If you’re not familiar with the term, Urban Dictionary’s got your back.
I’m going to do my best to keep this from turning into a rant, but no promises. To say that I’m a fan of Google’s Nexus program is a bit of an understatement; I still have in my possession every single smartphone that bears the Nexus logo (I passed on the Nexus 10 tablet). I have always recommended a Nexus phone to anyone who asks, for the simple reason that every device sold is factory unlocked, even if purchased from a carrier with a subsidy.
And for Android modders like yours truly, Nexus phones are a realization of a future where smartphones are just like desktop PCs running Linux, commoditized black boxes where the user is free to install the distribution—Linux or Android—of their choice.
Until the OnePlus One I never seriously considered anything that wasn’t a Nexus; I ultimately passed on the OPO and stuck with the Nexus 5. In the case of the Nexus 6 I might well do the same.
I just don’t think there’s anything compelling enough about it to justify the price.
The Nexus 5 has LTE, making it a no-brainer upgrade for anyone on a carrier offering LTE data. The Nexus 6 has a host of incremental spec bumps over the 5, but in my mind there is no one standout feature that makes it a must-have upgrade. A quick rundown from Howard’s post yesterday:
6 Inch Screen
I can take it or leave it. Based on my experience with the OPO I personally would probably leave it.
I’m fine with 1080p, thanks.
3220 mAh Battery
A nice improvement, will probably be offset somewhat by that qHD screen.
13 Megapixel Camera
Fine, but is Motorola known for making good cameras? I didn’t think they were.
More LTE Bands and Carrier Aggregation
Could be useful when I travel. Not needed for Koodo as far as I know.
So sure, the Nexus 6 is an improvement in every way over the Nexus 5. Until you consider that it costs twice as much.
So in Canada an unlocked 64 GB Nexus 6 from Google Play will apparently carry a price tag of $799—one dollar more than a pair of 32 GB Nexus 5s. Given that the Nexus 6 can shoot 4K video I wouldn’t consider the 32 GB model to be a viable option; OnePlus figured this out pretty quickly and have focused their limited production resources on their 64 GB offering.
The 6 is easily Google’s most expensive Nexus ever. For reference, here’s what I paid for previous models:
Nexus One – $549.99 (10/10)
Nexus S – $499.99 (04/11)
Galaxy Nexus – $599 (03/12)
Nexus 4 (16GB) – $359 (01/13)
Nexus 5 (32GB) – $399 (11/13)
$800 for a Nexus just doesn’t make sense. Yes, it’s factory unlocked, but so is a Sony Xperia Z3—for a hundred bucks less. The price won’t sting as much if you’re taking a subsidy from a carrier, but if you’re in the market for a new Android device with no strings attached I would still recommend a Nexus 5. And if you already have one maybe grab another as a backup; they’re already starting to sell out on Google Play.