How's my Nexus 6?

I’ve been using a Nexus 6 phablet for a while now, and I thought I’d pass along my thoughts on it.  I should note that my last phone was a N...

I’ve been using a Nexus 6 phablet for a while now, and I thought I’d pass along my thoughts on it.  I should note that my last phone was a Nexus 5; that may help explain any apparent biases you see in this “review."

Source: ExtremeTech.com
Basically, it’s awesome but for three relatively minor problems, which I’ll get to shortly.

There’s a lot more going for the 6 than against it, I think.

I have long fingers, so the size of the Nexus 6 isn’t a problem.  I also need reading glasses, so the screen size, and larger text and soft buttons helps my hand-to-eye coordination - which means I make fewer mistakes with the 6 rather than the 5.

It’s fast, it’s smooth, and it lasts a long time on a charge*.  It runs “pure” Android, so there’s no manufacturer’s bloatware and I get OS updates as fast as Google can get them out to Canuckistan.

The curved back - even though I don’t find it visually appealing - is functionally important. First, it’s easier to pick up from a flat surface (e.g., my desk). Second, the front/back asymmetry helps me orient the phone haptically, without using my eyes.  And in my mind, function will always trump form, so I’m happy in this regard.

Here’s the three concerns I have with it.

Navigation kills the battery.  I find Google Navigation much better than the nav system in my car.  Though I don’t use it often, I’ve come to depend on Navigation to get me where I need to go quickly (route choosing and noting traffic problems) and with significant confidence (both the display and voice instructions are timely and accurate). So I’m more than a little disappointed that navigation just kills the phone’s battery.  I don’t know if this is a software thing or a hardware thing, but I find it necessary to keep a charger in the car and keep the phone plugged in when I use Navigation.  Not that the battery drains completely, of course, but it does suck enough power out of it to prevent the phone from going a whole day on a charge. I don't remember that happening with the Nexus 5.

The camera is too slow.  I’m not the only one who has noticed this: compared to the Nexus 5, I’ve found that the camera takes too long to autofocus, and there’s too much lag between tapping and tripping the shutter.  This is especially true when shooting through a window, but also generally true - at least in my case. This is irksome. I don’t take many pictures, and I’m no photography wonk; but one Really Cool Feature of smartphones is their integration of multiple diverse functions (camera, phone, player, apps,...). So on those rare-ish occasions when I do want a pic, it’s because I really, really want one. And I end up missing too many opportunities because of the camera’s lag.

Power & volume are in the wrong place.  This may well be a function of how I hold and use the Nexus 6, but I’ve found I’m very, very often pressing either the power or volume buttons accidentally.  This is such an annoyance that I’ve gotten a rather bulky wallet-style case which better protects those buttons than any other case I’ve tried. I don’t remember having this problem with any of my previous phones (Nexus 5, Galaxy s3, various iPhones…).  The 6 is big enough as it is; to have to bulk it up even further to protect those buttons is disappointing.

Still, overall, I’m immensely pleased that I got the Nexus 6 and I would recommend considering it to anyone looking for a phablet.

* Given my usage patterns, and excluding navigation, a single charge lasts me a whole day for sure, and as long as 2 days.

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The Trouble with Normal...
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