Random rants

Motorola Nexus 6 Review

, posted: 15-Mar-2015 12:01

It's been a long time since I have posted here on Geekzone, but my recent experience with the Nexus 6 made me feel obliged to write something, somewhere, and why not here, on New Zealand's foremost technology website?

I have owned many of the latest, high spec phones over the years, but that has been slowing down as of late, due to re-prioritizing my expenditure now that I have a family to support.

That said, my last phone was the Samsung Galaxy S3. It was a phone that served me well, but like anything with age, it got slower and showed the obvious signs of wear and tear. After many times screaming profanities at it, when it would not charge, I finally relented and brought a new phone. Welcome the Motorola Nexus 6.

I have wanted to purchase a Nexus phone for years, but never took up the option in the past as I always went for the latest high spec phone, and past Nexus models were always mid spec, a constant disappointment to me. So when news broke of the Nexus 6, a high spec but pricey phone, it's fair to say I was happy and enthusiastic, I finally had an excuse to upgrade.

I have brought, I have tried, and now I review.

The Motorola Nexus 6 - An Utter Disappointment

I'm not going to re-hash every point made in other reviews, just the major points that are relevant to me, which shaped my experience of the device.

Google Keyboard missing the Enter/Return key in Messenger
When using Google Messenger and typing a message, there is no Enter key by default... This is very frustrating as it is a key I use a lot to create a line space, to create paragraphs.
After a bit of Google searching, I found it does exist, but it is hidden behind the Emotion key, which is now displayed by default, bottom right corner. To be able to see it, you have to press the shift and the smiley key becomes the enter key.
How annoying! It appears childish funny faces now how priority over correct grammar.
In fact, I only learned just today, that you can also enable the Enter/Return key by using a swipe gesture, you drag from shift to enter in order to insert a new line, much easier, but the frustrating thing is none of this is explained anywhere obvious, I had to search to find it.

No Contact Groups
In the Contacts app, there is no Groups available anymore. Really annoying! You are forced to either use the search, or scroll forever to find what you are looking for.
The ability to add a group to a new contact is still there, and you can display contacts in your Contacts app by group, but it is now a laborious task.
To view by Groups, you have to do the following:
1) Select Menu
2) Select Contacts to display
3) Select Customize
4) Select your Google account
5) Select the Group you want to view
6) Select OK
The Contacts app will now be in 'Custom view', and will only display contacts from your selected Group, but should you want to see other contacts, you have to go back through the process and select All contacts again.

Facebook Contacts & Calendar
It appears there is no ability to sync your Facebook contacts or Calendar, with the Google Contacts and Calendar apps.
On my Samsung Galaxy S3 I could sync my Facebook calendar and contacts, and I could also merge contacts when there were duplicates. These options are all missing from the settings and Accounts sections. Frustrating.

This must be a bug with Android Lollipop.
When I install new apps/widgets, and I select the option on my homescreen to view the widgets, the newly installed widget will not appear as an option on the list.
I have found new widgets will only appear on the list after rebooting the device. Annoying.

No Menu button
I am so used to using a Samsung device, with it's hardware buttons, one being a menu button, that this could be my own fault, I just need re-training, but I find it frustrating none the less.
It can be frustrating trying to find where all the setting of various apps are, because there is no standard menu key, hence to find the settings of each app is in different places for each app.
For this one, I prefer Samsungs implementation.

The back button/size of device
It's great having a back button, but I am right handed, and normally I can do everything with my right hand, but due to the size of the device, and the location of the back button on the far left, I cannot comfortably press the back button with my right thumb. Either, I have to use 2 hands to operate, or I become left handed, as the back button is one of the most used keys, if not the most used, by me. Result: I have become left handed.

No movies app & lack of codec support
There is dedicated app for playing movies, just the Google Photos app? It's not a deal breaker, but a strange omission none the less
More frustrating though, is some movie formats wont play by default. I had to install a third party media player to be able to view all movie formats. Annoying.
For a device with such a big screen and what should be a media powerhouse, that is a fail in my opinion.

No file manager
There is no file manager. Why not? This is what makes Android far superior over Apple, is the ability to view, edit, and transfer files. But how can you do that without a file manager? Annoying
Again, it can be easily resolved with a third party app, but it should not have been excluded in the first place.

Account logging into someone else profile
Again, this appears to be another bug with Android Lollipop.
I can log into my Google account, no issues.
And I can log into my Google+ account and app, no issues, it does that automatically when I log into my Google account of course.
But, Android Lollipop comes with User Profiles, and the other day I noticed my User Profile was showing the photo of one of my friends.
For some bizarre reason, my User Profile is linking to my friends Google+ account, so it shows his photo, and go to his profile when you select the Google+ link?
So I went into my Google settings, checked my account, no issues there.
I went into my Google+ app and it's settings, no issues there.
I did a Google search, and found someone else had the problem, and the only way to fix (abet temporarily) is to log out of the Google+ app.
I have done that, and got control back over my User Profile, it now shows my photo, my details, but I cannot log back into the Google+ app otherwise it takes over my User Profile again, with my friends details and photo. Very annoying 

To slow to boot/Forced encryption
The Motorola Nexus 6 is far to slow to boot, the slowest I have had in years.
It may be due to the fact that encryption is enabled by default on the device, and cannot be diasabled. I have read that leads to a significant performance loss.
That being said, there should be an option to enable or disable encryption. 
I will fix this, and remove the encryption, but I have to root my phone and do some hacking to disable it, I have read.

I really wanted a Nexus device as I wanted a device that had absolutely no bloatware/pre-installed apps and would receive the latest Android updates. From that perspective, I got exactly what I wanted.
But from the list detailed above, it is clear I am not overly happy with the device.
It has the hardware and screen to be a great device, but I feel is currently restrained by Google, trying to dumb things down for their vision of a more aesthetically appealling Androis OS, being Lollipop.
Do I recommend the device to anyone?
Hard truth, sorry Google.

Other related posts:
Nokia N900 - Initial Review
Kiwibank 'heaps'
100% Mobile Broadband - 1 Month Later REVISED & EDITED

Permalink to Motorola Nexus 6 Review | Add a comment (17 comments) | Main Index

Comment by Neil, on 16-Mar-2015 06:02

Wow, I own a Nexus 6 and haven't experienced a single difficulty you report. Not only that, two of my friends also own the Nexus 6 having traded in Galaxy 5's, and both are extremely pleased. It sounds to me like your phone is defective and needs to be exchanged. You also seem to suffer from touch wiz disease. That's when a person goes from a gimmick laden overlay to the actual pure as it was intended operating system.  In your case it was from touch wiz jelly bean to the beauty of material design on Lollipop. I suppose such a change can be shocking to the body and mind. Not quite as shocking however as going from that plastic toy build quality and tiny screen size to a metal framed quad HD Snapdragon 805 killer machine. Oh, and if your having problems with the stock keyboard Ho to the play store and install Swift Key. 

Comment by Nitz, on 16-Mar-2015 06:33

I have faced no such issue as yours and I am enjoying the device with 5.1 update. Its smooth and buttery even with encryption enabled by default. I play NOVA 3 all time and it has no issues at all.

Comment by peter, on 16-Mar-2015 08:39

I don't understand what that guy is on about I have own the  nexus 6 for a week now and its a amazing phone very powerful and a awesome screen before owning my nexus 6 I owed the galaxy note 4 and that was a great phone but found all the Samsung stuff was unnecessary hence why I went for a nexus cos it only had the stuff I needed and if I did want some thing I would pop on play store 

Comment by Ryan, on 16-Mar-2015 09:45

I just got the Nexus 6 and I have not experienced the things that you have issues with. I too came from Samsung and there are some things with their ui that I HD to get used too,but by in far in my opinion the Nexus 6 is the best phone I ever had and can't wait to see how Google keeps tweaking it out.  Maybe you just need more time to realize the differences between the ui's.

Comment by James, on 16-Mar-2015 11:04

This review sounds like a spoiled child complaining about his new toy not being exactly how he wants it. I wouldn't even call it a review, as reviews give positives (which there is an abundance of) along with the negatives. Every issue you had seemed to be minor annoyances, and you were able to fix many of them on your own. Do everyone a favor, and continue your retirement from "reviewing" permanently.

Comment by Nat, on 16-Mar-2015 11:47

Have you tried dialing for contacts? Just type at the numeric keypad (phone).

Comment by BH, on 16-Mar-2015 11:56

I am not a Nexus fan either,  especially the Nexus 6. If I am going to carry around a monster sized phone, I at least want some utility from it. The Galaxy Note 4 is the only phone I would put up with that is this large. Google's stock operating system is too bland and vanilla for my taste. I own both the Nexus 4 and 5 and immediately regretted purchasing them after only a few days.

Comment by Brandon, on 16-Mar-2015 12:19

The beauty of Android is that you have all these wonderful 3rd party apps at your disposal yet almost all of your grievances against the Nexus 6 seem to suggest that you would be more comfortable with a phone that you don't have to customize whatsoever (read: iPhone).

Comment by Jon, on 16-Mar-2015 13:53

The nexus line is aimed at power users, not your typical iPhone user. It is fully able to be unlocked and customized. It is obvious that you were not one of the intended target group (which is fine, as we need variety). But don't buy a 4x4 and complain that it doesn't ride like a Cadillac.

Comment by corksta, on 16-Mar-2015 16:24

What about things like the camera, battery life, screen quality, speaker quality and so on? That would be a review of the Nexus, not this which appears to be a rant about your frustrations with the software side of things. 

Comment by sonyxperiageek, on 16-Mar-2015 18:46

I think this is more of a Android 5.0 Lollipop review, not a review of the Nexus 6.

Comment by TorVez, on 16-Mar-2015 19:18

This review should be called "Why I prefer the Samsung Touchwiz UI over stock Android" because this has nothing to do with the Nexus 6. If you're used to using the Galaxy phones, you can't write a review about the Nexus 6 and do nothing but complain about what you miss from the Samsung UI. I hate the ToychWiz UI, so my review would be opposite of yours.

Comment by robfish, on 16-Mar-2015 20:14

I loved my Nexus 4 then my Nexus 5 and now I love my Nexus 6 and Nexus 7.This "review" is more of a commentary on the writer's ignorance. (IMHO)

Comment by Joe, on 17-Mar-2015 02:04

The author doesnt seem to know how to use a mobile device.No file manager? Really? Are you new to smart phones?No enter button? lol No groups? lol Wow.No mention of everything that makes it amazing: surround sound front facing speakers, the highest resolution mobile screen on Earth, turbo charge that goes from 15% to 80% in minutes... The list goes on.But yeah, let's rant about how there's no enter button. lol

Comment by m1kes, on 17-Mar-2015 11:29

It's quite clear whoever wrote this so called review didn't want a nexus 6 or lollipop ( as that is what the rants at about not the hardware)  he had already decided not to like it and not even give it a chance.... Sad really.

Comment by Technofreak, on 23-Mar-2015 14:08

The guy's given his opinion. He's not new to smart phones, He's been using them for quite a while now, he's owned the Nokia N900 which is considered one of the better smartphones ever produced, certainly a very very good and powerful smart phone when it was released back in 2009. That phone was certainly aimed at power users. Perhaps that's part of the problem, he's not seeing functionality in new a phone 5 to 6 years later that he might expect to see as standard.

It might surprise some people to learn that bling like surround sound front facing speakers, (actually surround sound speakers on a smart phone is an oxymoron), ultra high resolution screens, etc aren't high on the priority list for some users. A functional device that can do basic stuff out of the box is what some users expect.  Having to download apps to get basic functionality or over come short comings that other phones don't have is frustrating.

It appears to me that some posters are a bit precious about their Nexus. Lets face it not everyone shares the same enthusiasm for their favourite device.  I'm sure many Nexus owners would have similar views on other brands/OS's.

Comment by Simon James, on 29-Mar-2015 10:38

It appears all the negatives in this review are minor preference issues; there is nothing overly negative in my opinion from this review.

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euanandrews's profile

Euan Andrews
Lower Hutt
New Zealand

I'm a 32yo male, living and working in the Wellington region.

I currently work as a manager for Interislander, having worked in the Hospitality industry for about the last decade.

I have interests in computers, gadgets and information, and love to be 'in the know', hence I read vasts amount of information online, anything from tech news, gadgets to current events and history.

Being a movie buff and having an interest in computers, I setup a wiki about Home Theatre PC's, and have recently built my own HTPC.

I was also heavily involved with the setup and design of the NZ Connections Wiki, having been invited by Cokemaster to help, as a result of my extensive and ongoing interest in ISP's. 

NZ Connections Wiki
My profile (TheBartender)

Compaq Pressirio 5000
Case: Silverstone LC16M, CPU: Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz, Motherboard: abit IP35 Pro, PSU: Corsair 520HX, Optical Drive: Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer, Graphics card: Leadtek WinFast PX8500 GT TDH HDMI, Hard drive: 2 x Western Digital Caviar GP WD7500AACS Hard Disk Drive, 750GB, 5400rpm, Wireless: D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop, TV tuner: Blackgold BGT3540, Keyboard: Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center
Nokia N900