Meta-review: Nexus 6

The Nexus 6 review embargo has officially passed. Reviews for Google’s latest big ass flagship are finally coming in. So what’s the consensus? Where does this big bitch rank among the latest and greatest Android has to offer? In general, I have found the reviews to be mostly positive across the board. Take a look at what everyone one is saying. Stay tuned for ETR’s Nexus 6 review.

In no particular order:

Droid-Life (No Score)

“The Nexus 6 is the best Nexus phone ever made by a mile. Google and Motorola have teamed up to produce a phone that is premium in build, in specs, and in user experience. Sure, it’s a whale. This phone is massive. But you know what? Because of the quality here and the overall package, you may be able to look beyond its size. In fact, you may just enjoy its size. I have, and I typically can’t stand phones this big.

At a starting price of $649, the Nexus 6 isn’t cheap, but since Google partnered with carriers this time around, you should be able to buy the device at a price point or with a payment plan that works for your situation. And speaking of carriers, the Nexus 6 will be available at all of the major US carriers at some point over the next couple of months. If you wanted to buy a Nexus device through your carrier after all these years, that time has finally come.

The Nexus 6 is a hell of a phone. I urge all of you to try and get your hands on one.”

Engadget (86/100)

“In general, Google’s first shot at a large-screened device (not to mention its first Nexus collaboration with Motorola) is a good one. The Nexus 6 comes with features that the Moto X should have had in the first place, including a powerful next-gen Snapdragon processor, improved camera, new version of Android and a premium design. Watching movies on the N6 is a treat, with loud, front-facing stereo speakers and a Quad HD display. And while the $649 price may seem high, it’s actually lower than the Note 4, iPhone 6 Plus and other large phones with top-notch specs.

What it lacks is a little more telling. Its mediocre battery life indicates that Google’s Project Volta could use some TLC. Additionally, if you’re buying the phone because it has a big screen and you want to use it as a phone/tablet hybrid, you’re not only trading off a comfortable one-handed experience, but you’re also doing so without features that take advantage of the extra real estate, like Multi Window or dual-pane mode for when the phone is in landscape. These may be small misses that likely won’t affect your purchase decision, but they suggest Google still has room for improvement when it comes to making a large-screened smartphone.”

The Verge (8.6/10)

“Whether the Nexus 6 will be more than a showcase is an open question. Nexus phones always seem to have some sort of weird sales strategy that limits their adoption. The last couple of phones have been incredibly inexpensive, but lacked carrier support. The Nexus 6 flips that script: it has the support of the big carriers in the US, but it’s no longer a cheap phone at $649 off contract. So the story of the Nexus may remain unchanged: popular with enthusiasts, but a curiosity for everybody else.

If nothing else, that carrier support means that you can check out the size for yourself in a store. If you do, don’t be shy about really hanging out with the Nexus 6 for as long as possible. Using the Nexus 6 is absolutely awkward until, strangely, it’s not. When I show this phablet to people, I get the same glassy-eyed “I don’t need this” look that I used to get when I showed them my big, honking pre-iPhone smartphone all those years ago. They all converted. You just might do the same.”

Gizmodo (No Score)

“The Nexus 6 is friggin’ gigantic, but it’s wonderful, and I bet you a dollar it can win you over to big phones. More practically, just about every flagship phone these days is going to stretch your hand beyond your comfort zone circa 2012. The Nexus 6 not only gives you the most for your stretching effort by maximizing the amount of screen you get, it also makes that size more manageable than I’d dared to hope.

But there are two caveats. First, I have largish hands. Not gigantic hands, but somewhat long-fingered 6-foot-tall-man hands. For me, it works great. My editor Sean Hollister also loves the phone, but his smaller hands are craving something a little more managable.

Second, if you already have a tablet you love, the Nexus 6’s more tablet-y superpowers might not be as attractive. Yes, you can get that all in one device now—which is probably more awesome than you would expect—but if you are already married to, say, an iPad Air 2, the Nexus 6’s occasionally obnoxious size might not be worth dealing with.

Compared to other big phones, the Nexus 6 is great, but not the undisputed champ. Its clever one-handable design makes it leaps and bounds more usable than the iPhone 6 Plus, but the gigantic Samsung Galaxy Note 4 still has some perks worth considering. With its multitasking and stylus, plus removable battery and SD expansion slot, the Note 4 is more phone-plus-computer. The Nexus 6 with its simple, beautiful stock Android, slightly bigger screen, and fantastic speakers is more phone-plus-tablet. And the iPhone 6 Plus is still the best game in town if you want to take pictures with a phablet.

Big is beautiful now. The Nexus 6 shows that big can be smart, too.”

AnandTech (No Score)

“Overall, I think that Google and Motorola have built a solid device. It isn’t without its issues, but there’s a lot to like, even if you’re someone who has never used a phablet before. I had always been somewhat of a skeptic regarding massive phones; I didn’t understand the appeal. But after using one, I can see how having a massive display to view all your content can be really beneficial by enabling forms of productivity that simply can’t be done comfortably on smaller devices, and by making activities like viewing photos and watching videos significantly more engrossing. Not only did it change my mind about the appeal of phablets, it also changed my mind about Google’s ability to compete in the premium device segment of the market. The Nexus 6 holds its own against all the other high end devices that we’ve seen released this year, although the Galaxy Note 4 with its more phablet oriented software features and hardware advantages might be a better device overall. But those who want a large device and value having software support directly from Google won’t be disappointed by the Nexus 6.

TechRadar (4.5/5)

“The death of the Google Nexus program has been greatly exaggerated, and this year’s stock Android phone ironically resulted in an exaggerated Moto X. Its tremendous display, premium specs and debut of Android 5.0 Lollipop make one of the best phablets to date. That’s not to say it’s the perfect phablet. Without Moto Active Display, customizable voice command features and Moto Maker options, $649, £499 (around AU$700) would normally be a big ask. Luckily, this just happens to be the best Nexus Google has ever crafted. And, when you think about it, you’re not going to need to hold onto your money, as you’ll require both hands to grab onto this two-handed monster.”

Tech Crunch (No Score)

“If you’re a happy Nexus 5 user and you’re looking for the sequel to that device, take caution: despite the sequential naming scheme, that is not what the Nexus 6 is. Wait a few months for Google to inevitably (/hopefully?) release a Nexus 5 version 2 — something of a more reasonable size and perhaps with a more welcoming price tag, but that still serves as the bar which all Android phones should strive to beat. For what it’s worth, I will be going back to my Nexus 5 after this review.

The Nexus 6 is something entirely new to the Nexus line-up. It’s big to the point that it’s almost laughable, stretching the definition of what you could reasonably define as a smartphone to its very limits.

If that’s what you want, however, the Nexus 6 is a very solid phone. It’s fast, it’ll get its software updates before pretty much every other gigantor phone on the market, and the battery life is thus far solid. Just know that you’ll have to keep a death grip on it, or the device’s size combined with its slick texture will almost certainly lead to a very sudden introduction to Mr. Sidewalk.

The Nexus 6 is not the every man’s Android phone that we’ve come to expect of the Nexus line; the beacon of everything Android should be. It’s what Android can be, if you crank things up to 11 and go a bit insane with the screen size. It’s a solid buy if it’s what you’re looking for, but it’s not something I can recommend to anyone and everyone.”

Android Police (No Score)

“As I said in the opening to this review, I generally really like the Nexus 6. Google has effectively removed the need to qualify its flaws with its price, and in fact there are very few flaws at all as far as I can tell.

The predictable lack of expandable storage or removable battery and the overall heft of the device may be deal breakers for some, especially with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 floating around. But that doesn’t negate my opinion that the Nexus 6 is a great device.

Personally, I’ve not toted a phone as big as the Nexus 6 before, and while it was an adjustment I’ve become accustomed to the size of the device. As I transition back, the Moto X 2014 feels absolutely tiny. If you’re worried about size, you’d be well-advised to go check the phone out in person before making a final decision.”

Android Central (No Score)

“In a vacuum, the Nexus 6 is a pretty compelling device, particularly if you want something big. But the Nexus 6 doesn’t live in a vacuum, particularly if you consider that what’s supposed to make it special — the Nexus brand and what comes along with it — isn’t quite as exclusive as it used to be.

The comparisons to the Moto X are natural, of course. Same manufacturer. Nearly identical design, just scaled up both visibly as well as with improved internals. And when the Moto X is upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop — which should be very close to the launch of the Nexus 6 — they should be just about on level terms as far as the base operating system goes. We’ll have to see how Motorola’s tweaks stand up, and what might have been reabsorbed back into the OS.

But the standout feature of the Nexus 6, for better or worse, is its size. The question is whether the added size is worth giving up the better camera (or ridiculous number of software features) in, say, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Or the PlayStation integration of the Sony Xperia Z3. Or the simplicity of the Moto X. Or the total package of the HTC One M8.

Or maybe you just don’t need a reason. Maybe being a Nexus is still enough.”

Android Authority (4.5/5)

“I can’t help thinking of a car analogy when describing the Nexus 6, however. That’s the comparison between a road car and a super car. The super car is the blazing performer, the one that you jump into when you want the best driving experience. But its drawback is often exactly what keeps you from using it literally all the time, mainly, the gas mileage. Sure, you might be able to fill it back up on the fly but that isn’t always ideal. And for all its flashiness, the super car isn’t the most practically designed vehicle to drive, especially when size is more of a hindrance than an advantage. Of course, there is also the price. For plenty of people, the super car is more of a dream than a reality within reach.

The Nexus 5 was like a high-end road car, affordable, but not quite there in being absolutely super. The Nexus 6 is much closer to that and is Google’s way of going all-in with Motorola and establishing its place in the Android kingdom. Like many people who look past the impractical aspects of owning a super car, if you look past the few flaws of the Nexus 6, you’ll have a phone that is sleek, requires few compromises, and can go from 0 to 100 really quick.”

[Image: Motorola]