Specs-off!: Google Nexus 6P vs. iPhone 6S vs. Galaxy S6

1 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Android 6.0: The 5 best new features in Marshmallow.

Dave Burke, vice president of engineering at Google, speaks about the new Google Nexus 6P during an event on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, in San Francisco.

Nexus phones make a great choice if you like Google’s Android software unadorned by the frills, overlays and gimmicks that Samsung and other phone makers throw in to distinguish themselves in the Android world.It turns out that the reflective nature of the device’s edges — combined with the bright lights of the room I was in while having hands-on time with the phone — was leading to it generating a halo of light around itself.Google’s Nexus team hosted a Reddit AMA today to answer questions about its newly unveiled Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, the first Android 6.0 Marshmallow devices. Google is countering the release of Apples latest iPhones with two devices running on ‘Marshmallow’, a new version of Android software designed to steer and document even more of its users lives. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) Google’s big fall event is behind us, and we have some great new hardware to show for it. The Verge explains: “If you press and hold the home button while inside of any app, Google Now will read the screen, look for anything interesting — like the name of a celebrity, an event or a location — and then return information on what it sees in a little popup box on the bottom of the screen.” The 6P also features one of the largest camera sensors every put into a smartphone (though Wired says it caused design challenges), a fingerprint sensor, a USB C port an all-metal unibody and a giant 5.7-inch screen.

The speediness may partly be due to the fact Google says the new phones will have less “bloatware” installed than in the past — that annoying pre-installed software that no-one uses that can clog up space. But more than that—these are great phones that push the larger Android ecosystem forward.” If that sounds like an admission that sales have fallen flat, that’s not a coincidence. Google apparently believes that the tradeoff of thickness was not worth it, and that USB Type-C solves a lot of the problems because it is fast and reversible: We added Qi wireless charging starting with N4 because plugging in USB micro B was such a hassle! (Which way is up!?) With this year’s Nexii, we support USB Type-C which has a reversible connector so there’s no more guessing. Google GOOG 2.26% has even said as much, with a company exec sharing that Nexus sales were down during the Q1 2015 financial earnings call back in April. Huawei says it will be available in New Zealand from November 2 through the Google Play Store, and at selected retailers including 2degrees, Harvey Norman and Noel Leeming.

Both phones are also incredibly lightweight: The Nexus 5X weighs 136 grams while the 6P is 178g. (The iPhone 6s is 143g and the iPhone 6s Plus 192g.) Both phones also have fairly decent battery life: The 6P has a larger 3450 mAh battery and the 5X a smaller 2700 mAh battery. (The battery capacity of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s is 2750 mAh and 1715 mAh, so both Nexus devices beat them hands down.) And I also love how the fingerprint scanner, which allows you to unlock the phone with your fingerprint, sits on the back of the device. Ian Fogg, senior director and head of the mobile and telecoms team, agrees. “Sales are not the reason Google does Nexus phones,” he says. “This is a product designed to be a standard bearer for Google’s innovation for Android.” That’s not to say the Nexus brand doesn’t serve any practical purposes. Android fans with recent Nexus devices like the Nexus 6 smartphone and Nexus 9 tablet will be able to update their devices to Android 6.0 beginning early next week. For mobile developers, the phones are valuable tools, as they showcase the latest Android capabilities without any software tweaks from carriers or phone manufacturers.

Google hasn’t set an official date that the Marshmallow rollout will begin, but a number of reports have pinpointed October 5th as the day Google’s latest software will begin hitting devices. To understand what makes the Pixel C both odd and seemingly effective, we need to talk about aspect ratios—the aspect ratios of tablets, specifically, which until now have fallen pretty definitively into two main camps. Google Now on Tap could, for instance, recommend the phone number of a restaurant your friend has just mentioned in a text, or recommend that you put a calendar appointment in your phone based on what your friend said about meeting up with them at a particular time. Huawei is just starting to break away from the pack, and the fact that Google has chosen it [to make a Nexus phone] means it could really take off.” Finally, without huge sales expectations, Google can treat Nexus devices as an experiment, seeing what resonates most with users.

Apple last week launched its new iPhone 6s line, and Google on Tuesday revealed its new Nexus lineup, the 5X and 6P, which will launch in late October. The Android devices support USB 2.0 (not USB 3.1), feature software-accelerated encryption (as opposed to hardware), internal storage is eMMC 5.0 (not UFS 2.0), and they both have the same camera (12.3MP with 1.55um pixels). Using a combination of hardware sensors and software tweaks, phones and tablets running Marshmallow will know when they’ve been sitting idle for a period of time, and they will disable some background processes and other battery-hungry features while they’re not in use. App permissions (like access to your photos and microphone) in Marshmallow have also been simplified and will not longer bug you until they’re actually needed — something that will please many Android users who are used to pretty much signing their entire life away every time they install an app when it asks for permission for almost every part of their phone’s operating system. The other option, more common among both pure Android devices and Amazon’s Fire HD tablets, is to use a 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio, which gives you a display that’s either tall and skinny or long and short, depending on the device’s orientation.

But that is nothing compared to the competition the platform gets from Apple, a company whose hardware and software development is completely in sync. It’s done this not for the cheap thrill that comes from tossing around mathematical symbols, and it’s not just being different for different’s sake.

It’s just what happens, says Andrew Bowers, Google’s director of consumer hardware, when you look at tablets with a fresh set of eyes. “We’ve taken the approach of rather than using things off the shelf and standard in the industry, trying to come up with things that are better to use from a user standpoint,” explains Bowers. “One of the reasons we moved away from 16:9 or even 16:10 is because those were primarily driven by the TV industry, so it ended up on laptops, etc.” That skinnier form does work just fine for watching videos on a tablet. In Android 6.0, selecting text or a photo will pop up a menu directly above your selection with the words “cut,” “copy,” and “paste,” just like iOS.

Surprisingly, the phone runs Qualcomm’s controversial Snapdragon 810 processor, which has had overheating issues and doesn’t quite measure up on power to the latest products from Samsung and Apple. The Pixel’s aspect ratio isn’t quite 1:√2, but at 3:2 it’s fairly close, and it, too, raised eyebrows for being so square when it first launched in 2013. Like all of Google’s flagship devices this year, the phone uses a USB-C port that supports fast charging, something sorely missing from Apple’s phones. Because the Chromebook Pixel is a laptop, you basically use it in one orientation: landscape. “That’s where vertical real estate [afforded by a 3:2 aspect ratio] is really important,” says Bowers, “for scrolling on a web page or an application.” But a tablet you can use in two orientations, landscape or portrait. It makes the web more comfortable to roam, and not just for browsing, either; the spaciousness also makes web apps, which tend to scale better on a screen with those dimensions, more appealing.

The Nexus 6P will also be the first phone to have Google’s new Imprint fingerprint sensing technology, based on the fast, accurate FPC1025 fingerprint sensor. In fact, it’s far too early to say much at all about Apple or Microsoft or Google’s vision for what the ideal tablet, or tablet/laptop hybrid, should look like. But iPad sales have been in decline this year as compared with last year, and I think at least some of that is because the iPhone 6 Plus is fulfilling the productivity role that, last year, was restricted to the iPad lineup. The unlocked 6 Plus will let you switch freely between all four U.S. carriers and pretty much any virtual carrier; the only ones which are forbidden are carriers that require special firmware, like Republic Wireless and Net10.

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