Google takes the wraps off Nexus 6, Nexus 9 [Update]

Google Nexus 6

It is estimated that one in three smartphones shipped in 2018 will be a phablet, which is more than double their projected share for 2014. For Google -- with Android still likely to run on the majority of phablets -- helping developers to properly optimize their apps for larger screens has become a top priority. Ensuring that Android phablets provide a great user experience is paramount; otherwise, users may jump ship to Apple's iPhones or Microsoft's Windows Phones.

So, today, Google takes the wraps off its first phablet, Nexus 6. It is the embodiment of all the great features we have come to expect out of a phablet from late-2014: super high-resolution screen, super fast processor, solid cameras, very thin bezels and a huge battery. As expected, Google also announced a new tablet, the first one to come since July 2013, called Nexus 9. It does not disappoint either. Of course, both run the new Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is shipping in the next few weeks.

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But, first off, let's talk about Nexus 6. The Motorola-made handset packs a whopping 5.96-inch screen with a resolution of 1,440 by 2,560; that equates to a pixel density of 493. The resolution has become standard for flagship smartphones launched in the second half of 2014, so it is only natural that Google would want to use it in a phablet which will most likely be its only one for a year. It is also a resolution for which few titles are optimized, which makes that much more relevant.

Power comes from a 2.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, coupled with 3 GB of RAM, and a 3,220 mAh battery. By the looks of it, battery life will be better than with past Nexus smartphones. Turbo Charge will ensure that, after just 15 minutes of charging, it will add around six hours of battery life, which is nice.

On the back, there is a 13 MP camera, which features optical image stabilization (OIS). It has a large f/2.0 aperture, which should mean great image and video quality in low light. It is a welcome upgrade coming from Nexus 5, which camera boasts a smaller f/2.4 aperture, but still offers OIS. On the front, there is a 2 MP shooter, which should be good for selfies and video chats.

Nexus 6 is offered in two storage options: 32 GB and 64 GB. Naturally, there is 4G LTE connectivity on board, as well as other typical features like NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 LE. It also packs stereo front-facing speakers, like HTC One (M8).

Available color options are Cloud White and Midnight Blue. It will cost $649 off-contract, according to Motorola, and Google says it will go up for pre-order later this month. Nexus 6 will be offered at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, US Cellular (on-contract) as well as Best Buy (on-contract as well, probably), Motorola's online store and Google Play (unlocked). Nexus 6 will go on sale in 28 countries in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific later this year and "into Q1" 2015, says Motorola.

T-Mobile has already announced that Nexus 6 will be through its online and brick and mortar stores starting November 12, for $0 down coupled with $27.08 monthly payments for two years, on its Equipment Installment Plan.

It is worth noting that Google will keep selling Nexus 5 alongside it, probably because lots of people have asked it to, in the same trims as before: black or white, with 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage. Nexus 5 is currently listed from $349 on Google Play.

As far as Nexus 9 is concerned, Google's new tablet -- which is made by HTC -- packs an 8.9-inch display with a resolution of 1,536 x 2,048. That resolution is what Apple uses in its Retina iPads; it is also the first important Android tablet with a 4:3 aspect ratio.

Power comes from a 64-bit 2.3 GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra K1 processor, with 2 GB of RAM, and a 6,700 mAh battery. It ships with 16 GB or 32 GB of storage, depending on which version you get. There is also a 4G LTE version with 32 GB of internal storage offered.

Google Nexus 9

For those who like to take photos with their large tablets, Google has opted for an 8 MP camera on the back and a 1.6 MP shooter on the front. Since the latter will probably get the most use, the relatively low megapixel count (compared to other Nexus devices) is likely to disappoint, at least when it comes to selfies and video chats (1080p is out of the question). Other noteworthy specs include NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 LE as well as BoomSound stereo, front-facing speakers.

Nexus 9 comes in at 8.9 x 6.05 x 0.31 inches. It weighs 425 grams for the Wi-Fi models, and 436 grams for the cellular version.

Nexus 9 will be available starting November 3, with pre-orders kicking off on October 17. According to The Verge, it costs $399 for the 16 GB model, $479 for the 32 GB version and $599 in the 4G LTE trim.

Update: This story has been updated with additional information regarding Nexus 6 colors, price and availability, and Nexus 9 hardware specifications and price.

22 Responses to Google takes the wraps off Nexus 6, Nexus 9 [Update]

  1. Eric Sleeper says:

    This blows - Nexus has always been my favorite line (Good price, all the updates).
    But they lost me due to the size. I thought the iPhone 6 Plus was huge.
    Good-bye Nexus.

  2. KingofPing says:

    "It also packs stereo front-facing speakers, like HTC One (M8)."

    Deciding factor for me. Will have to compare it to my M8 in-store. If it does actually compare, I might jump.

    Will wait on the tablet to see some actual real-world reviews after it's been out a while...will *definitely* avoid the LTE model - Google burned me with the Nexus 7 LTE and it's woefully slow updates.

  3. srkelley says:

    That Nexus looks mighty fine.

    LTE tablets cost too much money to not offer full call and sms capabilities. Let some people put it up to their head for calls, I'll use a headset. I can't see myself bothering to buy any cellular network connected tablet until they start to support full radio feature parity with phones.

    I text exclusively through Google Voice now, but the calls are still important. Making true cell calls over the network is important for the quality and stability. The fluctuating differences in the data and lack of optimization/qos for voip/sip services don't offer a great experience. If they were equal or greater then I wouldn't have an issue.

  4. J0E_BL0W says:

    I have Nexus 5 (32 G). I love it. As a phone Nexus 6 is too big for MY personal need.
    .
    I have an Acer Aconia A210 (quad-core) and with no back camera. Nexus 9 is interresting for the camera but I don't like the fact that it has only a dual-core CPU.
    .
    Now I hope Lollipop will be available to the Nexus 5.

    • Mihaita Bamburic says:

      I think that the "only" dual core is faster than any quad-core on the market. Totally different architecture, better than anything Qualcomm uses now.

  5. extremely_well says:

    I like the Nexus 6's bigger screen and water-splash resistance, but I'm still leaning towards the Galaxy Note 4 for its pluses: Galaxy Gear support, better front and back cameras, stylus with Wacom digitizer, removable battery, and probably better screen quality (Super AMOLED). I'm not worried too much about some Samsung bloatware as I'm pretty sure it can be hacked off, so to speak.

    • SetNick says:

      One cannot disagree with hard facts.

    • Damon Star says:

      Nah man Nexus 5 is the way to go. It's still a kickass phone, reasonably sized and cheap af.

      3-mic noise suppression, WACK-com stylus, IR transmitter? These just features for rich white dudes to waste money on. How many people actually use any of that shit on a daily basis?

  6. Claudinho85 says:

    bad decision making the nexus 6 that big...on the other hand i think the nexus tv is perfect for me, wanted a media box that can stream chromecast stuff

  7. Claudinho85 says:

    i bet they will release a smaller nexus 6 soon

    • SetNick says:

      The carriers have asked to keep the nexus 5 on the market for a period of time. I dont think they will make a smaller nexus 6 anytime soon.

  8. Infinite_Reality says:

    I'll never pay $650 for a phone, Google is going to lose customers over this one. The whole idea to the Nexus devices is a balance between price and performance.

  9. Richard Saunders says:

    Hmm...at that price I think I might just go for a Galaxy Note 4 instead.

  10. John Topher says:

    Will it sell 10million in the first weekend?

  11. blazewon22 says:

    Having a Nexus 5 already I may wait another year for a Nexus 6. However i'm glad AT&T will carry it. Not sure if I see the value in a Non-Contract version. I have a nexus 7 but may update that to the 9. $600 for the LTE model is pretty pricey however.

  12. aires69uk says:

    The main thing that attracted me to the original Nexus 4 was the price. The main thing that puts me off the Nexus 6 is the price. I'm extremely disappointed with the increase in price. if I wanted an expensive phone I'd buy an iPhone 6. Very very disappointed.

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