Nexus 5 vs Nexus 6: is the new Nexus worth the upgrade? [updated: new comparison video]

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© NextPit

The Nexus 5 is one of the best devices currently available on Android when looking in terms of cost and performance. Now the Nexus 6 has arrived, alongside the new version of Google's proprietary OS, Android 5.0 Lollipop. Let's take a look at how the these two devices stack up in our Nexus 5 vs Nexus 6 comparison.

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Is the Nexus 6 (left) a worthy replacement to the Nexus 5 (right)? / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 6 vs Nexus 5 design

The Nexus 6 is emulating the look of the Moto X (2014), albeit with a larger frame. Arriving with a 5.96-inch screen, it has a similar camera placement (with the flash around the sensor), to the Motorola flagship, though the volume and lock buttons have slid further down towards the middle of the device to accommodate the bigger body. The Nexus 5's rather "neutral" look is being made a bit more flashy thanks to the Nexus 6's aluminium bezels and dual front-facing speakers.

Nexus 6 vs Nexus 5 display

The Nexus 6 display is one of its highlights for sure: jumping up from the Full-HD (1,920 x 1,080) Nexus 5 screen to a QHD (2,560 x 1,440) panel, the Nexus 6 sits at the top of the Android resolution pile alongside the likes of the LG G3 and the Oppo Find 7. The Nexus 6's large display means that the pixel-per-inch count is only a modest upgrade over the Nexus 5, coming in at 493 ppi compared to the Nexus 5's 445 ppi. In reality, the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 screens aren't worlds apart when looking at the app drawer or browsing the internet. The Nexus 5 is brighter, and the Nexus 6 is slightly pink-ish. It's in games and HD content where the real difference shows and the Nexus 6's increased resolution is most perceptible. 

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The Nexus 6 display is larger with higher resolution than the Nexus 5 (right). / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 6 vs Nexus 5 performance

The Nexus 6 has some impressive performance specs. Equipped with a Quad-core Snapdragon 805 clocked at 2.7 GHz, the Nexus 6 is currently has one of the strongest chipsets on the market, but sadly not one which is 64-bit compatible. This is perhaps one of the areas that the Nexus 6 has lost out against other next gen flagships, and because of this it doesn't seem so much more impressive than the Nexus 5 with its Snapdragon 800. 

Both devices are rocking Android 5.0 Lollipop and when conducting normal business, the performance difference isn't really noticeable. We do know that the Nexus 6 is technically one of the most powerful devices around, according to its benchmarking scores, and is primed to take advantage of future updates, but right now it's only going to be the Nexus 5 when it's put under heavy load. 

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The Nexus 6 AnTuTu Benchmark test shows it's a strong performer. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 6 vs Nexus 5 camera

The Nexus devices are not known for their camera technology, with the Nexus 5 camera suffering from many problems. Fortunately, the Nexus 5's 8 MP rear camera has been improved with updates, and it seems like Android 5.0 Lollipop is set to fix them once and for all, but it still can't really measure up to a Sony or Samsung flagship.

The Nexus 6 holds 13 MP rear-camera sensor, with optical image stabilization, providing far better performance than it's predecessor. The camera is one of the key ways the Nexus 6 presents tangible value over the Nexus 5. It has higher resolution, less noise, and deeper colors. 

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Snaps taken with the Nexus 5 camera, like above, were unspectacular at the time of its release. / © ANDROIDPIT
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The Nexus 6 camera pictures look far better by comparison, with higher contrast, richer colors, and finer detail, especially when blown up. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 6 vs Nexus 5 battery

The Nexus 5 battery life isn't great, with a 2,300 mAh battery powering a high-performance device. The Nexus 6 comes with a 3,220 mAh battery, almost 1000 milliampere-hour more, but it has a bigger and more detailed screen to power. What is the end result?

The Nexus 6, despite higher-power components, still beats the Nexus 5 in terms of battery life. In our experience, it easily manages 24 hours of heavy usage with juice still in the tank. Add to this the ability to gain a significant charge (around 6 hours) in just 15 minutes, and the Nexus 6 offers a much better energy package overall.

The battery of the Nexus 5 is removable ... but to access it you will have to get your hands dirty. / © NextPit

Nexus 6 vs Nexus 5 price

The Nexus 6 has bucked the mid-range price trend we'd come to expect from the Nexus series with an off-contract price of 649 USD. Compared to the Nexus 5 which currently sits on Amazon for 349 USD (and launched at the same price), this is a significant price hike, equating to almost double the cost of the previous flagship. This is likely to be one of the major defining factors on whether users will invest in the new flagship.

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When we look at pricing, the camera, display, and design are key factors which really separate the current and last generation Nexus devices. / © ANDROIDPIT

Technical Specifications

  Google Nexus 5 Google Nexus 6
System Android 4.4.4 KitKat (upgradable to Android 5.0 Lollipop) Android 5.0 Lollipop
Screen 4.95-inch IPS 1920 x 1080 (445 ppi) 5.96-inch AMOLED, 2,560 x 1,440 Pixel (493 ppi)
Processor Quad-core Snapdragon 800, 2.3 GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 805, 2.7 GHz, Adreno 420 GPU
Internal memory 16/32 GB 32/64 GB
Battery 2300 mAh 3220 mAh + turbo-charge functionality
Camera 8 MP (rear), 1.3MP (front) 13 MP with OIS (rear), 2.1 MP (front)
Connectivity Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, LTE Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, LTE
Dimensions 137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6 mm 82.98  x 159.26 x 10.06 mm
Weight 130 g 184 g
Price 349 USD 649 USD


The Nexus 6, as you would expect, improves upon the Nexus 5 in almost all areas, but, crucially, with regards to the camera technology, which many had a big problem with on the last iteration. There is no doubt the Nexus 6 is superior device, but the reason some may hesitate (and I expect many will) is down to the size and the overall cost/benefit.

At 5.96-inches, the Nexus 6 is one of the biggest flagships on the market, and this might be just too big for some people, and the improvements the Nexus 6 presents, while outperforming the Nexus 5 in almost every area, are mostly unsubstantial.

Bigger screen, higher resolution, more battery, better camera, faster processor: it's faster better stronger, but only incrementally, only compared to a device which is still strong today. And for that reason, when looking at value, I don't think we see the extra 300 dollars reflected in the overall experience of the Nexus 6.

Do you think the Nexus 6 provides a worthwhile upgrade for owners of the Nexus 5?

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  • Danehardin May 17, 2018 Link to comment

    This is a good article about Nexus 5 Vs Nexus 6. Today camera technology is going more smarter and Nexus 6 has improved its better camera functions and updating other components so it is good to point to a better position in the market

  • Steven F. Jun 30, 2016 Link to comment

    I prefer the size of the NEXUS 5... I just wish LG and Google would do a iphone se trick and use that size with new and speedier guts and and camera. I now have a Moto X pure and wish for the 5s size

  • H BHATT BHATT Apr 28, 2016 Link to comment

    During software update in my nexus 5, my child has switch off two three times, hence now it could not reload new version or start with old version. Please help me - Hitesh Bhatt

  • Erick E. Feb 23, 2016 Link to comment

    It's a trick question. The answer is to have both!

  •   18
    Deactivated Account Jan 26, 2016 Link to comment

    Nexus 6 is the winner. Nexus 6 & 6P?

  • Montassar M. Aug 23, 2015 Link to comment

    Nexus 6 is better of course.

  • Polina Yakymenko Aug 11, 2015 Link to comment


  • Hallo Mar 19, 2015 Link to comment

    One of the best smartphones ever built <3

  • Robert Gottesman Dec 3, 2014 Link to comment

    I already have a tablet (8.9") and my phone is just the right size for pocket .. reading emails quickly, etc. The 6 is just too big.

  • Leonardo Dec 1, 2014 Link to comment

    I want to get a nexus 6 but I am concerned about the screen burn issue I see people complaining about...what is google doing about this?

    • James Mccoy Jan 24, 2015 Link to comment

      I have the nexus 6, and I have never experienced screen burn. But, google have implemented a option called 'invert colours'. All you do is click the option and leave your phone for 5 mins and the screen burn is gone

  • dean Nov 8, 2014 Link to comment

    Skipped the nexus 5 for the note3 last go but seen as tho it has gone big screen I will buy back into the my 9 the other day and I want back that no bloat nexus feel. I've used the spen on note3 a lot more than I first thought I would but I think its time to go big and clean again.

    • James Mccoy Jan 24, 2015 Link to comment

      Yeah nexus6 is brilliant for me

  • flooney Oct 9, 2014 Link to comment

    The Nexus one great device if you go with price and performance. But obe thing suffers: The Stability. Unfortunately it occurred that my Nexus broke near the Sim-Card-Trey.

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