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.
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.
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.
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.