Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 – flagships head to head

The iPhone 6 was one of the most anticipated phones of the year until it was released recently, whilst the Nexus 6 continues to be one of the most awaited new Google devices of the year. Since the two phones are among the most popular topics among tech enthusiasts and each phone represents the top-notch example of its respective OS, a comparison between the two would seem appropriate.

The iPhone 6 runs iOS 8, whilst the Nexus 6 will run on Android 5.0 L, and this is why the phones represent two different groups of people, Android fans and Apple fans. When the Nexus 6 will be out (probably October 31), the people might just go crazy and argue to death about which phone is the better representative of the general smartphone category. Not that either of them are or will be the best smartphone available, let’s be honest.

Jokes aside, the two flagships have stirred up a lot of interest and Apple fans are anxious to receive their iPhone 6 units, whilst Android fans are waiting on the Nexus 6 announcement. The first obvious downside of the Nexus 6 is that it hasn’t been announced yet, but we’ll try to set that aside for the sake of this article. The other downside of the Nexus 6 is that we don’t actually know if it’s going to be called the Nexus 6. It might end up being named the Nexus X or even the new edition of the Nexus 5. This is not necessarily a downside, but it is a frustrating issue because if we’re not clear on a name, we’re not clear on what to expect and what to look for on October 31, even though the name will probably get leaked before the presumable launch date of the Nexus 6.

Apple has created a lot of hype around itself this month with the release of two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and the announcement of the Apple Watch. To add to the already considerable amount of attention the company was already getting, rumors have been saying that a MacBook Air and an iPad Air 2 are also on their way and will possibly end up in stores by the end of the year. That’s unconfirmed information, though, so take it with a grain of salt, please. Even though Apple is having trouble getting the iPhone 6 out to the biggest smartphone market at the time, China, the company can still boast with record-setting pre-order numbers on the first day the iPhone 6 was launched.

The Nexus 6 however, remains a much more enigmatic device since almost nothing has been revealed about it by Google, the Nexus program initiator. Even so, one can still find thousands of rumors flying around on the internet about who will be manufacturing the phone, how it will be designed and what it will be powered by. It should be clear that a comparison between an already released phone and an unconfirmed phone falls in the category of speculative objectiveness, so to speak, but in my opinion, it would still offer insight worth checking out.

Right to it, then. First off, the most important difference we will be noting between the iPhone 6 and Nexus 6 is the OS. The iPhone 6 runs iOS 8, Apple’s fresher than fresh mobile operating system. According to many reviewers, the iOS 8, which was released yesterday, is a completely different version of iOS 7. I say this because Apple has not focused on redesigning the OS this time, rather the company tried to emphasize functionality and features, which is the way to go when bringing out a new mobile OS, in my opinion.

iOS 8 brings many new features to Apple mobile devices, including the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, improving UI and device integration, as well as overall openness of the OS. Apple has decided to open up many areas of iOS 8 to developers, including the Today screen, notifications center and widgets, so that iOS 8 users can benefit from what third-party apps can bring to the iPhone 6. Widget support, predictive text input, third-party keyboards, improved Spotlight, Apple Pay, HealthKit, HomeKit and many more new features are included in iOS 8.

You would think that nothing could top a brand new phone with a brand new OS, right? There is something that might have the stamina to do so though: another brand new phone with a brand new OS. The Nexus 6 will probably be just that: a new Google phone with Android 5.0 L (Lemon Meringue Pie, Lollipop, Lion). Android L is the most anticipated version of Android, mostly because it adds 64 bit compatibility and support, the new trend in smartphones. New 64 bit smartphones have been released this month which will surely benefit from Android L when it is released, such as the HTC Desire 820 and the Lenovo Vibe Z2.

Android 5.0 L will bring improvements to notifications, making them accessible directly from your lock screen and providing actionable notifications. Material design on Android L will be one of its main selling points, as it will make the UI look flat and 3D at the same time, allowing fluid animations, intuitive shadow granulation, 3D tiles and more. Interlocking apps that can interact with each other will make the user experience more fluid and relieve it of interruptions, whilst a faster OS will also save some battery life, according to developers.

It remains a matter of user choice when it comes to OS on the iPhone 6 and Nexus 6, so we can safely say that the iPhone 6 will be for the ones who love what Apple has done with iOS 8 whilst the Nexus 6 will be for Android fans who are looking forward to an even more optimized platform. Even though this will probably be the first thing users will think about when trying to choose between the iPhone 6 and Nexus 6, there are plenty more things to mention about both of the handsets.

The Nexus 6, or Nexus X or Nexus 5 2014, whichever name you like best at the moment, will most likely be made by Motorola, but that’s not confirmed yet. It will sport either a 5.2, 5.7 or 5.9 inch screen, but rumors say it might actually follow in the footsteps of the Apple release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and release both a 5.2 inch and a 5.9 inch version of the Nexus 6. That would be a smart move on the part of Google, because both phones would be able to compete in the smartphone market and the phablet market against the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, HTC One M8, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge, Meizu MX4, Xiaomi Mi4, OnePlus One, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Alpha, Huawei Ascend Mate 7, Sony Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact and more.

The iPhone 6 has a 4.7 inch 750*1334 resolution display with 326 ppi, protected by an oleophobic coating and shatter-proof glass. The 5.2 inch version of the Nexus 6 will probably come with a True HD IPS+ display with a 1440*2560 resolution and 565 ppi, although if a different version of the Nexus 6 will also be available, we can only speculate that it will come with the same sort of display, but with a lower pixel density. Corning Gorilla Glass 3 is the most likely screen protection the Nexus 6 will sport, because there have been no rumors saying otherwise.

The iPhone 6, as you can deduce, has an optimal resolution and pixel density, which would mean that even though the Nexus 6 will have a higher pixel density and resolution, the difference won’t be noticeable from afar, but it will certainly look a tad sharper and brighter. The iPhone 6 has a fingerprint sensor and rumors have said that the Nexus 6 might also sport one of those, but users of Nexus devices have said that they don’t feel the need for such a sensor.

The iPhone 6 is available in 16, 64 and 128 GB storage versions, with no microSD card slot, whilst the Nexus 6 will probably be available in a 32 GB version, hopefully with a microSD card slot. The iPhone 6 is powered by Apple’s own dual-core 1.4 GHz A8 CPU backed by 1 GB RAM and PowerVR GX6650 GPU, whilst the Nexus 6 will most likely sport a quad core Snapdragon 805 64 bit configured CPU clocked at 2.7 GHz, 3 GB RAM and Adreno 420 CPU. If you look at these specs, you might say that the Nexus 6 processing power is clearly superior, but you must not forget that iOS does run smoothly and fast on lower specs. Nonetheless, Android 5.0 L will be specifically configured for this type of CPU, so we can expect excellent performance from the Nexus 6.

The iPhone 6 has an 8 MP front camera, which functions great according to reviewers and gets great shots. The front camera on the iPhone 6 is a 1.2 MP one, though, which is not much. The Nexus 6 will allegedly sport a 13 MP rear camera and a 2.1 MP front camera. The rear camera on the Nexus 5 was merely satisfactory for most owners, so there is hope that the Nexus 6 rear camera will perform better. A 2.1 MP selfie shooter isn’t much either on the Nexus 6, but it would be enough for most. Except for those who take 200 selfies a day, maybe. Nonetheless, neither front camera is anything special.

Radio and IR blasters lack on both the iPhone 6 and Nexus 6, but NFC is there on both of them. The NFC features on the Nexus 6 will probably be as usual like on previous devices, but the NFC chip on the iPhone 6 is locked to Apple Pay at the moment, so you won’t benefit from using NFC tags or sharing or pairing. Even so, it’s pretty likely that Apple will unlock that NFC chip and make it available to developers as well, as they have done in the past with Touch ID.

So far, the iPhone 6 seems like an excellent iteration of Apple prowess, although it might be bothersome for those switching from an Android or Windows platform, because iOS 8 is a bit more restrictive than those. Otherwise, most reviews state that the iPhone 6 works flawlessly and has many features to be enjoyed by its owners. Testament to this is the record number of pre-orders the iPhone 6 got when it was first launched a few days ago.

The Nexus 6 doesn’t disappoint either, promising to be an excellent phone with Android 5.0 L flawlessly running the show, offering stock Android at the same time. If you’re hooked on Android and would really enjoy a smartphone which will receive direct updates and support from Google, it’s certainly a device worth waiting for until its rumored October 31 release date. The Nexus 6 will surely be a powerful device, although many of the specs I’ve detailed above have not been confirmed, neither Google nor Motorola giving out any information whatsoever. Nonetheless, the Nexus 6 is still a very anticipated phone many are looking forward to seeing next month.