The Nexus 5 is one of the best devices currently available on Android when looking in terms of cost and performance. Now the Nexus 6 has arrived, alongside the new version of Google's proprietary OS, Android 5.0 Lollipop. Let's take a look at how the these two devices stack up in our Nexus 5 vs Nexus 6 comparison.
Nexus 6 vs Nexus 5 design
The Nexus 6 is emulating the look of the Moto X (2014), albeit with a larger frame. Arriving with a 5.96-inch screen, it has a similar camera placement (with the flash around the sensor), to the Motorola flagship, though the volume and lock buttons have slid further down towards the middle of the device to accommodate the bigger body. The Nexus 5's rather "neutral" look is being made a bit more flashy thanks to the Nexus 6's aluminium bezels and dual front-facing speakers.
Nexus 6 vs Nexus 5 display
The Nexus 6 display is one of its highlights for sure: jumping up from the Full-HD (1,920 x 1,080) Nexus 5 screen to a QHD (2,560 x 1,440) panel, the Nexus 6 sits at the top of the Android resolution pile alongside the likes of the LG G3 and the Oppo Find 7. The Nexus 6's large display means that the pixel-per-inch count is only a modest upgrade over the Nexus 5, coming in at 493 ppi compared to the Nexus 5's 445 ppi. In reality, the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 screens aren't worlds apart when looking at the app drawer or browsing the internet. The Nexus 5 is brighter, and the Nexus 6 is slightly pink-ish. It's in games and HD content where the real difference shows and the Nexus 6's increased resolution is most perceptible.
- Android 5.0 Lollipop: release date, news and features
- Android 5.0 Lollipop problems and how to fix them
Nexus 6 vs Nexus 5 performance
The Nexus 6 has some impressive performance specs. Equipped with a Quad-core Snapdragon 805 clocked at 2.7 GHz, the Nexus 6 is currently has one of the strongest chipsets on the market, but sadly not one which is 64-bit compatible. This is perhaps one of the areas that the Nexus 6 has lost out against other next gen flagships, and because of this it doesn't seem so much more impressive than the Nexus 5 with its Snapdragon 800.
Both devices are rocking Android 5.0 Lollipop and when conducting normal business, the performance difference isn't really noticeable. We do know that the Nexus 6 is technically one of the most powerful devices around, according to its benchmarking scores, and is primed to take advantage of future updates, but right now it's only going to be the Nexus 5 when it's put under heavy load.
Nexus 6 vs Nexus 5 camera
The Nexus devices are not known for their camera technology, with the Nexus 5 camera suffering from many problems. Fortunately, the Nexus 5's 8 MP rear camera has been improved with updates, and it seems like Android 5.0 Lollipop is set to fix them once and for all, but it still can't really measure up to a Sony or Samsung flagship.
The Nexus 6 holds 13 MP rear-camera sensor, with optical image stabilization, providing far better performance than it's predecessor. The camera is one of the key ways the Nexus 6 presents tangible value over the Nexus 5. It has higher resolution, less noise, and deeper colors.
Nexus 6 vs Nexus 5 battery
The Nexus 5 battery life isn't great, with a 2,300 mAh battery powering a high-performance device. The Nexus 6 comes with a 3,220 mAh battery, almost 1000 milliampere-hour more, but it has a bigger and more detailed screen to power. What is the end result?
The Nexus 6, despite higher-power components, still beats the Nexus 5 in terms of battery life. In our experience, it easily manages 24 hours of heavy usage with juice still in the tank. Add to this the ability to gain a significant charge (around 6 hours) in just 15 minutes, and the Nexus 6 offers a much better energy package overall.
Nexus 6 vs Nexus 5 price
The Nexus 6 has bucked the mid-range price trend we'd come to expect from the Nexus series with an off-contract price of 649 USD. Compared to the Nexus 5 which currently sits on Amazon for 349 USD (and launched at the same price), this is a significant price hike, equating to almost double the cost of the previous flagship. This is likely to be one of the major defining factors on whether users will invest in the new flagship.
|Google Nexus 5||Google Nexus 6|
|System||Android 4.4.4 KitKat (upgradable to Android 5.0 Lollipop)||Android 5.0 Lollipop|
|Screen||4.95-inch IPS 1920 x 1080 (445 ppi)||5.96-inch AMOLED, 2,560 x 1,440 Pixel (493 ppi)|
|Processor||Quad-core Snapdragon 800, 2.3 GHz||Quad-core Snapdragon 805, 2.7 GHz, Adreno 420 GPU|
|RAM||2 GB||3 GB|
|Internal memory||16/32 GB||32/64 GB|
|Battery||2300 mAh||3220 mAh + turbo-charge functionality|
|Camera||8 MP (rear), 1.3MP (front)||13 MP with OIS (rear), 2.1 MP (front)|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, LTE||Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, LTE|
|Dimensions||137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6 mm||82.98 x 159.26 x 10.06 mm|
|Weight||130 g||184 g|
|Price||349 USD||649 USD|
The Nexus 6, as you would expect, improves upon the Nexus 5 in almost all areas, but, crucially, with regards to the camera technology, which many had a big problem with on the last iteration. There is no doubt the Nexus 6 is superior device, but the reason some may hesitate (and I expect many will) is down to the size and the overall cost/benefit.
At 5.96-inches, the Nexus 6 is one of the biggest flagships on the market, and this might be just too big for some people, and the improvements the Nexus 6 presents, while outperforming the Nexus 5 in almost every area, are mostly unsubstantial.
Bigger screen, higher resolution, more battery, better camera, faster processor: it's faster better stronger, but only incrementally, only compared to a device which is still strong today. And for that reason, when looking at value, I don't think we see the extra 300 dollars reflected in the overall experience of the Nexus 6.
Do you think the Nexus 6 provides a worthwhile upgrade for owners of the Nexus 5?