Head-To-Head: Apple iPhone 6 Plus vs. Google Nexus 6

iPhone 6 Plus vs. Nexus 6

The past few weeks have been an all-you-can-eat buffet of device news. Last Wednesday the world was treated to Android 5.0 Lollipop, the first 64-bit version, along with a pair of new Google devices to run it. An Apple press event the following day served up two new iPads, and came as the dessert course to Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus annual entree. For those feeling nonplussed and overstuffed, the CRN Test Center has been taking on these new devices two at a time. Here's a head-to-head comparison of the iPhone 6 Plus vs. the Nexus 6.

CPU, GPU And Memory

The iPhone 6 Plus and Nexus 6 both have 64-bit processors. The iPhone is built around Apple's A8 custom SoC, with a 2GHz dual-core application processor that uses the ARMv8-A instruction set. Google packed the Nexus 6 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core 2.7GHz application processor and the Adreno 420 GPU. For graphics, Apple sports the PowerVR GX6450, a quad-core engine with dedicated silicon for pixels, tiling and other specialized tasks. Apple provides 1 GB of RAM; Google includes 2 GB.

The Display

The iPhone 6 Plus is the first iPhone to come with a full-HD display. Its 5.5-inch IPS panel puts out 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi) and supports the full sRGB color space. The 5.96-inch display of the Nexus 6 crams 2,560 x 1,440 pixels for an impressive pixel density of 493 ppi. It's also covered by Gorilla Glass 3, Corning's latest protective see-through shell. The tapered glass on both devices appears to melt into an aluminum case.

Weights, Measures

The iPhone 6 Plus is 6.2 inches long, 3.1 inches wide and 0.28 of an inch thick. The similar-size Nexus 6 measures 6.3 inches long and 3.3 inches wide but is a relatively beefy 0.4 of an inch thick. Apple's plus-size phone weighs 6.1 ounces compared with Google's 6.5 ounces. The likely culprit of Nexus 6's mid-drift bulge is Qi wireless charging, which comes standard and adds a little to the thickness.


Apple's iSight camera with its f/2.2 aperture five-element lens remains at 8 megapixels in the iPhone 6 Plus. But at 1.5u, Apple says its pixels are bigger than most. A new feature called Focus Pixels automatically determines the proper focus direction and moves the lens accordingly, like a DSLR camera. In the Nexus 6, meanwhile, Google puts a 13-megapixel sensor that can capture 4K video at 30 fps through an f/2.0 aperture. Apple's Facetime camera has a 1.2-megapixel sensor compared with a 2-megapixel snapper on the Nexus 6. Both offer optical image stabilization and live HDR capabilities.

Apple Pay vs. Google Wallet

With Apple Pay set to hit the streets this week, the smart money seems to be on Apple as the company that might finally get digital payment to go mainstream. On Oct. 20, about 200,000 merchants and financial institutions across the U.S. will begin accepting Apple's nascent electronic payment scheme, and Nexus 6 users can choose it or go with Google Wallet. Both devices have the NFC radio that's required.


Both devices contain the usual array of communicators and sensors, including those for acceleration, ambient light, barometric pressure, global positioning, direction and proximity. Apple adds a fingerprint sensor; Google adds a magnetometer. Both also include the high-speed Wi-Fi ac spec and Bluetooth 4.1, which reduces LTE conflicts and connections and bulk transfer. The Nexus adds a micro-USB 2.0 port for file transfer and quick charging (six hours of usage from 15 minutes of charge). Apple's reversible Lightning connector is more durable than Micro-USB and enables the iPhone to connect to a monitor.

iOS 8 vs. Android 5.0

When it began shipping in September, the iPhone 6 (and the Plus) were the first devices to run iOS 8, Apple's latest mobile OS with significant new features and tighter integration with Mac OS X Yosemite. But Android 5.0 has a few tricks of its own, including improved performance, iron-clad security, extensive interface customization capabilities and tight integration with desktop operating systems.

The Bottom Line

The iPhone 6 has been shipping since Sept. 19 starting at $299 with a contract from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon. Google later this month will begin taking orders for the unlocked Nexus 6 at $649. Carriers disclosed so far include AT&T and Sprint. The iPhone 6 Plus comes in silver, gold and gray. Nexus 6 is available in blue and white. Both devices use a nano-SIM.