While there were other big phones around, the Galaxy Note was the first smartphone that showed the world that using a big phone can actually make you more productive. Then, in just a few years, big phones became the norm. Slowly, but steadily, the size of the average smartphone kept getting bigger. Phones, nowadays, resemble a tablet more than anything else. A screen size of 5 inches of more is actually quite common, the kind of phone that covers the whole side of your face while you talk. The iPhone 6 Plus and the Nexus 6 are two new entrants in this phone-tablet, that is phablet race, aiming to take down the giant Galaxy Note 4.
The Note 4 comes with a metallic frame with an S-pen tucked neatly at the bottom right corner of the phone. There are curves at the corner, but they're not as angular as the ones found on Nexus 6. This gives the Note a more rectangular shape, making it look professional. Compare that to Nexus 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the Note is the first phone that a business user would most likely pick up.
Coming to the Nexus 6, it does look similar to the Note 4 in some aspects, however, the curved edges give it a much more modern feel. At the back, the phone is curved thus making it easier to hold in your hand and also easier to use given its big size. Overall, it looks like a bulked up Moto X. Not that there's anything wrong with that, we'd have loved it if Google had tried something different with this one.
The design of the iPhone 6 Plus is a similar story. It does look like a bulked-up iPhone, and it too doesn't look that bad. In fact, when compared to the Nexus 6 and Note 4, it's the most nice-looking phone of the lot. Its aluminum body with a smooth finish and a ring-styled Home button make it an attractive phone. So, as far as design goes, the iPhone 6 Plus leaves behind Samsung and Google.
Winner: iPhone 6 Plus
The iPhone 6 Plus comes with the latest version of iOS. The operating system doesn't look out of place on the phone and it does work quite well with the 6-inch screen. The same goes for Nexus 6, which is the first phone to come with Lollipop out of the box. It looks quite good on the phone and makes use of the 6-inch screen very nicely. However, when you compared them to the Galaxy Note 4, they both pale out in comparison. Despite having a clunky version of Android known as TouchWiz, the Note 4 surprisingly delivers in the software department. It comes with software that makes perfect use of the S-pen hardware and the large screen. From note-taking apps to "Smart Select" that lets you select important text from an article, Note 4 is loaded with tools that help you get the most out of the big phone. If you're a businessperson, the Note 4 is the best of the lot because of the amazing features geared towards office goers. Even for casual users, Note series of phones have a lot to offer, thus making it an all-round treat to use.
Both the Galaxy Note 4 and the Nexus 6 come with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor that clocks at 2.7 GHz. They are also loaded with an Adreno GPU and 3 GB of RAM making both smartphones absolute powerhouses when it comes to hardware. On the other hand, the iPhone 6 Plus comes with a Dual-core 1.4 GHz Cyclone ARM-based processor and 1 GB of RAM. While iPhone's specs don't quite match up to what the Nexus and the Note have to offer, Apple's software optimizations make the smartphone a treat to use. However, if we did compare these phones purely on specs basis, the Note 4 and Nexus 6 would come out on top. Between those two, well, that's a tough choice but we'll have to pick Nexus 6 here since it uses pure Android thus giving it an ability to get the maximum from the chips.
Winner: Nexus 6
The iPhone 6 Plus screen comes with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 and 401 ppi pixel density. It's about 5.5 inches in size, which is still smaller than the Nexus 6. The Galaxy Note 4 comes with 2560 x 1440 pixels display that has a 515 ppi pixel density. It's a Super AMOLED display that makes the colors stand out and look vibrant. The Nexus 6 is slightly larger in size with a 5.96in AMOLED display that has a resolution of 1440 x 2560. Among the three devices, the phone with the "best-looking" display would be the Note 4. It's saturated display looks vibrant and bright even at odd viewing angles. As for the iPhone 6 Plus, it looks slightly brighter than the Nexus 6 but its display quality is pretty much at-par with these devices. However, if we did have to pick one, we'd go with the Note 4.
Winner: Note 4
The Nexus 6 comes with a 13 MP rear camera with HDR+, panorama, photo sphere, and many other useful features. The Note 4, however, comes with a 16 MP camera with a boatload of features in the camera application (which is typical of Samsung). Samsung's camera captures details quite well when compared to the Nexus. Quality wise, they are pretty much at par, however, the Note 4 camera is a little better than the one on Nexus. The iPhone camera, though has an 8MP shooter, takes surprisingly good photos. Compared to ones taken by the Note 4, the iPhone pictures are a bit warmer in tone. Not that it is a bad thing, but the warm tone gives the photos a much "realistic" feeling. If you disregard the differences in color tones, all three cameras pretty much take pictures of similar quality that won't disappoint you.
Depending on where you live, all of the three phablets are few of the most expensive gadgets in the market. You'll find these phones around the $700 range. Also, these phones though expensive, offer some of the best specs around, so they do serve as a good investment in the long run.
Conclusion: Which one to buy?
If you are planning to use your phone in the office and for business, the Galaxy Note 4 is the best phablet you can buy hands-down. It has the best specs and the best apps suite that is geared towards office owners and business users. The Note line of products is the best thing Samsung created and it is not a phone that you can overlook. It is loaded with the best specs and features out there.
If you are not a business owner, still the Note 4 is worth considering. But as far as casual work+play devices go, both the Nexus 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are great choices. The big discriminating factor between them as far as value for money goes is the presence of different operating systems. If you are someone who's already in the Android ecosystem, go with the Nexus 6 as that will guarantee you updates for quite a long time. The iPhone 6 Plus is a great addition to the family for anyone who already owns a lot of Apple products. That said, the Note 4 still remains a solid product that both Apple and Google will have to work hard to take down.
Overall Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.