Nexus 6P is the bigger of Google’s two new smartphones – a direct replacement for last year’s Nexus 6. But while both phones are big, powerful beasts, they don’t have much in common; even the company that makes them has changed (Nexus 6P is made by Huawei, while the 6 was made by Motorola). So let’s see what difference a year, and a new manufacturer, makes.
Huawei has taken a much more angular route with the design of the Nexus 6P than Motorola did with the Nexus 6. The squarer, flatter design looks much more modern, and we like it. The only thing that’s a bit off-putting at first is the unusual camera hump on the 6P, but at least it stretches right across the phone so it doesn’t rock when you put it on a table.
The improved design of the Nexus 6P is topped off by a full metal build and a much slimmer profile. Together, these design choices make the new Nexus feel much better to hold than the Nexus 6.
On paper, there’s not been much change in the screen department. The Nexus 6P’s display is a quarter of an inch smaller than the one on the Nexus 6, but that’s the only spec difference, with both showing stunning Quad HD detail so movies and games look brilliant.
Putting the screens side-by-side, however, you do notice a small boost in brightness and slightly better colours on the Nexus 6P. It’s exactly the sort of small improvements you’d expect to see on a new phone.
One of the best things about each new Nexus is that it comes with new Android software. With the Nexus 6P, you get Android 6 Marshmallow, which brings plenty of performance improvements and bug fixes as well as some big new features.
Our favourite thing is Now on Tap. This brings Google’s contextual help to any app, so if you get a text from a friend asking if you want to go to the cinema, you can press and hold the home button to get local movie listings, find your nearest cinema and more, instantly. On the Nexus 6, Google Now could only find stuff based on time of day, where you are, your emails and your pre-selected interests.
Doze is another big feature of Android Marshmallow. It detects when the phone’s not in use and then puts it into a really deep sleep. Apps stop updating (although you can choose ones you want to keep running) so you’ll only get calls and texts, which saves a lot of battery.
There’s a lot more that the new software can do, so check out our Android Marshmallow article to see what else is new.
When it comes to taking photos, the two phones have very different cameras. The resolution has actually been dropped slightly on the Nexus 6P, from 13MP to 12.3MP. Optical image stabilisation has gone, and the unusual ring flash of the Nexus 6 has been replaced by a more conventional dual LED setup.
Despite all this change, the Nexus 6P actually takes better photos because it has much bigger pixels that let in more light. Colours look better, especially in awkward indoor lighting, and when you zoom in on your shots things look sharper.
The only thing that we really miss is the optical image stabilisation when shooting video. It makes things look much smoother on the Nexus 6.
The Nexus 6P has pulled off a battery miracle – even though it’s thinner and smaller than the Nexus 6, the battery is actually bigger. With more than 7% extra capacity, a smaller screen to power, a more efficient processor and the new Android Marshmallow software, the Nexus 6P will comfortably outlast the Nexus 6.
Both the Nexus 6P and Nexus 6 have been designed to showcase the best of Android, and to make the most of its 1.5 million+ apps you need plenty of power. The Nexus 6P, therefore, has a brand new eight core processor that’s better for multitasking than the quad core processor of the Nexus 6, and is more efficient too.
There’s also a brand new GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) that ensures games and movies run more smoothly and can be shown in the best possible quality.
As you could probably guess, the Nexus 6P is a big upgrade over the Nexus 6. Every part of the new phone has been improved, which means it can compete with the other sensational smartphones of 2015.
If you like the sound of the Nexus 6P, pre-order yours now.