Google Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6S Plus comparison

The Nexus 6P is Google’s second stab at a phablet, and you could say the same about the iPhone 6S Plus even if one is more revolutionary than evolutionary. If you’re trying to decide between these two, our Google Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6S Plus comparison will help you choose the best to buy.

We’ve used our hands-on time with the 6P and iPhone 6S Plus to make these comparisons, but we’ve yet to benchmark the 6P or test either phone for battery life. With that in mind, let’s look at price, build and design, screens, connectivity and cameras. Also see: Best MiFi 2016.

Google Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6S Plus: Price

The 16GB version of the iPhone costs £619, 64GB is £699 and the 128GB model is £789 - the same prices as for the iPhone 6 Plus last year.

Google offers the Nexus 6P in three more sensible capacities: 32GB for £499, 64GB for £499 and 128GB for £579. Quite a saving in anyone’s book.

Neither phone has expandable storage, so make sure you can live with the capacity you’re intending to buy, and don’t forget the usable capacity is always a bit less than the quoted figure.

Google Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6S Plus: Design and build

The Huawei-built 6P is a brand new design and the phone is Google’s flagship for 2015/2016, the first to get Android Marshmallow. It’s also the first all-metal Nexus and benefits from lessons learned by last year’s Nexus 6: the too-big phablet. In fact, the 6P is virtually identical to the 6S Plus in size, despite the bigger, higher-resolution screen. It’s lighter by 14g but few people will be able to notice this.

Here's the Nexus 6 against the 6P:

Apple’s 6S Plus may have lots of underlying changes, but is more an evolution of the 6 Plus. So from a design perspective, no-one will know whether you’ve got a 6 Plus or a 6S Plus unless you opt for the new Rose Gold finish. And if you’re the type that needs to be seen with the latest and greatest phone, it’s a bit of a problem.

Both phones have top-notch build quality, but the iPhone is the more attractive with its softer rounded edges and screen whose edges also curve slightly to meet the edges. There’s also no ugly black strip which – for us at least – takes away from the 6P’s beauty. Make no mistake, the Nexus looks and feels like a flagship phone in a way none of its predecessors have, and it’s no more expensive than the Nexus 6.

There’s a choice of colours: Space Grey, Silver and Rose Gold for the iPhone; silver, black and white for the Nexus.

The Nexus has a fingerprint scanner on the back, in common with other Huawei phones. Some will like this as it’s easy to train yourself to pick up the phone with your index finger in the right place to fall directly onto it – this wakes and unlocks the phone.

With the iPhone 6S Plus you have to press the home button, but the improved Touch ID is so fast at recognising your fingerprint it’s no different from pushing the home button to wake an older iPhone without Touch ID. With the 6S though, that quick press also unlocks the phone.

Here's the iPhone 6 Plus next to the Nexus 6P (we didn't have a 6S Plus to hand at the 6P launch event, but it's useful as a size comparison since the 6S Plus is essentially the same):

We prefer the button positions on the 6P, with the volume rocker and power next to each other. On the iPhone, the power button is directly opposite the volume up button which means you sometimes turn it off when attempting to increase volume or use that button to take a photo.

On the bottom of each phone is a charge / sync port, Lightning on the iPhone and USB Type C on the 6P. Both are reversible, so you don’t need to think when you attach a cable: there’s no upside down.

While we hate proprietary connectors, Lightning is so common that even if you forget your cable, chances are someone can lend you one. It will take a while before USB Type C is ubiquitous, but it’s a welcome improvement over microUSB.

Despite the bigger screen, Huawei has found room for front-facing stereo speakers. This is a big advantage over the iPhone’s bottom-firing speaker if you’re playing games or watching videos without headphones. It won’t matter a jot for people who predominantly use headphones, but better sound is always nice to have.

Google Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6S Plus: Screen

With 3D Touch, the iPhone offers a new way to interact with iOS beyond tapping and swiping. The ability to achieve different things depending on how hard you push makes it surprisingly fast to send a message to a favourite contact, or jump straight to selfie mode in the camera app. It’s still early days, but app developers will undoubtedly add support for 3D Touch over the next weeks and months.

It’s a great screen, too, just as the iPhone 6 Plus’ was. The 100 percent sRGB coverage, high brightness, high contrast and wide viewing angles make it a joy to look at photos, watch videos and play games. Its 401ppi is lower than the 6P’s 515ppi, but we’d question whether the increased resolution is necessary or even noticeable at normal viewing distances.

That’s not to say the 6P is worse, of course. There’s quite a wow factor associated with combining the 2560x1440 resolution with Super AMOLED technology. Colours really pop and – with the right image on screen – the extra detail is clear to see when you look close up.

Google Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6S Plus: Connectivity and specs

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS and a stack of sensors: both phones have them and there’s not much to differentiate them (details are in the table below). In the iPhone NFC is only for Apple Pay, though.

As you’d expect, both also support 4G on multiple bands. Both have a single nano SIM slot.

 

Google Nexus 6P

Apple iPhone 6S Plus

Screen

5.7in 2560x1440-pixel Quad HD AMOLED screen, 515ppi

5.5in 1920x1080-pixel IPS LCD 3D Touch screen, 401ppi

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1 octa-core processor at 2.0GHz

Apple A9

Storage

32/64/128GB storage

16/64/128GB storage

RAM

3GB RAM

2GB RAM

Operating System

Android Marshmallow 6.0

iOS 9

Main camera

12.3MP main camera, dual-LED flash, support for 4K video at 30fps

12MP main camera, dual-LED flash, support for 4K video at 30fps

Front camera

8MP secondary camera

5MP secondary camera

Wi-Fi

802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi with 2x2 MIMO

802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi with 2x2 MIMO

Bluetooth

Bluetooth 4.2

Bluetooth 4.2

GPS

GPS

GPS

NFC

Yes

Yes, for Apple Pay

Wireless charging

No

No

Dimensions

77.8x159.3x7.3mm

77.9x158.2x7.3mm

Weight

178g

192g

Battery

3450mAh

2750mAh

     

Google Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6S Plus: Cameras

Both Apple and Huawei/Google understand that more isn’t better when it comes to megapixels. They both have 12Mp cameras, the 6S Plus using 1.22µ pixels and the 6P having slightly larger 1.55µ pixels.

We have yet to properly test the 6P, and certainly not yet under identical conditions to the iPhone. Both should deliver decent quality in different light conditions, and improve upon their predecessors in low light especially.

The 6P has an IR laser autofocus system, can shoot slo-mo video at 240fps. There’s also a burst mode which takes photos at 30fps.

That brings it in line with the iPhone 6S’s shooting modes, albeit with the exception of Time-lapse, but there are plenty of apps if you want speeded-up video from your Nexus 6P.

Meanwhile, the iPhone adds support for 4K video at 30fps, catching up with the Nexus line – the Nexus 6 could shoot 4K but the iPhone 6 Plus could not.

The 6P has an 8Mp front camera which will – in theory – be better than the 5Mp unit in the iPhone 6S Plus, but we’ll have to wait until we can test them side by side to know for sure.

One neat trick up the iPhone’s sleeve is a front ‘flash’: the screen. It can briefly flash up to three times brighter than normal to illuminate selfies, or add a little fill-in light when needed.

iPhone 6s Plus: Specs

  • A9 chipset
  • 2GB RAM
  • 5.5in 1080p display
  • 3D Touch
  • 12Mp rear facing camera
  • 4K video recording
  • Live Photos
  • Front facing 5Mp camera with display flash
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • dual band Wi-Fi
  • NFC
  • iOS 9
  • 158.2x77.9x7.3mm
  • 192g
  • A9 chipset
  • 2GB RAM
  • 5.5in 1080p display
  • 3D Touch
  • 12Mp rear facing camera
  • 4K video recording
  • Live Photos
  • Front facing 5Mp camera with display flash
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • dual band Wi-Fi
  • NFC
  • iOS 9
  • 158.2x77.9x7.3mm
  • 192g

OUR VERDICT

It’s too early to come to a definitive verdict, but it’s fairly safe to assume that existing iPhone owners aren’t likely to be lured to Android because of the 6P, and that Android users will be put off by the 6S Plus’ high prices. They’re tempting upgrades from older Nexus phones and iPhones, but it’s worth remembering that their large dimensions aren’t very pocket friendly.

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