The battle of the big phones has never been...bigger (pun intended). In the last year, we have seen
more big phones come out (and not flop!) than ever before, but no one could have predicted that
Google's Nexus line, known for coming out with one phone a year, would splash into the big phone
market in a BIG way (Yes, pun intended again. I love puns. I have so much pun with them...you get the
idea). This was definitely a risky move, and frankly, I thought it was dumb at first. I was sure I would
have to abandon my beloved Nexus line. I hated big phones. I thought they were stupid, impractical,
and inherently ostentatious. It's a frickin' phone, dag nabbit, not a tablet! Not everyone has Shaq sized
hands! Outrage! The humanity! After a month of having the phone, I can say I'm genuinely upset it took
me too darn long to see the light, and you'll see why below.
OS: Android Lollipop 5.0 (5.1 now available)
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 APQ8084 at 2700MHz , and an Adreno 420 graphics processor
Memory: 3GB of RAM, with 32GB (or 64GB) of built in Storage space
Display: 5.96" (let's call it 6"), 493 ppi, 1440 x 2560 pixels, AMOLED
Camera: 13 megapixel rear Camera, Dual LED Flash, Optical image stabilization, 4k recording capability,
and a 2 megapixel from facing camera
Battery: 3220mAh, Qi wireless charging capable, Turbo Charger
Before I write anything else, I have to admit something about my screen preference. I love AMOLED.
I love the technology behind it, I love what can be done with them (like with active display on the Moto X,
and the similar technology this phone has), and I love the color saturation. With that said, I can tell you
that this has one of the best screens, if not the best, I have ever used. I loved the LG G3 screen, but this
AMOLED screen just makes everything pop a little bit more, even if pixels are sacrificed. I say that almost
hyperbolically, since you'd probably need a computer to tell the difference in pixel densities between the
Nexus 6 (493 ppi) and the G3 (538 ppi).
The screen takes up almost all of the horizontal space, except for a few millimeters of bezel on each side.
Videos look sharp, especially the 4k content available via certain mediums (e.g. YouTube), and pictures
look phenomenal. The software has an adaptive brightness feature, which modifies the screen brightness
depending on ambient lighting. This is pretty standard nowadays, but I mention it because I feel it does an
outstanding job for the most part. There would only be couple of situations where I would manually adjust it,
and that would be when I am trying to read in the dark (the screen can get so dim, everything on the screen
almost looks black and white. It's great!) or making sure I have the absolute brightest display possible when
the Florida sun beams down on it.
There is also a new feature to the Nexus phone that its predecessors had not seen before, and that is
Ambient Display. This is very similar to the Moto X's active display, with a few tweaks. Just like
with the Moto X, the screen dims all the pixels except those necessary to display the notifications that
come in. The great thing about this is that you can choose which apps display notifications here. So, if
you want to see your emails come in, but you always get stuck in a group chat with 10 people trying to plan
out the next bachelor/bachelorette party, and have not downloaded the Facebook messenger app either
due to laziness or principle (Why do I need two apps to access the same social network? What's next, an
app just for pokes? Is that what Tinder is for? I'm so behind on what's hip now), you can choose what is
going to blink on that beautiful six inch screen so you don't risk looking like you're at a rave (Is that still a
thing? See, I'm lost.) with constant screen flickering. You can swipe away the notifications you deem unimportant,
or double tap to take you right into the app. There are also 2 small icons on the bottom left and right of the screen,
which will launch either the phone app or the camera app by "grabbing" the icon and swiping to the opposite side of the screen.
Curves, baby! Motorola has done a superb job with making a big phone feel, well, not so big. Yes, it may
take some getting used to if you have average size hands, but the curved back makes it that much easier
to transition from a smaller phone. I'm partial to a curved back. It makes holding the phone easier and more
natural. Although there is a precedent for the curved back (Moto X, HTC One, et. al.), it is probably most
noticeable on the Nexus 6 since the phone is so big.
Motorola has also placed the power and volume buttons in a very easily reachable area, with the "volume
down" button being at about halfway up the phone, and the power button being about 35% of the way
down, if you're looking from the top. All 3 hard buttons have a nice "click" to them, and the power button has a
textured feel to differentiate it from the smooth surface on the volume rocker.
The phone won't be the lightest you'll ever pick up, but it's not excessively heavy, especially considering
the huge battery and the amount of screen real estate available. I personally like phones that feel like
*something*. Devices that feel like paper just seem too fragile for me, but that is obviously a personal
preference. The Nexus feels solid, and after using it heavily for about a month, I am pretty confident
it will survive a fall or two (obviously, a case is always recommended). I also think it will be safe from
succumbing to the well publicized bending issues that other phones have been dealing with.
I am a casual picture taker. I pull out my phone to take a quick pic of my puppy or something funny, and
send it to friends, family, or share it on Facebook. That's about it. I'd like to think that I'm a normal camera
user. With that in mind, I'll tell you that this camera fulfills all of my needs. The camera takes pictures fast,
and if you're not in much of a hurry, you can switch on the HDR feature to take the best possible shots
of that fancy meal you made your significant other. The focus is not bad, but if for some reason you
are having a bit of a disagreement with the phone as to what should be focused, you can easily choose
what the subject of the picture should be by clicking the area on the screen you want the attention
to be on.
Even though I'm far from considering myself even an amateur photographer, I am a bit of a snob with my HD
videos, especially with 4k televisions becoming (relatively) more affordable. Luckily, the 4k video capabilities
satisfy my itch. You will have to switch this on manually, however, since it is not the default. You will also
want to keep in mind that, the higher the resolution, regardless of whether it's a picture or video, the more
space the file will take up. I have taken several high-definition pictures and videos, and the amount of
space used per file is reasonable, but you'll still want to keep an eye on it if you like to keep movies and
music on your phone.
Overall user experience
The phone is fast; faster than any phone I have ever used. That is expected, of course, since we're
talking about a brand new phone with state of the art specs. There were some that had issues with the
Nexus 6 not have a 64-bit processor, but does that have any visible impact in everyday performance?
Not likely. I have yet to see a stutter or any other UI issues. In fact, this was the first phone I have had
that hasn't given any trouble in the first week of use. No force closes, or lag...nothing, and I am very sensitive
to UI lag. I did start seeing a couple of force closes with the Facebook app after upgrading the phone to 5.1,
but that's obviously a Facebook app issue, and happens rarely.
The Nexus line is known for having pure Android always on board, which means there are no custom user
interfaces slapped on to slow things down. This, along with the amazing job Google has done with the software,
running on top of the incredible CPU, GPU, and amount RAM on the device, make this so fluid you'd think
you're on a slip and slide. To me, that's extremely important. I don't care about benchmarks (which are all good)
or how many impractical features can be aggregated until performance is impacted. All I care about is a straight forward
user interface that doesn't bog down performance, and allows me to launch apps quickly, switch between
them smoothly, and perform simple things like using a calculator or checking my email without making my
eye twitch. The Nexus is a blank slate. If you prefer custom interfaces, however, there is no easier phone to
put that on.
Best of all, the phone is unlocked! This is great for people that like to travel outside the country,
which makes it easier for them not to get stuck at the airport for hours because they thought someone said to
stand by the posh fan next to the cop station, when they actually said the trash can next to the mop station.
Ok, unlikely, but still, it's really handy! The other thing to remember is that this phone can do this because
of the latest and greatest radios, which means that, if there is LTE available in the area, you're getting LTE.
With Spark available in my area, I get up to 60 megs down. In fact, I get kind of lazy sometimes since I also have
unlimited data, so I walk around the house, not on WiFi, watching House of Cards in HD, because I can.
Obviously this drains the battery a little faster than if I were to be on WiFi, but I have yet to freak out
and reach for my turbo charger because my phone can't get me through the day. It just hasn't happened.
The ultra high definition screen, along with the sheer size of it, would make you think that the battery
would drain somewhat quickly, but it doesn't. Let's say, one day, it does...you have a turbo charger! 15
minutes of charge time on this thing gets you up to 8 hours of extra battery life. It took me an hour and 45
minutes to go from 8% battery to 100%. That's insane. That's like "race down to the kitchen to eat the
freshly baked cookies your grandma made before your brothers get to them" fast.
If you actually raced down the stairs to get those cookies, and happened to forget your phone,
just go back into the room, say "Ok, Google. Find my phone", and you'll here it's pings, desperately trying
to help you find it (you can also use the Android device manager to do something similar, amongst other things).
The functionality doesn't end there, though. You can make appointments, set reminders, search, and so much
more, just by talking to your phone. It's not turned on by default, but you can learn how to turn it on by clicking here.
Speaking of fast, the speakers are AMAZING (I'll admit, I was feeling lazy with the transition from the last
paragraph). The speakers can get so loud, I actually have to turn them down. That's just crazy. There are
laptops that don't get near the volume or depth that these things have to offer. It's actually a bit unbelievable.
In my opinion, these are actually better than the ones on the M8, not that the M8 speakers were bad by any
stretch of the imagination, but these are just that good. Combine that with the fact that they are front facing
(a feature I think should be mandatory on any phone), and you get a very decent experience for games,
movies, and music.
Yes, it's big, but it doesn't feel as big as it is. There may be an adjustment period, especially if you're
switching from something like a iPhone 4s, but it's worth the day or two of awkwardness. The phone is
fast, the speeds on Sprint are fast, and UI is smoother than Justin Timberlake. Looking at anything on
this HD screen is a delight, not only because of the extra real-estate, but because everything just pops.
Watching a movie on this screen, stutter free due to the software enhancements and the hardware used,
with these speakers, makes this a true media phone.
It's fast, it's big, and it's sexy. Don't believe a word I've said? Go into a Sprint Store and check it out.
Disclaimer: The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee