LG G4 vs Nexus 6 comparison: the big head-to-head

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When we say this is the big comparison, we mean it. The Nexus 6 is a 6-inch masterclass in phablet design born of a collaboration between Google and Motorola. Featured on our best Android phones list since its release in late 2014, the Nexus 6 provided the stock Android experience many clamored for, wrapped in a colossal package. Then there’s the LG G4, one of the most impressive smartphones to be released this year, with an outstanding 5.5-inch display and impressive camera performance. But which device is better? Find out in our LG G4 vs Nexus 6 comparison.

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LG G4 vs Nexus 6: Design

The Nexus 6 is that phablet which you’ll see doing the rounds in most of Google’s promotions. Since Google stopped selling the Nexus 5 earlier this year, this is (for the time being) the only Nexus smartphone available in the Play Store.

And it’s big. The Nexus 6 dimensions are 159.3 x 83 x 10.1 mm making it hard to use with just one hand. By comparison, the LG G4 is 148.9 x 76.1 x 6.3 - 9.8 mm (the thickness varies thanks to its curved shape). In practice, it doesn’t look like a dramatic size difference, but you really feel it: the Nexus 6 feels far wider, despite the LG G4 already bordering on phablet size.

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The LG G4 (left) is the more "pocket-friendly" package.  / © ANDROIDPIT

From the front, the Nexus 6 is quite simple, with dual-stereo speakers and a camera sensor. You will notice that the bezels are not symmetrical, and neither is the curve of the device's rear. This “wonkiness” speaks to the overall attention applied to the Nexus 6: it almost feels like Motorola tried to shoehorn a Moto X into a Nexus device, and I’m guessing tight deadlines or corporate issues played a part in the outcome.

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Small and square, or big and round, which do you think is better? / © ANDROIDPIT

The LG G4 isn’t symmetrical from the front either, but it’s less distracting on a device with only one front-speaker. Overall, it feels like a tighter, if more plain, design. The LG G4 is really angular, almost square from the front, and arrives in a choice of brushed metal-effect rear covers (LG says plastic mixed with metal, but it kind of just feels like plastic), ceramic or premium leather back covers. The Nexus 6 comes in blue or white plastic but does house an attractive metal rim.

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The Nexus 6 is clearly wider than the LG G4. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Nexus 6 is immediately recognizable from the rear, with the ring-LED flash surrounding its camera sensor and 'Nexus' printed on there. And the LG G4 is similarly distinguishable because it houses the rear button setup that the LG G series has become known for.

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There's no mistaking the rear design of these smartphones. / © ANDROIDPIT

The rear buttons take some getting used to for a new user, but they are comfortable before long, the only worry you have is inadvertently pushing the smartphone up from between your fingers and dropping it (it happened to me during this comparison). Meanwhile, the Nexus 6’s hardware buttons are found conveniently placed on the sides.

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Notice the ring-LED flash on the Nexus 6 (left), and the rear-buttons of the LG G4. / © ANDROIDPIT

Which has the best design? The LG G4. It looks more sophisticated and has a wider-range of customization options, (even if you think the leather-back version is a bit garish you can stick with a 'brushed metal' back).

It's also worth noting that the Nexus 6 is difficult to operate in one hand and is almost 30 g heavier (155 g compared to 184 g). The design of the LG G4 is polarizing, but I love it. Even if you don’t, I think few could argue that the Nexus 6 looks better.

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The headphone jack is on the top of the Nexus 6, and the bottom of the LG G4. / © ANDROIDPIT

LG G4 vs Nexus 6: Display

Both of these Androids have excellent displays. The Nexus 6 burst onto the scene with a QHD screen, and LG has opted for the same resolution on its LG G4 (this resolution is yet to be surpassed by any major Android flagship).

The LG G4 display is more dense, with 538 pixels-per-inch compared to the 493 pixels on the Nexus 6, but this is largely because it's smaller. The LG G4 has a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display compared to the Nexus 6’s 5.96-inch AMOLED offering.

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Both Nexus 6 (left) and LG G4 have beautiful displays, but is bigger really better? / © ANDROIDPIT

At the highest brightness, the LG G4 is brighter and also produces the more natural colors. It’s cooler the Nexus 6 for certain; the Motorola designed phablets whites are almost yellow. Aside from looking at text and websites, though, video playback looks a little more human on the Nexus 6 because the warmer colors lend themselves to more natural skin tones.

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The LG G4 is the brighter smartphone. / © ANDROIDPIT

As a phablet, the Nexus 6 is primed for multimedia, with impressive speakers and a big display. For watching videos, playing games, or viewing images, we’d have to hand it to the Nexus 6 as the better display experience. The bigger screen just makes it look more impressive.

For text, websites, and non-media usage, the LG G4 brings it home with its sharp, crisp display.

LG G4 vs Nexus 6: Camera

The LG G4 kills it in the camera stakes. This is one of the best cameras to grace a smartphone ever, and the Nexus 6 was always going to struggle in comparison. The Nexus 6’s rear camera is 13 MP with OIS, dual-LED (ring) flash, and autofocus. It’s an excellent camera which still holds up today, but the LG G4 pulls ahead overall.

The main camera on the LG G4 has 16 MP, laser-autofocus, LED flash, and OIS; it’s just a beautiful camera, and shows off just what smartphone cameras are capable of. Even the 8 MP front camera produces incredible photos, while the 2 MP offering on the Nexus 6 just can’t compete.

The LG G4 shots were taken in 16:9 auto mode with HDR switched off - currently it's not possible to select photo-resolution on the LG G4, though it is for video.

The Nexus 6 was set to a 16:9 aspect ratio with 9 MP resolution, representing the highest 16:9 resolution offered on both cameras without HDR-enabled. The Nexus 6 photo is on top, with the LG G4 below. 

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The LG G4 image is more saturated and brighter in this first test. It's easier to see the tread on the tire on the left of the image in the LG G4 photo. / © ANDROIDPIT
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Here again the colors are richer in the LG G4, but it's not a clear winner in this shot. / © ANDROIDPIT
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In these photos, the Nexus 6 matches the quality of the LG G4, with a detailed high-contrast picture. / © ANDROIDPIT
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Here the Nexus 6 photo looks a little over-exposed, and the LG G4 holds finer detail. Notice how the LG G4 really pulls out the orange on the Harley Davidson logo. / © ANDROIDPIT
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The LG G4 has the more saturated image here, things are looking quite pale on the Nexus 6 photo on top. / © ANDROIDPIT
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The LG G4 front-camera is seriously impressive. There is a scale-able "beauty" type function which you can dial up or down to improve selfies, but in the above case it wasn't used. / © ANDROIDPIT

LG G4 vs Nexus 6: Sound

In terms of sound, the Nexus 6 beats the LG G4 hands down. The LG G4’s media speaker is housed on the rear of the device, and despite how loud it is, it really doesn’t offer great quality, and it’s easily (and will often be) covered by a finger.

The Nexus 6 houses dual front-facing speakers, providing a stereo 'image' which sounds great. While they aren’t as loud as HTC’s BoomSound speakers, they provide impressive quality and beat out most other smartphones (and even some laptop) speakers.

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The LG G4's rear speaker can't compete with the dual-front facing speakers on the Nexus 6. / © ANDROIDPIT

LG G4 vs Nexus 6: Battery

The Nexus 6 comes with a 3,220 mAh battery, and the LG G4 is 3,000 mAh. LG’s battery is larger than some of the competition like the One M9 and Galaxy S6, and it’s great. It’s the same size battery which LG had two years ago on the LG G2, and given that it supplies the juice to more powerful components in the LG G4, it’s surprisingly capable.

For a device as big as the Nexus 6, 3,220 mAh isn’t an overwhelmingly large capacity, but like the LG G4, it performs well under the pressure. Disappointingly, the LG G4 doesn’t feature native quick-charging, it requires a separate adapter, but the Nexus 6 comes with Motorola’s turbo-charge adapter and can get a 50 percent battery boost in about an hour's charge. 

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The LG G4 battery is smaller than the Nexus 6's, but it is removable. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Nexus 6 also performs well in terms of battery life right now thanks to the Doze feature offered by Android M. The next version of Android will be headed to the LG G4 before long though, so you can expect a similar payoff.

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The Nexus 6 took a while to accurately calibrate the standby time. / © ANDRDOIDPIT

Some of the readings were completely crazy when investigating the battery on these two devices, however, and strangely kept rising on the Nexus 6, which was estimating longer battery life as it depleted. Maybe Android M re-estimates based on the current usage? It's something we'll have to investigate further, but regardless, we think it was a more accurate suggestions than the preposterous LG G4 figures. 

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We don't quite know how the LG G4 calculates standby time, is it seemed to lose 30 hours of standby time in a 4 percent drop in battery life. / © ANDRDOIDPIT

But in the end, both of these devices are doing well in terms of battery life, you can easily expect more than one day of use. Standby times are great on both, and they cope well despite the high-resolution displays.

LG G4 vs Nexus 6: Software

Stock Android and fast updates will greet you with the Nexus 6, but the LG G4’s user-interface, known as UX 4.0, is LG’s best iteration of the software yet.

Material design-clad, the new buttons have a cute, minimalist aesthetic and it’s light on bloatware. Most people prefer Stock Android, but UX 4.0 provides some interesting additions. One such example is its resizable keyboard. If you don’t use the stock keyboard, it’s unimportant, but it's a useful feature for those who do.

Changing the keyboard size to make it easier to read and use for your preferred tastes is something which should be included on every Android OS.

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The LG's smart-settings and resizable keyboard are useful software additions you won't find in Stock Android. / © ANDROIDPIT

It also features dual-window mode (like on Samsung devices), where multiple (compatible) apps can be opened at the same time. I find it more comfortable to just switch between apps the regular way, but if multi-tasking is your thing, this feature is still a success on LG’s 5.5-inch LG G4 display.  

You can also get fast software updates with the Nexus 6. But it’s not an outright winner; the camera software of the two devices is world’s apart, and the LG G4 features the lock-screen “Knock Code” which many people (including me) have come to love.

The Nexus 6 could get such features by installing a couple of apps, so I concede these features aren't exactly LG G4 exclusive.  

LG G4 vs Nexus 6: Performance

The Nexus 6 has a great processor with the Snapdragon 805 supported by 3 GB of RAM, and runs silky smooth even with the Android M developer preview on it. Opening up the app draw for the first time, the LG G4 is minutely faster. Opening up the camera, the LG G4 beats it hands-down.

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Both handsets have strong performance, but the LG G4 clinches it. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Snapdragon 808 processor in the LG G4 is evidently an improvement to the Snapdragon 805 from last year, but don't count the 805 out. The Nexus 6 will still keep you going for a long time, but launching some apps is so slow by comparison to the likes of the Galaxy S6 and LG G4. We’ve been spoiled certainly, but it’s worth noting.

What else is worth noting is the storage features. The Nexus 6 arrives in 32 GB and 64 GB storage variations, whereas the LG G4 has a sole 32 GB version. What the Nexus 6 lacks, however, is the ability to expand this storage. The LG G4 comes with a MicroSD card slot which means its memory can be increased up to 2 TB.

This is crucial for power-users who are likely to load their smartphone up with pictures, movies, apps, songs or whatever else. There are an abundance of cloud storage options available now to solve such problems, but the convenience, reliability and value provided by a MicroSD card means it's still a must for some people.  

LG G4 vs Nexus 6: Specs

LG G4 vs. Google Nexus 6 technical specifications

  LG G4 Google Nexus 6
Dimensions: 148.9 x 76.7 x 9.8 mm 159.26 x 82.98 x 10.06 mm
Weight: 155 g 184 g
Battery size: 3000 mAh 3220 mAh
Screen size: 5.5 in 5.96 in
Display technology: LCD AMOLED
Screen: 2560 x 1440 pixels (534 ppi) 2560 x 1440 pixels (493 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels 2 megapixels
Rear camera: 16 megapixels 13 megapixels
Flashlight: LED Dual-LED
Android version: 5.1 - Lollipop 5.0 - Lollipop
RAM: 3 GB 3 GB
Internal storage: 32 GB 32 GB
64 GB
Removable storage: microSD Not available
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
Number of cores: 6 4
Max. clock speed: 1.8 GHz 2.7 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1

LG G4 vs Nexus 6: Price 

The Nexus 6 price is 649 USD for the 32 GB version and 699 USD for the 64 GB version, off-contract and from the Google Play Store. The LG G4 price is currently set at 599 USD for a non-contract 32 GB version with Verizon, or 629.99 USD for the same with AT&T (plastic rear versions): you'll have to pay a little more for the leather covers and to get it carrier unlocked. 

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Both devices are outstanding, but which is best? / © ANDROIDPIT

LG G4 vs Nexus 6: Conclusion

Firstly, I expected the LG G4 to have a far superior display. And while the Nexus 6’s creamy hue is extremely apparent side-by-side (it's distractingly yellow, but color bias can differ between models), I couldn’t help but still be impressed by the Nexus 6.

I didn’t love it first time around, but it makes a delicious argument for phablets with an excellent multimedia experience. But the LG G4 has something of a classic look, and the Nexus 6 is almost toy-like next to it. Plus, the LG G4 camera outpaces it in most situations. 

Essentially, what we have is a choice between a better tablet experience, and a better photography experience. Which device is best, overall? For me it's the LG G4. Both handsets are fast with rich displays, and though the Nexus 6 excels as a multimedia device, the LG G4 has a neater design, is easier to hold and use, and has that amazing camera. It easily earns its place on our best Android phones list.

Do you agree with my thoughts on the LG G4 and the Nexus 6? Sound off in the comments below.

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  • Jason Chen Sep 8, 2015 Link to comment

    Two more positives for Nexus 6 are 1. LTE bands, Nexus 6 supports all the LTE bands for all T-mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, while LG G4 has separate models for each carrier; and 2. Nexus 6 has much better battery life. But there are two more positives for LG G4 as well: 1. replaceable battery and 2. memory card expansion.

  • Melissa G Aug 28, 2015 Link to comment

    Interesting to me that you consider some of the LG pics above better than the Nexus. I would call those same pics "overblown" - too bright in other words. Especially the harley one - way too much brightness and glare coming off that cycle seat. Too much brightness means you lose details just as too little brightness would. It's a balance. The street pic above? The clouds are much more defined in what I'm assuming is the Nexus pic (the top one) and the wording on the street sign stands out more to me.

  • Jeff Turley Aug 27, 2015 Link to comment

    Has the nexus 6's battery life and glitches improved with 5.1.1? Looking to upgrade from my G2 to something that doesn't lose support after a year.

  • zorrobyte Jul 2, 2015 Link to comment

    The biggest issue is the lack of rootability of the G4 which is a huge blow to owners.. LG has stated that they will never support unlocking the bootloader meaning G4 owners on carriers are stuck with the bloatware indefinitely.

  • zkyevolved Jun 17, 2015 Link to comment

    I'm stuck between the Nexus 6 and LG G4. The Nexus 6 sounds like a solid contender. The LG G4 has superb optics. Nexus 6 will be less likely to lag and will update faster. G4 has phantom taps which is yet to be found it if it's due to hardware issues or software issues. I had a Nokia 1520 and it had phantom taps due to hardware issues, very widespread might I add. Also, I'd like a larger device... But I see the Nexus 6 has burning in issues.

    No phone is without its problems! Lol.

    Best thing to do is frequent the forums and see what issues people have.

    I have a Note 4, and it's riddled with lags in multitasking and reviewing images. Hate this phone even though the screen quality is top. Bah. Goodbye Samsung...

  • Davon Says Jun 16, 2015 Link to comment

    I had the LG G3 and I loved that phone a whole lot, but so far I have not been that impressed with the LG G4. The camera is awesome and takes pics very fast, but I do get quite a bit of lag and especially when typing. Sometimes it hangs when opening apps, or when pressing home. Mainly I am annoyed with texting lag. I have 1 more day til my 14days is up and I am seriously thinking about getting N6 or M9. I do not care for the Samsung products since my gs2 which was awesome, but the gs3 and gs4 I hated...Still really trying to debate on the n6 lol Love the comments and reviews!

    • Scott Adam Gordon Jun 17, 2015 Link to comment

      Wow I never noticed the texting lag. Are you using the standard keyboard? Or a different keyboard app?

      • zkyevolved Jun 17, 2015 Link to comment

        You should check out the forums. They're riddled with threads about lag and phantom taps... :-\

      • Scott Adam Gordon Jun 17, 2015 Link to comment

        Thanks I'll do some digging!

      • Davon Says Jun 17, 2015 Link to comment

        I used swiftkeyboard, google, lg, and another one like asop. They did not lag as bad, but I still do not feel I should have to worry about any kind of lag or grogginess at all. Yeah it lags to the point it drives me nuts, today is my last day to turn in phone. I am also a super fast texter so people that text slower probably wouldn't have an issue. I have also noticed lag in system. I don't know I am very disappointed in the phone thus far. The cam is awesome but also it seems I really have to push the button perfect for it to take a pic too.

  • John Love Jun 16, 2015 Link to comment

    Does Nexus 6 support multitasking and multi-window?

    • zkyevolved Jun 17, 2015 Link to comment

      Multitasking yes, like every Android device. Multiwindow, out of the box, no.

  • Peachy Sanchez Jun 15, 2015 Link to comment

    I am currently using an LG G4 right now and my priority is my course at where I practice English with native speakers . This is for an office project. I use Skype for this so it's important that Skype works well with my phone. I can't compare it with Nexus 6 because I haven't tried it yet. But for now, LG G4 is the best phone for my needs.

    • zkyevolved Jun 17, 2015 Link to comment

      I myself can't decide between the two. I have a Note 4 which lags a lot :( I want to trade it for another device.

  • John Lyeros Jun 14, 2015 Link to comment

    Hello everyone! The first thing i have to say is that the one mobile is 2015 and other last year!For me Long live the king! Nexus 6!

  • david jackson Jun 14, 2015 Link to comment

    Why is your mole over the left eye in one picture and over the right eye in the other?

    • Scott Adam Gordon Jun 15, 2015 Link to comment

      Haha this gave us a laugh at the office, but it's actually a reasonable question: the Nexus 6 front camera flips the image; not sure why.

      • Melissa G Aug 28, 2015 Link to comment

        I'm guessing it is either to make you look the same as if you were looking into a mirror (since I doubt there is a mirror in the phone like their is in higher end cameras). Not sure why that is necessary though.

  • Dragos Lucian Jun 14, 2015 Link to comment

    Even if I'm a Nexus user, I've got to admit that the G4 is better, but this is my personal opinion. It's a bit smaller, so it's easier to handle, and I really like the "all buttons on the back" style. But the upcoming Nexus 5 2015 will be better in all the departments if it will be like it's been speculated to be (looks and the "under the hood" components), imo.

  • Dillan K Jun 14, 2015 Link to comment

    I have a Nexus 6, and I love it. I did consider the G4, but I couldn't wait for it to be available in my area. I needed a phone. Of course, I am a pure Android lover, so I am pretty sure I would have gone with the Nexus 6 in any case. I have no regrets. Despite my small hands, I don't find the Nexus 6 too large. It is powerful, has a great display, and I love the speakers too. Most of all, I love the operating system. My last phone was a Nexus 5, which my wife took when she broke her S3. She wanted to try a Nexus phone, but didn't want the larger N6. I just couldn't replace my phone with anything other than another Nexus, so the N6 was a perfect choice.

    I do think LG came up with a great phone with the G4. I wish I could have played with one before making my purchase!

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