Forget affordability, the stock Android-running Google Nexus line is all about power and premium looks now.
Between rumors of an imminent Nexus series cancellation, speculation in regards to a product roster reshuffle to no longer favor extreme portability, and Android Silver gossip, it’s been crystal clear for months now Google was exploring various ways to shake things up.
Ultimately, the search giant has probably chosen the safest route, although in many ways, the just-announced Nexus 6 will be much tougher to sell than its predecessors. First and foremost, the Motorola-built “whale” competes directly against flagships from Samsung or Apple, both on specs and pricing.
Set to go on pre-order October 29 for a full November 3 rollout, the Android L phablet shall cost a whopping $649 free of contractual obligations. Quite a pretty penny compared to previous entries in the franchise, but then again, you really can’t compare this to the N5 or N4.
Everything about the N6 is top class stuff, starting with the Moto X 2014-like design, water resistance (only splashes, not full immersions), vibrant Quad HD 5.96-inch AMOLED screen and quad-core 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805 processor.
And don’t even get us started on the battery, a 3,220 mAh titan with Turbo charging capabilities. Perhaps it’s not Droid Maxx material, but it’s pretty darn close. Let’s not forget to list the generous 3 gigs of RAM, 32 and 64 GB internal storage options (with no external expansion, as usual), and 13 MP rear-facing camera with OIS and dual-LED flash.
On the software side of things, you’re looking at one of the first two devices in the world to make use of Android L’s clean, silky smooth “Material Design” language. By the way, L stands for Lollipop, as we suspected for a while.
The other Lollipop-flavored new Nexus is an HTC-constructed 9 incher and, to solve the biggest remaining puzzle upfront, it’s not full-metal or full-plastic. Instead, it’s plastic underneath, and brushed aluminum on top, which helps Google kill two birds with one stone.
The Nexus 9 doesn’t look cheap, not in the slightest, but it’s not premium enough to command an overly ostentatious price tag. Just $399 with Wi-Fi and 16 GB storage space, $479 with twice the internal memory, and $599 with 32 gigs and 4G LTE.
The ETA is November 9, which is technically after the N6, but pre-orders go live this Friday, so the two are poised to hit the ground running hand in hand. With 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 brawn under the hood, the N9 clearly aims at Apple’s yet-to-be-announced iPad Air 2.
In fact, if this were simply a spec race, the N9 would already be celebrating its victory. The outstanding list of features includes 2 GB RAM, a pixel-rich 8.9-inch 2,048 x 1,536 IPS screen, 6,700 mAh battery, 8 MP rear camera and, yes, BoomSound stereo speakers. Such a shame (for Google) that ticking all the right boxes on paper isn’t always enough.