Does “Shamu” still sails high in the Ocean of smart phones?

By Herald de Paris Contributor's Bureau on November 7, 2015


By Bhagvatula Ramesh, Special to the Herald de Paris
BANGLORE, INDIA (Herald de Paris) —  Google inducted 2 new Nexus phones into their 5 year old Nexus Family. It was year 2010 when Google and HTC launched the first Nexus phone. Things have changed a lot in past 5 years in terms of technology, and the mobile world has evolved in ways many never imagined. Even a 6 month old phone looks to be very old in terms of specifications, when compared with the models launching seemingly every day. But is it really true that a well-crafted phone which is 6 months or a year old is outdated?

Let’s find out.

Until the Nexus 5, released in 2013, a 5” screen size was a trend or Nexus fans were very comfortable with it in terms of a, “Daily driver,” of a phone. (Cue the “JAWS” music) But then came the SHAMU – the code name of the Nexus 6, a collaboration between Motorola at its peak (thanks to its “X” and “G” series phones) with then-parent Google. The “Phablet” Nexus 6 was built with a massive 5.96” screen. Nexus 6 was bigger, better, and beautiful. In short, “Shamu” literally and figuratively dwarfed its predecessor in size, specifications, and mass consumer appeal.

Do you feel our beloved Shamu still stands tall along with current flagships in mobile market right now?

2015-11-01 (1)Shamu has got a gorgeous, big 5.96 inch display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560, that’s about 493ppi even after one year it is one of the best QHD bright screen for a phone. Both reading and typing are a pleasure on this device (And I have big thick fingers). I haven’t touched my Nexus 7 tablet much lately for reading – I don’t have to since I got Shamu. The screen does turns pink at very low brightness but I don’t think much of us will use that brightness level to be a deal breaker – the solution for that is disable adaptive display and you will have a gorgeous screen for $299/- or Rs.29,999/- .

One needs to make big adjustment if you are coming from a device smaller in ergonomics. I came from Motorola Turbo before using Nexus 6 as my daily companion. But it won’t take too long for one to settle in with this beauty – the rounded back, nice thin edges, and with a shallow Motorola’s “M” dimple at back where I usually place my index finger, proved a nice base to even operate the phone with a single hand. Mind you, I have big hands. I would honestly say Nexus 6 is a two hand device but it has it own great feel when held.

Ah! Chipset manufacturers keep delivering chipsets – 801…805…810…etc. etc. Every fortnight, there seems to be another chipset from their production line. Shamu, with a more than year old Snapdrangon 805 chipset, hardly lags. It’s a very honest and ground level review, so don’t expect any benchmark test because I believe the respective user is the best reviewer of his/her device, and you all must have read or watched tons of test on Shamu so far. You can buy the new Nexus 6P, the latest Samsung or others for the latest and greatest specifications, the newest chipset, and bragging rights, but I doubt most consumers actually ever notice the difference between, for example, the Snapdragon 805 and the Snapdragon 808. And if you are concerned about the reports that the Snapdragon 810 runs very hot … you don’t have to worry about that with Shamu.

The newest Nexus 6P was built by Huawei, not Motorola. Motorola has a strong reputation for making phones with exceptional user experience over raw specifications. It has not yet been proven that the raw specification power of the 6P outweighs the user experience of the venerable Shamu. Time will tell.

The Nexus 6 will take whatever is thrown to it easily, and with Android Marshmallow coming soon, the N6 is sure to be smooth, just like a walk on butter. On Android Lollipop, Shamu really does and perform well when compared with the newer flagships my colleagues and friends have. It may be some micro to milli seconds slow, but it is more than enough for a normal user. Since last year, games like NFS, Asphalt etc. have received many updates and have become more heavy on CPU, but the year old Shamu – with Adreno 420 GPU – runs them as good as any newer phone on the market.

The Nexus 6 still does everything a common user needs to do. A 13 MP camera still takes gorgeous photos with image optical stabilization. I use a manual camera app thanks to the API2 camera feature, and I can control all the photographic aspects while shooting. The stock camera’s HDR+ is a great feature for low light photos. The front 2MP is, admittedly, a letdown as it produces noisy images/selfies under low light conditions. It’s okay under good light. Motorola fitted Shamu with face detection, which can be very handy for smart screen lock. For someone who is not a big selfie shooter it won’t bother much. All in all a very good camera phone even after year.

My Most important aspect for a smart phone is the battery. With a big 3220 mAh capacity and Marshmallow battery optimization, Shamu takes me easily through the day – 17-18 hrs with 3+ hrs of SOT with location on High accuracy, Moto 360 connected, adaptive display ON, and 2 email accounts always syncing. A normal user does charge their phones at night or when gets up so I’m not greedy to have 30-40+ hours battery life, and I have more fruitful things in life than keep gazing my phone for more than 3-4 hours a day. Since I’m coming from Motorola Turbo’s massive battery capacity, which produces very good battery life, I’m not at all disappointed with Shamu’s battery life.

If you still have a Nexus 6, or considering it with current price tag (Prices worldwide are still dropping), the Nexus 6 is a great phone to have or to get – even it is a year old device. It still stands tall among all the flagships, it has all that a common user aspire to have in his/her phone – Nice and bright screen, powerful hardware, very good rear camera, excellent battery life and with Google pushing updates once they are out being a Nexus, Shamu is still, dollar-for-dollar, one of the best smartphones available.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab Shamu for the price of $299/- or Rs.29,999. Trust me Shamu won’t disappoint you.

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