Google has re-entered the smartphone arms race today with the new Nexus 6 smartphone that’s poised to take on both the Apple iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S5. While the company will still sell the Nexus 5, all eyes will be on the Nexus 6 for its massive 5.96-inch, 1440 x 2560-pixel display, seemingly amazing battery life with Turbo Charge capabilities, and its performance running Google’s new Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system.
MORE: Android 5.0 Lollipop: Top New Features
Here’s how the Nexus 6 stacks up against its competition in specs:
|Nexus 6||iPhone 6||Samsung Galaxy S5|
|Starting Price||Currently unknown||Starting at $199||$99|
|CPU/GPU||Adreno 420 GPU / Snapdragon 805 quad-core 2.7GHz processor||64-bit Apple A8 processor/M8 motion co-processor||2.5-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU / Adreno 330 GPU with 2GB of RAM|
|OS||Android 5.0 Lollipop||iOS 8||Android 4.4.2|
|Screen Size||5.96 inches, Quad HD, AMOLED||4.7 inches||5.1 inches, Super AMOLED|
|Resolution||1440 x 2560 pixels||1334 x 750 pixels, Retina HD||1920 x 1080 pixels|
|Internal Storage||Up to 64GB||up to 128GB||16GB|
|Expandable Storage||None||None||Up to 128GB|
|Rear Camera||13MP||8MP iSight||16MP|
|Battery Life||estimated 24 hours on a full charge||7:42||9:42|
|Connectivity||802.11ac 2x2 (MIMO)||802.11ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|Special Features||Turbo Charger, Magnetometer, Ambient light sensor, Barometer||Wi-Fi Calling, Digital Image Stablization, Fingerprint scanner||Fingerprint Sensor, Heart Rate Monitor|
|Accessories||Android Wear (presumably)||Apple Watch||Samsung Galaxy Gear|
|Ports & Slots||Micro USB 2.0, Nano SIM, 3.5mm audio||Lightning port, headphones||microUSB,microSD, headphones|
The forthcoming Nexus 6 appears to be a silvery sleek version of Motorola’s Moto X. It has a metal strip around the sides, the curved back, and even a Motorola logo emblazoned on the back. Since the Nexus 6 was created by Google with Motorola, it’s not surprising that it would borrow the design language of another Motorola Android phone -- and if it had to be any, the Moto X is a lovely model.
The most striking, and shocking, feature of the Nexus 6 may be its huge, pixel-rich display. Covered in Gorilla Glass 3, the 2560 x 1440 QHD AMOLED display measures 5.96 inches, dwarfing both the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S5 displays - and surpassing the iPhone 6 in quality. Until we have a Nexus 6 in our hands, it will be hard to definitively say which screen is best, but on paper the Nexus 6 is a strong competitor.
Google is starting off strong with the Nexus 6’s 13-megapixel rear camera, with features optical image stabilization, a dual LED ring flash, and f/2.0 aperture. It supports 4K video capture at 30 frames per second, and can play 4K video on multiple devices at the same time. While that’s not as powerful as the Galaxy S5’s 16-megapixel camera, it is better than the iPhone 6’s 8-megapixel iSight camera. The Nexus 6’s 2-megapixel front-facing camera is on par to the front-facing camera on both the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5, taking 720p video and presumably capable of taking adequate selfies.
Many of the most anticipated features of the Nexus 6 will come from the newest version of Android. The Nexus 6 will ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop and will feature its new Material Design language that totally switches up the UI of the Android experience with stronger colors, better transitional animations, and overhauled notifications.
Arguably one of the most useful new features of Android Lollipop will be its battery saving feature, which claims to use less energy and extend a phone’s battery life by 90 minutes. Another potentially useful battery feature of the Nexus 6 is Motorola’s Turbo Charge, which lets you get up to 6 hours of battery life from a mere 15 minutes of charging.
Overall, the Nexus 6 appears to be strong competition for the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5, and possibly other phablets on the market. In terms of specs, Nexus 6 has the power, display, battery life and special features to rival the best of them. It is straddling the smartphone/phablet line with its nearly 6-inch display, so we will have to get one in our hands to see how it feels compared to its competition.
We’re also interested to see how the Nexus 6’s hardware works in tandem with the new Android Lollipop experience -- which will likely be its make-or-break factor. Google is keeping quiet on the price tag for the Nexus 6 for now, but we expect it could be priced similarly to the Nexus 5 when it debuted, starting at $349. The Nexus 6 will be available for preorder on October 17 for starting at $329 from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, US Cellular, and Sprint, and available in stores on November 3.
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Valentina Palladino is a senior writer for Tom's Guide. Follow her at @valentinalucia. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide and on Facebook.