The Nexus 6, a phone we typically only refer to at this point as “the whale” aka Shamu, is probably one of the less popular Google phones I can recall. The phone was so massive in size that it fully lived up to its codename and likely pushed away a good portion of former Nexus owners who had previously only lived within Google’s phone ecosystem. It wasn’t a phone built for everyone, that’s for sure.
Today, randomly, I was shuffling through a drawer of old phones I have and stumbled back upon it. Picking it up brought back memories of the difficult time that was being a Nexus 6 owner. This phone is so stupidly large. It really is remarkable how wild Google went with this thing, but that also got me thinking about how far we’ve come once I laid it down next to my Pixel 5.
Look at these two next to each other. It’s silly, right? It gets sillier if we recap some specs.
The Nexus 6, for those who forgot, was released in 2014 with a 5.96″ QHD AMOLED display, 3220mAh battery, a single 13MP camera with OIS, 2MP front camera, stereo front speakers, 3GB RAM, up to 64GB storage, a Snapdragon 805 chipset, and a body that was 83mm wide. Obviously, some of those specs are what we find in low-end phones today, but they were absolutely top tier at the time of release.
Where this gets wild, though, is when you look at the Pixel 5. The Pixel 5 has the same size display at 6-inches, a much bigger battery (4000mAh), and two rear cameras in a body that is 15mm shorter and 13mm skinnier. The difference, of course, is that we’ve switched from 16:9 displays to 19.5:9, making them less wide and easier to hold, bezels have continued to shrink, and all of the components have probably become a lot smaller. But man, again, look at these two side-by-side!
Another good example of how far we’ve come is the new Galaxy S21 Ultra. That phone has a 6.8″ display, huge 5000mAh battery, advanced quad camera system, QHD display with 120Hz refresh rate, stereo speakers, and so much more. It’s slightly taller than the Nexus 6 and still a good 7mm skinnier. You really could do this comparison with almost any modern phone and will be blown away by the advancements.
The Nexus 6 fit its codename because it actually was a whale, yet I’m sitting here with a Pixel 5 that is arguably small compared to the rest of the industry. The Pixel 5 actually feels small in the hand with the same exact size display as the whale. What a journey this has been.