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Google's Nexus 6 is a high-powered handful (hands-on)

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It's a little funny to see Motorola finally crafting a Nexus phone after Google sold it to Lenovo, but hey -- life is peculiar that way. What's more important is that Motorola has taken its responsibilities as Keeper of the Nexus name seriously, and put together a phone that's as big on power as it is big in your pocket. Let's go for a quick tour, shall we?

Gallery: Google Nexus 6 hands-on | 19 Photos

We can sum up the Nexus 6's looks in just a few words: It's a blown-up Moto X. That's really no surprise -- the companies that get to make Nexus phones always put their own personal spin on them -- but we really mean blown-up. Thanks to that hefty 6-inch screen, the Nexus stretches the limits of handheld comfort (at least if you've got hands like mine), even with Motorola's trademark curved back helping it nestle into your palm. Then again, some of you like as much real estate as you can get, so fans of devices like the iPhone 6 Plus and the Galaxy Note 4 will feel at home here. Here's the bigger question: Does that screen make lugging a big phone around worth it?


We won't pass final judgment on it yet, but it will for a lot of you. The Nexus 6's whopper of an AMOLED screen runs at Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440, if you haven't already memorized it), and that combination of display size and resolution is frankly beautiful... until you start noticing blurry app icons and low-res ads on websites, anyway. It's not quite as pixel-dense as the smaller screens on the LG G3 and Droid Turbo, but don't let that bother you -- you're still not going to be able to pick out individual pixels, and colors are bright and vibrant enough to suck you into whatever photos you might be looking at. Speaking of photos, the Nexus 6 packs an improved 13-megapixel sensor that -- in all honesty -- seems to run circles around the camera the Moto X has. Motorola's dead-simple camera interface was nowhere to be found, though, leaving the stock Google Camera app in control. Truth be told, we didn't miss it all that much -- what really matters is that the Nexus 6 doesn't suck at taking photos. Considering the luck the Nexus family has had with cameras, you should be very, very excited.

And then there's Android 5.0. If we're honest, we haven't had a whole lot of time to play around with Lollipop, but it's mostly quite pretty (except for maybe the bone-white app tray). More importantly, it's just incredibly smooth -- firing up apps as quickly as my fingers could manage wasn't enough to throw Lollipop for a loop, and every transition we happened upon was downright buttery. That snappy performance is at least partially thanks to the beefy Snapdragon 805 clocked at 2.7GHz paired with 3GB of RAM thrumming away inside the 6's curvy shell, but man -- what a combination. We'll dig into all of this in much greater detail in our full review, but long story short, the Nexus 6 makes a hell of a first impression. Now, if you'll excuse us, we've got a little more real-world testing to do.

Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.

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