Nexus 6 First Impressions

About five hours ago, UPS delivered the Motorola-made Google Nexus 6. I ordered online yesterday afternoon from T-Mobile, for expedited delivery, expecting two-day shipping but getting one (under-promise, over-deliver is good customer service). T-Mo only sells the Midnight Blue model, and I chose 64GB capacity.

I could order from the carrier because we still have one line there, on a low-cost plan, which won’t change. The clarification is important because I popped in my Verizon SIM. It is my understanding that T-Mobile sells the same Nexus 6 as either Google or Motorola. Any carrier customization occurs during setup with the SIM card inserted. So far Verizon services seems to function normally. 

I could change carriers so easily because I moved from iPhone 6, which also uses nano-SIM. I spoke to someone this week, who had cut down a larger SIM to fit his Nexus 6 but later had troubles because of botched trimming. The local Verizon store refused to give him a new SIM, because the device technically isn’t supported on big Red’s network. Should Verizon cause me grief, my business will go back to T-Mobile, which I prefer anyway. The goal is to return regardless, but right now the Early Termination Fee holds me back.

Now for those impressions. I write them for the benefit of others and as kind of thinking-out-loud process for my eventual product review.

1. Nexus 6 is huge, measuring 159.3 x 83 x 3.8-10.1mm (6.27 x 3.15 x .15-.39 inches) and weighing 184 grams (6.49 ounces). Length is slightly more than iPhone 6 Plus, but the Apple handset is considerably more narrow when held in portrait orientation. The greater width means Nexus 6 fills more of the hand by comparison, but the dimensions better present content.

2. Big is comfortable. My hands aren’t large (no jokes, please), but I nevertheless find Nexus 6 comfortable to hold in one hand. The width is manageable because the bezel is flat and the back shell curves out. By comparison, iPhone 6 Plus is way too slippery, because of the aluminum enclosure, its flatness, and the overly-rounded bezel.

3. The display is fantastic. The size compliments a 5.96-inch screen that is generously specced: AMOLED, 2560 x 1440 resolution, and 493 pixels per inch. I thought the iPhone 6 Plus screen was magnificent, until seeing Nexus 6. Colors pop, contrast is rich, and text is super readable. I easily could give up a tablet for the N6, because dimensions and display are so well-balanced.

4. Wow, is this thing fast.  The first-operational impression is OMG. Speedy just doesn’t express how fast is setup, first Android update, and process of downloading apps. Sync is amazing, with contacts, calendars, and everything else in place without prompting. The integration with the Google stack of apps and services is tight, and the experience easily outclasses iPhone 6 and iCloud first user impressions.

5. My Chromebook feels like a clunker. I bought the Toshiba Chromebook 2 one week ago today, but the laptop is jerky and stuttery compared to Nexus 6. The handset is smooth by every measure that matters. I wonder: Could this thing become my primary device, and the laptop backup when larger screen or legacy tech (like Adobe Flash) is needed? I cannot say. Yet.

6. I wouldn’t recommend iPhone 6 Plus now. Before starting up Nexus 6 and running it for 15 minutes, I would have told most potential phablet buyers to take Apple’s 5.5-incher. There are other behemoths, but slap-on user interfaces like Samsung’s TouchWiz UI tax resources and increase complexity. Apple gives good simplicity, but so do Google and Motorola. The out-of-the-box experience is considerably better with Android 5 matched to Nexus 6’s hardware chops than the newest iPhones give.

7. Cargo shorts (or pants) are my carry-along solution. The lower pocket above the knee is ready-made for Nexus 6 and where I carried the device today. For jeans, I will use a pouch case, ordering this one from PDAir.

That’s it for quick reactions, which are surprisingly good. I didn’t expect the Nexus 6 to satisfy so much. But the proof is time and prolonged use. How will I feel tomorrow? Or next month? My eventual review should answer.

Disclosure: I sold my iPhone 6 128GB and put the money to purchase Nexus 6. Google did not send a loaner, much as I wanted one.