Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6S Plus comparison: which is more phabulous?

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© NextPit

We think that the Nexus 6P is the ultimate smartphone, but we’re sure Apple would disagree: surely its iPhone 6S Plus is the ultimate in smartphone style and technology? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to put them head to head in a Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6S Plus comparison.

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Could this be the best Nexus yet? / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6s Plus comparison: design and build quality

According to our very own Omar Hamwi, the Nexus 6P “is designed like no other smartphone. Its finely-machined edges and minimal finish give it an understated character. The black glass panel on the back, sitting over the camera lens, looks strange at first. But once you forget what phones should look like and begin to appreciate what Huawei has done here, it all makes sense… it looks like the future of smartphones.”

By comparison, the iPhone 6S Plus does look a little less current. This is a tock year in Apple’s tick/tock design cycle, so while the 6S has a number of improvements over its predecessor, it looks identical. The aluminum is a little less slippery than before and suffers less from the infamous bending that we saw in its predecessor, but it’s a familiar and possibly overfamiliar design now.

Is the iPhone 6s Plus the phablet to beat? / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6s Plus comparison: display

The Nexus display is really great: it’s a 5.7-inch AMOLED delivering QHD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels at 518 ppi. As we’ve come to expect from AMOLED, the blacks are very black and the colors very vivid.

The iPhone 6S Plus display is slightly smaller at 5.5 inches, and while Apple is rumored to be considering AMOLED – the Apple Watch uses it – the iPhone sticks with the familiar IPS LCD. The screen is sharp but less dense than the Nexus, and, with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, it’s lower resolution too. It’s still a retina display that delivers crystal clear text and images, but the display in the Nexus is better.

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The Nexus display is superb, with deep blacks and vivid colors. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6s Plus comparison: processor and storage

The Nexus 6 has an octa-core Snapdragon 810 with four low-energy cores and four high-performance ones, topping out at 2 GHz and backed with 3 GB of RAM. Internal storage is 32, 64 or 128 GB and there’s no option to add more with microSD cards, which aren’t supported.

Apple’s processor is its own A9 with embedded M9 motion co-processor and 2 GB of RAM. As ever, it’s impossible to make a direct comparison between Apple and Android processors, but the Plus is certainly the fastest iPhone ever. Available storage is a hopeless 16 GB, or more sensible 64 GB or 128 GB options.

Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6s Plus comparison: camera

The Nexus has a 12.3 MP main camera and an 8 MP front-facing one, and while it’s an excellent camera with a really good sensor, it lacks Optical Image Stabilization, which we’ve come to expect from devices this big.

The Apple device has it, as well as a new 12 MP sensor with larger pixels for better low-light performance. If like us you have shaky hands, the iPhone will take the better photos – especially in low light, where the slightest shake can ruin your shot.

Apple only offers optical image stabilization in its iPhone 6S Plus. Normal iPhones don't get it. / © Apple

Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6s Plus comparison: software

As you’d expect from a Nexus, the new Nexus 6P runs the latest and greatest Android in the form of Marshmallow, aka Android 6.0. It’s stock Android, which means no manufacturer-specific apps or customization. The Nexus 6P is one of the reference devices for Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

This guarantees the Nexus 6P several great software features, including Doze Mode and App Standby for better battery life, granular app permission control, native fingerprint reader support, Google Now on Tap, monthly security updates, and more control over the Android system than ever before. For more of what the latest version of Android delivers, take a look at our Android 6.0 Marshmallow review.

The iPhone 6S Plus runs Apple’s own iOS 9, and supports a new feature: 3D touch, aka Force Touch. This adds an extra layer of interaction to screen taps, so, for example, a hard press on the Messages app brings up a shortcut menu for common tasks such as creating a new message; a hard press in a third party Twitter app shows the conversation and so on. It seems gimmicky at first but you soon miss it when you use other devices.

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The Nexus comes with stock Android, free from manufacturers' meddling. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6s Plus comparison: battery

The Huawei Nexus 6P has a whopping 3,450 mAh battery – the largest ever in a Nexus. This means that the Nexus 6P has more than enough juice to power a large QHD screen, and, combined with Doze Mode and the stock battery saver and app standby features, the Nexus 6P gets you through a full day of easier than any other Nexus. You certainly won't need to cripple your Nexus just to make it through to dinner time.

The iPhone 6S Plus battery is smaller than before: at 2,750 mAh it’s five percent smaller than the one in the 6 Plus. Apple has tweaked its hardware and software so that missing 5 percent doesn’t adversely impact battery life, but it’s still notably smaller than the Nexus, which we’d expect to last longer in real-world scenarios. It’s the biggest battery in any iPhone, but it’s small by Android standards.

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3D Touch is good, but does it justify the iPhone's price premium? / © ANDROIDPIT

Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6s Plus comparison: early verdict

In almost every respect, the Nexus is a better buy than the iPhone. It has a bigger, better display. It has more memory and a bigger battery. It looks fresher. It has fast charging. It lacks the optical image stabilization of the iPhone and you could argue that iOS is prettier than Android, but that last one’s a judgment call. And the most important spec of all is the price.

Apple doesn’t do a 32 GB iPhone 6S Plus, but if it did it’d cost a lot more than the equivalent Nexus 6P: a 16 GB 6S Plus is US$749, which is US$250 more than the 32 GB Nexus. For 128 GB you’re looking at US$649 for the Nexus and a whopping US$949 for the Apple one. The iPhone good, but not US$300 moreso.

What do you think? Is the Nexus the clear leader now, or does Apple still have the edge? Let us know below.

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  • Junette Watson Apr 14, 2016 Link to comment

    Which phone do you all think should last at least 4 years with minimal lag and preserve an ok battery life?

  • Bryan Steenerson Mar 23, 2016 Link to comment

    This review seems a bit one-sided and not a really good look at both phones. I have both an Iphone 6s (not the plus) and a nexus 6p because I am trying out googles fi network. I have to say, the battery life on my iphone 6s is better then the nexus 6p. I blame the display... The google nexus 6p has a much more power intensive display then the iphone 6s - so even though the batter on the 6s is about 1/2 the size of the 6p, it still lasts longer. I like android, but apple still makes the better devices. I would like to see google take on the manufacturing of a smart phone themselves and put out a really good phone with three key things: good camera (nexus 6p does have an awesome camera), good design (6p is great, but I'd like to see a premium phone design that isn't the size of texas), and good battery life (who cares about the display! our eyes can't see that many pixels anyway unless your hawkeye!), I would take a better battery life anyday over display, and I think most people agree with me... I just wonder why the android phone manufacturers haven't caught on to that yet?

  • Dequan Brown Feb 25, 2016 Link to comment

    Yes as soon as I looked at the black glass I thought it looked futuristic and the closer I look and use my imagination it looks like an android

  • surya kumar Jan 14, 2016 Link to comment

    Whatever iPhone could have,Android is the only thing to buy a Nexus

  • Jennifer Lyonel Jan 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Nexus Phones and Tablets are now on sale only on

  • William K. Jan 11, 2016 Link to comment

    Even if you throw price aside, the nexus still has the edge. It is prettier, camera is arguably better, and google/android ecosystem likes its customers more than apple. Then you add the fact it is $200-$300 cheaper. Nexus is a no brainer.

  • Alfu Conteh Jan 11, 2016 Link to comment

    Got an option last year to chose 6s plus or nexus 6P. I went with the nexus 6P and since then I'm a very happy man. I used iOS all my life the nexus 6P is my first android device and I absolutely love it.

  • Kunal Narang Jan 11, 2016 Link to comment

    I would prefer Nexus 6P over iPhone 6S Plus any day of the year!

  • Allen Edmonds Jan 10, 2016 Link to comment

    Android is my OS of choice but I prefer iOS app development.

  • storm Jan 10, 2016 Link to comment

    A walled garden has such limited pollination. The cross pollination of ideas of the open world of Android beats all of Apple's efforts regardless of hardware. I'd take a moto G over the latest iPhone and be happier for it.

  • Sanjeev Singh Dec 15, 2015 Link to comment

    Nexus 6P > iPhone 6s Plus.

  • Chris Morales Dec 1, 2015 Link to comment

    I would buy the 6P, but price can be misleading. You have to buy the 6P at full price because no carrier sells it, but upgrading from a carrier like Verizon in addition to occasional deals, an iPhone can become half that of the 6P.

    • Leke Oyebola Jan 10, 2016 Link to comment

      In the UK you can purchase the nexus 6p from carphone warehouse on contract, that it what I did

  • Raymond Nov 17, 2015 Link to comment

    Was gonna get a Note 4 but after seeing a tweet you guys tweeted out about deals on note 5 available on EBay for around $550.00 I'm keeping my eyes open for that deal again. They really look like awesome phones!

  • Raymond Nov 16, 2015 Link to comment

    I have "shaky hands" so unfortunately I'll pass on the Nexus 6P was thinking about it till I seen no Image Stabilization.

    • Edward O'Connell Nov 19, 2015 Link to comment

      It does have some stabilisation but it is EIS (electronic) rather than OIS (optical, physically moving parts).

  • Gareth Underhill Nov 16, 2015 Link to comment

    I think these are the best two phones out there. I had the Samsung Galaxy S6 for a while, which should have been great, but had poor software, poor battery life and abysmal customer service. Am back on iPhone 6s Plus, as I have a Mac and AirPort Extreme. That's the main selling point, the whole ecosystem integrates nicely and easily. The iPhone also supports visual voicemail and wifi calling offered by my carrier here in the UK, and has Apple Pay. If Google could get its act together in countries outside of the States, actually sell its OnHub, bring Google Voice, Project Fi and Android Pay out for the UK I would go all in as I love Google services. Hangouts could be the equivalent of iMessage/FaceTime and even better it if they tried, and if they pushed a bit harder getting carriers to integrate the services I mentioned; wifi calling and visual voicemail it'd be a no brainer!

    It's still damned tempting to switch, but for me it's so close yet so far!

  • Hussain Ahmadi Nov 15, 2015 Link to comment

    Nexus 6P is better. the front stereos and the bigger , better screen and the small bezels. the software is even better and more customizable.

    the only thing I don't like about the Nexus 6P is the camera black glass in the back. I feel if you don't handle the phone with care you will scratch that glass a lot

  • PABLO DUSSO Nov 15, 2015 Link to comment

    Up to an year ago I think you were right If you said that iOS was "prettier" or more polished that Android. But since Lollipop with stock material design things has totally changed. Now is just a question of taste.
    The problem is that at least, in countries like mine (Argentina) having an iPhone is a symbol of status... but not exclusivity cause nowadays everyone has one!!!!

  • Mohd Sadiq Nov 15, 2015 Link to comment

    The Nexus 6p is still better than any iPhone. I use both phone nexus 6p and Iphone 6s plus. The nexus 6p is better than I phone 6s plus in almost every things.

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