For the past few years, Google’s Nexus program has offered Android enthusiasts a competent way to get the latest version of Android for a relatively affordable price. The LG-made Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 were undoubtedly great bargains, providing attractive and sufficiently powerful flagships that embraced off-contract purchases. With the just-announced Nexus 6, however, Google is foregoing the explicitly affordable route — instead, it hopes to warp a normally priced device into overdrive.
On paper, the new Nexus does indeed sound like a monster. It comes courtesy of Motorola, and features a 5.9-inch Quad HD (that’s a resolution of 1440 x 2560, the same as the LG G3) display, which is huge even by today’s growing standards. It runs on a quad-core 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805 chipset, Qualcomm’s latest, 3 GB of RAM, and either 32 or 64 GB of internal storage. It features a 3,220 mAh battery, also huge, and Motorola will compliment that with a “Turbo Charger” that is said to give the device up to 6 hours of juice with 15 minutes of charging. A 13-megapixel camera with OIS adorns its back, while a 2-megapixel shooter sits on its front.
Each Nexus phone resembles its manufacturer’s most recent flagship, so it should come as no surprise that the Nexus 6 looks like a supersized Moto X. The signature camera ring, dual front-facing speaker grilles, and logo-adorned dimple of that phone have all migrated over, and its still features a polycarbonate body surrounded by an aluminum trim. There’s no getting around the fact that this phone is enormous, bigger than both the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus, but for a 6-inch device, it appears to be well-crafted.
The Nexus family’s biggest hook is that it offers the fastest entry point to the latest versions of Android, and indeed the Nexus 6 will come with Android 5.0 — launching today and going by the codename Lollipop — by default. Originally teased at Google’s I/O conference this past summer, Lollipop gives a major visual overhaul to the popular mobile OS, flattening the design of several cornerstone apps and bringing them under a more unified style. It’s also set to include a revamped notification system, a stock battery saver mode, and new voice commands, among other things. Google says that Lollipop will come to the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 in the coming weeks as well, while Motorola has promised it’ll arrive on all four Moto X and Moto G devices, the Moto E, and its latest Droid phones.
The Nexus 6 will be available for pre-order through the Google Play Store on October 29, with shipping to start in November. It’ll cost $650 unlocked, the same as most other phones with these kind of specs. It’ll come in two colors, white and dark blue, and will be offered by Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular. Given its enormous size and departure from the Nexus line’s value-based roots, the Nexus 6 will likely be a controversial device amongst Android fans, but Google will continue to sell last year’s Nexus 5 once the new flagship is released.