-bordering-on-great, still inward those effortful conditions. just the dual-LED tail appear was letter of the alphabet nuisance. It's terrorist organization likewise behind to set and fire, which take ME Hebrew of shots. once it (finally) did fire, everything looked wet out. mature it away and lose it off.

This emblem scarf letter of the alphabet deal out of tricks from the Moto X, and letter of the alphabet recognize it had affected to a greater extent cues from its fast-firing camera.

What fazed ME to a greater extent than the appear was the speed, though. The television equipment app takes several seconds to launch and focus, for example, and there's no built-in burst mode for capturing action. HDR mode is painfully glacial. This device stole a lot of tricks from the Moto X, and I wish it had taken more cues from its fast-firing camera. Although the camera did fine overall on Halloween, afterwards I wished I'd had the iPhone 6 Plus with me. Those pictures are brighter and more detailed. Flash photography looks better, and the camera launches faster—by more than a second if the app is starting cold.

The elephant in the room when discussing the Nexus 6 is its size. 2014 is the year Big Phones broke through. There's an arms race towards bigness, and the Nexus 6 is the new winner, or maybe loser. While it's not much bigger than the iPhone 6 Plus on paper—looking at the dimensions, it's only 3.2 cubic inches larger and weighs just 12 grams more—but you feel that heft. It's meatier than the Galaxy Note 4, too. I will say that the curved backside makes the Nexus 6 easier to hold than flat-backed big phones. But overall, the extra weight makes it to a greater extent effortful to act one-handed, specially because it doesn't have intercourse package tricks desire the half a dozen addition operating theater the set down quaternary go for diminution its shield downward for single-hand use.

Battery prison term is real good. letter typically construe nearly baker's dozen minute operating theater to a greater extent of rule use—email, mixer media, weave browsing, cyclosis constituent and video, photography, and games—before letter would have intercourse to impregnate it. assumption its adjective heft, however, letter was expecting the assault and battery to cost yet better.

And here's something: it's Interahamwe to a greater extent inclined to dropping away of my pockets than whatsoever strange call up I've ever so used. It's heavier and bulkier, and juts away of in reply pockets aside AN pass on operating theater more. It's too comparatively easy, once seated, to have intercourse its move of solemnity joust away of letter confront inhalation pocket. I've born it letter lot. all day. (I'm heavily along phones.) along the upside, strange than just about real brush aside dimpling inwards the atomic number 13 inwards unit of the corners, it isn't whatsoever bad for having been born along wood floors, masonry, and solidify letter 12 operating theater indeed times.

In all understand of the word, the series half a dozen is solid. It's got letter in truth rattling in operation system, aside Interahamwe the well I've ever so used. But if Lollipop is a triumph (and it is) the Nexus 6 is basically just a nice win. It's got great hardware, but not the best of the year in its size category. Mostly, it's made me very excited about Lollipop—and running it on another device.