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Nexus 6 vs Nexus 6 (2015) comparison: how will the new Nexus be different?

The almighty Nexus 6 was released in 2014 alongside the latest iteration of Google's mobile OS, Android Lollipop. It was a bold phablet, produced by Motorola, which took the Nexus series in a new direction - and it looks like Google could recreate a similar smartphone experience this year.

It has been speculated that two Nexus devices are currently in development, one produced by Huawei and one by LG. This would mark the first time two Nexus smartphones have been released in the same year, and we suspect that these devices will represent purchase options similar to the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6.

Given that LG produced the much-loved Nexus 5, we're tipping Huawei to produce something like the Nexus 6, hence why we have currently nicknamed it the Nexus 6 (2015). Based on what we know about the Nexus 6, Huawei and current rumors, we’re going to take a look at how these devices might compare.

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Will the design of the new Nexus 6 follow that of the Huawei Ascend Mate 7. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 6 vs Nexus 6 (2015) comparison: Design and build quality

The Nexus 6 was notable mainly for its size. People were expecting something like the now-dainty Nexus 5 when it was first announced, and when this 6-inch phablet landed with a thump, some were caught off-guard.

Not only was it big, the Nexus 6 had something of an awkward shape. Thicker at one end, with bezels of uneven length, it was unmistakable for sure, but not exactly in a good way.

Comparatively, some of the most recent Huawei phones have had a luxurious build quality, and this presents a key area in which the Nexus 6 (2015) could take a big stride forward.

The Nexus 6 was a big smartphone, but the new version is said to be slightly smaller. / © ANDROIDPIT

While it’s true that I’m a sucker for slate phones, few would argue that the slim metal of the later Huawei models wouldn’t be an upgrade from Motorola’s mountainous, plastic-reared design.

The recently released Huawei P8, for example, which houses a completely flat, steel unibody, had a particularly sultry design. While Huawei's Mate 7 phablet from last year has a similarly tasty all-metal body, despite its slightly raised back (supporting its giant 4,000 mAh battery.) 

All told, Huawei has been making tightly designed metal handsets, and we're expecting the Nexus 6 (2015) to be a premium-feel phablet. 

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Hopefully the Nexus 6 (2015) will have a smoother finish like the Huawei P8 (upper), and unlike the Nexus 6. / © ANDROIDPIT

One area where the Nexus 6 is ahead of current Huawei phones is the speaker setup. Dual front-facing speakers provided for a superior "media" experience on the Nexus 6 - but I expect a pair of front-facing speakers for Nexus 6 (2015) too.

If Google/Huawei were to miss out on one of the strongest aspects of the Nexus 6 it would be quite an oversight, and though it’s not extremely common for Huawei, the Chinese manufacturer has supplied devices with a dual-speaker setup before (see the MediaPad M1, for example.)

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The Huawei Ascend Mate 7 (left) arrived with a fingerprint scanner. We expect the Nexus 6 2015 would as well. / © ANDROIDPIT

In addition, Huawei made an excellent fingerprint scanner on the back of its Ascend Mate 7, and a look at the upcoming improvements to Android M (including Google’s focus on Android Pay) suggest the Nexus 6 (2015) will have one also. I would be extremely surprised if it didn't.

This fingerprint reader would probably be housed on the center-rear of the device, with the camera sensor above it, also like the Ascend Mate 7. 

Nexus 6 vs Nexus 6 (2015) comparison: Display

We’re expecting a 5.7-inch display from the Nexus 6 (2015) compared to the 6-inch Nexus 6 display. Some thought the Nexus 6 was a little too big, but its display was strong, especially when viewing videos and images.

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The Nexus 6 (right) and Ascend Mate 7 both have lovely displays. / © ANDROIDPIT

Despite talk of 4K displays on the horizon, I doubt we’ll see this on the Nexus 6 (2015): no major manufacturer has entered this territory yet. What's more likely is QHD screen which is brighter, move vivid and with a better screen-to-body ratio.

Even without an increase to overall resolution, we should still expect a high-quality screen. Huawei is no amateur when it comes to its displays: just don’t expect something envelope-pushing.

Nexus 6 vs Nexus 6 (2015) comparison: Software

The Nexus 6 (2015) will almost certainly launch with the new version of Android, just as the Nexus 6 did when it arrived with Lollipop last year.

The previous Nexus 6 will be upgraded to Android Marshmallow (or whatever Android M will eventually be called) around the same time, or shortly after, meaning there won’t be much to separate these two devices from a software point of view. The only difference may be in what the finger-scanner affords the new Nexus.

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Software is one area where Huawei can definitely benefit from partnering with Google. / © ANDROIDPIT

One thing we noted in our Huawei P8 review, and something we marked it down for (thought it’s true of other Huawei devices), is how it didn’t take full advantage of the Lollipop software.

But if Huawei is working with Google on this new phone, you can be sure it will provide the Stock Android interface, along with fast updates. You can read about what this next version of Android will introduce in our Android M developer preview article.  

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The Android M developer preview can be installed on the Nexus 6 now. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 6 vs Nexus 6 (2015) comparison: Specs

So far the only spec rumor we’ve heard regarding the Nexus 6 (2015) is that of a Snapdragon 810 processor, and a 3,500 mAh battery.

Though this is a 10 percent upgrade over the Nexus 6’s 3220 mAh battery, it would still be marginally disappointing given that Huawei is using an immense 4,360 mAh battery in its upcoming Huawei P8max and 4,100 mAh power source in the Ascend Mate 7.

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The Nexus 6 (left) didn't have huge battery, despite its large frame. / © ANDROIDPIT

Still, with quick-charging, wireless charging, and Android M’s Doze, battery life should still beat the Nexus 6 (even when Nexus 6 gets the final version of Android M).

What else can be speculated upon at this time? Well, 3 GB of RAM is probable (even though the magical combination of 3 GB RAM and Snapdragon 810 didn’t really do much for the HTC One M9’s performance, hopefully the overheating Snapdragon 810 days are behind us), but don’t expect expandable storage.

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Here's hoping the Nexus 6 (2015) will be a bit slimmer than the Nexus 6 (bottom). / © ANDROIDPIT

Though Android M is making the transfer of data between device and SD cards easier and more secure, typically Google hasn’t been interested in expandable storage. Between Google Drive and Google Photos, there is plenty of opportunity to store files in the cloud to save on storage space, if this is a concern for you.

Nexus 6 vs Nexus 6 (2015) comparison: Price

The Nexus 6 wasn’t cheap at 599 USD for the 32 GB model and 649 USD for the 64 GB version (499 GBP and 549 GBP in the UK), but it had the hardware to match its higher price.

If the Huawei Bullhead proves to be an all-metal affair with superior hardware, that price could increase further still. Regardless, it’s unlikely that a sequel to the Nexus 6 would be cheaper -- more likely it will be a little more.

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The Nexus 6 wasn't exactly cheap, but it had great specs. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 6 vs Nexus 6 (2015) comparison: Conclusion

The more I think about it, the more I feel like the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 was just Huawei’s excellent pitch to Google for the chance to make the Nexus 6 (2015). It was a phablet with a fingerprint scanner and a great battery: it’s almost like Huawei knew what Google wanted.

Huawei seems to be a somewhat underrated brand out here in the West. How many people do you know who own a Huawei phone? I don’t know anyone and I work in tech journalism. But despite this, Huawei has produced some outstanding hardware in the past couple of years, and I’m excited by the notion of a Huawei-built Nexus phone.

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The Nexus 6 (left), Huawei Ascend Mate 7 (middle) and Huawei P8 (right). / © ANDROIDPIT

To sum up, my predictions for the Huawei Nexus smartphone are that it’s likely to be: all-metal, with a big battery, non-removable rear, non-expandable storage, and QHD display. It would be shorter, narrower and thinner than the Nexus 6 and will borrow very little from it. And I couldn’t be happier if it doesn't.

Do you agree with my thoughts on the Nexus 6? And predictions for the Nexus 6 (2015)? Let me know in the comments below.

Readers' favorite comments

  • Ryan “the Jenks” Jun 20, 2015

    Blech, I'll be bummed if Google goes this direction. I've got the current Nexus 6 and couldn't be happier with the design. A smaller screen would be a downgrade and the current shape feels fantastic for day to day use.


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  • I have spent a couple of months with my Nexus 6. With the honeymoon over, I love this phone just as much as the day I got it. This phone is fast, the size is great (both for emailing and watching videos), front speakers are incredible, the stock software was limited to just Google apps, and battery life is great! No regrets at all.

    I had a Samsung Galaxy S4 and an HTC Hero before this phone, family has iPhones from 4S up to 6. Hands down I would take the 2014 Nexis 6.

  • Dear Google, please do not go smaller that the Nexus 6 on the screen size. Also, please, not only keep the dual front facing speakers, but also improve the dual front facing speakers. Please improve the 4k camera and give us a 4k display!! It did not make sense to have a 4k camera without a 4k display. I love the Nexus 6 so much. If the next phone is anything less than the Nexus 6 in anyway, I will feel as if Nexus is dying:(((((

  • I'm one of the few that wants an even bigger screen than the N6.
    my N6 is the best Nexus i've ever had; and i've had them all and loved them all.

    IMHO, Google Nexus line should go the two sizes scenario:
    a smaller screen one for those of you who want to use their unit primarily as a phone; and a larger screen one for those of us who want to use our unit as a pocket computer.

    i've already switched to cargo pockets, so I'm ready for even a bigger one than the N6.
    I could get use to one almost as big as the N7 tablet, but that's pushing it, even for me.
    somewhere between the N6 and the N7 would be best for me.

    The N6 is fine for me but i will also add a newer larger screen Nexus to my collection.
    but, only after the usual Google intro dust settles, and the new unit becomes readily available at the Google Store, probably this time next year.
    The Google Store because both Pure Android and Google support are important to me

    IMHO, the action isn't with new handsets but with Google Fi.
    if you're looking for me, that's where i will be.

    • Tarototh Aug 31, 2015 Link to comment

      I agree. I am trying to find a way to buy an international huawei pmax. I LOVE LOVE my Nexus 6 big screen. I'm so SOOOOOO tired of people complaining about big phones and how "ridiculous you look talking on the big phone" HOW IS THIS A CONCERN? Nobody cares about how you look using a big phone, i certainly don't, and if it's that important to you, get one of the hundred smaller phones! I'm disappointed that the new Nexus 6 will be 5.7 inches. .. I had a galaxy note 4 which i loved, and it was 5.6 ish, and now that I've moved up to Nexus 6, i do not want to back track on screen size. I adapted to big size by getting a holster which i can transfer to any pants i wear. I too use my 6 as a computer. I rarely use my home computer except for BIG screen movie or games. Daily usage for communications email, searches, banking, EVERYTHING else i use ONLY phone. I feel sorry for my poor super high end computer it gets used so little :)

  • Suo Eno Jun 21, 2015 Link to comment

    I'm probably the only one here who couldn't care less if bullhead is gonna be QHD or made by Huawei. Easy key thing here; just don't muck it up any worse than shamu like losing the front speakers etc. Any other underlying concerns such as the "it'll phone back to China" FUD should be auto addressed by Google and ffs it's a Nexus fcol not the kind of thing that'll pass through unnoticed.

    Metal body means jack shit to me if it involves specs loss period.

  • Is it too much to ask for a small and simple nexus device with moto's beautiful features like the active display and the Moto assist?

    • Tarototh Aug 31, 2015 Link to comment

      No it's not, that's why the Nexus 5 is being made concurrently. In case you haven't seen, there will be a Nexus 5 and 6 this time so we both get our wish. I want a huge phone with the features you mention

  • Kapil Jun 20, 2015 Link to comment

    I am very annoyed when my 4 months old google 6 ....made $150 cheap....thats ridiculous

    • Tarototh Aug 31, 2015 Link to comment

      That's how tech goes. Where have you been. Don't early adopt. It's how the tech market has always worked. Wait a month and buy used model, that's what i did

  • Blech, I'll be bummed if Google goes this direction. I've got the current Nexus 6 and couldn't be happier with the design. A smaller screen would be a downgrade and the current shape feels fantastic for day to day use.

    • Tarototh Aug 31, 2015 Link to comment

      I don't want smaller screen but i do want the corners to have almost like pegs so it fits flat on the desk or table as i tap on the screen while it's laying down..

  • SD810? No thanks. I don't see why other companies don't use Samsung's SOCs. If it's the best (and right now it is), why not?

    • The SOC is the best in the market but, The processer is SAMSUNG'S and is not allowed use for other companies because it's samsung ' inavatio and samsung doesn't want anybody else to use

  • I have a nexus 6 and I love it! Its the best on its platform.

  • What's up with everyone hating on the nexus 6? I have one and live it.

  • I'll be very disappointed if the 810 is used in October or November of this year. By then, we'll know all about the forthcoming 820, the new Kirin chips and possibly details about Samsung's new Exynos setup. The 810 will seem like a dinosaur by then - so if it's in the next Nexus 6 then there's no way I'll be parting with my cash.

  • I would be happy if what you say comes true. One thing is I'm not very confident with the SD810 but hopefully it will be on version 810v10.20 or something by then :)

  • None.

  • I have a nexus 6.since 5.1.1 my battery life sucks.has anybody had the same problem?also the new nexus had better have two front speakers.

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