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Nexus 6 Preview

N6-grid2-1600_verge_super_wideGoogle has quietly announced their next flagship Nexus smartphone, the Nexus 6, via a Motorola blog post. It’s quite an unceremonious affair, unlike how Apple or Samsung conduct their flagship product launches. While most people are probably swooning over the new flagship, and news sites are pouring with excitement as they write about the new Nexus, I beg to offer a different view.

The Nexus 6 unveiling is, in all honesty, underwhelming. There were so many things we had come to expect of a Nexus. The Nexus 6 fell short of those expectations. In fact, it did not just fail to meet those expectations, it also had some shocking disappointments. The price, for example, at US$649 and US$699, is one of them.

Let’s not talk about price just yet, but instead take a look at the phone itself. First, the Nexus 6 is huge. Google may still refer to it as a phone, but with a 5.96″ display, the Nexus 6 is firmly in phablet territory. I know, many people are actually quite happy with phablets, seeing the runaway success Samsung has had with their Galaxy Note series and Apple trying to catch on with their iPhone 6 Plus. However, 5.96″ is really huge, increasing the overall hulk of the phone to 82.98mm x 159.26mm x 10.06mm. Oh yes, 10.06mm thick. Yes, this is firmly in the category of thick. On the bright side, I imagine the Nexus 6 doesn’t need to be concerned about bending.

The oversized 5.96″ display will sport 1440×2560 QHD resolution, giving you a pixel density of 493 ppi. That’s on-par with the flagships launching in the second half of 2014. Interesting that the Nexus 6 will sport AMOLED display, considering that AMOLED is mostly a Samsung thing.

What else is there to talk about the Nexus 6? There’s not a lot to boast about, unfortunately. Is there a fingerprint sensor? No. Is there a heart rate monitor? No. But why not? I don’t know. That’s not the end of it.

Is there a 64-bit CPU? No. Oh wait, isn’t 64-bit CPU support one of the highlights of Android Lollipop? Yup. Wouldn’t it make sense for the Nexus 6, which will arrive with Android Lollipop, to showcase 64-bit support? Yup. But no, Nexus 6 will sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor clocked at 2.7GHz. It’s not bad, but what happened to 64-bit? The Nexus 9 tablet, which is also just announced, will be the show-piece for 64-bit Android support.

Aren’t you just beginning to wonder what is the whole point of the Nexus 6?

Lets come back to price now. With such unimpressive specifications, perhaps the budget price will impress us. No. It will shock you, not impress you. Nexus 6 will be available in two storage capacities, the 32GB one costing US$649 and the 64GB one costing US$699. Seriously. Whatever happened to affordable Nexus phones? Nexus phones that are designed to showcase Android software.

Have you fainted already?

There are some good things going for the Nexus 6. Fortunately. There’s a huge 3220mAh battery. I can only imagine that the huge capacity, combined with Android Lollipop’s new energy optimisations, will mean the Nexus 6 will last a pretty long time without having to top up its battery. We use our smartphones for so many tasks, and now increasingly our smartphones need to talk to so many other gadgets (Android Wear devices, health gadgets, Bluetooth trackers, etc), anything under 3000mAh just won’t cut it anymore.

Another goodie is Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with 2×2 MIMO antennas. Although we may not need so fast a Wi-Fi in a smartphone, but MIMO also helps improve signal quality.

Unfortunately, that’s about as far as the good things go for the Nexus 6. Other specifications, in my opinion, are merely only what you’d assume should be there. The primary camera on the Nexus 6 is a 13MP shooter with optical image stabilisation, f/2.0 aperture and dual LED ring flash. It will capture 4K video at 30fps. The secondary front facing camera is a very average 2MP shooter.

There are dual front-facing speakers, although it’s not clear if they are stereo or mono output. The Nexus 6 will have two variants to support different regions: North America, and rest of the world. This is on top of the two storage capacities, so there are a total of four versions for all possible combinations.

The Nexus 6 will also be available in two colours: Midnight Blue and Cloud White.

Nexus 6 preorders commence on 29 October 2014, and will begin to be available in stores some time in November.

My TL;DR summary: Too big, very average specifications, too expensive. You’d want the Nexus 6 if you love the pure Android experience. But at US$649/US$699, I’d suggest to consider close alternatives.

More info: TheVerge

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