The Nexus 6 was a trailblazer that’s still relevant today. Paul Discusses ;
This is something a little different for me, I’ve never reviewed a phone or a piece of hardware before but this particular phone is great for so many reasons that I felt I had to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as the case my be. I would like to tell you about my brand spanking new phone, which also happens to be an old phone. Well, relatively old in terms of mobile phones. It’s the Nexus 6
The Nexus 6 has been around for almost three years now and at the time it was Google’s ‘flagship’ phone. The specs were top of the range, but being a Nexus the price was always quite ‘reasonable’. The trouble is, it didn’t do very well, sales wise. This was predominatly because it was so different from the much loved Nexus 5 but also because it was the first phone with a 6 inch screen. That’s pretty damn huge. and also because the price point was so much more than what consumers expected from a Nexus device. I had one of these myself when it first launched becuase I love the Nexus 5 so much. Admittedly, I couldn’t get on with it. It was just too big, even for my big ol’ hands. However – Two years on, and with the general size of smart phones being 5 to 5.5 inches these days, the leap from a smaller sized phone like a Samsung or Nexus 5x to a 6 inch phone doesn’t feel as disjointed as it did and it now feels really comfortable to use. Two handed operation is must a though, even if your mits are the size of one of those foam hands.
Lets talk Specs. So the Nexus 6 runs on a Quadcore Snapdragon 805 processor which is still super snappy, even today. Combine that with the built in 3GB ram which makes this phone, even after two years, as smooth as an eighties coffee commercial. There is no noticeable lag and just powers through all apps and multi-tasking with ease. Of course being a Nexus phone the smooth operation is helped no end by it running Stock Android so there is no third party bloatware to slow the phone down. Currently my version is running the beautiful Android 7.0 Nougat with talk of an upgrade to 7.1 on the way. Winner!
The design? Well it’s not the most attractive phone in the world, but it’s no pig either. The screen is an AMOLED display with 1440 x 2560 pixels (493 ppi pixel density) resolution protected by Gorilla Glass 3, so it’s plenty durable. The sides are made of aluminium and the back, well that’s made of some kind of horrible cheap plastic that attracts fingerprints. It also has this strange bulge on the back, but you know what, it may look odd, but hell, it makes the phone sit comfortably in the hand, making it easier to use. It’s well built too and feels premium despite of the plastic, mainly due to the weight. It’s not heavy, but it just feels solid in the hand. The one thing that does annoy is the haptic feedback. It’s more of a rattle than a vibration, making it feel like something is broken when you start typing. It’s bad, but then it can easily be turned off so it’s no deal breaker.
The camera is also mediocre when compared to the likes of Samsung. It’s not the hardware itself that’s bad – it’s just the Google camera app is nasty, and slow and bereft of any options. It has been the same through the 5, the 6, 5x and 6p. I can only hope they’ve sorted it for the new Pixel phones (Ed: Update I have a Pixel phone and it’s one of the greatest cameras on mobile). On the front there is 2 mega pixel snapper while on the back you have 12 mps. It doesn’t take bad photos at all really even in dim light they come out good thanks to the dual LED flash. It’s just the app is slow and sluggish. and compared to todays standard, you can see the difference. Still, you can recored 4K video if you want so that’s nothing to be sniffed at.
All in all the Nexus 6 is your basic phone, it has all the features you expect, plus a little bit more. So why is this phone so good at gaming? You’re all thinking that your latest Samsung Edge 7, or iPhone can handle all that. Well let me tell you why…
First up is the 6 inch display. That’s bigger than the PS Vita’s screen. It’s also AMOLED, so the colors look rich and the blacks look black. It’s a lovely screen that looks crisp and sharp even in sunlight. So gaming out doors on a sunny day is not a problem. The real reason the big screen is a success is the shear amount of real estate such a large screen offers. Previously on smaller phone your thumbs and fingers get in the way of the action, the control overlays sometimes get in the way. It’s all just a bit of a mess – but not with the Nexus 6. It just seems to work, and that horrible sticky finger syndrome that stops you sliding your digits over the screen doesn’t seem so bad either. It’s a hard screen to beat when it comes to gaming, and believe me I’ve had my fair share of phones (hobby or obsession, I’m not sure which yet).
Secondly the Nexus 6 has dual firing front facing stereo speakers! If you are only used to your mono speaker at the bottom of your phone, these bad boys will make you question every single phone design that doesn’t have stereo speakers. First up you won’t be accidentally covering them up while playing. That is a major selling point when it comes to gaming. Secondly, the speakers are superb, deep and rich, and best I’ve heard on a mobile, even better than HTC’s beats speakers in my opinion. So now you’re playing your game on a large, clear screen with stereo sound. but that’s not all..
Thirdly. The internal specs are up with the best phones. Last years Nexus 6p Googles 2015 premium device only had the 3GB of ram and that over-heated like an F1 car in a traffic jam. Even todays phones only rock 4GB of RAM, so it’s more than capable of handling even the most graphically intensive games. I’ve been playing Dead Trigger 2, Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed and other similar titles and it didn’t even break a sweat.
Finally, the price. This could be the major factor here. This Nexus 6 phone I picked up for just £130 second-hand which is cheaper than most inferior-spec’ed brand-new budget smartphones. Basically what you’re getting here is a premium device for a budget price. Amazon has a used one for sale at £190 which is still a good price for a top spec mobile.
So with a gorgeous 6 inch display that really shows off the graphics, and front facing stereo speakers that make you want to turn the volume up and not down, Who needs a Vita, a 3DS, hell maybe even the switch too? No one want’s to carry around multiple devices – that’s why they put camera’s in phones. If you can handle the huge screen, which isn’t too inconvenient and is well worth the extra hand needed to use it, and can pick one up cheap enough, then not only do you have yourself a top spec mobile you also have one of the best phones for gaming.
Not only that, but you can turn this phone into a VR gaming machine too. You just need to buy one of those cheap VR headsets for about £20 (but in my opinion, I still find the Google Cardboard the best version and that comes in at £15). With the launch of the Pixel, Google introduced there VR app Daydream, that runs on the Daydream headset. It’s not clear if this will be coming to other Android devices, but if it does, then you’re kind of future proofed for a while too.
But what if gaming isn’t your thing? What if your hobby is Netflix and chill? Well don’t worry, see because watching Netflix on a 6 inch screen with Stereo speakers is also something quite special. The Nexus 6 is a truly mobile multi-media machine.