Nexus Jumps The Shark

Jumping The Shark

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.

Features

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.
qHD Resolution
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.

Price

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.

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