Google Nexus 6 vs Apple iPhone 6 full review
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The Google Nexus 6 is the firm's flagship smartphone which will shortly be released with Android 5.0 Lollipop. We explain how it compares to the iPhone 6, one of Apple's latest smartphones (the other being the iPhone 6 Plus.) You can also read our Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison.
We've based this comparison on what we've been told by Google about the Nexus 6 as well as our full review and experience of using the iPhone 6 every day since its release. As soon as we've been able to run our tests on the Nexus 6, we'll update this article with a performance comparison, including battery life. See also: Nexus 6 release date UK rumours
Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 comparison: price UK
The iPhone 6 starts at £539 for the 16GB version, jumping to £619 for the 64GB model (there's no 32GB option) and £699 for the 128GB top model.
The Nexus 6 has no official launch date yet, but rumours suggest it will be within the next two weeks. Storage options are limited to 32GB (£499) or 64GB (£549) and, like the iPhone, has no card slot for expanding via microSD. You should be able to use an OTG USB drive if you don't mind having something sticking out of the bottom of your phone while you listen to music or watch videos stored on an external drive.
Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 comparison: design & build
If you've ever held or seen a Motorola Moto X, you've already a good idea of what the Nexus 6 looks like: simply an enlarged version. Since the Nexus 6 is built by Motorola it's no surprise. The Google phone has stereo front-facing speakers, a central rear camera with surrounding LED flashes and an aluminium frame.
The iPhone 6 really needs no description, but if you haven't held one in your hand it's worth noting that it feels worth every pound. The smooth, seamless design and surprising thinness (and light weight) make it the ideal size and weight for most people.
By contrast, the Nexus 6 is bigger than the iPhone 6 Plus, which itself is enormous, and even heavier at 184g.
Nexus 6: 159 x 82 x 10mm, 184g
iPhone 6: 138 x 67 x 6.9mm, 129g
Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 comparison: screen
They may both have 6 in their name, but with the Nexus that refers to the screen diagonal in inches. This phablet has a so-called quad-HD screen (four times the resolution of 720p: 2560x1440) and a pixel density of 493ppi.
The iPhone 6 has a relatively small display at 4.7in and its unusual 1334x750 resolution equates to just over 400ppi.
The Nexus 6 uses AMOLED technology - just as the Moto X does - while the iPhone sticks with more conventional IPS LCD. We've yet to test the Nexus 6's screen, but we have reviewed both Moto X models and if the Nexus 6 is anything like it, then contrast will be excellent, colours very saturated and viewing angles more than wide enough.
The iPhone 6 has the best screen on an iPhone yet, offering very good contrast and brightness with ultra-realistic colours.
Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 comparison: hardware
The Nexus 6 has the latest quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor which can run at up to 2.7GHz, with an Adreno 420 GPU. It also has 3GB of RAM to play with.
The iPhone 6 has Apple's A8 processor with the M8 co-processor. It's a dual-core part running at 1.4GHz, and has a quad-core GPU, likely to be the PowerVR GX6450.
Needless to say, if you look at specs and numbers alone you might jump to the wrong conclusion. Far from being outpaced the 64-bit iPhone 6 is likely to be the winner in most, if not all benchmarks.
The Snapdragon 805 is not, as many people mistakenly think, a 64-bit chip. 64-bit Android smartphones are still a few months off, so the Nexus 6 will not benefit from the ART optimisations in Android Lollipop. We're sure it will still feel fast in use, but if you can hang on until the first 64-bit Android flagships begin to launch in 2015 you'll have a much more powerful - and future-proof smartphone.
If you're concerned about connectivity, the iPhone 6 has 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC for paying with Apple Pay (not yet launched in the UK), Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and a barometer for detecting changes in height - for use mainly with fitness apps, including the built-in Health.
The Nexus 6 also has a barometer, GPS, 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC, which can be used for many things, such as Android Beam and paying with Google Wallet.
Both phones take a nano SIM, support 4G and work on many LTE bands, but it's always worth checking if the bands you need are supported in the countries in which you'll be using the phone.
Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 comparison: cameras
If numbers always won arguments, then the Nexus 6 would trump the iPhone 6. Its main camera has a 13Mp sensor, an f/2.0 aperture and can shoot 4K video at 30fps.
The iPhone 6 has an 8Mp camera with an f/2.2 aperture and can shoot 1080p video at 30- or 60fps. It can also shoot slo-mo video at 240- or 120fps.
Clearly, the Nexus 6 should capture more detail in both photos and videos, but until we can test it out, we can't say anything concrete about its image (or audio) quality.
Around the front, the N6 has a 2Mp HD 'video conferencing' camera, while the iPhone makes do with a 1.2Mp 'FaceTime' camera which records video at 720p.
As any photographer will tell you, it isn't just about megapixels. We already know the iPhone 6's main camera is capable of excellent video and photos (some of which you can see in our full iPhone 6 review). We'll update this article when we've tested out the Nexus 6's cameras.
Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 comparison: early verdict
Due to the large difference in screen size, it's hard to come to any conclusions about which smartphone is better - not least because the Nexus 6 hasn't even launched and we've yet to put it through its paces.
It's worth knowing, though, that our experience with large-screened smartphones - or phablets - is that most people find them too big to use with one hand, so they become a two-handed device. Yet, they're rarely large enough to replace a tablet and websites which aren't optimised for such a small screen often require zooming and panning.
The iPhone 6, meanwhile, is pretty much the ideal size for a smartphone. It's light, thin and extremely well put together. (And just to set the record straight, we're not huge fans of the iPhone 6 Plus which suffers from the same issues that we've just described for the Nexus 6.)
The decision for many will come down to whether they want a phablet or not. Phablets are great for watching video on the go, and great if you want or need the extra battery life they tend to offer. And the Nexus 6 should be up there with the Galaxy Note 4 and other top-notch Android phablets.
However, we'll reserve our final judgement on this particular comparison until we've completely tested the Nexus 6.
See also: Best smartphones of 2014
Apple iPhone 6: Specs
- Apple A8 processor
- 16/64/128 GB storage
- 1 GB RAM
- iOS 8
- 8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
- 1.2 MP secondary camera
- 750 x 1334 pixels, 4.7 inches LED-backlit IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
- 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm
- 129 g
Google Nexus 6: Specs
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor at up to 2.7GHz
- 32/64GB storage
- 3GB RAM
- Android Lollipop 5.0
- 13MP main camera with optical stabilisation, dual-LED flash, support for 4K video at 30fps
- 2MP secondary camera
- 2560 x 1440 pixels, 5.96 inch Quad HD AMOLED, capacitive touchscreen
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2x2 MIMO
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Wireless charging