Google has finally released the Motorola-made Nexus 6, but it’s not quite what you might expect by looking at past Nexus devices. It’s big, measuring in with a 6-inch display, and its launching price of $649 in the US. That’s almost twice the Nexus 5, which launched for US$349.
Despite the heftier price-tag, it’s still an affordable alternative. This is thanks to its downright top-tier gear under the hood. The Nexus 5 and Nexus 4 both made some hardware sacrifices. The 4 didn’t have 4G and the 5 had a distinctly sub-par camera. The Nexus 6 makes no concessions, at least on paper. It even has some special features you might actually use like fast-charging and a bigger battery.
Comparing the US$649 that Google and Motorola are asking for the Nexus 6 32GB model to two recently-launched phones of similar size; the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4; also highlights a saving.
Currently only US prices are available for the Nexus 6, so that’s what we’ll be using for comparison.
An iPhone 6 Plus, which has similar height and width to the Nex6 despite a smaller screen and lower resolution, will run you a cool $749 for the 16GB version. $100 more for half the storage and a display running on lesser hardware.
The Galaxy Note 4 is also $749 in the US, this time with far more similar specs. Its screen its 5.7 inches and has the same resolution and 32GB of on-board storage. However, it runs on Android 4.4 KitKat, where the Nexus 6 will come with Android 5.0 Lollipop straight out of the box.
Undoubtedly the Note 4 will eventually get the upgrade, but this usually takes months.
Not all super-simple
Obviously phones have dozens of features that can be compared against one-another. To compare everything about the iPhone 6 Plus and Note 4 to the Nexus 6 here would take a long time and serve little purpose. What is mainly important is that the Nexus 6 is still a more-affordable option.
Admittedly the gap has closed a little, but that’s to accommodate the fact that it is a totally top-tier phone; a direct competitor for every high end, big-screened device that can go toe-to-toe right down to the last detail.
It’s a shame that Android has lost its super-affordable nuts & bolts high end alternative, but it makes sense for the flagship of the entire Android ecosystem to be the biggest, baddest mother in town.
Then again, have we really lost our affordable Android option, or has it just switched camps?
Still not happy? Just get a Moto X
Last year there were two contenders for the affordable high-end Android market: the Nexus 5 and the first generation Moto X. Both were similar in most respects. The Nexus 5 had the advantage in hardware, but the Moto X pipped it in physical design thanks to the awesome Moto Maker tool.
This year the second generation Moto X is upon us with an all-new look and a wide range of designs to choose from. Even better, countries outside of the US can benefit from the various material and colour options. Moto Maker still won’t be available, but at least there’s more options than there were before, or that are to be found on any other handset.
The Nexus 6 didn’t need to compete with the Moto X. They’re both made by Motorola, so it would be a little awkward if the company out-did its own flagship product. They even look very similar. Put the two side-by-side and the Nex6 just looks like an up-scaled Moto X. As such you can view their relationship as akin to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, rather than two distinct competing products.
If you don’t like the idea of a giant 6 inch screen, or would rather spend a good $150 less on your phone (in US prices), then the 2014 edition of the Moto X is going to be a great option. You’ll still get a high, if not highest, end experience for a more-affordable price. It’s also running vanilla Android, meaning Android 5.0 Lollipop will be right around the corner.
Of course, it’s not going to be the powerhouse that the Nexus 6 is on paper, but the Nexus 5 made sacrifices to bring its price down, so the fact that the Moto X does is really no different.