Do we have a good one for you today – the venerable Nexus 6 goes up against the latest flagship from ASUS, the ZenFone 2…a high spec'd smartphone at a rock bottom price. The Nexus 6, on the other hand, came out as a flagship device commanding a high price. I do not mean to say it was overpriced, but at a much higher price than the usual Nexus smartphones of the past. Is the Nexus 6 worth the extra money and is the cheaper ZenFone 2 really the bargain it seems to be? Let's take a closer look at both devices and see exactly which device is worthy of the win in this comparison.
This will be a tough decision as it based on specifications, but one cannot discount the price of the device. The Nexus 6 and ZenFone 2 have a few things in common…even though the Nexus 6 has a half-inch larger display, both devices are very close in physical size. The main cameras are both 13MP and have autofocus, dual-tone LED flash, although the Nexus 6 adds OIS to the mix. The both have the usual suspects – Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth (4.1 in Nexus 6 and 4.0 in the ZenFone 2), NFC compatible, faster charging and a microUSB port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Smartphones | SpecOut
Motorola Nexus 6
Google chose Motorola to build their flagship, the Nexus 6, designed originally to be a showcase of pure Android at a price the masses could afford. The Nexus smartphone had always been sold directly through the Google Play Store and was an unlocked device so buyers paid an off-contract price. Nexus smartphones were always designed with good specifications and sold for only around $350. The new Nexus 6 display is a whopping 5.96-inches, they used the best processor available at the time, packed in 3GB of RAM and actually put in a decent camera and stereo front-facing speakers. They sold it through the carriers this time around, most likely to allow customers a chance to purchase it on a two-year contract to soften the blow of the higher price tag.
The Nexus 6 sports a beautiful 6-inch AMOLED QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with 493 pixels-per-inch (PPI) versus the 5.5-inch FHD LCD display and 403 PPI on the ZenFone 2. The Nexus 6 uses a 32-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor clocked at 2.7GHz – a great processor that can stand up very good to the 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processor in the new ZenFone 2. The Nexus 6 has 3GB of RAM and either a 32GB or a 64GB variation with no room for expansion. The ZenFone 2 has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, but also a microSD card slot to expand.
The Nexus 6 packs a 13MP main camera with auto focus, OIS and a dual-LED Flash Ring that encompasses the lens in the Nexus 6. It should take better pictures than the ZenFone 2's 13MP camera with no OIS. The Nexus 6 uses only a 2MP front-facing camera (FFC) and the ZenFone 2 jumps up to a 5MP FFC.
The Nexus 6 also offers the Nexus Wireless Charging, the Motorola Turbo Charger – which can give up to 8 hours of use from a 15-minute charge. It has a nano-coating for water resistance and has dual front-facing speakers. It is available not only in the Play Store, but also on all major U.S. networks as well as U.S. Cellular. It will run you $500 off contract for the 32GB model…but if you are willing to go with a two-year contract, you can get one for as little as $200. Last, but certainly not least, you will get the newest Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system with a whole slew of improvements, including 64-bit. The Nexus 6 also comes with some great software benefits brought over from the Moto X.
ASUS ZenFone 2
The ASUS ZenFone 2 is a beautiful smartphone and it looks deceptively high-end with its apparent brushed metal look. ASUS has pulled an LG trick here with a plastic body and brushed metallic-like finish. I am not saying it feels cheap – it does not – but it is nowhere near the feel of the solid metal frame and soft-touch back on the Nexus 6. Also stolen from LG is the rocker switch for the volume is found on the back of the device, however, the on/off button is awkwardly placed on the top of the device. The nicely rounded sides make the ZenFone 2 easy to hold and also explains its 10.9mm thickness.
The ASUS ZenFone 2 features a 5.5-inch IPS LCD FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 403 PPI, but it cannot compete with the Nexus 6's QHD AMOLED display with 493 PPI. The ZenFone 2 we are looking at uses a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz coupled to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory, although, it does offer expansion by way of a microSD card. This compares to the Nexus 6's 32-bit Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage with no room for expansion.
The main camera on the ZenFone 2 is packing a 13MP sensor, autofocus and a dual-tone LED flash and no OIS. The Nexus 6 also uses a 13MP sensor for the main camera, but adds OIS and a dual flash ring that encompasses the lens. The ZenFone 2 comes with a large 5MP FFC for social selfies and video chatting…this is much larger than the 2MP FFC found on the Nexus 6. Power for both devices is in the form of a non-removable battery even though the back comes off easily on the ZenFone 2. The ZenFone 2 has the smaller 3000mAh battery, while the Nexus 6 uses a larger 3220mAh battery.
The ZenFone 2 is a Dual-SIM device running Android 5.0 Lollipop along with its ZenUI Skin overlay that has followed the Google Material Design look. It will eventually be available in Osmium Black, Sheer Gold, Glacier Gray, Glamor Red and Ceramic White. You can find the ASUS ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of memory on Amazon for only $299 and comes in black, silver, gold, or red.
…And The Winner Is…
This was a tough decision to make, but I chose the Nexus 6 as the winner of this comparison. The Nexus 6 has a much better display, water resistance, faster upgrades, as good or better camera, better sound, wireless charging and a bigger battery. The ZenFone 2 has a newer processor, more RAM, expandable memory, an FM Radio and a price tag of only $299 – can you see the dilemma of the decision?
The ASUS ZenFone 2 is a great device and I cannot imagine anybody being disappointed with it, however, I just felt that the Nexus 6 would better serve most users. It has that beautiful AMOLED QHD display, a great processor and a decent camera – and will receive the new Android upgrades faster than any other devices. The off-contract price has been lowered to $499 or you can get the Nexus 6 now on carriers on a two-year contract for $200.
If money is a real factor, then pick up the ASUS ZenFone 2 and enjoy…just make sure the 4G LTE bands it uses are available on your carrier. If you can afford it, the Nexus 6 in pure vanilla Android should satisfy your every need.
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