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Android 5.1 makes the Nexus 6 noticeably faster: we've got proof

An Android update rarely brings as significant a change to a device as the Android 5.1 Lollipop update did for the Nexus 6. We ran benchmarks before and after the update just to see if the miraculous ''performance improvements'' always listed actually made a noticeable difference. Take a look at our Nexus 6 benchmark comparison on Android 5.0.1 vs Android 5.1.

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Android 5.0.1 vs. Android 5.1 on the Nexus 6: the wonder-flounder just got 13 percent faster / © ANDROIDPIT

The Nexus 6 is already equipped with some serious hardware and so it should, it's still only a six month old phone. But tweak a few things in the kernel and you can not only say goodbye to the micro-stutters the Nexus 6 was renowned for but get an all-over serious speed boost in the process.

Some of you might know modder Francisco Franco, or at least the kernel named after him. Franco Kernel is well known for delivering better battery life and increased performance to any device that makes use of it. The kernel expert wrote a small treatise on his Google+ page to explain the extent to which the kernel for the Nexus 6 is better following the update to Android 5.1.

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Gains made by the Nexus 6 on Android 5.1 (right) versus on Android 5.0.1 (left) in AnTuTu. / © ANDROIDPIT

The main point of the optimization is that the Nexus 6 now has all four cores constantly active and responsive. This means that those tasks that used to only utilize a single core are now handled by four, so not only will you see less delay, the task can be shuttled between cores to ensure none are too congested.

That is the theory anyway, but how does this work in practice? We benchmarked our Nexus 6, both with Android 5.0.1 and then again following the update to Android 5.1. We found that the performance in some areas increased by 13 percent, while other tests were unaffected by the Android update.

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Qualcomm's Vellamo Benchmark shows similar performance gains. / © ANDROIDPIT

Multi-threaded benchmark tests in particular saw visible gains after updating the Nexus 6 to Android 5.1, especially in MT Stream 5.10 (memory bandwidth speeds), Threadbench (measures thread speed and and system call operation speeds) and Parsec (used to measure the distance of the Kessel Run).

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Vellamo's multi-thread tests prove Franco's theory to be correct.. / © ANDROIDPIT

Never mind all that though, what's most important is the Inter-Process Communication score, which measures just how fast various concurrent processes can run. A higher score here means a phone is more capable of handling multiple processes at once – exactly what the doctor ordered when you're suffering from micro-stutters, lag or delays when multi-tasking or otherwise hurling abuse at your Nexus 6.

AnTuTu Benchmark Install on Google Play Vellamo Mobile Benchmark Install on Google Play

Before you ask: no, the same performance improvements have not occurred on the Nexus 5 running Android 5.1.

Have you got Android 5.1 on your Nexus 6? What have you noticed?

Based on an original article by Eric Herrmann for


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  • Pam O. Mar 17, 2015 Link to comment

    I'm having issues with my proximity sensor in 5.1. When on the phone it's now always black even when you remove it from you ear. Had to take screen protector off to make it work. My build ends in D but I've heard the new 5.1 ending in E did not fix this issue for the nexus 6.

  • Mine's running beautifully on 5.1. If you're having any problems then do a factory data reset.

  • I'm surprised the article states there is no real difference for the Nexus 5 with update 5.1. Well actually it says the same improvements have not occurred on the Nexus 5. At first when my phone switched to lollipop, I didn't notice a problem. But quickly what had one been a fast phone began lagging. The 5.0.1 update did nothing to fix that.

    But with 5.1 I feel like I have the phone I bought, back - only better. Having that speed back is wonderful. And I don't have any tests that will tell me so this is just subjective, but it seems like maybe it is a little faster than under KitKat. Of course that may simply be how it seems compared to the original lollipop. Felt like going backwards from Windows 8 to Vista lol.

  • Just for comparison, I'm using the Franco Kernel 3.10.40 in Chroma (5.0.2 base) and got 52628 in AnTuTu

  • I've just updated to 5.1 on my nexus 6 and I have noticed a significant increase in the speed of the phone, no camera shutter lag, instant switching between apps and overall fluidity that just wasn't there before I updated

  • DWAYNE W. Mar 16, 2015 Link to comment

    I'm still running 5.01 on my nexus 6 and just got a 51819 score using AnTuTu. :-/

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