The Nexus 6 with its 5.96-inch display should really be considered a phablet, and what comes to mind when the word phablet is uttered? Samsung, of course, the company that coined the term. Here is our comparison between the Galaxy Note 4 and the Nexus 6 where we look at which QHD-packing Android phone comes out on top!
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Nexus 6 vs Note 4: design
The Nexus 6 and the Note 4 belong to the 2014-2015 generation smartphones with a metal frame. The main weakness of Android phones’ has long been the choice of designs and materials, aside from the HTC One (M8) and the Sony devices since the Xperia Z. This is of course subjective, but I feel that Android phones are really getting nicer this year. The Note 4 and the Nexus 6 were able to squeeze out of the ugly mold and are both quite elegant.
The Nexus 6 was crafted in the image of the Moto X (2014), aside from it being bigger and including a few changes: the volume and power buttons have been moved down, the same goes for the camera and the flash, though they remain in the middle of the device. The Galaxy Note 4 has a plastic backing with an aluminium frame, and has the same physical Samsung buttons that we’ve become accustomed to.
One point in which the Nexus 6 is better than the Note 4 is that the Google phone is water-resistant, while the Note 4 is not. What it lacks in water resistance though, it make up with the included S Pen stylus which fits snuggly into the chassis.
Nexus 6 vs Note 4: display
In terms of resolution, the Note 4 and the Nexus 6 are almost identical: 494 ppi (QHD; 5.96-inches) for the Nexus, and 515 ppi (QHD, 5.7-inches) for the Samsung. Though both devices are equipped with the same great Super AMOLED QHD resolution (2,560 x 1,440 pixels), by having different sizes screens this makes the density differ.
When putting both screens side-by-side, the results seen were a bit disappointing. Despite being set to maximum brightness, the Nexus 6 is clearly darker than the Note 4, the latter on the other hand has great color depth and contrast, without being oversaturated. To be fair, the Nexus 6 also has great colors, however in comparison to the Galaxy Note 4, there is only one winner, and that being the Samsung phablet.
Nexus 6 vs Note 4: system
The Nexus 6 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop right out of the box, and has since received an update to Android 5.0.1 to fix some bugs from the first version of Lollipop. The Galaxy Note 4 is still running Android 4.4.4 KiKat however, it's very near to getting Android 5.0 Lollipop seeing as it is expected to arrive to the phablet in December OTA.
Right off of the bat, the main differences are TouchWiz and stock Android: TouchWiz is full to the brim with features while stock Android has all the basic needs, but in a very refined way. Some of the features that Samsung offers are very well implemented, like the camera features and gesture controls. The stock Android OS on the Nexus 6 has many new features thanks to Android Lollipop, like Battery Saver, Ambient display, Tap and Go for quick NFC transfer of data from old to new smartphones, new notifications and multitasking features etc. These functions make stock Android not feel so bare-boned as it might have felt in the past, however with the Note 4 closing in on the Andorid 5.0 update, it won't be long before the Samsung phone has all of these as well.
The Note 4 is also a step ahead of the Nexus 6 with its S Pen stylus which is great for smartphone operation. The stylus also comes with its own set of features that are activated when you pull it out. Also, lets not forget the finger print scanner and the heart rate monitor which are also found on the Note 4.
- Galaxy Note 4 S Pen features: cool things to do with your stylus
Nexus 6 vs Note 4: performance
Both devices come with top notch processors and stunning QHD displays. However just like the LG G3, such a demanding screen often has an effect on the overall smoothness of a phone's performance, especially when playing HD games. This was noticed when playing games on both either device. However, for the most part, everything ran impeccably for either device, apps opened right away, animations were crisp and what can be observed are two of the best performing smartphones around. There was no clear winner in this section.
Nexus 6 vs Note 4: camera
The Nexus 6 was finally able to break away from the poor camera quality that plagued previous Nexus phones and does a standup job with its 13MP back shooter. Motorola also included the optical image stabilizer. The benefits of this technology could be seen in the results: images taken in low light situations turned out great and offer little noise. The Galaxy Note 4 on the other hand has a higher resolution rear camera of 16 MP, in addition to an ISOCELL sensor, an optical image stabilizer and a long list of shooting modes.
It's also interesting to note that that either device was treated differently in terms of front camera resolution. The Nexus 6 only comes with 2 MP on the front, while the Note 4 has 3.7 MP. Samsung clearly understood that the current selfie trend in adopting a better camera on the front. They also included a neat feature which allows users to use the back facing camera to take selfies which uses the heart rate monitor as a sensor.
Take a look of our comparison picture below where we used the back facing cameras on either phone.
Nexus 6 vs Note 4: battery
The Nexus 6 has a battery with a capacity of 3,220 mAh: even if you consider that the larger, more battery-sucking display than on the Nexus 5, the leap in battery capacity is still quite impressive. That being said, the Note 4 meets it eye-to-eye with 3,220 mAh and with the screen is slightly smaller, the Samsung phablet is sure to have a longer battery life. The battery is also exchangeable. When testing out the Nexus 6, there was no problems of quick battery draining and there was more than enough juice to get through the day. In our test, we used the Nexus 6 for 27 hours during which we did all what a normal user would do, it there was still 17 percent remaining. When testing the Note 4, we found that the Note 4 was also more than satisfactory.
Both devices come with their own battery saving technology: the Nexus 6 has Battery Saver will limit the heavy tasks that your phone usually does. For example, there will be no more haptic feedback when pressing on keys, background data will come to a screeching halt, and apps will no longer sync, amongst some other things.
As for the Note 4, it comes with not one, but two battery saving features, those being Power Saving Mode and Ultra Power Saving Mode. The first mode will disable haptic feedback as well as limit CPU and screen performance. Utlra Power Saving Mode on the other hand will get rid of the colors on your display and apply a grayscale to your user interface. It will also limit access to apps, turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, as well as mobile data when the screen is off. It is so good that you could get another week of battery life with this turned on the entire time if you really needed it.
Both the Nexus 6 and the Note 4 perform well in this section, however the Galaxy Note 4 with its Ultra Power Saving Mode comes out slightly ahead.
Nexus 6 vs Note 4: price
The Nexus 6 will be sold for 649 USD off-contract for the 32 GB variant, and the 64 GB model will cost you 699 USD. Despite the high price, in comparison to the previous Nexus phones, the Note 4 is even more expensive at 855.00 USD unlocked, but if you get it with a carrier you would obviously pay a smaller amount upfront and monthly installments. The Nexus 6 is the first time you can also get a Nexus phone with individual carriers, in addition to purchasing it through the Google Play Store. At the moment, it is currently out of stock in many regions.
Nexus 6 vs Note 4
The Nexus 6 is shaping up to be a great phone, though the price is a little expensive for what we were hoping to see. The reason for this is clear: it has a great QHD AMOLED display, a super-fast Snapdragon 805 processor, 3 GB of RAM 3,220 mAh battery and runs Android 5.0 (now Android 5.0.1). With these specs, it meets the Note 4, and still comes out costing less. The Nexus 6 is also water resistant, while the Note 4 is not.
On the other hand, the Note 4 has better cameras (both front and back), an S Pen, fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor, a removable battery and a micro SD slot, not to mention more features, an Ultra Power Saving mode. The Samsung phone will also soon be updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop to clear up that gab between the two devices.
Though it does come down to taste and preference, which design you prefer, a Moto X look-alike or a typical Samsung device, both with aluminium frames, we have already crowned the Galaxy Note 4 as the best Android phone of 2014, though the Nexus 6 isn't far behind.
Which phone do you think is better?