Nexus 6: Two Years On

It’s fair to say the Nexus 6 is getting on now. Released in 2014, it surprised many with its huge size and departure from the more affordable price point the Nexus 5 offered. It also represented many firsts for the Nexus range. It was the first to feature: Front facing speakers, a large screen, fast charging and a 2K resolution. Add all those things together and you get an exceptional phone even after more than two years.

I bought the Nexus 6 in May 2015 to replace my horrid Galaxy S4. What a change that was! Finally, I had a device with good battery life, a gorgeous screen and proper Android the way Google intended it. My time with it was limited with it sadly being returned only six months later due to a fault and insufficient replacement warranty units. But now, after many months and two subsequent upgrades I once again own the mighty Shamu. I didn’t realise quite how much I missed it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be throwing away my Pixel XL to use the Nexus 6 as my daily driver. But as a secondary device/media player you can’t get much better. The Snapdragon 805 still makes Android buttery smooth, especially on 7.1 Nougat and 3GB of RAM is more than enough in most circumstances. The 5.96 inch Super AMOLED display is vivid and bright even now. It’s a more prone to burn-in when compared to modern screens, but if you use something like Navbar apps that won’t be a problem.

Battery life is alright, 4 hours of screen time is easily achieved. That’s the first thing you have to remember with the Nexus 6. Bigger phone doesn’t always mean a bigger battery, especially compared to the Nexus 6P or Pixel XL. The N6 has a 3,220mAh battery compared to the 3,450mAh in the Pixel XL. The big screen gulps power as well, so battery life was never going to be amazing, but it’s good enough. It was never going to be ultra amazing, but it’ll last long enough.

The camera was pretty good when it came out, but it’s not aged well compared to the 6P or Pixel. It’s a 13mp like the others, but it doesn’t have the same low-light capability of newer phones. But give it the right light and it can take some amazing pictures.

Something I notice about the Nexus 6 after using the Pixel is the speakers. They are so good. Most of the time I use headphones, but when getting ready in the morning I always use the speakers of whatever device I have. Now I find myself leaving the Pixel by my bed until I go downstairs. Not only does the N6 get nice and loud, the quality is exceptional too. I’m starting to wish Google had kept them for the Pixel.

7.1.1 is available on the Nexus 6 now, although it did arrive a little late. I have mine running on Nitrogen OS. It’s light and smooth with some nice little enhancements like Substratum support. All in all the Nexus 6 is still a great device to use as a backup phone or media device. The only thing it’s missing is a fingerprint reader. Having the dimple on the back, I’m constantly putting my finger in the Moto dimple and trying to unlock it.

So if you’re looking for a small tablet or backup phone I can’t recommend the Nexus 6 enough. Despite its age it still holds up well and is one of the most charismatic Nexus devices ever made. It’s so good to have it back.

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