Phone Comparisons: Huawei Nexus 6P vs ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra

Introduction

Do we have a good one for you today – the popular Huawei Nexus 6P goes up against the new ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra. How do these two all-metal phones perform against one another? Can the older Nexus 6P stand up to the new ZenFone 3 Ultra? The Nexus 6P was a true flagship when it came out, whereas the Ultra is more of a large device with mid-range specifications. Both devices do look the part of a premium device – ASUS even stuffed the antenna around the outside edge of the device so there are no antenna lines on the back. Before we take a close look at each device individually, let’s look at some of their similarities.

The Nexus 6P and ZenFone 3 Ultra do have a few things in common – very few. They are very different in every size possible and the Ultra weighs in at an extra 55 grams. They use different display technologies, different size displays, and different resolutions. Both devices use a Snapdragon processor but different models and different Adreno GPUs. They both have a 64GB option for internal memory, but only the Ultra has room to expand via a microSD card. The main camera areas are both great and they both use a 8MP front-facing camera (FFC.) Both devices have a fingerprint sensor, however, only the Nexus 6P has support for NFC. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, and a USB port v2.0 Type-C reversible for charging, and data transfer. Both us a non-removable battery and both have rapid charging capabilities.

Please take a thoughtful 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 device in greater depth 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.

Specifications

Huawei Nexus 6P

It’s amazing when you think that the Nexus 6P is still the flagship of the Nexus line – it seems like it has been out forever – but it stands well against some of the newer devices. The Nexus buyers that expect a smartphone with decent specs and a reasonable price need to look at the Nexus 5X. The Nexus 6P is for those buyers that always wanted a Nexus smartphone, but also wanted top specifications. The Nexus 6P is all metal, high-end, and comes with a higher price tag. It has a premium look and feels solid in your hand.

The Nexus 6P sports a ‘note-size’ 5.7-inch QHD AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 pixels of resolution with 518 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) Qualcomm was having heating issues with their Snapdragon 810 and came out with a newer v2.1 that supposedly fixed those issues – so Huawei went with it as the brains of the Nexus 6P. It is an octa-core processor with one quad-core clocked at 1.55GHz and one quad-core clocked at 2.0GHz. It is packing 3GB of DDR4 RAM with a choice of 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of memory – being a Nexus, there is no means to expand – Google wants you to save your files to the cloud so you can have access to them all of the time on any device.

Huawei likes to put in great cameras on their smartphones and they took good care of the Nexus 6P. It has a 12.3MP sensor, laser autofocus, an aperture of f/2.0, and a dual-tone LED flash – but still no OIS, although in tests, it scores well. For the front-facing camera (FFC) the Nexus 6P uses a large 8MP sensor for selfies and video chatting, although it uses a smaller f/2.4 aperture. The Nexus 6P relies on a large 3450mAh non-removable battery for its power and comes with a rapid charge feature via its Type-C plug.

The Nexus 6P does have dual front-facing stereo speakers that provide great sound. Running pure vanilla Android, it will be the first to receive the new software upgrades – Nougat will be out this fall. You can purchase the Nexus 6P through the Google Store as an unlocked device that is usable on all major US networks. Pricing is at only $550 for the 64GB model and offers an excellent value. It comes in one of the four colors – Aluminum, Graphite, Frost, or Matte Gold.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra

ASUS' new line of ZenFone 3 smartphones may have separated their specifications, but all of the devices are beautifully designed using all metal and the antenna lines hidden from view in the edges of the device. The ‘Deluxe’ model is the true flagship of the three – the ‘Ultra,’ gets its name from its enormous 6.8-inch display. The ZenFone 3 Ultra is the model we will compare to the Nexus 6P – a very high-end model. ASUS started fresh with this year’s design by grabbing a new processor, more RAM, the new and faster UFS 2.0 memory, and much better camera area.

The ZenFone 3 Ultra looks more like a tablet with its massive 6.8-inch IPS LCD display – just slightly smaller than the Nexus 7 tablet. It has a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels that works out to about 324 PPI. ASUS picked the mid-range 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor with a quad-core clocked at 1.4GHz and a quad-core clocked at 1.8GHz and then hooked it up to an Adreno 510 GPU to handle the graphics. It boasts 4GB of slower DDR3 RAM (a restriction of the processor), but does use 64GB of faster UFS 2.0 memory that is expandable to 200GB via a microSD card.

ASUS was anxious to compete with other top photo takers so they selected a large 23MP Sony IMX318 sensor - added a f/2.0 aperture, 6-element Largan lens, and 0.03-second TriTech Autofocus by using both Laser and Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF.) ASUS even went with a 4-axis OIS for more stability and then added a dual-tone flash. The ZenFone 3 Ultra provides a large 8MP FFC with a f/2.0 aperture and 85-degree wide-angle lens for selfies and video chatting. A large, non-removable, 4600mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 powers the device.

The ASUS did include a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device but did not include NFC in the Ultra model – this really limits the fingerprint sensor's use. It has dual bottom-mounted stereo speakers for all of those movies and videos you will watch on the large display. The Ultra arrives running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with the newest ZenUI 3.0 running over the top. The Ultra measures 186.4 x 93.9 x 6.8mm and weighs in at 233 grams. It is available in Glacier Silver, Titanium Gray, or Metallic Pink and it will cost you about $479 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of memory.

...And The Winner Is...

The Final Word

I thought this was going to be a tough one until I started looking at all of the features and specifications – I have to give the win to the Huawei Nexus 6P. The Ultra has a larger display, but it uses the LCD technology and only FHD resolution versus the QHD AMOLED display used in the Nexus 6P. The Nexus 6P may use last year’s Snapdragon 810 processor, but it is still better than the Snapdragon 652 in the Ultra. The Ultra does pack 4GB of RAM over the 3GB in the Nexus 6P, but you won’t miss it, especially running pure Android. The one redeeming factor for the Ultra is the ability to expand your memory past the 64GB or 128GB in the Nexus 6P.

They both have dual speakers with the Nexus 6P having stereo front facing. Both devices offer Hi-Res audio for earphones and both have large non-removable batteries. Only the Nexus 6P has an NFC chip that makes buying and authorizing payments via the fingerprint sensor.

The Nexus 6P will cost you a few more dollars, but with its specs and quick Android updates, it seems money well spent. Now if you want to watch videos, movies or do gaming, the the Ultra may be your cup of tea.

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