The Motorola Nexus 6 steps up the Android spec war this year, but spec leader Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 wins again in both specs and software.
Google just announced its Motorola Nexus 6, but we know that many tech enthusiasts want to place the device in opposition to what many have called the most prestigious smartphone of 2014 – the Galaxy Note 4.
Before we get started, it’s important to remember that Google’s Motorola Nexus 6 has made some strides in key areas. We’re grateful that Google decided to step up the game this year, but we wonder what took Google so long to do so. We’re still puzzled as to what Google intends to do with the Nexus line, though we have an idea that bringing the Motorola Nexus 6 to wireless carriers in the US is the fulfillment of Google’s so-called Android Silver project.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 has had Samsung fans salivating for months now, with many wondering whether Samsung can still compete in this new rivalry in the smartphone space. With a number of manufacturers bringing brighter screen resolutions, the latest processors, and quality builds to their devices, does Samsung still have what it takes to maintain its position as the King of Android?
The Galaxy Note 4 features a 5.7-inch, Super AMOLED display with a Quad HD screen resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (515ppi). The Motorola Nexus 6, on the other hand, has a 5.96-inch AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (493ppi).
From the pixel density alone, the Galaxy Note 4 wins with its bright display – although the difference between the two (22ppi) is negligible. To add to it, Google’s display size beats Samsung’s Note 4 display size for the first year in tech history (5.96 inches vs. 5.7 inches).
While you’ll get more vivid colors and the best display on the market with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4, you’ll get an even bigger viewing experience with Google’s Motorola Nexus 6. The winner of the display category is split, with both Samsung and Google taking part of the crown in the display contest.
Processor and Memory
The Galaxy Note 4 is powered by the latest quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, having a clocked processor speed of 2.7Ghz. In the other corner, Google’s Motorola Nexus 6 has a clocked processor speed of 2.7Ghz and also utilizes Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 805.
As for memory, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 will provide 32GB/64GB of internal memory storage out of the box while Google’s Motorola Nexus 6 provides the same storage out of the box as well. The difference in memory storage comes down to the fact that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 provides a microSD card slot for an additional 128GB of memory storage expansion, whereas Google’s Motorola Nexus 6, as has been the case with all Nexii (or Nexus devices), deprives users of the joy of experiencing expandable memory storage. In other words, Google’s pushing you to utilize their Google Drive cloud storage, rather than provide enhanced local memory that’s immediately accessible on your device – whether you have Internet access or not.
Google’s unlimited photo storage may save the day when it comes to your photos, but your amount of Google Drive cloud storage (and whether or not you’re willing to pay a monthly fee for extra) may not benefit you as much. Samsung, on the other hand, provides local storage for its users so that, whether they’re saving a photo or a document, they need not worry about their storage amount.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 wins in memory storage, despite the fact that both the Note 4 and the Motorola Nexus 6 have matching processors and clocked speeds. And, despite what you may have heard in the past, having too little memory on the device can also cause the device itself to lag and malfunction.
We here at Inferse have owned our share of Google Nexus devices (cough, the 2012 Nexus 7, cough) that continue to lag. We’re not sure Android 5.0 Lollipop will solve the problem, and we’re not sure that Android 5.0 Lollipop will help if your Nexus 6 memory is fully consumed in the future. At some point, when internal memory storage runs out, all devices lag, regardless of whether or not they’re running vanilla Android or an Android skin such as TouchWiz.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 takes this category, tying with Google’s Motorola Nexus 6 in its quad-core processor and clocked speed, but winning by a landslide in the memory storage department.
Battery and Battery Life
The Galaxy Note 4 has a 3,220mAh battery, which seems to be a letdown in that it’s only 20mAh bigger than last year’s Galaxy Note 3 battery (3,200mAh). At the same time, however, Samsung says that it’s optimized the battery to improve sippage so that you can conserve more of your battery.
To add to this optimization, Samsung’s also provided its signature Power Saving and Ultra Power Saving Modes that are designed to put you in charge of how you use your battery and your device. Our tests have shown that you can get anywhere from a minimum of 3 days to a high of 8 days with the use of Samsung’s Ultra Power Saving Mode, and you can extend your battery life to a day or two with the use of Samsung’s Grayscale Power Saving Mode.
Some readers have criticized us for insisting that you can get 27 hours of battery life with moderate usage in Samsung’s Note 4 and Galaxy S5, but keep in mind that we’re not referring to the hard-core power user here.
Someone who uses the Note 4 for extended periods of time may get as little as 8-10 hours, whereas someone who uses his or her phone for 90 minutes or so a day (max) may be able to conserve his or her battery to as long as 4 days with 7 hours of screen time over that same period. It all depends on how the battery is used. One thing that we can say is that, while usage always varies, those who’ve used the Ultra Power Saving Mode on the GS5 and now, the Note 4, are getting results of 6-7 days (minimum) battery life – and are still able to use their battery how they want, when they want.
The Motorola Nexus 6, on the other hand, features a 3,220mAh battery that matches the same size battery as that of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4. This wasn’t done by mistake as Motorola’s had its sights set on Samsung’s success since the release of the Moto X.
While the Google/Motorola effort utilized the same size battery, Google and Motorola did not achieve the same battery results: the Motorola Nexus 6 can provide only 9.5 hours of Wi-Fi, 10 hours of LTE, 24 hours of talk time, and 10 hours of video playback. In contrast, Samsung says that the Galaxy Note 4 will provide 12 hours of Wi-Fi, 11 hours of 3G and LTE, 37 hours of talk time, 14 hours of video playback, and 80 hours of audio playback.
The numbers are telling, as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 will provide 2.5 hours of additional Wi-Fi (12 vs. 9.5), an additional hour of LTE (11 vs. 10), 4 additional hours of video playback (14 vs. 10) and 13 additional hours of talk time (37 vs. 24). While we can say a good word for Google’s Nexus 6 in that Android 5.0 Lollipop looks to bring a 90-minute extension battery-saving mode to Google’s operating system as a whole (for the Nexus 6 as well as other Android smartphones), the battery life of the device will not be enough when lined up against Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4.
In the battery and battery life category, Google’s Motorola Nexus 6 is no match for the Galaxy Note 4.
The Galaxy Note 4 features a 3.7MP front camera and a 16MP back camera with optical image stabilization (OIS). On the other hand, Google’s Motorola Nexus 6 features a 2MP front camera and a 13MP back camera with OIS as well.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 cameras win here without a fight, not only because they are higher on the spec sheet but also because of their quality. Anyone who’s used Google’s LG Nexus 5 for any length of time can verify the terrible 8MP back camera on the Nexus 5 that wasn’t made any better – even though it featured both OIS and VIS (video image stabilization).
Cameras are important to a number of consumers in their smartphone decision; with that said, if camera quality is of the utmost significance in your decision to buy or fly, you may want to test out the new Motorola Nexus 6 in stores or read some significant reviews on camera tests before you spend $649 for the Nexus 6. Keep in mind that the Galaxy Note 4, like the Galaxy S5, has an award-winning 16MP camera and videography that place the device in the top three of world-best smartphone cameras.
There are a few other factors to consider in your decision to buy, apart from those we’ve listed above. The Motorola Nexus 6 does feature some measure of splash-resistance, although we wouldn’t recommend taking it into your outdoor pool or shower for a swim.
Two out of every three Nexus fans that are current Nexus 5 owners are extremely hesitant about purchasing the Motorola Nexus 6 because of 1) its size and 2) the price. The Nexus 6 is a near 6-inch display smartphone, up from the 5.7-inch display of the Galaxy Note 4. It seems that Samsung played it smart to maintain its display size to allow users to adjust quickly without worrying about how consumers will handle the Note 4 in their tests and normal experience.
The price is another major drawback for the Motorola Nexus 6. At the end of the day, some ardent Nexus fans (fewer than the current Nexus fan base) will trot off to their carrier to get the phone for $49.99 on-contract with AT&T, for example, but Google’s pricing scheme places the Nexus 6 in the league of the “Big Boys” – and Google’s got to “play ball” now.
The problem with the Motorola Nexus 6 is that it doesn’t offer the consumer much, apart from the latest Google updates and the usual vanilla Android experience that many have come to love (and many have come to dislike intensely). Some consumers may find this appealing enough to make the purchase, but early opinions from diehard Nexus fans say otherwise.
Why would the majority of consumers pay $649 for a vanilla Android experience with a questionable camera and splash resistance, when other manufacturers offer water and dust resistance (Sony with its Xperia Z3, for instance), not to mention far superior cameras to what we’ve seen with either Motorola or Google? Motorola’s Moto X (2014) has an improved camera, but it’s nothing to write home about. With Motorola manufacturing the Nexus 6, we don’t really see the back camera blowing away the competition. Additionally, we don’t see customers lining up to get the $649 Motorola Nexus 6 when Motorola’s own Moto X (2014) costs $150 less out-of-pocket ($499) and provides a near vanilla Android experience for a more affordable price.
Google’s Motorola Nexus 6 is nothing more than a blown-up version of the LG Nexus 5 from last year (with a Motorola logo on the back), but the additional screen size doesn’t add anything to the experience that most Android consumers have adjusted to within the last few years. Samsung’s Galaxy Note phablet has always been the most prestigious phone to beat because of what it offers: not only does it provide a larger display, but also a stylus that Samsung continues to improve more and more with every passing year. The Note 4 is a tribute to a company that has spent the last few years with the goal of increasing consumer work and leisure productivity in mind.
When all is said and done, Google made the same mistake with the Motorola Nexus 6 that Apple made with the iPhone 6 Plus. Both companies offered a wider display without the software benefits that’ve made Samsung the reputable manufacturer it has become. A larger display on a smartphone does not a better phone alone make.
|Features||Motorola Nexus 6||Galaxy Note 4|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 – Quad Core 2.7 GHz||2.7 GHz Quad-Core Processor 1.9 GHz Octa-Core (1.9GHz Quad + 1.3GHz Quad-Core) Processor|
|Main Memory||3GB of RAM||3GB RAM|
|Display||5.96-inch 2560×1440 QHD AMOLED display at 493 ppi||5.7 inch Quad HD Super AMOLED (2560 x 1440), 515 ppi|
|Storage||32 GB, 64 GB||32 GB, expandable up to 64GB|
|Camera||13MP rear-facing with optical image stabilization, 2MP front-facing||16 MP rear with Smart OIS, 3.7 MP front facing camera with f1.9|
|Connectivity||802.11ac 2 x 2 (MIMO), Bluetooth 4.1, NFC||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, 4G, LTE 6, USB 2.0|
|Dimensions||82.98 mm x 159.26 mm x 10.06 mm||153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm|
|Sensors||GPS, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Ambient light sensor, Barometer||Gesture, Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyroscope, RGB,IR-LED Proximity, Barometer, Hall Sensor, Finger Scanner, UV, Heart Rate Monitoring, SpO2|
|OS||Android 5.0 Lollipop||Android 4.4.4|
|Colors||Midnight Blue, Cloud White||Frost White, Charcoal Black, Bronze Gold, Blossom Pink|