Once upon a time, Phablets were something that - if you were so inclined - could easily be ignored. Massive devices like Samsung's Galaxy Note existed on the periphery of the mobile phone industry, offering a big-screen alternative to those who craved it, but rarely encroaching on the core Android market.

That time is officially over with the launch of the Nexus 6, Google's flagship Android phone for 2015, which sports a massive 5.96-inch display and dimensions that will sorely test all but the roomiest of trouser pockets. There is now nowhere to hide from the Phablet Menace.

With Apple only just shaking off the 4-inch screen, upgrading to a screen that measures almost 6-inches from corner to corner sounds downright extravagant, but it's amazing how quickly you become accustomed to the massive size of the Nexus 6.

That gigantic screen allows the phone to straddle the divide between mobile and tablet, offering a fantastic platform for entertainment while (just about) maintaining the kind of proportions required to be truly portable.

Cutting edge tech, above-average battery life, Turbo Charging capability and the very latest version of Android Lollipop sweeten the deal of course, but does this constitute a better purchasing decision than the many other cutting-edge Android phones on the market? Read on to find out.

Design


While the Nexus range has slowly but surely been growing in terms of screen size, it's almost impossible to be adequately prepared for the Nexus 6. It's a beast of a phone that dwarfs its predecessor, the Nexus 5.

To use it comfortably you really have to utilize both hands, and when walking around in public there's the ever-present threat of it accidentally toppling out of your hand and onto cold, unfeeling concrete.

However, give it a few days and the Nexus 6 slowly begins to feel more natural. You master the two-handed approach and learn to balance the weight of the device in your hands, effectively un-learning how you used to interact with your smartphone.

Flanking either end of the screen are two speakers which deliver strikingly loud and punchy sound, almost removing the need for any external Bluetooth-based speaker system.

It's unlikely that you'll ever miss a text or phone call when using this phone, as even when it's ensconced in your pocket the speakers are almost alarmingly loud. Compared to the Nexus 5 - which was lumbered with a very weak speaker - it's a welcome change.

While you could argue that it takes time to truly fall in love with the Nexus 6, the phone's wonderful build quality certainly helps expedite the process. We've not seen a Nexus phone this well-built since the original HTC-made Nexus One.

Motorola - which has inherited manufacturing duties from LG, the company behind the Nexus 4 and 5 - has crafted a truly premium device that looks and feels reassuringly expensive. The entire phone is surrounded by a band of metal, with a plastic back emblazoned with the Motorola logo and the Nexus branding.

In terms of design it shares similarities with Motorola's equally good-looking Moto X, and is one of the most visually alluring handsets the company has crafted in years. In short, Motorola has done Google proud with this product.

Features


Beating at the heart of the Nexus 6 is a 2.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor which is aided by 3GB of RAM. This places the phone at the forefront of the Android market in terms of pure processing power, although it's worth noting that Qualcomm's new range of Snapdragon 810s are starting to arrive on the market, so it's not quite bleeding edge.

Internal storage starts at 32GB, but a 64GB version is also available at a higher cost. There's no MicroSD card slot - something which has been common in the Nexus range for quite some time - so if you want a lot of space, you might want to shell out a little more money.

On the back there's a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation, and a 2-megapixel front-facing snapper for those all-important selfies.

The camera takes decent shots packed with detail and vibrant colour, but as has been the case on so many Android phones, the focus time ranges from adequate to abysmal - this is one area where Apple's range of smartphones consistently beats its rivals.

The Nexus 6's other big feature is Qualcomm's Quick Charge tech, which allows you to gain six hours of use in just 15 minutes of charge. It's not just idle boasting, either - during our review period we regularly topped up the phone's 3220mAh power cell before leaving the house for work, and found Quick Charge to be something of a godsend.

It's possible to fully charge the phone much quicker as well - but the obvious catch is that you have to use the bundled Turbo Charger in order to do so. This feature obviously won't work when using a standard charger, although it is perfectly possible to use one of those on the Nexus 6.

Battery life in general is excellent, effortlessly surpassing the stamina seen on the Nexus 5. We managed to get almost two days of use out of a single charge.

Screen

The screen is unquestionably the star of the Nexus 6's feature lineup - hardly a shock when you consider that the device's immense size is down to that enormous display. The phone sports a 5.96-inch QHD AMOLED PenTile screen with a 2560x1440 pixel resolution - that's a pixel density of 493 pixels per inch.

The use of an AMOLED panel means that colours are warm and inviting, while black tones are incredibly deep and convincing. That astonishing pixel count means that it's impossible to pick out individual pixels - amazing when you consider the size of the display - and images look pin-sharp.

One of the most appealing features of the screen is the fact that it possesses an "Ambient" display mode which kicks in whenever you get an notification. The screen powers up and displays the notification in black and white (black pixels on AMOLED screens are effectively switched off, so it doesn't consume much battery), and tapping that notification turns the screen on fully.

Combine this with the fact that the phone's screen enters ambient mode whenever you pick it up, and it's much, much easier to not only view your waiting alerts but also unlock the phone itself. There's no need to tap the power button to wake the screen - you just have to scoop it up, tap, and you're away.

It goes without saying that having that extra inch over the Nexus 5 brings some real benefits when it comes to consuming content on the phone, be it reading websites, watching videos or playing games.

We'll touch upon gaming performance in the next section, but for now it's worth pointing out how much of a difference that formidable display really makes. Almost all tasks are enriched by the additional real estate, and the only negative element is that Google hasn't done anything to truly exploit the potential of the screen.

Samsung's Galaxy Note range comes with a range of apps and features which take advantage of its large display - as well as a stylus - and it's a shame that the Nexus 6 doesn't do the same.

Gaming & Performance


Gaming on the Nexus 6 is a bit of a treat thanks to the delicious combination of a massive screen and a powerful processor. Titles like Monument Valley, Sorcery!, 80 Days and many others really pop on that AMOLED panel, while demanding 3D titles run incredibly smoothly because of handset's robust tech.

We found ourselves returning to many classic Android games purely to find out how good they look on the Nexus 6's screen - the only drawback is that some older games simply weren't designed to be displayed on a screen of this size, and end up looking a bit fuzzy as a result.

Outside of gaming, overall performance is silky-smooth. A lot of this is down to the underlying improvements that Google has made in Android 5.0, but even when compared to the Nexus 5 - which also got the Lollipop update - things are much smoother on the newer model. Switching between applications is a breeze and there's no annoying pauses when moving around the UI.

The Good


The Nexus 6's screen is a revelation - it's one of the best we've seen on any smartphone, with rich colours and a pin-sharp resolution.

It makes practically every activity better, from general tasks - like composing emails and viewing websites - to viewing movies and playing games. The battery life is also better than expected, given the presence of that gigantic screen.

Turbo Charging is an upgrade that we'd love to see on more phones in the future, while the Nexus 6's alluring design is sure to turn heads - if the phone's size doesn't do that already.

The Bad


While we quickly became comfortable with the Nexus 6's immense size, it's not going to be for everyone. There will be many who struggle to cope with the remarkable dimensions of Motorola's blower, and this could be a deal-breaker for potential customers.

The price is another sticking point - unlike the Nexus 5, which Google and LG pitched as a mid-range purchase, the Nexus 6 comes with a SIM-free price-point of £500.

That places it in direct competition with other cutting-edge Android handsets, and a less affordable option for shoppers on a budget.

Overall


It's easy to overlook the Nexus 6's imposing size and high price tag when you take into account the phone's excellent design, long-lasting battery and selection of neat new features.

It's an excellent, large-screen smartphone which gives Samsung's Galaxy Note range a run for its money, and it of course comes with a completely stock version of Android - that means no bloatware and no needless UI skin slowing everything down.

For purists, the Nexus range is seen as the only option - and while the size could be an issue, we can't imagine it will dissuade many seasoned fans of Google's mobile OS.

Thanks to Mobile Fun for supplying the unit used in this review.