Google Nexus 6: How It Stacks Up Against the iPhone 6 Plus and the Competition

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Nexus 6 is big, beautiful and it enters the world ready to compete with some of the best large smartphones ever made.

The Nexus 6 is a creation of Google (GOOG) and Motorola Mobility (formerly owned by Google and now a part of Lenovo). It has a 6-inch touchscreen capable of presenting 4K/Super-HD videos, a super-fast 2.7 GHz, quad-core Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon 805 processor, 3 GB of RAM and a terrific 13 megapixel camera (with a little help from Sony (SNE) ) on the back.

However, it's not the only jumbo new smartphone on the market. Right out of the gate the Nexus 6 will have to do battle with Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 6 Plus as well as some great big devices from Samsung, LG and a number of others.

Here's how it stacks up against the iPhone 6 Plus, as well as other larger smartphones.

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Nexus 6 - What's New?

The Nexus 6 is a wonderful device on all counts, with terrific hardware and software. It's the first Android smartphone to ship with the latest version of the Android operating system - Android 5.0 nicknamed Lollipop. (Motorola recently announced that Lollipop would also be coming to three other phones --  the 2nd generation Moto X Pure Edition and the 2nd generation versions of the Moto G, both the U.S. GSM and the Global GSM).

Overall, Lollipop's home screen looks fresh and clean and everything seems to be faster than ever. The new software brings all sorts of improvements to Android - the most important of which, from a technical standpoint, is the ability to handle larger amounts of operating memory which will allow Android devices to perform more complex functions.

In other words, Android smartphones and tablets will soon be able to deal with computing tasks that up until recently could only be handled by desktop and laptop models.

The Nexus 6 is Google's state-of-the-art pure Android smartphone for 2014.

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Nexus 5 vs. Nexus 6

As you can see, last year's Nexus 5 (on the left) is smaller than the Nexus 6 (on the right). A lot smaller, lighter and thinner. The Nexus 5 will actually fit in your pocket and is perfect for smaller hands, as opposed to the Nexus 6.

The Nexus 5 was (and still is) a terrific smartphone made for Google by LG. It runs a 2.3 GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2 GB of RAM. The screen is an inch smaller than on the Nexus 6, at 4.95-inches. It's capable of providing a full HD image, 1080 by 1920 pixels. There is an 8 megapixel camera on the back and it currently runs on Android 4.4, codenamed KitKat.

Despite being a year old, the Nexus 5 is still an amazing smartphone. That's why Google still offers them for sale at the bargain, non-contract price of $349 (16GB) to $399 (32GB).

The Nexus 5 is easy to hold and easily slips into your pocket or purse. The Nexus 6 is a lot bigger.

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Nexus 6 vs. iPhone 6 Plus

Here's where the real competition comes into play.

Despite having a slightly smaller screen (5.5-inches for the Apple vs. 5.95-inches for the Nexus) both smartphones are very similar in size and shape. The Nexus has a curved back to fit the battery pack, while the iPhone 6 Plus is flat. The edge goes to the iPhone 6 Plus which is physically a drop smaller, thinner and lighter in weight.

An unlocked Nexus 6 retails for $649 for the 32GB version and $699 for the 64GB version. In comparison, a 16GB iPhone 6 Plus retails for $749, $849 for the 64GB version and $949 for the 128 GB version.

Both are top-of-the-line, cutting-edge phablets that showcase the latest breakthroughs from the two top smartphone houses on the planet. Both are capable of bringing smartphones to the next level, will serve you well and are at the top of the best phones money can buy.

Since the 6 Plus and Nexus 6 are two different means to the same end, it could come down to which operating system you prefer to use. Lollipop and iOS 8 are both 64-bit ready, providing state-of-the-art quality.

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Software Improvements For 5.0

If you have a working knowledge of previous versions of Android, you will have little trouble adapting to Lollipop. There is a slight learning curve will small new things like double-clicking on the splash screen notification to handle that task without having to navigate through the home screen.

There are also new visual cues throughout the OS including screen fades and transitions, a new, easier to see repository for apps, and many more improvements which make everything run quicker and smoother.

We love the new "open app" screen. It's now a scrolling, cascading listing feature rather than a static list of previously used apps. You can now scroll up or down and see exactly what you had been using - and quickly return to where you left off.

The main differences you'll notice right away are the complete redesign of Android standard app Gmail (you can now deal with multiple accounts on multiple email services all in one place) and Calendar (which also adds photos and maps to your appointments and also searches your Gmail messages for reservations you've made and then adds them to your schedule).

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-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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Gary Krakow is TheStreet's Senior Technology Correspondent.

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