This week in mobile: Nexus 6 hands on; Droid Turbo arrives; Microsoft Band impresses

18 Comments

Credit: Kevin C. Tofel

Leading up to the holiday season, the mobile industry is picking up speed as more devices launched this week. We fully expected Google to have a new Nexus and it delivered, introducing the Nexus 6 earlier this month. This week, I met with Googlers to hear more about the Nexus 6 design and features, walking out with a review unit of the large phone.

Nexus 6 landscape

I was quickly impressed during my initial hands on experience of the Nexus 6, mainly because this may be the first Nexus handset where you won’t say “But I wish it had [insert feature or hardware here].” I simply don’t see anything missing nor any corners cut like we’ve seen on prior Nexus phones. The Nexus 6 has a super-fast processor, lots of memory, a QuadHD display with 491 pixels per inch, dual front-facing speakers, a solid camera sensor, wireless charging and more. About the only item “missing” is a microSD card slot, but it’s common for Nexus phones to skip that.

The new Droid Turbo is similar but slightly smaller with a 5.2-inch screen. It’s exclusive to [company]Verizon[/company] and will include the Turbo Charger that can add 8 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes for a phone that’s nearly run out of juice. The Nexus 6 also comes with the Turbo Charger but only adds 6 hours of battery life in the same time. The two phones have plenty of other similarities as well since the Droid Turbo also comes with 3 GB of memory and runs on a 2.7 GHz quad-core [company]Qualcomm[/company] Snapdragon 805; just like the Nexus 6.

droid-turbo

Motorola (which makes both phones) added a 21 megapixel camera sensor to the Droid Turbo; a noticeably larger amount of pixels over the 13 megapixel sensor in the Nexus 6. Depending on image quality, for some the Turbo may be a better choice, then.

One surprise this week was the launch of the Microsoft Band, a cross-platform health tracker with some smartwatch functions. I bought one on Thursday night and have been wearing it since. So far, there’s much to like as the Band includes a continuous heart rate monitor and GPS, in addition the standard complement of other sensors. I’m hoping [company]Microsoft[/company] can add support for wireless music playback although that would require internal storage and so far, Microsoft hasn’t said how much capacity is inside the Band.

Microsoft Band HR

My first summary and early take?

 The Band is built superbly and the display is crisp. The basics (and then some) are there in terms of software and sensors, and the device works with multiple platforms so users won’t feel locked in on a particular companion phone. My first impression is that Android Wear has more “smartwatch” functionality if you use an Android phone but the Band is a better health tracker. I’ll circle back after more time with it to see if I still think that.

Out of the box, Microsoft Band is pretty compelling and it doesn’t matter if you use Android, iOS or Windows Phone; the Band works with all of them. I think Microsoft can (and will) evolve the functionality of it with software updates but so far, I’m pleased with the purchase.

18 Comments

Bradley Jones

According to the Microsoft site, the Microsoft has 64mb of internal storage. That seems extremely low to me, .

Kevin C. Tofel

Ah, I see that now. It’s not mentioned on the main product page but in the Microsoft Store site, it does show 64 MB of internal storage. No way music playback support will ever be there then. Bummer!

centennial

“This may be the first Nexus handset where you won’t say ‘But I wish it had [insert feature or hardware here].’ I simply don’t see anything missing.”

It appears to be missing the four microphone CyrstalTalk noise cancellation found in the 2nd Gen Moto X. Specs seem to indicate it may use three microphones and it probably has Qualcomm’s Fluence noise cancellation (as did the Nexus 4 and 5)–it may not even use all three microphones for noise cancellation, the third could just be for stereo audio in video recordings.

Noise cancellation is a feature Google has gone backwards on since the Nexus One, which had the industry leading Audience noise cancellation chip. After that the Nexus S had no noise cancellation at all (!) and the Galaxy Nexus had some really crappy unknown solution. The Nexus 4 and 5, as mentioned, used Qualcomm’s Fluence, which is very mediocre, has some weird glitches, and is no where near as good as the noise cancellation all the way back in the Nexus One.

The four microphone noise cancellation on the 2nd Gen Moto X might be really good (according to some reports so far). So leaving this out of the Nexus 6 is a big oversight (and typical of Google having stopped taking this feature seriously for years).

So I would definitely say about the Nexus 6, I wish it had the four microphone noise cancellation from the 2nd Gen Moto X or the Audience chip–which is what I said about every Nexus device, since the Nexus One.

Such a shame. A real negative for an otherwise great device.

Janice Dsouza

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Brad

Already having issues with the Droid turbo battery. I charged it last night before going to bed.
100%… Took it off the charger. Went to sleep. 8 hours later, I wake up myself. No phone alarm… I check to see what happened and the phone died after 7 hours on standby!

My question is… Should you only use the larger charger when you absolutely need it and stick with a basic charger the rest of the time?

metacinman

according to the manual for the phone you should use the turbo charger all the time. It will only rapid charge the phone until approx 78% battery…and then it will act like a standard charger.

sproketz

You lost me at “microsoft band impresses.” The thing looks like a home imprisonment monitoring device…

Jason

Do you suppose that a Nexus 6 purchased through the wireless carriers will result un the carrier disabling the portable hot spot capability via a software “update” as AT&T did with the Nexus S upon initial startup?

chazzmatt

The Droid Turbo is NOT a Verizon exclusive. That’s MISINFORMATION being perpetuated by the ignorant media. The “Droid” name is the exclusive, not the PHONE.

This SAME 5.2″, 1440p, Snapdragon 805, 3GB RAM phone is being released as the Droid Turbo (Verizon), Moto X Play (AT&T), Moto Maxx (International).

Verizon Droid Turbo: FCC ID of IHDT56PK1
AT&T Moto X Play: FCC ID of IHDT56PK2

5.2″, 1440p, Snapdragon 805, 3GB RAM

Has AT&T bands, and the documentation also states that the new device “is electrically equivalent to the certified device carrying FCC ID IHDT56PK1.”

But, I’m REALLY waiting for the Motorola “Pure Edition” of the Moto X Play. Unlockable bootloader, no carrier branding, no bloatware. Would also have international LTE bands, just like the Pure Edition of the 2014 Moto X.

anonymous googler

The droid turbo isn’t a Verizon exclusive? Tell me, where can you purchase its equivalent today?

There’s been no official word that its coming out for any other us carrier. Looks like an international version may be released soon. However, its not available now. Which means in no uncertain terms it’s EXCLUSIVE TO VERIZON as of this writing.

Joseph Bona

Dude get a life. Why are you posting this on every article out there?

zeyad

5.96″ screen? R u guys serious, the damn 6 plus is even smaller…I’m 6’3 n I hated how big it was…very disappointed in the monster size of nexus 6

Ryan

The 6 plus is the same exact size body wise with a smaller screen. The nexus 6 is just slightly thicker however but it has a massive battery to compensate,

Bob Builder

The Nexus and the iPhone 6+ are identical in length. iPhone 6+ = 6.22in & Nexus 6 = 6.27in. The Nexus fits in half an inch of screen real estate but remains the same length of the iPhone 6+

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