Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6: Which phone is better?

iPhone-6-vs-Nexus-6Last week, Google has announced its classiest and most premium smartphone yet in the Google Nexus 6.

I guess you are wondering how it stacks up to the iPhone 6, and you might think that the iPhone 6 Plus is more of a match for the Nexus 6, and that’s true in terms of size.

But when it comes down to it, the Nexus 6 and the iPhone 6 are Google and Apple’s flagship smartphones for 2014 and most of 2015 – and the two visions are surprisingly different.

Here’s how the two match up.

Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6: Design
iPhone 6: Curved aluminium, gold or light/dark silver, 6.8mm thick, 129g
Nexus 6: Aluminium frame, polycarbonate body, 10.06mm thick, 184g

The Nexus 6 has taken on an aluminium rim that at a stretch could call to mind previous iPhones, but this one’s rounded and the rear of the device is plastic.

The iPhone 6, meanwhile, has stepped away from the iPhone 4 metal rim design template in favour of a flowing, curved all-metal back.

The Nexus 6 design is essentially a larger version of the Moto X 2014, complete with the same rounded back and exaggerated ‘M’ dimple.

It’s much bigger than the iPhone 6, with its 10.06mm thickness and 184g heft dwarfing the iPhone 6’s slender 6.8mm, 129g body.

Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6: Screen
iPhone 6: 4.7-inch 1334 x 750, Retina HD LCD
Nexus 6: 5.9-inch 2560 x 1440, QHD AMOLED

It’s not just the Nexus 6’s expansive, contoured body that dwarfs the iPhone 6 – check out that screen.

At 5.9-inches, it tops the iPhone 6’s big brother the iPhone 6 Plus by almost half an inch. It’s bigger than the iPhone 6 display itself by 1.2 inches.

If that feels like a bit of a mis-match to you, wait until you see the difference in resolution. The Nexus 6’s 2560 x 1440 QHD resolution provides several times the sheer number of pixels of the 1334 x 750 iPhone 6.

That makes for a pixel density of 493ppi compared to the iPhone 6 display’s 326ppi. Of course, the difference is less noticeable given the smaller display of the iPhone 6, but the Nexus 6 undoubtedly wins on the sharpness stakes.

Then there are the relative merits of the two display types. The iPhone 6 sticks with Apple’s class-leading LCD panel, which has been improved yet further by fusing the display to the LCD panel itself. The result is a well-balanced picture that really pops from the screen, with exemplary viewing angles to boot.

The Nexus 6, for its part, is an AMOLED display, meaning it provides a more vibrant, contrasty picture and deeper blacks.

Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6: Camera
iPhone 6: 8-megapixel camera, 1/3.06-inch sensor, true-tone flash,f/2.2 aperture dual-LED flash, phase detection
Nexus 6: 13-megapixel, OIS, dual-LED ring flash

If you’re new to this game, you might think that the Nexus 6 wins the camera round. After all, 13-megapixels beats 8-megapixels, right? Not necessarily.

Apple has stuck with 8-megapixel cameras for several years now, yet it’s widely accepted that the company makes the best (or at least some of the best) smartphone cameras in the business.

Apple goes for fewer but larger pixels, which allows more light to hit each. Its cameras also take and process these smaller images extremely quickly, which is great for capturing those fleeting moments. What’s more, the latest iPhone comes with phase detection autofocusing, which hones in on the subject with freaky speed and accuracy.

The Nexus 6 camera has it all to do if it’s to beat the iPhone 6 camera, then, though it does have the advantage of optical image stabilisation for steadier pictures and videos – something the iPhone 6 Plus has, but not the iPhone 6.

Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6: Performance
iPhone 6: 1.4GHz Apple A8 64-bit dual-core processor with M8 co-processor, 1GB RAM
Nexus 6: 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB of RAM

Here’s another area in which the Nexus 6 appears to wrestle the iPhone 6 to the floor with the sheer size of its specs, but again things aren’t quite that simple.

Apple’s A8 processor is clocked much lower and has half the number of cores of the Nexus 6’s Snapdragon 805, but it benefits from a 64-bit architecture, a dedicated M8 coprocessor for motion sensing, and a killer GPU that tops most other chips (including the Snapdragon 805’s Adreno 420) for graphical performance.

As for the Nexus 6 having three times the RAM of the iPhone 6, well, that’s largely negated by the two distinct operating systems the phones run on. iOS is famously more conservative with its memory usage than Android.

Still, both handsets will run every conceivable app, including the latest games, flawlessly – and for a good few years to come at that.

Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6: Software
iPhone 6: iOS 8
Nexus 6: Android 5.0 Lollipop

This one’s tough to judge at this preliminary stage, because the Nexus 6 will be the first device (alongside the Nexus 9) to ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop. What we do know is that the next version of Android takes a bold new design direction, called Material.

This layered look promises to be quite the departure from the ultra-functional Android that we’ve all grown to know and love, with blocks of colour and groovy effects like real time shadows applied to the UI.

On the other hand, iOS 8 on the iPhone 6 is a known quantity. Regardless of the glitches and bugs that have accompanied its launch, iOS 8 is a big step forward from iOS 7 – not in terms of its style, which retains the flat approach introduced in last year’s update, but rather with its under the bonnet workings.

iOS now plays nicely with third party apps, adds a more power universal search function and contact shortcuts, and much more.

Comparing the two is impossible right now, but we can confidently say this: these are the two finest mobile operating systems in the business.

Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6: Storage
iPhone 6: 16GB, 64GB, 128GB; no microSD slot
Nexus 6: 32GB, 64GB; no microSD slot

Neither phone comes with expandable storage, but they take quite different approaches (surprise surprise) to the fixed options.

The iPhone 6 probably wins out here for offering more options, and because one of those three options is a whopping 128GB model.

However, we reckon that Apple dropped the wrong model when it got rid of the 32GB option, given how consistently most people fill up 16GB of storage these days (well within a year of ownership in our case).

The Nexus 6, on the other hand, starts from 32GB – a far more sensible base amount.

At the moment, it’s impossible to reach a definite conclusion when one of the handsets in question hasn’t been released yet, but even if it had we reckon we’d struggle.

The iPhone 6 and the Nexus 6 are just too different. They show the two most important players in the mobile space making strong, distinct decisions that the rest of the industry will inevitably follow to one extent or another.

While Google seems to have forced Apple to accept that big phones are the future, and Apple has similarly shown Google that premium design (in both hardware and software) is important, these are still two very different phones. And we love that.

Via Trusted Reviews


Ephraim Batambuze III

Digital guy, Web developer, Tech blogger, Gadgets Reviews, Geeky dad. Twitter:@batambuze WhatsApp/Telegram:+256781665128 Skype:ebatambuze
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