Which phablet is better: Apple’s or Google’s? Nexus 6P vs. iPhone 6S Plus

Google responded to Apple’s big iPhone event with a new line of flagship devices designed to go toe-to-toe with the rival iPhone 6S lineup. The star of the show was the latest flagship Nexus phone made by both Google and Huawei. The two companies teamed up on the Nexus 6P, which is gunning for the top spot in the phablet war. It’s even taking on Apple’s iPhone 6S Plus.

Of course, as with any big new hardware announcement, we can’t help but see how the new devices stack up to their competition spec-wise — in this case, the Nexus 6P versus the iPhone 6S Plus. Below is our breakdown and analysis of both devices, along with our thoughts regarding which of the two is worth your consideration.

iPhone 6S Plus

iphone 6s plus

Nexus 6P

Phone Image
Size 6.23 × 3.07 × 0.29 inches 6.27 × 3.06 × 0.29 inches
Weight 192 grams (6.77 ounces) 178 grams (6.28 ounces)
Screen 5.5-inches 5.7-inches
Resolution 1,080 × 1,920 pixels 1,440 × 2,560 pixels
OS iOS 9 Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Storage 16GB, 64GB, 128GB 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Multitouch Yes Yes
NFC Yes, but only with Apple Pay Yes
Processor 64-bit Apple A9 processor, M9 Motion coprocessor Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810 chipset, Quad-core 1.55 GHz Cortex-A53 and Quad-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A57 processors, Adreno 430 GPU
RAM 2GB 3GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, GSM, CDMA, HSPA, EVDO, LTE-A Wi-Fi, GSM, CDMA, HSPA, LTE
Camera Rear 12MP,  Front 5MP Rear 12.3 MP, Front 8MP
Video 4k  4k
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.2 Yes, version 4.2
Sensors Barometer, three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, fingerprint sensor Accelerometer, gyro, compass, barometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, fingerprint sensor
Battery Non-removable, Li-Po 2,915 mAh battery Non-removable, Li-Po 3,450 mAh battery
Charger Lightning USB Type-C
Marketplace Apple App Store Google Play Store
Price From $750 (Unlocked), $300 (2-year contract) $500 for 32GB, $650 for 128GB
Buy it from Amazon Best Buy Amazon Google
Available colors Gold, silver, space gray, rose gold Silver, black, white, gold
Supported carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and more AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and more
DT review Review Hands-on

Design

The iPhone 6S Plus and the Nexus 6P are pretty comparable in size, although there are some slight differences. The Nexus 6P is slightly bigger at 6.27 × 3.06 × 0.29 inches, whereas the iPhone 6S Plus measures only 6.23 × 3.07 × 0.29. The iPhone 6S Plus is still heavier than the 6.28-ounce Nexus 6. However, the difference is negligible and won’t likely make a difference when it comes to handling the two devices.

The other major difference between the two phones is their displays. The Nexus 6P touts an additional 0.2 inches in screen real estate over the iPhone 6S Plus, and moreover, offers a higher resolution to match. Rocking a 1,440 × 2,560-pixel resolution opposed to the iPhone’s 1,080 × 1,920 pixel screen equates to a crisper, more vivid viewing experience. Both devices also come outfitted with a fingerprint sensor, though, the Nexus 6P’s is located on the back, while the iPhone’s is on the front of the device.

The iPhone 6S Plus is made out of extra-strong aluminum, and the Nexus 6P also boasts an aluminum body. However, the Nexus has a black bar across the top on the back, which houses the camera, other sensors, and antennas. It bulges out slightly, and depending on your sense of style, can mar the overall look of the device.

Apple’s iPhone 6S Plus solves the antenna problem with thin white lines on the back of the device, which annoy some people. The iPhone’s back isn’t totally flat, either, though, thanks to that ring around the camera. Neither phone is perfect, but the iPhone 6S Plus comes in fun gold and rose gold color options, while the Nexus 6P sticks to more basic monochromatic colors. Style-wise, it’s going to be a matter of preference, but we think the iPhone 6S Plus has the edge.

Winner: iPhone 6S Plus

Power and Productivity

In terms of storage, both phones offer three models. The iPhone 6S Plus comes in a 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB configurations, while the Nexus 6P is available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models. Save for the capacity disparity between the cheapest models, their storage capabilities are identical at higher price points. Both devices also tout nearly the same connectivity — Wi-Fi, GSM, CDMA, HSPA, Bluetooth 4.2 — including NFC support for purchases. However, facets such as the operating system and app marketplace, remain unique to Apple and Google platforms.

In terms of performance and speed, the Nexus 6P has some serious hardware under the hood. Depending on the model, the Nexus 6P runs either a quad-core Cortex-A53 or quad-core Cortex-A57 alongside an Adreno 430 chip for dedicated graphics processing. It also offers 3GB of RAM, which provides the 6P with some serious power.

That said, the iPhone 6S Plus is still a worthy contender for your next phone upgrade, thanks to the inclusion of Apple’s latest 64-bit chipset, the A9 processor and M9 coprocessor. Throw in 2GB of RAM, and the iPhone 6S Plus is a definite upgrade over many other smartphones on the market, especially previous iPhone models. However, we’re willing to bet the Nexus 6P offers quicker and more robust performance.

Winner: Nexus 6P

Camera

For the selfie perfectionist and on-the-go photographer, the Nexus 6P looks to be the best option on paper. The Nexus 6P beats out the iPhone 6S Plus on all fronts, as far as numbers are concerned. It boasts a 12.3MP rear camera and 8MP front-facing camera, both of which overshadow the 12MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing camera on the iPhone 6. Real-world comparisons may yield different results, but if we’re going based purely on numbers, the Nexus 6P is simply bigger and better when it comes to photography.

When it comes to video recording, though, the Nexus 6P isn’t such a step up. Both devices can record 4K at 30 frames per second — along with 720p at 240 fps for impressive slo-mo shots — meaning the iPhone 6S Plus performs just as well as the 6P comes in terms of video capabilities. Apple’s offering also touts a feature called Live Photos, which essentially function like short video clips, while the 6P prides itself in its Smart Burst feature. The latter allows you capture a burst of photos at 30 fps, which you can then use to create an animated GIF.

Apple’s iPhone 6S Plus is widely regarded as one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, regardless of what the spec sheet says. Huawei’s cameras have a more variable track record, so although the specs put this one in the Nexus 6P’s camp, we have a hunch that the iPhone may outperform it. We’ll call it a tie for now.

Winner: TBA (needs more testing)

Conclusion

It’s always difficult to judge unreleased hardware, but based upon the specs and analysis above, it would seem Google and Hauwei’s latest development has the edge over Apple’s iPhone 6S Plus in terms of raw power. However, the iPhone trumps it in terms of style and may offer better camera performance. We’ll need to test the Nexus 6P more extensively before we declare it the winner of this battle.

Also, there is, of course, the major caveat of whether you’ve already bought into one ecosystem over the other (and don’t mind which has the better specs). In that case, it’s probably best to simply go with what you like. Still, in the grand scale of the mobile market, the Nexus 6P and iPhone 6S Plus are both worthy options. If you’re buying a phablet for the first time, or want to jump ship from one OS to the other, both devices make impressive arguments for why they should be your next phone.

Nexus 6P available at:

Google

iPhone 6S Plus available at:

Amazon Best Buy Verizon

T-Mobile Sprint AT&T

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