IT Blogwatch: BYOD and shiny toys

Nexus 6 reviews: Google's Android 5.0 phablet is bigger, but better?

La GOOG's 'Shamu' shows its enormous face

nexus 6 review roundup

IT Blogwatch: BYOD and shiny toys

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Here it is: The Nexus 6, Google's huge Android 5.0 phablet. So it must be time for one of Richi's random review roundups.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers tread the thin line between love and hate.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Let's kick off with JR Raphael's skeptical take:

The Motorola-made Nexus basically a small tablet that you carry around and occasionally use to make and receive calls. ... I've never been fully sold on the [phablet] concept. ... The Nexus 6, however, is's the first plus-sized phone I could actually see myself using.

It maintains the Moto X's gently curved back and soft-touch plastic material. [It's] surprisingly comfortable to hold; it feels like it fits my hand and seems far less hefty than it actually is. ... Design makes a major difference in usability. ... Still, big is big -- and the Nexus 6 isn't the type of phone you're going to be able to use single-handedly.

The phone's 5.96-in. Quad HD AMOLED display is absolutely stunning, with strikingly rich and true-to-life colors and razor-sharp detail. [It] also excels when it comes to audio [from its] dual front-facing speakers. ... With a 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor and 3GB of RAM, the system is fast as can be. ... Battery life is commendable, too [with] three to four hours of screen-on time. ... Motorola's Turbo Charger...promises to boost battery life by as much as six hours [in] just 15 minutes. ... Like most Nexus devices, the Nexus 6 does not have an SD card slot. [The] camera [is] easily among the best you can find on a smartphone...crisp and clear with vibrant and realistic colors. ... Unlike the majority of Android devices, it runs a "pure" version...with the guarantee of fast and frequent future OS upgrades.  MORE

And Brandon Chester echoes that final sentiment:

When consumers think of Google's Nexus devices, they think about the promise of receiving the latest updates for Android essentially as soon as they release. ... At $649 [it] goes up against essentially every other flagship smartphone. ... Both the plastic back and the aluminum sides feel good in the hand, but...your hand tends to rest more on the back cover instead of arching over it, so it doesn't quite have the premium feel of metal devices like the HTC One (M8) and the iPhone 6.

For some reason one of the parts I found myself really its nanoSIM tray and tray ejector tool. The tray has a much better design than other devices like the iPhone, HTC One, or Nexus 5. [It] has tiny notches that hold the SIM in place. ... The large display [has] minimal bezel [but] the increase in width is the most noticeable change from the Nexus 5. [It's] a firmly two handed device. ... Compared to other phablets like the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4 the Nexus 6 is somewhat more difficult to hold.  MORE

But Ron "ron-ron" Amadeo met it on a Monday, and his heart stood still: [You're fired -Ed.]

Another year, another Nexus phone. [They're] the fast track for the newest software, but they've typically been devices of compromise. ... This year, Google has...nearly doubled the a whopping $650 for an unlocked Nexus 6 [which] makes us less forgiving of any faults. [But] consider that an unlocked Galaxy Note 4 costs around $800 and has a smaller screen. ... When Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in 2007, he called the 3.5-inch screen "giant"—laughable today [but] after about a week, going back to the Nexus 5 felt like using a tiny toy replica of a smartphone.

Google says it's aiming for a "premium" product, and at least on the build quality side of things, this device does a good job of living up to that...the whole device feels like a solid brick that could double as a hammer and/or weapon in a pinch. ... Like the Moto X before it, the Nexus 6 has an always-on voice feature that works even when the screen is off [but] it's much, much faster. [It's] easily the phone's best feature and will change the way you use the device. ... Ambient Display is another great feature that will change how you interact with your phone. [But] the Nexus 6 was slower than the Nexus 5. Apps took longer to launch, tasks took longer to switch, and sometimes [it] liked to get stuck and pause for a few minutes. ... The [flash] sequential read speed...isn't up to the level of its competitors and is even slower than the Nexus 5 [so] the storage is going to be a bottleneck. ... We wouldn't call it one of the best cameras out there. ... It's not as good in low light as a Note 4 or iPhone, but in daylight or indoor lighting, it can hold its own. ... Motorola could have packed more than a 3220mAh battery into a 6-inch device. ... Lollipop doesn't really do anything to take advantage of the bigger screen.  MORE

Meanwhile, RJF suffers first-world problems:

I switched to using an iPhone last year, and now Google is making me want to switch back again. Ugh.  MORE

Update: Jason Cross goes all self-conscious on us:

You’ll be lining up the perfect shot...and someone will mock you for taking photos with your tablet. ... You’ll have to explain, “No, that’s just my absurdly large phone.” ... It’s impossible to use effectively with one hand (and I have large hands). It doesn’t fit well in my pants pockets (and I have large pants). ... And yet, it’s hard not to’s hard to go back to anything smaller...with all the concessions you make in carrying around a phone apparently made for NBA players, you’ll also come to rely on the its benefits.

This is a Nexus, and that means stock Android, and that means Google’s standard Camera app. It’s awful. ... The Nexus 6 hardware is up to snuff. It’s got a 13-megapixel Sony IMX214 sensor, f/2.0 lens, with optical image stabilization, and a dual-LED flash...but the experience of taking photos is abysmal. ... No burst mode? No slow motion video? The shutter lag and shot-to-shot latency is way too long. ... How is Google’s own Camera app...not a proving ground for what’s possible? It doesn’t appear to take advantage of any of the new camera API features...and other developers have not yet stepped up to the plate. It’s a shame to see...the best Nexus yet, tarnished by once again delivering a lackluster photo-taking experience.  MORE


You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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